What’s up Guys!
It’s been a long time since my last update and I apologize. I received some great emails and comments from readers over the past month and I appreciate that. I was focused on other projects so I didn’t have the time to write. But don’t worry, I have so many good ideas for posts I don’t even know where to begin. First here’s a quick update.
The past few months have been crazy! I completely failed at a new business venture and lost a bunch of cash. I got arrested in Bangkok. I got robbed for everything I own… And I mean EVERYTHING!!! That sucks but I bounced back. Replaced my ATM card, bought a cheap laptop and I’m still going strong. It was time for a Visa run out of Thailand and I waited until the last minute to decide where to go. Finally I made my decision to head back to Vietnam.
Vietnam is one of my favorite countries I have been to so far and I knew I wanted to make it back here one day. Check out my review of Saigon if you haven’t already. Since Vietnam is so close to Thailand and flights are cheap I decided to head back to explore this country further. Here are my thoughts on life in Vietnam vs Thailand.
Living in Vietnam vs Thailand
Which country is better for a vacation? The answer is Thailand by a long shot… I would never recommend my friends visit Vietnam as their introduction to Asia. It’s just a harder place travel. I was scammed three times within the first 24 hours of my first trip. Taxis with rigged meters and constant over charging for everything. I got my new iPhone 5 pick pocketed just walking down the street.
That said, I do think Vietnam is a solid alternative to living in Thailand if you are an experienced traveler and you truly love South East Asia. Some people live in Thailand and completely surround themselves in western comforts. Western food, apartments, expat bars, etc. This is a bit more difficult when living in Vietnam. Here are some of the major differences between the two countries.
Saigon is a jungle and you need street smarts to live out here. It’s not a violent place. I never feel threatened but you need to watch your shit because you will get robbed quick. It’s so funny walking around Bangkok and seeing everyone spaced out, texting on their new smart phone while walking down the street. You don’t do shit like that is Saigon…
A motorbike will zoom by and snatch that phone out of your hand so fast. I witness it daily here. Ladies walking down the street get their purse ripped off them by motorbike drivers and then they zoom down the road out of site. These thieves are pros and foreigners are easy targets. Drink some beers on Bui Vien street at night and listen to the screams of foreign women who get their bags ripped off them. I usually witness this several times a day.
Vietnam is a more dangerous place. Petty crime is a part of daily life. It’s generally safe but you need to watch your shit. I suggest only leaving your hotel with enough cash for the night. Carry all valuables in your front pockets and grab onto them if you are approached my begging kids or massage ladies. Especially those massage ladies! Don’t use your phone in public. Don’t flash your money in public. Be careful how you carry your bags when walking down the street. They even lock all motorbikes inside the hotel lobby at night.
I don’t mean to tell you this to scare you. It’s really not a bad place, or I wouldn’t be here. You just need to make some adjustments if you are used to living in a more safe environment. I walk around everywhere alone at all hours of the night. Nobody fucks with me. However, if I need to make a phone call I duck into a store or alley away from people and traffic. Just standard precautions.
The greatest thing about Vietnam is the people. I know this may seem like a contradiction since I just told you all about the crime here. But the truth is, most Vietnamese people are awesome. Vietnamese people are by far the most out going and friendly group of Asians I have dealt with. I made more friends in Vietnam in one week then I did in Thailand in one year. Both expats and locals. Men and Women.
In Thailand, the girls love foreigners and want to date a farang. That’s no secret. But outside of the girls I feel Thai people really have no interest in dealing with foreigners outside of business transactions. Buy food, buy clothes, take a taxi, that’s it. I can’t recall ever having a real conversation with a Thai man. Their level of English is so poor and they really don’t care about you at all.
I see the same people every day while living in Bangkok. Motorbike taxi drivers, food stands, etc. I often say hello when I’m walking by and I just get a strange look… They look at me puzzled like why would you say Hi and not buy something? I truly feel like the walking ATM machine at times. This gets tiring after a while. You can party like a rock star in Thailand but integrating into the local community is near impossible.
Vietnam on the other hand is completely different. All young people in Vietnam study English or they want to learn. It’s really incredible how bright and hard working these young people are. I predict Vietnam will be a powerful and wealthy country in the future. Everywhere I go in Saigon, young people stop and talk with me. Sometimes large groups of kids! They are eager to practice their English and learn about me.
It can actually get a bit irritating at times. When I sit at a coffee shop to get some work done I get approached by several employees who want to practice English. “Can I talk with you? Can you teach me English? Can you come here every morning and teach us English?” I simply don’t have time to teach English for free in my spare time but I am impressed by how studious these kids are.
Vietnamese people are interested in the outside world but they are also very proud of their country. They always ask me where I have been in Vietnam and what do I think? Do I like it here? Their faces really light up when I say I love Saigon. Around my hotel in District 1 I get rock star treatment when I walk around. After a few weeks here everyone knows me. The bars, the restaurants, the people working at the hotels and convenience stores. It takes me forever to walk down the street because people are always stopping and talking to me.
Both Vietnamese men and women constantly ask me for my facebook. Then throughout the day I get messages saying; “Hello meet us at this coffee shop.” Or, ” hey tonight we are going to this bar, meet us there!” A lot of Vietnamese people just want foreign friends to hang out with, nothing more. I think that’s great and it feels good to bond with locals without money changing hands. I’ve never had a group of Thai men invite me out somewhere. That is unheard of and I can’t even imagine it.
Generally speaking, Vietnamese people are smart, clean cut and out going. The youth seem to be cool and sophisticated. Most are always well dressed and polite.
Here is one way to explain it. In Vietnam, 30% of the people are thieves and scumbags. 70% of the people are real nice and they want to be your friend.
In Thailand, 10% of the people are thieves and scumbags. 20% are hot chicks who want to date you. The other 70% don’t care about you and they just want you to spend money and go away. That’s my experience anyways.
Does that make sense? In Vietnam, I either love or hate the people. In Thailand there is a big grey area of people that simply want nothing to do with you.
Vietnam is cheaper then Thailand. That’s just a fact. At first I didn’t think so but now that I have been here for a while it’s clear. Right now I am in a hotel that costs $15 a night. It is much nicer then my usual $20 room in Bangkok. Beer is dirt cheap and I save a ton of cash right there. I’m talking 50 cents for a Saigon beer. 50 CENTS!!!
Also, you can eat a meal here for $1 on the street. Even at the over priced restaurants for foreigners good meals are $4-$5. Also, there aren’t as many high end places to party and spend cash. I spend most nights drinking on the street and eating cheap delicious street food. The local girls are just fine with that. They will drink 50 cent beers and eat street food and be happy with that date. In Bangkok, more girls are getting used to the high society lifestyle that foreigners expose them to. In general, I find the Vietnamese girls less money hungry and easier to please then the Thai girls.
Bangkok is a world class city with a great public transportation system. The BTS and MRT trains are a blessing when navigating the nightmare traffic in Bangkok. Saigon does not have any trains yet. You must ride a motorbike or take a taxi. I don’t mind this at all. In fact I enjoy the freedom of having my own bike. That said, it is a hassle sometimes. You either need to cruise through the Saigon traffic all cocked up at night or find a taxi driver who won’t rip you off. It gets exhausting after a while.
The thing I hate the most about Vietnam is the lack of privacy. It’s much less developed then Thailand so a lot of the hotels you will stay at are small guest houses. These are very small hotels and they lock the front door around 11:00 pm every night. This drives me fuckin crazy because I go out every night. So when I stumble home at 3am I must ring the door bell. The guy wakes up…. Opens the gate, then gives me a dirty look. If I have a girl with me he stops us and says “hey is this your girlfriend?” Yes it is… Don’t worry she’s OK. He still asks for her ID which makes her feel like a hooker… It’s just a hassle. In Bangkok I lived in a huge apartment building where I came and went at all hours of the night with different girls. Maybe I need to find a different building, but I have stayed at several hotels and they were all the same story. Everyone knows your business.
Also, you are technically not allowed to bring hookers to your hotel in Vietnam. Prostitution is frowned upon here but this rule is rarely enforced. I personally have never had a problem bringing girls back to my room, but I have heard many stories where the hotel said NO girls. EDIT: I did have a problem just recently about this. More info coming soon! I always mention to the staff checking me in that my Vietnamese girlfriend will be staying with me, is this OK? They always say yes, no problem. That brings me to my next topic…
I love Vietnamese girls. I think they are some of the most beautiful women in the whole world. Naturally beautiful, intelligent and classy. These girls are bright and outgoing. Plus they know how to treat a man. Just last night I went on a date here. We went to a cheap ass restaurant and she was happy with that.
The first thing she did was go turn on the fan and point it at me. Then when I got my beer she told the waitress to bring me ice and she started putting the ice in my glass. Then while we were waiting for our food she started cleaning off the silverware for me with the tissues. Just doing everything she could to make me comfortable. After being around so many whores I always appreciate a good, classy woman. She wants nothing from me but some quality time.
If I ever get married I really think Vietnam is the place to find a wife. These girls are conservative and loyal. One girl I met on Asian Dating during my last trip is now in a relationship. I asked her out and she said, “No sorry, I am not single now. Have fun in Vietnam!”
WOW, in Thailand the girl would have five boyfriends and still come meet me for a free night out on the town. That has happened many, many times.
Asian Dating is a fantastic site to meet Vietnamese girls. I use this site for every country in Asia and if you visit this region I think it’s the best dating site to join. That said, if you go outside of the major cities you will want to join a country specific dating site. I just joined Vietnam Cupid and there are some incredibly beautiful girls on that site. I have some stories to share with you guys!!! If you are traveling outside of Saigon or Hanoi check out that site.
Now the negatives. It is harder to get laid in Vietnam. These girls are looking for a serious relationship. I’ve had several wild one night stands here but they are much more rare then in Thailand. In Thailand most dates end in sex. That’s just been my experience. When I meet a girl on Thai Cupid or Thai Friendly we usually go party then go back to my room to fuck. It’s happened over 70 times in the past year and this fact alone makes Thailand better when it comes to banging chicks. But Vietnam is the spot to find a serious girlfriend. Of course there are good girls and bad girls everywhere, but I would say there is more easy pussy in Thailand by a long shot.
Also, if you are into the pay for play scene, you will hate Vietnam. It just sucks. There are a few beer bars around but the girls aren’t that cute and you have to drag them back to your hotel and deal with the hotel staff. I’ve gotten full service in massage parlors and I think that is the best option here. It’s the most discreet and safe way to get laid. There aren’t many freelancers, no gogos, soapys, etc. Saigon can’t compete with Bangkok or Pattaya. You don’t go to Vietnam to bang chicks. You would be much better off in Thailand if you just want a nice holiday with some whore mongering.
Another positive are the tourists and expats you meet in Vietnam are generally better people. Nothing wrong with whore mongers living in Thailand. Hey, I am one! But Thailand also attracts a lot of low life loser farangs that you don’t want to associate with.
If you want a wild holiday where you can bang a dozen chicks and travel relatively safely. Thailand is your spot. It’s so developed and easy to get around. Thailand does tourism right. The people are friendly and the chicks are super sexy. However, if you are spending a lot of time in the region I think Vietnam is a great place to visit. The food, culture, history, energy and amazing people make it a must see destination.
I have been here in Vietnam for almost one month and I am seriously considering extending my visa for another month. It’s a nice break from Thailand. It’s also great to make so many friends here. I am always alone in Thailand or with girls who speak broken English. I was actually getting bored in Bangkok.
In Saigon, I know smart Vietnamese people and expats who are making serious moves in life. There are far less tourists here and I can spot them a mile away. They are usually dread locked, bearded back packers wearing a Vietnam tank top and carrying a Lonely Planet travel guide. Easy to spot and avoid this crowd.
I love this country and I am enjoying my break from Thailand. Vietnam is behind Thailand in a lot of ways but I’m loving the adventure. Bangkok is my favorite city in the world, but Saigon is my second home. More info on Vietnam coming soon. Next stop, the beach!