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Overview

Vietnam is the last great first in tourism. This is a place perfectly suited to mass tourism. It has sun, sand, great food, beautiful people, a varied geography that can please anyone, arts, culture and so on. But the infrastructure is not yet there. The necessary roads and bridges and hotels and airports, while under construction or in planning, are not yet fully available. But in twenty years it will look like Bali, Thailand or Hawaii. So these are the good old days, right now. Twenty years hence people will be saying, "Remember Saigon back in '07? Or Hanoi in 2010? Those were the days." Right now the prices are still low, good hotels are ...

Vietnam is the last great first in tourism. This is a place perfectly suited to mass tourism. It has sun, sand, great food, beautiful people, a varied geography that can please anyone, arts, culture and so on. But the infrastructure is not yet there. The necessary roads and bridges and hotels and airports, while under construction or in planning, are not yet fully available. But in twenty years it will look like Bali, Thailand or Hawaii. So these are the good old days, right now. Twenty years hence people will be saying, "Remember Saigon back in '07? Or Hanoi in 2010? Those were the days." Right now the prices are still low, good hotels are a-building, transportation is no longer the pain it was just ten years ago. The rail system has all new cars and the national airline has all new planes. You can walk the streets at night, the cops won't pull you over and solicit bribes, the pick-pockets are inept and the kindness of strangers is in evidence everywhere. Everybody is trying to learn English. You can just walk down the street and follow your nose to a good meal. Get there while you can. Be aware, though, that traffic and air pollution are now plagues in the major cities of Hanoi, Hue and Saigon, as well in parts of the Mekong delta. Plan car trips carefully.

Richard Sterling
About the Expert

Richard Sterling is the author of Lonely Planet's World Food: Greece, Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam, and many other books.

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Richard Sterling for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east.
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Currency: Dong
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall