I’ve been in Vietnam for over a year AND I’m American, so this gives me the authority to write an article about all the stuff wrong with this country. Every expat that has been in Vietnam for any significant amount of time will have similar complaints.
Leave a comment about the stuff you hate about Vietnam.
To the fragile white knight expats and boomers that this article will surely attract:
A: I’m not trying to “change” Vietnamese people because I understand they’ll never be on the same level as us. I’m just pointing out stuff that annoys me.
B: No, I won’t go home.
This article is just pointing out stuff. It’s something that normal and non-fragile people do. Get over it.
Note: This is coming from my 1st world western perspective. If you’re coming from some dumpy country like Africa, then Vietnam will probably be amazing.
#1 Nothing Works Properly
The first major problem with Vietnam is that nothing in this country seems to work properly. I’m painting a broad brush with this because well… nothing really works properly.
The Vietnamese are just not good at properly maintaining anything. Cars, motorbikes, buildings, roads, boats, businesses, and so on.
Just take a look at any buildings built by the Vietnamese… they look awful after 5-10 years. The ones built 30+ years ago look straight up scary with crumbling concrete, rust stains, burglary bars, and metal bars (discussed later). Like something from a Saw movie.
Even my old apartment had cracked concrete, broken doorstops, a leaky ceiling, and at least one elevator was broken almost everyday….
It was a “luxury” highrise built in 2014.
Meanwhile the French, with their backwards culture, built buildings all over Vietnam that are still intact over one hundred years later. And that’s with Vietnamese people repairing it, I think. It wouldn’t surprise me if European contractors were maintaining the French buildings.
Click that picture to check out my review of Vietnamese Tinder.
Anyway, all this crumbling Vietnamese infrastructure makes sense when you have a Vietnamese man repair something for you.
They’ll fix it, but their fix will never last for very long. Getting any kind of repair that will hold up long-term is pretty much impossible in this country.
Hence the crumbling infrastructure and general disrepair of the country.
#2 Vietnam is a Loud Country
People always complain that Americans are loud.
Yeah, ok. Americans are generally louder than Europeans. No denying that. Must be the extra testosterone or something.
However, America is not a loud country.
Vietnam is a legitimately loud country. Vietnamese people are extremely loud people.
Walk outside and you’ll hear non-stop horn honking, loud exhaust, street vendors blasting their menu through a speaker, random dragon dances, funerals, karaoke, and weddings.
Walk back inside and you’ll hear the exact same thing because the walls are paper thin. Heaven forbid a Vietnamese person is talking
on the phone in the same room as you. You won’t be able to hear yourself think.
Simply put, there is no escaping the constant noise in this country.
Even worse, you’re liable to hear it at all hours. Especially if your neighbors are fond of karaoke. They’ll do that at full volume all day and night.
That’s not an exaggeration. They don’t have sound ordinances here. Or a strong concept of law for that matter.
#3 Air Pollution
Vietnamese cities have a massive amount of air pollution. In fact, Saigon and Hanoi are among the most polluted non-Chinese and non-Indian cities in the world.
Recently, Saigon was so polluted that the temperature dropped to 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). A nice haze covered the whole city. The tops of skyscrapers weren’t even visible.
Some Vietnamese people said it looked romantic.
I thought it looked like lung cancer. That’s just me though.
I don’t think I really need to say much else. Living in a literal pollution cloud isn’t fun and something that every expat hates.
#4 Petty Theft
Vietnam isn’t a particularly violent country. Though they do have plenty of violence if you go looking for it. Vietnam does have a petty theft problem.
This country is actually the textbook definition of a low trust country. Everything not locked down will get stolen. Even stuff that is locked down still might get stolen.
Pull your phone out on the sidewalk?
Two guys on a motorbike will zip by and rip it out of your hand. It happens all over Vietnam, but is especially common in the big city.
Live in a house?
Some Vietnamese guy will try to break into your house even if you have burglary bars, a big metal gate, security cameras, a 10 foot wall, and a dog.
Leave your expensive motorbike unattended on the sidewalk?
A Vietnamese guy will use a cut key to steal it. Or he’ll try pushing it away while you aren’t looking.
It just seems that everyone is trying to rip you off. Even when filling up gas they’ll try and not reset the pump (if you aren’t vigilant) to make you pay extra.
And yeah, it’s annoying coming from a high trust society to a low trust society. The good part is you get used to it, but…
Another thing that everyone hates about Vietnam is the traffic. I’m not talking about traffic jams either. Every city has those.
Saigon actually has less traffic jams than other cities because cars are so expensive in Vietnam. Even my significantly smaller American hometown has much worse traffic jams than Saigon.
The problem is the way the Vietnamese drive.
They drive like absolute lunatics.
There’s already a large amount of literature on the way the Vietnamese drive, so I won’t go into detail. No one really obeys any traffic laws other than stopping at red lights (sometimes). They also don’t yield.
It just sucks.
#6 Garbage Everywhere
Finally, Vietnam has a large amount of garbage everywhere…
There is no social stigma against just throwing your garbage in the street. It’s actually encouraged because street sweepers pickup all the trash at night.
Yes. That is how garbage collection works here.
Just toss it in the street and it will disappear in the morning.
The problem with that is it makes the city look like a literal dump. I’ve been here so long that I’ve kind of forgotten what a clean street even looks like.
So I guess you do adapt over time.