Warm Vietnamese hospitality makes Mexican couple feel like 'aliens'

By Lan Huong   April 8, 2022 | 01:39 am PT
Warm Vietnamese hospitality makes Mexican couple feel like 'aliens'
A Mexican couple, Pablo (L) and Sofia, take a photo by the iconic Hoai River in Hoi An ancient town, April 2022. Photo courtesy of Sofia
A Mexican couple felt they were from another world as locals kept greeting them with surprise and friendliness during their first visit to Vietnam.

Pablo, 30, and Sofia, 29, arrived in Da Nang on March 31, roughly a fortnight after Vietnam resumed international tourism with relaxed quarantine and visa regulations.

The absence of large numbers of foreign tourists in the central city focused a lot of attention on the couple wherever they went, leaving them with memorable experiences.

"People in Da Nang were surprised to see us, and never failed to wave and say hello.

"This warm welcome made us feel like aliens," said Pablo, laughing.

He said they would enjoy their honeymoon holiday in Vietnam for 10 days. They'd booked their tour to Vietnam two years ago, but the trip had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

Though many Southeast Asian countries reopened their borders earlier, the couple decided to wait until Vietnam did so. They'd heard that Vietnam was an ideal honeymoon destination.

"When we said we were going to Vietnam, all our friends were excited. They are eagerly waiting to hear about our trip when we return home. Mexicans know Vietnam is a peaceful country with beautiful scenery," Sofia said.

The couple said there were not only impressed by the warmth and friendliness of locals, but also the quality of service at the Hoi An resort they stayed in.

"We see that Vietnamese people are always respectful and try to understand international tourists. This is really worthy of respect."

The couple were also pleasantly surprised by the cheap prices and low cost of living in the country. It rained during their days in Hoi An so they couldn't experience several tourism services. But the couple enjoyed romantic walks in the old town and visited shops offering custom-made clothes at "extremely cheap" prices.

From Hoi An, they flew to Hanoi where they enjoyed a cyclo ride, with the pedicab weaving through heavy traffic smoothly amidst the countless "beep beep" of horns.

Some problems

However, the couple also encountered some problems before their flight from Da Nang to Hanoi. They could not make out the announcements on loud speakers and missed one about their gate being changed. As they waited to board their flight, they saw a lot of people moving from the area, so they asked several people what was going on, but no one answered. Everyone shook their heads because they didn't know English.

The couple were worried about missing their flight, but some airport staff came to help them.

In Hanoi, a restaurant menu was not in English, so they had to use Google translate and gestures to order food and drinks.

"Being able to speak English is something we hope Vietnamese people and tourism workers can improve upon because not all international tourists can use the local language. The rest of our trip was great," Pablo said.

The couple are now in Ha Long Bay and will fly to Ho Chi Minh City before going home.

They said they found entry rules to Vietnam were very convenient. They could apply for an e-visa with a valid passport and all they needed was to have negative test result for Covid before arriving in Vietnam.

Vietnam, which closed inbound tourism in March 2020, began allowing quarantine-free entry from March 15 after nearly two years. It has also resumed its visa waiver policy for citizens from 24 countries, including Japan, South Korea and several European nations.

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