Vietnam – holiday destination with the hammer and the sickle
Indeed, we have been planning to go to Vietnam for several years already. Why we didn‘t? Visa procedures were too complicated, there was no e-visa system available and there were enough undiscovered destinations in the region which offered an easier entry. Therefore, we were very happy to see the Vietnamese government launching e-visa testing system from which we benefited. Why did we want to go? We heard about numerous attractions in Viatnam and its culture-mix including the local flavor and the French colonial environment. Last but not least, the country‘s turbulent history and its status of the playground of two superpowers – USSR and the USA – was another incentive to see and meet the people who had to find themselves in the new situation after country‘s forced re-unification.
Urgency exchange was not complicated at all. In Saigon we did it at the airport at a rate which was not significantly deviating from those in the centre. In Vung Tau, we had a shopping mall with the currency exchange point close to our hotel. Otherwise, we did not see many currency exchange opportunities when walking throughout the city.
Vietnam is very different from another holiday destinations in the region. First of all, it is significantly cheaper than Thailand. Secondly, it is governed by the communist party which does not tolerate opinions that deviate from the official ones. Any discussions about politics should be avoided. Streets and squares are decorated with propaganda banners and red flags with yellow hammer and sickle, something which was not seen in Europe fore some 30 years.
At the same time, the government applies strict capitalist rules as far as the economy, social welfare and the employment are concerned. Contrary to the Eastern European communist regimes, the State does not guarantee anything and leaves the citizens on their own. This also has some pros, because the economic power, initiative and the competition are not impacted by the State‘s intervention.