Are attractions in Vietnam worth paying for?

April 18, 2023 | 11:20 pm PT
Are attractions in Vietnam worth paying for?
Two American tourists at Bach Ma National Park in Thua Thien-Hue Province, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
Readers have various expectations for Vietnam's tourism services, though some agreed that the country will be more attractive with less trash and construction.

"Vietnam was a better place to visit 15 years ago. Since then over development of places like Da Nang, Nha Trang, Sa Pa, Da Lat, etc. with cheap ugly apartment buildings that are mostly empty has ruined the appeal and ambiance. The pollution and street garbage has got worse. Ha Long Bay is often referred to as Plastic Bag bay. What originally had potential is now a mess and infrastructure and service quality needs massive improvement. Just throwing up cheap high rise ghettos hasn't worked. And, after all the construction there's not much more to do attraction-wise than there was more than a decade ago."

"Few so-called attractions in Vietnam are worth paying for. The people and the ambiance and friendliness are what have me coming back 1-2 times a year since 1993. Not the "attractions" which for the most part makes me feel as if they tried a budget version of Disneyland. There's more to see and do and marvel at in Rome or Paris or London than in the entire country of Vietnam. But nothing beats the Vietnamese people (try getting a friendly chat with a Parisian if your French isn't perfect!)."

"In terms of transportation, trash and pollution are concerned, things are getting worse. Many tourist attractions are heavily polluted. There are many attractive, exotic and cheap countries besides Vietnam. If Vietnamese are not interested in improving the situation, they can expect fewer and fewer tourists each year."

"In Hoi An most shops inside the old city sell mainly cheap Chinese imported goods eg. T-shirts, bags, clothes etc. and all shops sell the same stuff."

"I played golf once in Vietnam at what I would consider an average Thai course on a Wednesday afternoon and it was in total about US$175 per person. That same level of course in Bangkok area would cost $50-75 and it has better service as well. Overpriced and subpar is a terrible combo."

"Foreigners should not come to Vietnam to find the same ways of life and activities, and goods, as in their country. Being a tourist should be discovering, sightseeing, respecting, adapting... You can quite enjoy being a tourist in Vietnam if you are open-minded... Live as the people live, and you can enjoy the many aspects of the Vietnamese hospitality, friendship and good temper!"

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