Western guests were surprised when traveling in Vietnam 'as if there had never been an epidemic'
Back in Vietnam, Chris Ashton was surprised when life didn't seem to change at all, the streets were still crowded, more positive things...
Chris Ashton, a writer for the Australian travel magazine, Executive Traveler, expressed his feelings when returning to Vietnam after the epidemic, at the end of May. Loving Vietnamese cuisine and people from previous trips, Chris was curious to know. Has this place changed? "Is the incessant noise of motorbikes and crowded markets still there, or is it just nostalgia and things have changed?" he wondered.
His question was answered just a few minutes after stepping out of Tan Son Nhat airport, Ho Chi Minh City. The sweltering heat of the tropics, combined with the sound of motorbike horns and the unmistakable scent of Southeast Asia helped him "wake up".
Walking to explore, he found that life has really returned to normal with some small changes. He found that Vietnamese people are more disciplined and follow the rules. In the past, people only wore masks when they were sick or traveling, but now everyone wears them when going out in public. "Masks have become a habit of everyone, and locals often remind visitors to wear masks," he said.
Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, there was a moment that made Chris stop. He encountered a street dance festival with about 10 energetic hip-hop artists, surrounded by crowds. "It's been too long since I've seen a scene like that. The energy is spreading," he said. The cheery crowd made him feel like nothing had happened in the past two years, and life in Vietnam simply went on like the last days he visited.
Contrary to the bustle in big cities, which is known as the "tourist mecca" of Vietnam - Ha Long Bay, everything is still quite quiet. Hundreds of overnight cruises that depart and return each dawn, mostly dormant, are anchored in harbors awaiting their return.
Chris commented, the two years of the epidemic have given Vietnamese people the opportunity to do "different things", including efforts to limit the impact of overtourism in destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. but share it in more places like Quy Nhon, a rising tourist city, located between the famous tourist destinations of Nha Trang and Da Nang. Some other notable destinations are Ninh Binh known as Ha Long Bay on land, Da Lat with a bit of "Paris" substance and with countless beautiful waterfalls and lakes.
Back in Ho Chi Minh City, Chris sensed organized chaos. He shopped and enjoyed street food, visited beautiful architectures such as the City Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. Everything has not changed compared to before the translation. Food carts still offer bread and salad rolls along the streets.
Chris commented, the people are the biggest "treasure" of Vietnam. Just like the rest of the world when all are faced with the difficulties of the epidemic, the Vietnamese people are still smiling, welcoming and inviting, always eager to share their culture. All are in a state of readiness to welcome international guests back.