10 things you should know before traveling to Vietnam

Lloyd & Mandy are a couple who own a Youtube channel called Lloyd & Mandy. On this platform, they share their travel trips to many countries around the world such as Thailand, Bali, Mexico, Vietnam, and the list goes on. They record delicious food and share useful travel tips or great travel experiences. Recently, the couple have shared a video with the title “10 Things We Wish We Knew BEFORE Travelling To VIETNAM in 2023.” You can watch the video on youtube and read the contributed comments.

The couple agrees that Vietnam is an awesome country with unique culture and a reasonable price to start your adventure. And here are the top 10 things Lloyd & Mandy mentioned in the video that you might want to know before going on Vietnam tours.

#10 Developed cities

A modern urban area next to the Saigon River
A modern urban area next to the Saigon River

Mandy & Lloyd thought that Vietnam would be a little bit more underdeveloped than it is. They also thought that it would be a lot more rural, not as built up as it is and they’ve noticed that a lot of other people might feel the same. So that is a huge thing that took them by surprise and maybe something that not a lot of other people would know as well.

Indeed, Vietnam’s cities are growing rapidly. Ho Chi Minh City develops in a modern direction with bustling neighborhoods, Hanoi is the place to keep traditional cultural beauties such as craft villages, old streets, historical sites, etc along with developing the economy. Other metropolises in Vietnam such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, and Khanh Hoa are also being invested and developed in tourism. Therefore, cities in Vietnam are ideal tourist destinations for visitors to access and experience.

#9 Nightlife

Hoi An Ancient Town at night
Hoi An Ancient Town at night

In Lloyd’s opinion, Vietnam, in general, is a night place. He thinks that’s mostly due to the hot weather during the day, so the local people tend to prefer to stay out of the sun and even the tourists as well, but at night time, everything lights up, the city lights up,  everybody comes out and hangs out. There are many things to do at night, there’s always live music and markets, the traffic gets a lot busier and the streets are hectic. It feels like everybody is tucked away in their hotel room or at home during the day and at night everything just comes alive.

This is quite accurate in busy cities in the urban areas, the countrysides at night are still quiet. Vietnamese people spend most of the day going to work. People also tend to protect their skin away from the sunray. At night, everyone easily feels refreshed and likes to hang out at night, especially young people.

Nightlife in Vietnam is lively and exciting with food, cafes, games, and events on streets such as Ta Hien Street in Hanoi, Hoi An Ancient Town, Nguyen Hue, and Bui Vien walking Street in Ho Chi Minh City, and so on. Coming to Vietnam, visitors can also explore the night markets in Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc, etc with a variety of Vietnamese dishes, fruits, and souvenirs, which bring tourists fascinating nightlife full of fun activities & interaction with locals.

#8 Overnight travel

The seats in a sleeper bus
The seats in a sleeper bus

These two YouTubers think getting around in Vietnam is super easy and the main reason is there are a lot of sleeper buses and sleeper trains. People can also catch these buses and trains during the day. It could be saving you money and time when catching them overnight because you will not have to pay for the accommodation. For the couple, it is nice to be able to jump on a bus or a train, go to sleep on it and wake up in a new city. Lloyd also shared that you should consider choosing a private cabin because, at a reasonable price, you will have more private space and utilities.

Currently, with the increasing demand, sleeper buses of many types are put into operation to meet the needs of life and travel. The sleeper bus in Vietnam is very convenient, providing utilities such as wifi, night light, television, blanket, tissue, and drinking water for guests to have a comfortable trip regardless of day or night. You can find the contact through the internet. However, if you need a quiet, large space with comfortable blankets, you can still choose to stay at the hotels.

#7 Coffee Community

TRung Nguyen Coffee. G7 Gourmet 3-in-1 Instant Coffee in domestic packaging
TRung Nguyen Coffee. G7 Gourmet 3-in-1 Instant Coffee in domestic packaging

It is a bit surprising for Mandy & Lloyd because there are a lot of cafes in Vietnam and that is usually if people are in a coffee shop during the day to work, chat, take photos or relax. Vietnamese coffee is strong and tastes good. Many recommend trying the signature egg coffee. Furthermore, there are countless options.

Since the late 1990s, Vietnam has been the world’s second-largest coffee exporter, after Brazil. Therefore, Vietnam has many coffee shops and Vietnamese people drink coffee every day. The coffee-drinking culture in Vietnam also thrives and could be seen everywhere in the country. Trung Nguyen Legend is one of the leading coffee brands in Vietnam with more than 1,000 domestic stores and products that are also present in 60 countries around the world. Besides, packaged coffee is also a great gift that tourists can buy as a gift when going home after visiting Vietnam.

#6 Driving on the right side

Mandy & Lloyd told that when they had landed at the airport and had been picked up by their grab driver, they had been driving on the right-hand side of the road which was a complete shock to them. They did not know why because the rest of South-East Asia or Asia countries in general drive on the left as do English countries. When participating in intercommunication in Vietnam, you should be careful when crossing the road.

Vietnamese people always walk and drive on the right side of the road, different from other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and some other Asian countries. Therefore, this is one thing tourists need to pay attention to before coming to Vietnam to be able to participate in traffic safely.

#5 Limited English Speakers

Mandy said: “Out of everywhere that we’ve traveled in  Southeast Asia so far, Vietnam probably speaks the least amount of English in comparison to Thailand and Bali, where we were previously”.

Lloyd told: “For sure but one thing I’ve noticed is they are more willing to use google translate. In Bali and Thailand, I felt like they tended to try and just communicate rather than in Vietnam. In general, a lot fewer English-speaking people here”.

When traveling in Vietnam, if you say Hello or “Xin chào” (which means hello in Vietnamese), people will always respond to you with enthusiasm and a warm smile. Pay attention to their facial expressions and body expressions when communicating, and you can understand more. If you want to experience more interaction and stories with Vietnamese people, you can ask for help from tour guides or young people who received an English education earlier. In Vietnam nowadays, English is one of the compulsory languages in most schools. There is also a large number of people learning Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Persia, etc

#4 Cruise on Halong Bay

Cruise on Halong Bay
Cruise on Halong Bay

Mandy and Lloyd are full of experience and prudent when traveling around the world. Both consider a destination quite carefully whether it is worth it and suffers from touristy. And Ha Long made them say “amazing”, “don’t regret any minutes of it”, “most beautiful place in Vietnam”, “best scenery”, and “definitely recommend” when they spent time on a luxury cruise and splurge on Ha Long bay.

A cruise in Halong Bay has full facilities and amenities such as a restaurant, spa, gym, sundeck, jacuzzi, lounge and many other forms of entertainment depending on the type of cruise visitors choose. The tour schedule on the cruise is reasonably designed to make it easy for visitors to adapt. In addition, fun and relaxing activities are arranged scientifically, meeting all ages. New experiences on Halong Bay cruises such as canoeing, catamaran sailing, taking pictures in the cruise swimming pool, and so on are always updated according to international trends, attracting both domestic and foreign guests.

#3 French Influence

Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office

One of the first things that Mandy & Lloyd noticed when they arrived in Vietnam is the French influence, which was pretty surprising but it was very predominant in Saigon. French influence in Vietnam is reflected in the many bakeries and coffee shops on the street along with French-style architectural buildings.

There are two cultures from outside affecting Vietnam which are Chinese and French. Those two cultures intersected with Vietnamese culture in a very ironic historical situation: the period when Vietnam was invaded and colonized. But beyond those elements of history, Even after a long period of colonization, Vietnam has transformed those cultures to harmonize with the Vietnamese way of life. That is why the cultural identity of Vietnam is still deep and rich. The most popular French-influenced architectural works appear in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Da Lat.

#2 Don’t say yum

Mandy & Lloyd did one of the best food tours while they were in Saigon. Their tour guide told them not to say “yum” but to say “yummy” because “yum” in Vietnamese means horny. Lloyd said: “If your waiter comes over and says how is your food and you say “yum”, you’re probably gonna get a funny look”.

This is an interesting way to know more about the language. Vietnamese people understand yummy better than yum. However, this view is not true for all Vietnamese, perhaps it is the guide’s point of view because there are other Vietnamese who still understand yum as delicious, not horny. We all know that food could not be horny.

#1 Beer culture

Ta Hien beer street in Hanoi
Ta Hien beer street in Hanoi

Mandy said: “It’s super easy and so cheap to order beer in Vietnam even if you’re eating out at a  nice restaurant. The most you are gonna pay, I reckon, is a dollar fifty, it’s honestly as cheap as soft drinks or water, it’s cheaper than coffee and there is a really big beer-drinking culture, even the older women are drinking beer  as well and everyone’s drinking beer around you and it feels like you’re not amongst it if you’re not having a beer.” The couple enjoyed the beer corner in Hanoi with an open drinking space, people sitting on low plastic stools, and drinking beer with ice.

Vietnam ranks 9th in the world in terms of beer consumption with more than 3.8 million kilogram liters in 2020, accounting for 2.2% of the world. According to a recent study by the online travel site Booking, based on a series of factors such as beautiful locations, bars, and the taste of beer, travelers have voted for the best beer-drinking cities in the world. In particular, Hanoi entered the top 10 in the world, with the 8th position being one of the attractive beer-drinking cities. Not all Vietnamese drink beer, it depends on each person’s preference.

It can be seen that the couple had a lot of experiences and a close look at Vietnamese life and culture. They have compiled the most impressive things and shared them on the video. How about you, what would you like to know before coming to Vietnam?

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