1. Cars and bikes won’t stop.
As soon as you get to busy areas you will be astounded by the traffic and mass amount of motorbikes on the road, the crazy part is the lack of accidents that happen. It is normal to be worried when having to cross the road but you will have to do it and the best way to do it is to walk slowly but don’t suddenly stop because the motorbikes will go around you. Still pay attention though just incase, but once you get the hang of it you will be crossing the road with ease. One other thing to note is although the bikes will go around you the cars won’t, especially taxis’. The few times I almost got hit was because I was crossing and the car wasn’t going to stop even if they were about to hit me so be careful in regards to that.
2. Dodgy people and Doggy taxis’
I never really experienced this first hand but was told by the hotel reception to be extremely careful with my purse and camera on the streets and at night time. She said that people easily grab your bag whilst passing on a motorbike. Also that whenever you need a taxi always book it through the hotel/ hostel or the restrauant because there are a lot of bad people scamming tourists, even locking the door and making you pay money to get let out ( scary!). What I did experience though was people trying to sell me items that were over priced or pushing for me to go in somewhere to eat. You just have to ignore it and not talk to these people otherwise they won’t give up.
3. Air pollution
Although it was not as bad as I was expecting, I would still recommend wearing a mask if your going to be staying for a while in the city or if you have any sickness/ lung problems. The overcast weather was contributed to the bad air pollution and I found there to be a lot of dust and dirt on the roads and paths.
4. Street food vs Restrauant food
Vietnam is known to be a pretty inexpensive country but with more and more tourists some areas like in Ho Chi Minh City are getting more expensive. You can get a Banh Mi on the streets for as little as 20,000 (VNM) but if you were to eat at a tourist restrauant the meals will range from 50,000 to anywhere from 100,000-300,000 for more western food. This is now bringing the price up from just a few dollars to almost $10 which you should not be paying in Vietnam ( unless it’s some amazing fancy place). Therefore my advice is to try to eat from local shops/ market stalls so you are getting authentic food and you aren’t getting ripped off.
You can get around pretty easily speaking English but more than often a Vietnamese local will not speak any English or only a few words, so be prepared to be stuck in situations or try to learn a few words in Vietnamese.