4. Keep smiling
Despite the grumbles of many visitors, Vietnamese people are mostly just as friendly as their Southeast Asian counterparts. However, unlike in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos – where local residents are genuinely curious about who you are and where you’ve come from – Vietnamese people tend to ignore lost-looking foreigners unless you actually ask for help. But be assured that if you ask a local a question with a smile, you’ll almost certainly have it answered and the smile returned.
5. Motorcycle safely
Clarkson may have done it, but he had a whole production crew and still ended up with a couple of broken ribs. Vietnam is not the place to learn to ride a motorbike. I have rarely been as scared as the moment I had to cross a traffic-light-free four-lane junction where scooters dodged each other by mere inches. The roads are truly terrifying and unfortunately the stories of tourists killed attempting a two-wheeled adventure are all too based in fact.
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If you’re determined to get the thrill of a bike, it’s worth looking into the Dalat Easy Rider (dalat-easyrider.com) where an experienced Vietnamese rider will take care of the driving so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.