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What to expect in Vietnam: Essential guide for first-timers

Posted By: Sao La Tours / Vietnam Travel Guides
What to expect in Vietnam might be one of the things that come to your mind before traveling, especially for those who are new to this country.

What to expect in Vietnam might be one of the things that come to your mind before traveling, especially for those who are new to this country. It’s never excessive to do more research about the destination you’re going to visit in order to avoid culture shocks and inconvenient situations. Let’s find out what travelers can expect during their trip in Vietnam.

Experience changes in the weather

Although Vietnam is a tropical climate country, the weather can significantly vary depending on each region:

  • North of Vietnam: It can be very cold in the winter, especially the cities and provinces bordering China, and the temperature can be minus degrees Celsius. On the other hand, the weather can become scorching-hot during the summers with sudden heavy showers. In the rainy season there are also storms and typhoons.

  • Central of Vietnam: In this region, dry seasons take place January to August and then the monsoons arrive, which last between August and November.

  • South of Vietnam: The southern Vietnam has a full-fledged tropical climate, which features only the wet and the dry seasons.

The weather in Vietnam can significantly vary region to region - What to expect in Vietnam

The weather in Vietnam can significantly vary region to region (Source: Collected)

What to expect in Vietnam: A true paradise for food lovers

If you like to explore and taste new cuisine, then Vietnam is one of the most perfect places there is. Indulge yourself with exquisite and unique flavors as the culinary style slightly changes one city and province to another.

You can also have a chance to sample the best of Vietnamese dishes whether it’s a luxury restaurant or just a small local eatery. If you’re tuning in for a street food tour, it only takes about $20 to fill your stomach with delicious food. For those who want to learn more about Vietnamese culinary art, joining a cooking class is a great option.

Sleeper buses are cheaper than the trains

Traveling Vietnam by train can be an interesting experience. However in case you’re looking for a good service and cheaper price, then we suggest choosing sleeper buses, as they only cost half of the money you pay for train tickets. These buses provide a quite comfortable experience as there’s enough leg room and free Wifi. They usually appear on time and some might drop you off right in the central area or downtown, which helps you save significant time traveling.

What to expect in Vietnam: Sleeper buses are cheaper than the trains - What to expect in Vietnam

What to expect in Vietnam: Sleeper buses are cheaper than the trains (Source: Collected)

Price negotiating is a norm in Vietnam

The Vietnamese usually make a bargain before buying anything, especially if they’re buying street vendors. Don’t pay before you negotiate and come to a fixed price with the vendors along the roads or in the market, as they can charge double or even triple the true value of a product. If you can’t get a good price, just simply walk away and they might call you back for a more affordable price.

Most Vietnamese are early risers

Most of the Vietnamese usually sleep around 10pm and wake up early in the morning. This also means that all of the activities and tourist attractions will open early, usually at 7 a.m. If you’re a morning person, you can begin your tour sooner and visit the attractions when they’re less crowded.

Most attractions in Vietnam open early at around 7 a.m - What to expect in Vietnam

Most attractions in Vietnam open early at around 7 a.m (Source: Collected)

Get used to the busy traffic

The heavy traffic in Vietnam might put you in a cultural shock, especially in the major cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. You may also experience honking along the way, but it’s not meant to be offensive or rude like many other countries. It’s always a good thing to practice crossing the roads, and the key is to stay calm while you do it.

Tap water is not for drinking

You can’t drink directly a tap in Vietnam. Instead, visitors can easily buy bottled water everywhere. Most hostels also provide their guests with purified water. So go for these options and avoid drinking tap water while you’re in Vietnam.

Vietnamese coffee is really strong

Other than delicious food, Vietnam also has amazing coffee. It’s usually very strong, which satisfies the taste buds of a true coffee-addict. If you can’t take the strong flavor, we suggest drinking cold coffee or adding some condensed milk.

Vietnamese iced coffee is one of the most iconic drinks around the world - What to expect in Vietnam

Vietnamese iced coffee is one of the most iconic drinks around the world (Source: Collected)

Vietnamese are friendly and helpful

Vietnamese people are hospitable, welcoming and friendly. They’re always willing to help and guide you with your trip, whether you’re struggling to order the right dish or find the right routes. With that being said, you also need to be aware of the scammers and pickpockets, especially at tourist sites.

Hopefully this article will help you learn a thing or two about what to expect in Vietnam. If you want to have a more in-depth understanding about Vietnamese culture as well as manners and customs, please contact Sao La Tours at (+84) 24.668.999.11. We’re always here to answer all of your questions and help you plan the most perfect trip ever to Vietnam.

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