On the tours here you may be cynically herded from tourist trap to tourist trap. For example, when someone comes to you pretending to be collecting money for the Red Cross, and you think you're making a donation to help the disabled, but instead that person is actually just pocketing the money, that's not okay no matter what country it is or how poor people are. Do you mean is it doable to see a lot of Vietnam in 2 weeks? Well, this is I how put this.
And an interesting perspective popped up while I was there. Not only did we tick off items from our bucket list, we also made it at the least possible cost and the shortest possible time given our full-time jobs. A little unnerving at first, we were comforted by the fact that we were flying Air Asia, a brand familiar to Filipinos.
We booked via Giant Ibis for the 6 hours trip — mostly which we spent sleeping. Contrary to some tourist reviews on border horrors, crossing the border via Bavet was very easy and convenient. Gratuities or tips are encouraged but are not required.
Intensely colorful landscapes are the setting for your own masterpiece, with culture and heritage captivated as the subject. Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Sleeping aboard a traditional junk is a quintessential Vietnamese experience to be savoured.
Experience warm hospitality and unspoiled scenery on a farmstay in the heart of the Vietnamese countryside. The second Indochina War created wide-scale devastation and turmoil for the people of Vietnam, leading to mass migration to other parts of the world as asylum seekers tried to escape the conflict that ravaged their homeland. More recently, Vietnam has benefited from the free market economy that was set up in 1986.
Although many Vietnamese people live below the poverty line, there have been widespread improvements in literacy and health which hopefully will continue to improve in the years to come. Although people still choose to live in the densely forested highland regions, most of vietnam travel's population is concentrated in the cities of the low lying areas, where infrastructure is more easily built and the land is fertile. A system of canals and levees has been quite successful in redistributing the water during monsoons, and has helped to alleviate flooding in the Mekong Delta and surrounding areas.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Some of Vietnam's hilltribe people make excellent woven bags, clothing and jewellery which make meaningful souvenirs for friends back home. If you're a coffee fan, why not take a little taste of Vietnam home with you.
While not the cheapest of souvenirs, authentic lacquer art is worth spending a bit more on. Take a boat trip to one of the sleepy islands to get a front row view of life on the Delta, and meet the people who call it home.