From secluded private islands to acres and acres of terraced rice fields, Vietnam is one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia. When travelling to Vietnam, a person always has two options to either set the tone of their vacation – travel like a tourist or explore like a local. While doing the touristy things are fun in their own way, discovering a town like a local has its own perks and thrills. It requires you to come out of your comfort zone and interact with the inhabitants and environment to gain authentic travel experiences.
Below are some tips to see Vietnam like a local:
Find the Hidden Gems
Vietnam’s popular tourist spots such as Ha Long Bay, Cu Chi tunnels, and the War Remnants Museum are worth seeing. But there are many hidden gems that are often left unexplored. Sitting pretty in the southern coast are Con Dao Islands, which are made up of 16 islets. You would find the traditional Vietnamese houses made of rice husks, soil, and mud in Son Tay Town’s Duong Lam Ancient Village. Snorkel or scuba dive at Hoi An’s Cham Island. Meet the local Red Dao, Giay, and Hmong hill tribes by hiking on Fansipan Mountain.
Get Street Smart
Just like many other travel destinations, there is always a possibility that tourists would be charged more in Vietnam. Therefore, learn to bargain like a pro. Be aware of the actual market value of local goods and services and pay accordingly. Quite a few shop owners use the language barrier to their advantage by confusing tourists about the actual price of a product. Hence, use sign language or write/draw/point to communicate the final payment terms before purchasing anything. If you feel the deal is unfair, then feel free to walk away.
Switch Effortlessly from Tourist to Local
When it comes to travelling by public transport, Vietnam’s train service is quite reliable and decent. To save money, head to the railway station directly and purchase your tickets instead of getting it booked from a third-party. As far as the bus service is concerned, the country’s tourist bus service is cheaper than the local service. Therefore, play the local or tourist card as the situation demands. Book over-night bus or train journeys to save money on travel and stay.
Build Your Itinerary as You Go
It is quite tempting to book a complete travel package to avoid the hassle of planning. But resist the temptation and build your own travel itinerary. This would ensure that you don’t spend money on unnecessary things and places.
Dress to Fit In, Not Stand Out
We are not suggesting that you emulate the locals and dress exactly like them. But respecting a country’s dress code goes a long way. For instance, when visiting a temple or Pagoda, don’t wear shorts. Don’t wear bikini tops or saunter shirtless in places other than the beach. Dress modestly, that’s all.
Try the Local Food
If you wish to see Vietnam like a local, then it is important that you travel with an open mind. Being extra picky about food would stop you from enjoying an authentic experience. You would find the regular fast-food joints in Vietnam as well. However, gorge on local Vietnamese cuisine like Goi cuon (spring rolls), Banh mi (sandwich), Banh xeo (sizzling pancakes), Pho (noodle soup) and Cha ca (sautéed fish) to know what fresh produce tastes like.
GoFro Tip: To make getting around easier, we recommend renting a motor bike or scooter. They are affordable and they allow you to stop along the way to click some amazing photos.
Sounds fantastic, right? Check out these amazing Vietnam Holiday Packages on Gofro, for an even more exciting trip to Vietnam!