What We’d Do Differently: Five Things That Went Wrong in Vietnam



We’d be lying if we said that our entire trip was peachy but then again that’s part of the adventure.

While our blog diaries may have just lightly touched on some of the issues that occurred on our trip to Vietnam this year, there are certain things we learned there that will help our shape our next journey! Yes, things went wrong in Vietnam.

Pro-tip: Don’t book tours too close together

Because we had only a certain amount of time in Vietnam, we had a really jam-packed schedule. This meant that sometimes we had only a day in between travelling and tours to recover and we ended up being pretty exhausted. Top tip? Leave two days in-between things at least so that you can get a breather (You can read about the tours we took here).

Bring something even stronger to combat bites

While Mom and my partner were quite lucky, I was on the flip side and got bitten a lot! Jungle Formula and natural citronella worked for them but unfortunately didn’t for me, though I’ve heard that mosquitos have a certain type of blood they prefer (maybe I’ll take it as a compliment).

My poor legs didn’t deserve this!

Double-check the pick-up car

Booked the night before (because I had forgotten before we left Ireland), I contacted our hotel in Sapa to organise our pick-up from the train station. They confirmed, but unfortunately, when we arrived they were nowhere in sight and instead we were hounded by taxi sharks. Frustrating to say the least when you’re exhausted. Thankfully the hotel staff was very apologetic. Next time, though, we’ll book well in advance and confirm again before it happens.

Bring good medicine for diarrhoea and constipation

Let’s be frank: this happens. Thankfully the three of us only got sick once, but having good medicine was a blessing. There was one night where I was going to faint with the pain and I ended up crying on the streets of Sapa with Mom and my partner trying to prop me up. Imodium and Motilium are what we used, simply because we found that they were the most powerful, but to be honest, use whatever you’re used to and of course consult a pharmacist or doctor beforehand. Definite advice is to not to skimp out on your first aid kit either. Have plasters, antiseptic and paracetamol on hand – you never know what may happen.

Know your airplane paperwork inside out

Sunrise from the airplane

We booked our flights with Air France, but the flight itself was operated by Vietnam Airlines (we were in their aircraft).

This meant that from Ireland to Vietnam, I was able to use Air France’s website to check in as we were beginning our journey in an Air France aircraft (Cityjet from Dublin to Paris) but on the way home this wasn’t the case as we were in a Vietnam Airlines plane. This, of course, would’ve been something I should have confirmed before the end of the trip, but instead, I spent the day before we flew out stressing as to why we couldn’t check in. Simply put: because we didn’t book a flight directly with Vietnam Airlines on the way back, and it was through Air France, we could only check in at the airport and not online. Now that was stressful!

Overall, though, these were minor things that didn’t really put a damper on our trip. The things that went wrong in Vietnam were things that were fixable and we go through it.

To be able to travel is such a joy to us and every experience no matter how insignificant can play its part in shaping our journey.

Did you enjoy our piece on things that went wrong in Vietnam? Like what you see? Help us get the word out there by Pinning this post on Pinterest! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

5 Things That Went Wrong in Vietnam


Hello! Úna-Minh is a journalist, social media consultant and virtual assistant who loves (you guessed it) TRAVEL. She also feels a bit strange writing in the third person so she'll stop that now. You can find out more about me and my Mammy in the about section of this blog!

Recommended Articles


  1. Agree about giving yourself time between tours. Vietnam is amazing (I know that sounds patronizingly touristy – but it is) so take time to do nothing, to walk around, to gawk at stilt houses, petrol in coca-cola bottles, crumbling French colonial architecture, blow-your-mind street food (while not endorsing colonialism, the mix of French and Vietnamese cuisine was made in heaven- and the street food is usually safer than restaurants). Just stop and look, for Pete’s sake. And wear long clothes, and DEET. Your bite rate strikes me as normal, tbh.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mark! We had a great time. This was my third and my Mom’s fourth time in Vietnam and each time we’ve spent about a month travelling around. Super place and we’re delighted to have been able to see so much. Unfortunately, DEET really didn’t work for me even though I was practically swimming in the stuff!

  2. Aw no! It’s a dream of mine to head to NZ for geeky reasons. Those mozzies are EVIL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.