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10 days in Vietnam

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10 days in Vietnam

Postby Twobrains » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:57 am

I went to Vietnam either side of my trip to the Philippines, first for 2 days then 8 days. I was mostly in Ho Chi Minh City (which everyone I met calls Saigon) with a couple of side-trips to the seaside.

Saigon is big and noisy, with a simply huge number of small motorbikes. At first it looks like total chaos on the streets and you wonder if you can ever get across the wider ones, but soon you learn to just walk slowly and predictably (no sudden movements) and hope the riders avoid you. It's one big dance, crazy and yet invigorating. I never saw anyone lose their temper or shake their fist, despite several incidents that would have had westerners punching (or shooting) each other. The Vietnamese are pretty chilled. For a very big city, there's actually not a lot to do or see in Saigon for the cultural tourist. Sure it has some sights, but not of the density you would find in other major cities. I'm told Hanoi is better for historical monuments etc.

The side-trips I took showed that outside of Saigon the towns and villages of Vietnam can be just as litter-strewn and run-down as many places in the Philippines. It's certainly no paradise, but there isn't the same air of desperation and decay, somehow. This is a nation of small businesses - millions of them - and the people seem hard-working and determined. My ex Thai gf decried the Vietnamese for being money-grabbing, but it didn't seem any worse than Thailand in that respect. Maybe North Vietnam is different - some southerners hinted at dark dealings up there, but that could just be the regional rivalry you'll find in any country.

Now ... the women - oh, the women!! They must have the best legs in SE Asia - slim but firm, straight (no knock-knees), topped off by a tight bum (nicely curved, not flat) and smooth, almost hairless skin. (Many are very white, but I don't care about the colour.) Of course, not all of the women are like that, but a high proportion are. Very few fatties (the food is healthy and tasty). Small tits, but I don't care about that either. And they are happy to show off their legs in short-shorts and mid-length skirts. At one large restaurant I went to it was compulsory for the waitresses to wear short, tight, black mini-skirts - the place was packed and I don't think it was a coincidence.

The women in general are not brash or trashy - they have a simple, unpretentious dignity, a charming femininity that even comes across as they ride their scooters. I was smitten. First day there I hooked up with a long-term chat mate and we spent a lot of time together (she took time off work to be with me), which limited my options in terms of hunting, but she was so sweet and kind, and happy to add to her limited sexual experience. She's a Catholic girl (about 10% of Vietnamese are Catholic, I think). I also got my hands on a virgin in her 30's (maybe not uncommon here, I guess) and visited three massage parlours where extras were offered. I didn't visit Apocalypse Now, a bar where you can reputedly pick up pros and semi-pros.

I had offers to meet several other girls off various dating sites but didn't have the time as most of them were at work during the day. Approaching in the street might yield results because people are friendly, but the language barrier is substantial. Internet dating is the best approach to find English-speakers and I used Dateinasia, OKCupid, Badoo and even Skout to that end. All the girls I had contact with were very reliable - they turned up on time, or they let me know if they were going to be late. And these were reasonably high quality girls - middle class with degrees and good jobs. You can't fish as low down the age range as you may in the Philippines, but Vietnamese women seem to age better than Pinays, so I didn't mind that.

In summary, you won't be pursued like you are in the Phils, but if you put in the effort you should get good results. The girls will be harder to bed, but higher quality. Could I ever live there? Yes, possibly.
"As long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it." Eckhart Tolle
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:50 pm

Nice trip report! I hope to get to visit Vietnam, I've heard there are trains from Guangzhou's central station to Hanoi, although it might involve a change somewhere.

From what I've heard the China/Vietnam border region is fairly lawless and not well policed... be careful if any of you guys venture there.

As for Vietnamese women, well the translator who turned my dating site into Vietnamese was great. She told me a lot of younger women in Vietnam want to find foreign husbands these days. Indeed, there are a few nice Vietnamese women on my site, but I'll have to spend a lot on advertising to get more to sign up - they're not as enthusiastic as Filipinas are.

From what you say I'd say Vietnamese women look a lot like Chinese women. Firm skin, the best legs on the planet. Many Chinese women have no body hair at all, except between their legs and maybe under their armpits. Some are hairier than others but most can get away without shaving at all. My Chinese gf's smoothness was a huge turnon for me!

Chinese women have a big thing for hotpants, and even a 45yo Chinese woman can still look great in a pair of leather teeny shorts.

Obese Chinese women - I've only seen 3-4 in a fortnight in China. In fact I wish there were more curvy girls there. Cantonese girls can be quite busty though, I went shopping with my last gf and we struggled to find bras to fit her magnificent assets!

Chinese women are also slightly more harder to get than Filipinas but it's not too difficult to land a date. Twice I went onto Chinese Love Links and found dates for the very same afternoon!

I don't know if you noticed but some of the women in that part of the world are so incredibly exotic looking they just don't look real. They're real life China dolls, and Winston needs to get off his island and go look for them! I still remember where the restaurant is. I'll go back and test out my Chinese reading skills (the menu has no English at all).

As for the language barrier, I'd guess Vietnamese is easier than Mandarin. From what I see of the translations on my dating site the written Vietnamese language is dead easy to master, certainly easier than learning 2000+ chinese characters plus countless compound words!
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Postby pete98146 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:59 pm

Nice trip report. I agree with many of your findings. I thought the Vietnamese women were the prettiest of all the asian women I've encountered (although I haven't visited China). If you can overcome the language barrier and find one that speaks decent english she'd be a catch.

Unlike the Thais or Filipinos, the Vietnamese have a lot of Chinese blood so they won't be as laid back. The Vietnamese can be very fiesty, spirited and business minded.
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Postby Twobrains » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:58 am

The advantage of the Vietnamese language for westerners is that you can at least have a stab at reading it, with its modified Roman characters. But the accents and tones are still pretty tricky, going by the few words people tried to teach me (I have little trouble with pronouncing languages such as French, so I have a reasonably good ear). But Mandarin is a whole other level of complexity, I'm sure.
"As long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it." Eckhart Tolle
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Postby xiongmao » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:49 am

I want to visit Vietnam, but I've just realised I'm running out of room for any more visas in my current passport. Oh well, that's a happy thing to have happened and at least I haven't spent the last few years stuck to my sofa.

Maybe I'll visit the Phillies or Thailand next instead.

Vietnamese ladies are some of the prettiest you'll ever see on a dating site. Vietnam Cupid would be an awesome site to join.

On the downside, the country is awash with scams and scammers so you'll need to be exceedingly careful.

China remains the place for pretty Asian girls though, and it scores big on account of the place being just so vast. Like my first gf lived in a small Chinese city - it had 4 million inhabitants, and you won't ever have heard of it. It's probably a tier 4 or 5 city. To put that into perspective, in England our 2nd largest city only has 2.8 million inhabitants.
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Postby Everdred » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:52 pm

Twobrains, I've been to Ho Chi Minh city twice in the past two years, and I'd say it's a pretty vibrant city with a unique energy to it. It's definitely a city on the rise. And so many motorcycles everywhere! I can't think of any other Asian city that has a similar atmosphere to Ho Chi Minh City. The first time I went, I didn't like it too much. I just felt like too many of the locals were cheating me on anything and everything, but the second time I went, I realized how much I actually like it. I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam.

Any tourist to Ho Chi Minh City will probably find themselves in Districts 1, 3, and 5 the most, especially District 1. I don't know why, but District 3 was my favorite. And as touristy as it is, I actually kind of liked the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area in District 1. I tend to not like those kind of places, but PNL had a much more personable feel to it, particularly much more so than Khao San Road in Bangkok.

I've mentioned before that Vietnamese women are some of my favorite in Southeast Asia. I'd possibly say they are my very favorite, but Thai women come pretty close. But on the other hand, I'd rather be in a relationship with a Vietnamese woman than a Thai woman. Vietnamese women have a very Chinese-ish look to them, but with a Southeast Asian twist. I like how the Vietnamese cherish education, which is very much like the Chinese, but not so much like the Thais. I also really liked seeing the beauties on motorcycles you mentioned - those girls have a special kind of elegance to them. If I were a still a single man seeking an Asian companion, I'd probably put Vietnam at the top of my list of places to find one.

Vietnamese food is also very delicious, and I'd dare to say it's the healthiest in Asia. It's always great eating food that's both delicious and healthy. I personally loved the fresh spring rolls, bahn mi baguette sandwiches, and all the fresh tropical fruit and smoothies. There's also the famous Vietnamese "pho" rice noodle soup, but I think it's a little overrated.

Any guy stopping by Vietnam should also hit up a "hot toc" at least once. I won't go into details, but it's a unique Vietnamese experience worth having at least once, and at a a relatively low price.

On the downside, like I mentioned before, many of the Vietnamese I encountered in Ho Chi Minh City tried to overcharge me, shortchange me, or cheat me in some way or another. It's starts to wear you down after the hundredth time, but to be fair, this kind of "ripping of the foreigner" attitude is very common in Asia, especially Southeast Asia. I also found many Vietnamese to be somewhat cold and serious, at least on the surface (very much like their Chinese counterparts). They're more laid back than the average Chinese, but I still wouldn't call them "warm." By the way, it's worth mentioning that the average Vietnamese person hates China and Chinese people, and don't ever compare Vietnamese culture to Chinese culture in front of a Vietnamese! And finally, I found the Vietnamese language to be very unattractive. It's sounds harsh, but Vietnamese is the most unattractive language I've ever heard, and I've heard many! Nonetheless, I'd happily go back to Vietnam in the future, and I'd like to check out Hue and Hanoi at some point in time.

Anyone interested in Ho Chi Minh City should check out these two articles by Stickman Bangkok. Great articles and awesome photos!

Reflecting on Ho Chi Minh City

and part two:

The Vietnam Love Affair Continues

And I'll be posting my Laos trip report within the next week or so.
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Postby Twobrains » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:34 pm

Everdred, that's a very worthwhile contribution that confirms my impressions of HCMC. I did try a couple of hoc-tocs (BJ bars) with varied results - kind of fast-food oral relief - one day you get the satisfaction you're looking for, another day it just doesn't quite hit the spot. I didn't find myself getting ripped off, but I did spend a lot of time with a local girl so that helped me avoid the scams and made me less of a target, I guess. I stayed in a very good 3 star hotel and that certainly helped to give me a good impression of the city - PM me if anyone wants details.

I had already read the Stickman articles before I booked my tickets - they were partly what encouraged me to go there. Well worth a browse.
"As long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it." Eckhart Tolle
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