TRAVEL TIPS FOR VIETNAM
In this article we’ve assembled a few tips and tricks when going to Vietnam, which we ourselves have benefitted from.
Learn a few phrases of Vietnamese
When travelling to a new destination, it is always a good idea to learn a few phrases of the local language. It’s always a good icebreaker and it usually puts a smile on their face, when a tourist has taken the trouble to learn a little about the country. It’s easier to approach the locals in a friendly way and communicate with them even if they don’t speak English. This may be helpful especially when you travel to the more remote places, where the locals don’t speak English.
Buy a local sim card
Even though it’s easy to connect to wifi at hostels, cafes and restaurants in Vietnam, we recommend getting a local sim card. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s a great help when traveling around. As an example, it’s not always easy knowing where to get off when taking the train, it’s easy to navigate if needed. Also, if anything happens while you are on the road and you need help or assistance it’s a good security to be able to call your travel provider for example.
You can buy a sim card in almost every small shop. Always remember to keep your original sim card a safe place where you don’t lose it.
The app Grab is almost indispensable when travelling in Vietnam. Grab is a mobile app that allows you to book cheap and safe car and motorcycle taxi when going from A to B.
This app can help you to avoid scams. When using it you will know the estimated cost of your ride before you go, and you don’t have to bargain with the drivers. The drivers are on time (usually) and it’s usually faster than waiting on the street for a taxi to come by
Using this app is a great travel tip as you don’t need to worry about scams and safety when travelling from A to B.
How to rent a scooter in Vietnam
The street scene in Vietnam is dominated by scooters everywhere. This is the preferred vehicle for both locals and foreigners, but renting a scooter is not always straight forward. Ask your hostel if they can recommend a good shop and don’t give away your passport in deposit!
Inspect your scooter carefully before driving off with it. Even though it is rare, there are cases of travelers who have been wrongly accused of damaging scooters or bicycles. This has resulted in crazy expensive bills – especially if they hold your passport you don’t have any other choice to pay up. Therefore, we highly recommend taking photos any scratches or damages before you go and make sure that the owner is aware of the photos. It might not be that common anymore, but why run the risk?
Watch out for the traffic
In and around the major cities the traffic can be crazy. Don’t trust a one-way street as scooters drive everywhere and in every direction. Venturing out on the streets, whether you are awlking or renting a scooter, you should always take your precautions and be extra careful.
It can be a daunting experience the first few times you have to cross the road. Our best advice is to follow a local across the street. If you are crossing on your own, there’s an unwritten rule in Vietnam, that you just walk slowly and delicately across – then it’s easier for the many scooters to go around you. In other words, if you decided to cross, don’t stop, just keep walking.
If you are considering renting a scooter and if you are not used to the road rules of Asia and especially Vietnam, you should think twice. It is absolutely possible for foreigners to conquer the roads on two wheels but be careful as this is when most accidents occur.
what our travellers say
I contacted Bikudo Travel for advice on a 2 week journey with my girlfriend. We ended up going to Tanzania for safari and beaches and it was one of the best experiences we've had!