Vietnam By the Numbers
Jun 1, 2008
|Country Number: 4
Total Days: 20
Average daily cost: $71.81 - including Halong Bay tour, but not the amount of money stolen from our Nha Trang hotel room
Average cost of accommodation: $11.62
For $11.62 a night you’ll get: a double room in a decent hotel with TV, hot water, A/C, and a fridge. Security not guaranteed.
Things you might not know about Vietnam: Hotel toiletries - in even the most spartan of guesthouses - includes a toothbrush and small container of toothpaste, which are replaced daily.
Average cost of food and drinks: $26.29
Favourite Beer – LaRue
Paul’s favourite food – Pho Bo, Guava’s burger, anything at the Mango Rooms in Hoi An
Rebecca’s favourite foods: Hue spring rolls, Vietnamese iced coffee, vegetarian cau lau (which is only authentic if made with water from a certain well in Hoi An), French baguettes
Other things you might not know about Vietnam: Vietnam has its own national coffee chain, called Trung Ngyuen. The most expensive and highest grade coffee comes from beans that are fed to a certain species of weasel and then collected from the weasel’s poop. No kidding. We wonder how many other animals they tried before settling on that particular species of weasel.
Other things you may not know about Vietnam: Chay is vegetarian food. Cay is dog…as in cooked dog. The two words sound almost the same, notwithstanding differences in accent or dialect. It isn’t a subject Rebecca likes to discuss.
Attacks by creatures: One mystery creature that stung Rebecca’s toe.
Rebecca though she was going to die when: We researched ‘bite & Vietnam’
Hospital visits: 1 – for Rebecca’s toe.
Rounds of antibiotics: 3 – all for Rebecca toe.
Paul though he was going to die when: In the middle of the scariest ride at Vin Pearl, the employees manning the ride suddenly started running away in different directions.
Rebecca and Paul both thought they would die when: Driving back from the mud baths on a small motorbike, at night, with no headlights, and in the middle of monsoon rains.
Scammy Scammerson Scale: High
Paul’s favorite things about Vietnam: Halong Bay, Guava Bar, Mango Rooms, the food, Nha Trang, Hanoi street beers.
Rebecca’s favourite things about Vietnam: Halong Bay, the beaches, Saigon, the mud baths.
Paul’s least favourite things about Vietnam: Thieving gas jockeys, the reunification train, Hanoi hotel runners.
Rebecca’s least favourite things about Vietnam: Reunification train, Hanoi, and hawkers.
Final word on Vietnam: We both really enjoyed visiting Vietnam. There is something for everybody – beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and natural sights; interesting ruins, temples and historical sights; decent museums and cultural sights; and a good nightlife in most cities and towns. The accommodations are usually of a high quality, and certain tourist conveniences, such as ATMs and internet cafes, are commonplace. We found the people to be generally friendly and helpful if approached, although if they approach you first, they are likely trying to sell something. Although we did not find it intentionally dishonest or malicious, we found that tour companies would sometimes change certain details of tours, thereby affecting the overall quality of the tour. For example, the boat they show you in the brochure isn’t necessarily be the boat you’ll end up on, although they’ll let you book the tour based on that mistaken assumption. Although the old ‘bait and switch’ scam happens everywhere, it seems prevalent in Vietnam and we fell victim to it on more than one occasion. In the end however, despite being robbed and scammed, we both enjoyed Vietnam and would like to return given the opportunity.