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Old 11-30-2011, 12:28 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
If you want a private tour, there is no reason to book it in advance. Just buy your plane ticket and check into a convenient hotel when you arrive, then get up the next morning and look for a guide. That way you can check out their credentials and reputation on the ground, and ask around for recommendations.

My personal experience (from 15 years ago) is that Vietnam is the least trustable country in the world, which means you can only trust 98% of the people, instead of 99%. I had a few uncomfortable experiences there, and at that time, there was very little travel infrastructure in place yet for foreign travelers. Tour guide facilities were set up for a few destinations of touristic interest, but moving about on your own was very difficult. I assume it is a lot easier and better organized now.

Go to YouTube and search for videos of /hanoi traffic/, to get an idea what you are in for. Walking across a street in Hanoi is definitely an experience of a lifetime, in the category of skydiving or crocodile wrestling.
I'm halfway through my trip now, in Hue, central Vietnam. Yeah the trip has been very interesting (I will post pics when I get back)! What you say about trusting people. Sadly I find it's more like 1 in 10, at least when it comes to motor-cycle taxi drivers. I want to trust them, but most always try to rip me off, milk me for all I have (one just drove around in circles, one guy charged me US $200 for an hour trip, most pressure me into having sex with prostitutes, I am pretty sure one even stole from me). The good ones really were a breath of fresh air, though.

Yes crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City and the other cities certainly is an experience! After awhile though it seems normal, lol. The first day it did feel like I was on Fear Factor or some action movie.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:10 AM
 
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I don't travel to Communist or Totalitarian countries, even if picturesque, even if "secure" : North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Myanmar,Nicaragua, Venezuela (not even secure for tourists), etc.
I take exception with China though (only nominally a Communist regime).
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:30 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
I don't travel to Communist or Totalitarian countries, even if picturesque, even if "secure" : North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Myanmar,Nicaragua, Venezuela (not even secure for tourists), etc.
I take exception with China though (only nominally a Communist regime).
Vietnam felt no more totalitarian than China, although certainly feels more controlled than Thailand. Singapore is a non-communist country but is on the verge of being totalitarian imo.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: New York
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Vietnam felt no more totalitarian than China, although certainly feels more controlled than Thailand. Singapore is a non-communist country but is on the verge of being totalitarian imo.
After living in Singapore for over a year I would completely agree.... and with your comment about Vietnam. And after traveling through Myanmar it also felt less controlled than China.
It is eyeopening to travel to places that you think you know about...
I am looking froward to being back in Europe where the government don't control wether I visit Cuba or not !!!
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:15 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by swisswife View Post
After living in Singapore for over a year I would completely agree.... and with your comment about Vietnam. And after traveling through Myanmar it also felt less controlled than China.
It is eyeopening to travel to places that you think you know about...
I am looking froward to being back in Europe where the government don't control wether I visit Cuba or not !!!
Myanmar less controlled than China? That's surprising, I heard it was almost as bad as North Korea but not communist obviously.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:37 PM
 
Location: New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Myanmar less controlled than China? That's surprising, I heard it was almost as bad as North Korea but not communist obviously.
Thats just how it felt... I met many local chinese as we travelled around (several trips during the 3 years I lived in HK) and a lot were 'brainwashed' into the whole 'why would we leave China, we have everything our government looks after us' etc etc I asked one guide about the cultural revolution and she had no clue what I was talking about....
But when we travelled around Myanmar and asked a few people about how they feel about the government and their negative reputation outside the country people generally didn't feel oppressed and one of our guides in Mandalay went as far as to say most people didn't have any business with the government and pretty much got along by themselves. The gov re-located to a new build city and although I am sure we were being monitored we never had any kind of control in the way we did traveling throughout 'Chinese Tibet'.....

BTW we planned all out trip to Myanmar with a local company who only booked us into non government hotels and we paid for everything cash to the vendor.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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You are right Trimac, in fact if I had to choose, I'd definitely go to Myanmar rather than to Vietnam. All my youth (and before I was born) there were these nasty wars with North Vietnam and the pc propaganda around "Uncle Ho", the Ben Laden of the day back then. It's during that war that started the habit of demonizing everything Western in Liberal circles. The cruelty of the Vietminh and Vietcong armies against the prisoners and even other Vietnamese nationals was equal to the Japanese Imperial Army's during WWII. And right now they still have one of the last one-party Communist rule of the Planet, but as they are very clever they have a PR system that allows them to woo tourists to get their $$$$, abit like Raul Castro's Cuba . Damn hypocrites, never forget they killed 30 000 Frenchmen and 50 000 Americans with their so "admirable "General Giap. The World seems to get over that LIGHTLY. Not me, anyway.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:20 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
You are right Trimac, in fact if I had to choose, I'd definitely go to Myanmar rather than to Vietnam. All my youth (and before I was born) there were these nasty wars with North Vietnam and the pc propaganda around "Uncle Ho", the Ben Laden of the day back then. It's during that war that started the habit of demonizing everything Western in Liberal circles. The cruelty of the Vietminh and Vietcong armies against the prisoners and even other Vietnamese nationals was equal to the Japanese Imperial Army's during WWII. And right now they still have one of the last one-party Communist rule of the Planet, but as they are very clever they have a PR system that allows them to woo tourists to get their $$$$, abit like Raul Castro's Cuba . Damn hypocrites, never forget they killed 30 000 Frenchmen and 50 000 Americans with their so "admirable "General Giap. The World seems to get over that LIGHTLY. Not me, anyway.
No worse than what the Americans did. In the real world there's a bit of good and evil in everybody. I'm glad the 'Vietcong' won to be honest, I think the war was a waste of lives on the part of America and her allies (like us) and money anyway.

Tourism to Vietnam still lags way behind Thailand and Malaysia in numbers, but is growing. I won't be surprised if it explodes; China is already the third most visited country in the world and I won't be surprised if it becomes first soon. But yeah in many ways Vietnam is only half-communist: the bureaucracy is communist but the economy seems capitalist.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:40 AM
 
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the bureaucracy is communist but the economy seems capitalist.


Well, at least the North Korean regime applies what it preaches, but the Vietnamese Communists want to prolong their one-party rule in introducing a dose of Capitalism, like the Chinese, very clever indeed, but contrary to the Chinese regime (heavily criticized) everyone in the West is licking their ass. Not for me.





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Old 12-19-2011, 02:44 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
the bureaucracy is communist but the economy seems capitalist.


Well, at least the North Korean regime applies what it preaches, but the Vietnamese Communists want to prolong their one-party rule in introducing a dose of Capitalism, like the Chinese, very clever indeed, but contrary to the Chinese regime (heavily criticized) everyone in the West is licking their ass. Not for me.
I'm not sure how Vietnam compares to China on human rights, but in terms of the economic wellbeing of the country's economy and it's citizens it has improved drastically in recent decades. It's poverty rate may soon fall below that of America's.
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