From all the countries in SEA I was interested in Vietnam the most. Simply because it is the only country I had an idea of before I came here. I heard about it and saw it in movies, books, computer games and a few school lessons.
Yet the more I learned about travelling here, the less I was eager to come. In Vietnam I have the highest probability of being scammed, cheated and having my stuff stolen. The country has the lowest rate of returning visitors and the expensive visa can’t be the only reason for that. That doesn’t mean that Vietnam is especially unsafe, it rather seems to be especially unpleasant.
Yet I’m here to build my own opinion on that. Yesterday morning I left Kampot in a slightly overcrowded minibus. Some two hours later we arrived at the border, the road was just a pot-holed dirt-track by now. As usually there was a casino near the border and it made the shed/immigration post look a bit shabby.
At the Vietnamese end of the border I had to fill out a medical declaration. Given that I have a bit of a cold at the moment I should have checked some boxes on that form, but why ask for trouble. They even measured my body temperature but apparently I don’t have a fever, good to know. Next stop was the actual immigration counter and it took them about 15 minutes to check the passports of everybody on our bus. Good thing the Vietnamese have a proper building and not just an overheated little shed.
Another thirty minutes later I was on the boat to Phu Quoc. The ride takes about 1.5 hours and I was freezing my ass off. Asians are mental about air-con. From what I’ve seen so far, the island is quite nice, I might hang around here for a while.