Greetings all, I would like to share my 3 weeks experience so far in Vietnam. The last time I’ve been in Vietnam was in 2006. Since then 5 years later today, many things has changes and many things still remain the same. The changes that I see are: 1-The super highway or so call freeway of Vietnam like the one in Ho Chi Minh city (cao toc) it was incredibly just like the US higway freeway with multi leve bridges, exit and sign in English, smooth ride, no traffic, beautiful scenic view on both sides, 100km per hour or more. 2-Power appear to be more stable now, it doesn’t seems to get shut off once in a while anymore, the electricity here is 220Volts but most device will either use 110 or 220, it will take both, the wall plug is universal, you can hook up US plug into new Vietnam round plug, it will fit and work perfectly. 3-Motorcycle riders all required helmet which I think is a plus, but strange that kids don’t need helmet. 4-Government water are now available in many part of Vietnam, water consider to be safe, it went through multi-level filtration process like USA, however sometime water became weak for some reason, I can only guess due to many people are using it at the same time, don’t drink this water, it’s good probably for bathing, washing dishes, gardening, shower, laundry ect … buy bottled water for drinking or drink rain water collected safely in a clean dedicated tank. 5-TV cable over here are cheap and has tons of channels, including HBO, ESPN, Discovery, NATGEO, and a bunch more for less than $5 (USD) a month. 6-ADSL internet pretty good, not as fast as USA, but fast if you surf sites in Vietnam like yahoo.com.vn or google.com.vn ….
Things that remained the same in Vietnam are: 1-There are still corruption, if you want things to done quick, give them extra money, this include the local Police they’re the worst, when something happen like fighting among trouble maker most police afraid to get involve, they wait until fighting is over then making their move. 2-Some cities collected toll for new road development for many years but new road still hasn’t started or completed yet, causing a ton of traffics bottle neck. 3-Emission or smog control appears to be not in control at all, the dust from the cities like Ho Chi Minh city are black dust not the mud dust, the black dust appears to be from engine emission, very dirty, when I blow my nose I can see black dust particles verus the mud dust particles, wear mask when you can although I heard it’s very uncomfortable can’t barely breath, however when you’re outside the city, it’s better, lots of fresh air and beautiful too. 4-Transportation are widely available from Xe Om to taxi and buses, some tour car van as well very cheap due to many competition, but be careful if they know you’re a foreigner they might play game with you milk as many dollars as they can with the ride, some pretend taxi car ride even have some kind of weapons under their seats to rob you as well, so be extra careful when you’re out and about. 5-Sidewalk selling or so call “ban hang rong” becareful, items they’re selling probably cost very little and they tried to sell you at a price many times higher, for example an old man tried to sell me a book, he said there’s a price on the book 90,000VND I said no thanks, then he lower to 80, 70, 60, then 50, I still said no, then he lowered down to 20,000, I didn’t buy it because the Security Guard of the Hotel came out and kick that guy out of the premises, I feel sorry for that old man, … man security guard over are tough, they yelled and use physical force, not like some US security guard are pretty skinny with a walkie talkie walking around for show.
Overall I think my trip has been a good one, I traveled from Tan Son Nhat to Tan Binh, to Go Cong, to Da Lat, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, Ba Ria, Bao Loc, Cuu Chi, and all over Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, quite an experience, very hot humid weather, sometime on taxi, on Xe Om, bus, and Van, I even crossed the Mekong river on a big ferry boat. So far so good, the food are great if you have relatives going with you which they know where to eat and what to order. Drink bottled water, smell your food first before intake, stay away from raw uncook vegetables when you can or at least know it’s clean before eating it. I have visited many relatives so far, and they’re doing well, not too many family have many childrens anymore, 1 or 2 the most. More homes are being builted, lands are getting smaller. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.