Before coming to Vietnam I did some heavy research online. While I was researching, I was constantly finding mixed reviews about the people of Vietnam. Many said that they wouldn't return to Vietnam because of the way they were treated by the locals. They said the locals were rude to foreigners, trying to scam them, steal their belongings and charge them ridiculous amounts of money for cheap things. I came to Vietnam wanting so badly to see this country, but I was very skeptical of what the locals would be like. Upon arriving in Hanoi, I was nervous to leave the hotel. I had bought a heavy duty locked day pack to bring with me wherever I went, and I was worried about leaving any of my belongings in my hotel room.
We are now two weeks into the Vietnam explorer trip and I have nothing but good things to say about the people I've met. I ditched the locked day pack a week ago and traded it in for a little purse I bought from an old woman in Sapa. Im starting to think that the people who wrote those reviews online never came to Vietnam to see the people for themselves.
I have gotten lost and asked for directions, and the locals have gone out of their way to help me get back on track. I have trekked through villages in Sapa, and the locals held my hand throughout the difficult parts of the trek so I wouldn't fall. Today I bought BBQ pork from an old woman, and tipped her 15000 dong, (75 cents Canadian to me) because it was the best food I had ever eaten. She high fived me and when she saw me again later she gave me a free BBQ pork skewer fresh off of the fire grill.
The men in the clubs here are very polite, always asking to dance rather than grabbing you without your permission. I have not once felt unsafe walking by myself in the streets, day or night. As a 21 year old woman, I feel safer here than I do walking on the streets in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
With all of that being said, I would come back to Vietnam specifically to have more experiences with the locals. They are amazing people and I can't wait to see what they have in store for me next.
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