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May 10, 2015

Review of Saigon and Hanoi by an overseas Vietnamese tourist

First, in order to help readers understand this article better, I would like to introduce a little of myself. I was born in Saigon and my family went to the United States for living in 1990 when Vietnam had just opened country’s border for international trade, at that time I was only 1 year old. So my concept of regions, especially the human personality in each region is nothing. My conception, personality and the way of life can be seen as 90% of American style. My parents, my aunts and my uncles told me those I did not know. One more thing is my family living in Washington where the Vietnamese community is very small (It is different from California), so I was limited in communicating with Vietnamese. However, my parent has taught me Vietnamese from I was a child, so I am fluently both Vietnamese and English.

I have worked for a company specializing in medical devices and because I can speak Vietnamese, so after 4 years of working here, I was assigned become a head of representative offices of my company in Vietnam market, that office was opened in within 2 years. I had the opportunity to learn more about the country of my parents by going around the country with business trips and travelling. So far, it has been more than one year.

Saigon city view
Saigon city view
Hanoi city view
Hanoi city view

Style in business

Experience from a lot of transactions with my company’s partners, mostly in Saigon and Hanoi, I realized that Hanoi people are very good in business, better than people in Saigon. Saigon entrepreneur has frank and obvious personality, making decision quickly and researching market demand as the basis of business development. However, because people in the southern are very spacious and they trust other people easily, so they often overlook small details and easily cheated by companies that is not reputable in business, that leads to bankruptcy. Hanoi entrepreneur often has good background of knowledge, legal knowledge, meticulous calculations, and they have habit of working hard. Because of excessive prudence and skeptical personality, so they often take a long time for making decision which leads to ignore good business opportunities. Most successful entrepreneurs in Saigon were originally from The North of Vietnam, their parents or grandparents were people in the North. It is very understandable that Saigon people who were originally from the north of Vietnam always have saving consciousness, property accumulation, and good management of spending. In business, the core value is not how much money you earn, but you manage and keep your money effectively or not.

But why Ha Noi entrepreneurs are not as successful as Saigon entrepreneurs in a big scale of business? If we consider to historical elements, it is not difficult to explain. Since northern residents migrated to the south for new economic period, difficult life, no money. They forced themselves to adapt, cope with all circumstances to suit new life for existence that leads to training inadvertently them virtues which is very flexible and suitable for the transformation of the later economy market in Saigon. Besides, they also learn the generosity, the meekness, the honesty and the comfort of the southern people. Those help them form the character of a modern entrepreneur, helping them learn how to grasp opportunities better, adapting quickly and getting greater success. It’s the perfect combination of best personalities of both 2 regions that Hanoi entrepreneurs can not have.

Service style

About service style, even Hanoi people also agree with me that service in Saigon is very good. In my opinion, services in Saigon could not ever compare with services in the United States, but if I compare with services in Hanoi, Saigon is much more better. Once I went to Ha Noi to meet my customer meeting in Hanoi, I got in a coffee shop and ordered glass of iced tea, after 5 times of repeating my order, I had not yet seen the waiter brought out. Then I had to tell the manager before being served iced tea, the service attitude was very apathetic even though this is one famous restaurant in Hanoi and the price for 1 cup of white coffee is  65,000 VND which is expensive to Vietnamese. If in Saigon I still like to drink coffee in roadside shop near my company with price is 15,000 VND / 1 cup, waiter and waitress welcome me in my name and they know what kind of drinks and table I like. Glass of iced tea is always available and they will offer more tea when your cup is reduced to a half. In Vietnam I love “pho”, “bun bo hue”, rice noodles, … And every morning, before going to work, I often eat at the eatery at the beginning of road to my house, the owner is very intimate asking me carefully if I eat onion, eat fat, pork or not…  even though the price is only 35,000 VND. I have comparison with the Hanoi La Vong Grilled fish dish, in few restaurants near my hotel on Hoang Hoa Tham Street. You want to ask for extra vegetables, or pieces of lemon and chairs, staff attitude is really very bad. The first time I shock about service attitude was the owner of Gia Truyen pho restaurant  scolded me because I ask them to change big bowl into smaller bowl (big bowl too much), and she did shouting out: “Let’s go out if you do not want to eat”. Perhaps I should not say more because the majority of you has heard before. But there is one great thing: in Hanoi everywhere have delicious food, and Saigon, you need to know where the good restaurant is. However, if they continue to keep such service style, so despite the good food it is, guest may not dare to eat in the second time.

When you do shopping with items such as: clothing, backpacks, shoes and souvenirs for your relatives, staff in the shop often look at you from head to toe every your step. Because I am a person who has comfortable fashion style, sometime I dress simple and getting into the luxury shop to buy something, so staff in shop often has indifference with me. When I ask them for price, they do not answer or answer in superficial tone like they think I do not have enough money to buy. And if you do not buy anything, when you go out of the shop I sure you will hear silently cursing, or an extremely annoying smirk. Two times I met that situations and from then on, I has not bought anything in Hanoi again. In Saigon, there are not such staffs, they also burn newspaper page to get rid of bad luck if you do not buy anything but they do not do that thing in front of your eye as Hanoi.

Written by an overseas Vietnamese tourist (requested to hide name)

5/5 - (2 votes)
About the author

Hi, I'm Ho Lam! That's me, the boy who wants more experience each day. I'm slowly but surely working my way, travelling and sharing is my taste. The articles of this blog are not only from me, but also from my friends and the travellers mailed to me.

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