Final Thoughts on Vietnam
Visit Viet Nam during Tet, which occurs during the last part of January or first part of February depending on the year. It seems as though the whole country gets a new coat of paint as the government goes all out to spruce up all the major cities.
Fruit Market
Flowers on Nguyen Hue Blvd.
Flowers on Nguyen Hue Blvd.
Be prepared to deal with traffic related problems including noise and air pollution. Crossing streets will be unnerving at first until you learn to step off the curb and walk across the street at a steady pace. Vehicles will compensate and drive around you. 

If you can deal with traffic and the mass, there are wonderful sights to see and things to do. Plan on spending a few days at major destination including Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, etc…
I enjoyed flying Vietnam Airlines domestically. Planes are clean, seats are roomy and flight attendants are good looking. One-way trip from Hanoi to Hue or Hue to Ho Chi Minh City costs about $60 per person.
One-Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
                                   Imperial Palace in Hue
                                        Le Loi Blvd. at night
Old buildings in Hue 
Since Viet Nam is still a developing country, its cleanliness standard is still sub par.

Everything is very inexpensive in Viet Nam compared to things here in the US. Dinner at a very nice restaurant costs about $10 per person. Cab rides are usually less than $3 a trip. A bowl of noodle soup is $1 as compared to $6 here. A cup of coffee is 75 cents.

You should get a good hotel room at a nice location for $75 a night. Of course air fares are the big ticket items (around $1,200 round trip) but your dollars should go pretty far after that.
Hot steamed buns in the morning make an inexpensive breakfast
People are extremely helpful and friendly. No one pays attention to or talks about the past American-Vietnamese conflict. Foreign tourists are all over the place and they seem to have good times.

Don't worry about having to bribe officials at the airports. No one does that anymore.

(Written February 1, 2008)

What do you think?
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