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Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

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Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping to head to Vietnam in November this year to celebrate finishing my teaching degree. One of the reasons I chose Vietnam (apart from being cheap!) is because of the history and the unique culture. Hopefully as of next year I'll be teaching History/Society and Culture, and would love to get a firsthand feel for it/collect resources for my future students. I've started looking at various locations I'd like to visit, but for now I haven't set anything in stone. I'm thinking of visiting for two-three weeks, depending on expenses.

Also, this will be my first time travelling alone. As a 22yo female, I wouldnt mind going on a tour with a bunch of other young people, however I'm not sure if they'd be *as* likely to visit the more nerdy cultural/historical locations that I'm considering. Is it safe to go it alone? I'd consider doing this via plane, train or bus.

Early days! I'd love to hear about any of your experiences, good or bad :)

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1. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the safest places in the world for solo travel, so go for it!

Moreover you are bound to meet many likeminded travellers with whom you can hook up for short stretches if you so wish, which IMO is far preferable to getting stuck with a group with the wrong dynamics for the entire trip. Moreover on a group tour the itinerary will be rigid, with no opportunity for you linger in places that capture your interest and avoid ones that don't appeal.

If you haven't already done so, read your way through http://www.travelfish.org/country/vietnam and draft an itinerary based on your particular interests.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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2. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

I totally agree with CB on this subject, and I think you can stretch your budget/time to see more of Vietnam, but please don't rush around too much. As an educator, you will appreciate how educational independent travel can be, and in Vietnam it's so easy for everyone. The more you know about this country (both the pros and cons) before your trip, the more successful you will be - research, research and more research! It's the easiest place in the world to meet fellow travelers as well as the wonderful outgoing natives.

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

I agree with the other 2 posters. Maybe you could spend a night or 2 in the back packer area in HCMC. You will meet lots of like minded young people and experienced travellers who can relate to you their recent experiences.

All cities and towns have places ,usually clustered around airline booking agents that have a wealth of tour and activities on offer.

I think you will safe but never let your guard down and dont go with anyone you dont feel 100% comfortable with. But theft of your valuables is the most likely crime you will encounter.

Bolton, Canada
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4. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

as stated start in backpacker alley de tham - and go as you feel comfortable from there

Brisbane, Australia
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for Hue
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5. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

My suggestions are against the tide thus far.

I think you should start where the history of the nation starts, in the north in Red River valley, the cradle of Vietnamese society and culture. Go straight to Hanoi's Old Quarter where so much of life is easily observed. There are so many places I think would interest you - but before you go to the National Museum of Vietnamese History where there is a dearth of information esp. in English, I recommend a visit to the Thang Long Citadel. Most of the old buildings were razed by the French and the materials used to build colonial buildings which now house exhibitions with large, clearly written information. After a few hours there I came out with a much clearer picture of the history and of the relationship between Viet culture and those of the Cham, Khmer and Thai than I'd formed over many trips to Vietnam. Photography is allowed except in the working section of the archeological site across the road (entry included in the one ticket) and I am sure you would gather many images useful as teaching resources. The Womens Museum and the Museum of Ethnology will also interest you, as will the Temple of Literature and the old house on Ma May. For modern history, albeit from a very local perspective, there is the Ho Chi Minh museum and house, and the War Museum, and parts of the citadel. Hanoi Kids offers free tours which you could use to visit some of these places and interact with local students who are your guides. All that will fill a few days

I will even recommend the Charming Hotel in a lane busy with street vendors and an area not taken over by businesses catering for tourists. The staff is young, friendly and most helpful. If you budget is lower there is now a backpacker hostel around the corner in Hang Manh, but for a single occupancy room, there may not be too much difference.

After Hanoi and any side trips you decide to make, head for Hue, the royal capital from the early 1800s. Plenty of historical sites to explore here and if the war history is on your agenda, trips can be made to the DMZ. I strongly recommend at least three nights in Hue. Try the Four Seasons Hotel (in the B&B category on TA) where the young couple who started the hotel last year will probably soon have you sitting down for a family meal and will help you as much as possible.


Edited: 02 September 2014, 15:36
Duluth, Georgia
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6. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

Everyone brings up some really get points here! CB is right about vietnam being pretty safe to travel. A lot of the country's economy is fueled by tourism so the local authorities are pretty strict when it comes to any violent crime against foreigners. However, this does mean that they just have to be smarter and use their wits to outsmart you so don't let your guard down. Scams, pickpocketing, and drive by's are the more common things you need to be cautious of. For example, don't drive/ride around on a motorbike with your purse in your hand or hold out expensive phones, camera. they will drive by and snatch it right up. I've seen them drive up and cut off the straps of bookbags too. This is why you will notice people driving with their bags strapped to the front. Reason why i mentioned this is because this is extremely common among the backpacker area mentioned. When you go to a very touristy spot you can pretty much expect this. The further you get away, the more authentic and cheaper things usually become too.

I have always wanted to visit Ha Noi and was not able to make it my last trip back and hope to be able to this time around. From reading the forums, I would go with rayza's suggestion with starting from the North in Ha Noi, and if time permits make your way down to the south to Saigon. There are more older / historic culture up in the north while the south is very packed and modernize. I personally wouldn't recommend doing any large/long extended tours as time is of a restraint and you never get to fully take in the places you are shown. I do recommend doing 1 on 1 motorbike tours tho. I did 2 of them when i was back in saigon last year and it was a great experience. The first company wasn't that great because they contracted out drivers that didn't speak english and just shuttled you around until the destination. Then a tour leader lead the guide. The second company we found was more personalize and had professional english speaking drivers. Best part is that they will let you customize your itinerary. This seems perfect for what you are looking for as you will have a guide to drive you around while explaining to you the local culture and history of the area. Check out a post they made yesterday too about traveling in general with suitcases. itourvn.com/blog/entry/watch-this-if-you-re-…

I will be moving back to Saigon in the beginning of Nov for work so if you happen to make it down south, feel free to reach out and we can link up. I would be more than happy to share with you what I know about the country.

7. Re: Recommendations for a young teacher in Vietnam?

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