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Is it worth it?

by Tylerthompson Online Now Jan 29, 2013 at 9:02 PM

My fiancé and I are looking to stay a month in a flat in Hanoi. We want to settle in but are nervous about all the talk about scams and racism. Should we consider another spot in south east Asia? We are hardy North America and European travelers who are used to spending long periods of time I'm what most would consider uncomfortable settings, but we want to try to keep down the uncomfortable factor this time around.

Should we try Thailand or Cambodia instead given our month long stay?

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9 Answers
  • SubrahmanyamK's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by SubrahmanyamK Online Now Jan 29, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I notice you joined VT yesterday. Welcome. Thailand is preferable, and u can visit many places around using buses/trains.

    Other alternative will be Maldives (where u get visa on arrival, provided u have confirmed accommodation--u can plan to stay in a resort --which is expensive--see website for details, and examine whether u can afford).

    U can consider visiting India, which is very cheap, and worth seeing many places of interest. [Check visa requirements, etc., most are available on online]

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by balhannah Online Now Jan 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    I had bad experiences in Vietnam, so I can't recommend that country. I did love Cambodia and Thailand, especially Chiang Mai in Thailand.

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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by wabat Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    To balance things - Vietnam is without doubt my favorite country in South East Asia. So much to see and do, the people are fantastic and the place is not overrun with tourists (yet) unlike Thailand.

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by cachaseiro Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    I would go ahead with Hanoi.
    It's a really nice city to hang out in, especially when you are a little away from the usual tourist trail.
    I am very white and very blond and look totally different than the locals but i have always bonded very well with the loclas there.
    And if you ask me then there are a lot more scammers in Bangkok than in Hanoi because of the high number of tourists.

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by pfsmalo Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    I can't see where you're coming from to talk about racism in Vietnam, never seen it and never heard of it. As for scams in Vietnam, you won't be any better off in Thailand or Cambodia. All three are wonderful countries and are well worth visiting, of course with all the usual precautions.

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  • cal6060's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by cal6060 Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    I think Hanoi is a nice and beautiful city for a longer stay. But If I were you, I won't stay here for a month, maybe 10 or 12 days. Then, go on to other cities like Hoi An, Hue, HCMC.. and etc.

    Both Cambodia and Thailand are nice too. They are just different! Sometimes it is hard to decide.

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  • Ina08's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by Ina08 Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    I have just spent a month in Vietnam and a few days in Hanoi. My question would be: what are you planning to do in Hanoi for a month? Is there a special reason for your choice?
    Consider that Hanoi at the moment is in winter time and can be wet and chilly. Not many places have heating possibilities and, believe me, that can be very uncomfortable (I used the hairdryer to get some warmth in my bed).

    Scams: Hanoi taxi drivers have a reputation for trying to scam their clients. Best thing around that is to negotiate the price beforehand. To give you an idea, from the HoChiMin museum/mausoleum to the French Quarter it is roughly 60.000 Dong (about 2 Euros). From the airport to the city centre, take the Vietnam airlines shuttle bus (40.000 Dong, if you add 20.000 Dong and your hotel is in the French Quarter they will even take you to your hotel).
    And yes, it helps to know a bit about the general pricing; however, if you eat street food, you will likely pay as much as anyone else and most restaurants have menues. It might be worth checking the final bill; occasionally you will find some item you did not eat.

    Racism: I have no idea where that comes from. I have travelled on my own (female) and have not met a single unfriendly or unhelpful person in all of Vietnam. I have felt very safe everywhere. Even those who do not speak English go out of their way to help you and the Vietnamese do like a good laugh, so they might make a joke at your expense, but nothing that you won't be able to handle.

    Relaxing: I agree with other posters on the fact that you will be far, far less hasseled by street vendors or children in Vietnam than in Cambodia or Laos. All travellers I have met pointed out this difference.

    Location: Hanoi is a good place to explore the North of Vietnam which except for Sapa and Halong Bay is very much off the beaten path. The Chinese influence is stronger there than in the South, but that add to the interest. Pricewise Vietnam is very affordable, if you budget 20 dollars a day for a hotel, you will find very, very comfortable accomodation. I am not sure about finding a flat, as that was not on my list.

    I also liked Dalat a lot as a location. It has a lovely climate and the added benefit that in 3 to 5 hours you can change scenery and be on the beach in Nang Trah or Mui Ne or in the mountains in Buon Ma Thout. Means of locomotion range from busses to bikes to motorbikes and are all affordable and doable.

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  • martensd's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by martensd Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Yeah I am scratching my head on this post.

    Why are you staying in Hanoi for a month? Is it work?
    When you say settle in do you mean you are not interested in traveling around?

    While I agree to some extent that the people of Hanoi are not as friendly as those in Saigon, never heard of any blatant racisim.
    I still remember my first trip to VN. In Saigon I had a little old man ask me if I was American, I told him yes....he said "Me afraid" I told him "NO" and he laughed and said "I love Americans". LOL
    So while you may get funny looks from some that may not have seen many Westerners, I do not think you need worry about racism.

    Now, scams....same as anywhere. Most dangerous crimes are snatch and grabs and pick pockets. Just need to be watchful. As far as taxi's most use meters, especially in HCMC. That is not to say they may not try to take the "long way"
    Try not to look too "lost", write down in Vietnamese your destination to show driver and look at a map so you get some idea of your route.
    If you are planning to make purchases that you are shipping directly home from the store, be carefully, as shop owners have been know to add weights to package to increase the shipping costs. This is not to say that these scams are everywhere, just better to be cautious and again this is not something that happens only in Vietnam.

    Now if you are not staying for work purposes, I recommend seeing more of the country. Going down the coast, check out HCMC (Saigon) which is a hectic but a fantastic city and I think the traffic (especially crossing the street), should be one of the "wonders of the world" LOL

    Also, it is very easy to catch cheap flights to Cambodia and Thailand. Both are beautiful and the people friendly.

    You also did not mention WHEN you are going? This is important as the North is much colder and wetter in the winter months than in the South. And the South has a rainy season you would want to avoid.

    Lastly, what are your interests? You can make this the trip of a lifetime or just another vacation.

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  • giovotinh's Profile Photo

    Re: Is it worth it?

    by giovotinh Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    You can stay in Hanoi without having to worry about these problems.In Hanoi there are many things interesting vi.Ban can visit the lake sword, hochiminh Mausoleum, visit the famous 36 streets in Hanoi, enjoying the unique cuisine of Vietnam national bold. Hopefullyyou will have a fun trip in Vietnam country.
    You can book hotels through email address:

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