The real and ulterior motive for my opening this thread is that I met with a senior tourism representative from a foreign country for dinner last night in HCMC (she is the wife of a friend of mine). She told me that it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell Vietnam as tourist destination due to "word of mouth" negative opinions of Vietnam from people who have visited and ..... "who know someone who visited".
So now we have had the polemics and some uninformed nonsense from people in response to the, at times, explicit answers, to the previous question "what are your experiences of Vietnam?" As well as some very good points raised.
How about the other side of the coin? What personal experiences of Vietnam would you say that could be used to encourage others to come here.
This thread isn't looking for people to pile effusive praise on "Mrs Bong", the coffee stall owner who once made you a good cup of coffee. Its for good informed comments about all that is good in Vietnam and which needs to be highlighted - and a few of which of which maybe the Vietnam governments tourism department might take notice.
I'll kick off by saying that the vietnamese grub is fantastic. We ate last night in Vietnamese restaurant in D1 and, as usual, the food was excellent. I have been going to this restaurant for a number of years and the waiter / waitress service has improved 100% over the past few years.
Whilst I was working on a seismic survey project in the Mekong Delta, I came across a small restaurant in a tiny village just off the road in between Bac Lieu and the sea. This restaurant served something I had never had before. It was rice (of course) but it was like a rice pancake embedded with tiny prawns onion, garlic and herbs. It was utterly delicious and was very ably complemented by a couple of glasses of ice cold Saigon Do.
And for those expats who don't know it (and I have only ever seen three or four foreigners in there), there is a sea food restaurant in D1, within a small network of back alleys that serves sea food like I have never had before. In fact I had never seen some of the sea creatures they serve up there, except on natural history programs.
And for a hearty breakfast I do like the cardiac surgeons delight of a full English fried breakfast, with sausage, egg, baked beans, fried bread, bacon and black pudding - but coming in at a very close second is the Vietnamese Banh Mi, truly a delightful breakfast.
On a completely different note, we have my wife's nine year old nephew staying here for the school holidays. He comes from a small town in the highlands and his father asked me if I could help him with his English as he is a less than average language student. He has been here a week now and once he realised that learning didn't mean having a ruler applied to the back of his legs for getting things wrong, he has become a veritable sponge for assimilating knowledge. He actually pesters me for English lessons. Which is a very refreshing change from UK kids who largely seem to want to sit playing computer games all day.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we have had a couple of threads about the things that are wrong here in Vietnam, now lets talk about the things that make our stays here interesting, stimulating and rewarding.