halong bay tour
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Why do some tourists never return to Vietnam again?

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I recently travelled to Vietnam for the first time last year (2019). Flew direct to HCM and stayed there for just a couple of nights. I heard negative reports from colleagues about HCM before this, which is why I deliberately limited my stay there. Turned out to be a good decision.

HCM is a city still in transition. The town center is one large construction site, and who wants to spend their holiday in a construction site? There's not much public transport available, and the streets are choked with motorcycles. During rush hour they even clamber on to the sidewalk. As a result, you're in constant fear for your life as you try to avoid the seemingly oblivious hordes of motorcyclists. There's also not a whole lot to see. Wasn't too impressed with the markets, and wasn't too interested to make the trip out to see the war tunnels. So much for the negative aspects of HCM. On the plus side, I found a really beautiful Scandinavian style hotel converted from an old bank building. I also liked the old streets with French style townhouses and grand old tropical trees. Food was good.

So much for HCM. Then we flew up to Dalat, and it completely redeemed the trip. Gorgeous highlands with flowers all around and mountain lakes. Fantastic coffee culture and French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine. Stayed in a slightly creepy but beautiful art deco French colonial retreat. Very nice weather.

On the way back, my wife got verbally attacked at HCM airport by a communist era airport guard. She got mad and vowed never to come back. But I would totally totally return, but only to Dalat.


Dalat - mountain lake at sunset

Dalat - Ana Mandara resort

Dalat - delicious stinky fermented meat rolls

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I am not sure maybe they are veterans who have not put away the hate or tourists who don’t like the food. As for returning I have returned to Vietnam for work and pleasure. I worked in Hanoi with the Ministry of Public Health for 5 months The Vietnamese have put “our” war behind them. They have fought 2 wars with China since and 80% of the population was born after 1975.

The Vietnamese are very open to Americans coming as tourists. I got a big hug from a former NVA on a street in Hanoi.

I plan to go back after COVID. I would like to stay 1 month. Most of it I would spend in Hoi An; I was stationed there during the war. Hoi An is on the UNICEF list as a World Heritage site. Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active the 15th to 19th centuries which traded widely, both with the countries of Southeast and East Asia and with the rest of the world. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that it has retained its traditional urban tissue to a remarkable degree. All the building in the tourist area are painted in pastels and at night on the river quay shops and restaurants put out a panorama of colored lanterns giving the town a mistacl image. (it was not like this in 1969). The most expensive thing in Vietnam is getting there; food, drinks and lodging are very inexpensive.

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There could be many reasons why some tourists never return to Vietnam. Some tourists may have had negative experiences while traveling in Vietnam, such as poor customer service, unpleasant accommodation, or issues with transportation. Others may have found that the culture and way of life in Vietnam did not align with their expectations or preferences. Additionally, some tourists may simply have enjoyed their experience in Vietnam so much that they felt there was no need to return.

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