1. TAKE YOUR VISA SERIOUSLY, VERY SERIOUSLY INDEED
Yes, it seems like common sense, but I have seen tourists turned away at the airport for visa misinformation or failing to print their visa-on-arrival pre-approval paper. Double, triple check all of your information, have your accommodation address ready to go for the arrival form, be very respectful to the immigration officers, no matter how cold they are. Get stamped and enjoy.
2. THE PRICE FOR GOODS AND SERVICES IS…WHATEVER YOU’LL PAY
This is something that is difficult for us North Americans to understand. We are used to a fixed price for everything and we generally believe what we hear and read.
Remember, it is normal in Vietnam for locals to overcharge or inflate prices when they feel they can get more money for something. It’s been happening here in Vietnam since long before tourists ever arrived. It is not necessarily that they are “ripping you off”. It’s just the fluid way that small transactions happen in Vietnam. Sellers will make false claims, pretend you’ve agreed to a higher price, or give you back less change than you’re owed. Happens every day. Be careful, educate yourself and know that….
Me, bargaining hard for some fruit (photo by Hye Mi Joe)