Tourism industry insiders have taken to social media to share a number of instances of bad behavior they observed from Vietnamese tourists during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday that ended last week.
A local woman has told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper how she was shamed and ‘alienated’ when sheprotested the act of dumping garbage through the vehicle’s windows to the street.
Tourist guides and bus drivers had other stories to share about the misbehavior of local holidaymakers.
'I pay so I’m king'
Ly Tuan Anh, a bus driver with six years of experience, stunned friends on his Facebook with photos showing how the floors of his vehicle were littered by Tet travelers.
One photo shows an aisle full of different types of trash, while the floor in the second photo was filled with the hulls of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a common Tet snack.
“Vietnamese people, even the elders in their fifties and sixties, just behave so badly on the bus,” Anh commented.
|An aisle of a passenger bus full of trash is seen in this photo posted on the Facebook page of Tuan Anh.|
Other industry players had similar stories to tell, pointing out the fact that Vietnamese people tend to hold on the mindset of ‘I pay for the service, so I can do whatever I want’ whenever they travel on passenger buses or airplanes, stay at hotels or eat at restaurants.
“Not a single of the trips I made during Tet went by without me having to pick up the hulls of watermelon, sunflower and pumpkin seeds scattered on the floor by my passengers,” another driver named Nguyen Thanh Luan said on Facebook.
Luan said that he had more than enough bad experiences serving local tourists during the week-long holiday.
“One passenger asked me if he could smoke, while the one next to him was already puffing on his cigarette,” he recounted.
“And even though sickness bags were everywhere on the bus, people would just put their heads out of the vehicle and puke, dirtying all the windows.”
Tran Thanh Tung, a former tour guide, said passengers always want to travel on a clean and beautiful vehicle, but they do nothing to keep it so.
“Many drivers make no secret that they do not want to travel with Vietnamese guests as they dirty everything,” Tung said.
“There were times when the driver and I had to spend hours cleaning the bus after serving Vietnamese tourists.”
|The floor of a passenger bus full of pumpkin seed hulls is seen in this photo posted on the Facebook page of Tuan Anh.|
Another story confirmed these concerns came from Nguyen Khoa Bao Nguyen, a tour guide who once took a group of middle school teachers to the tourist town of Sa Pa.
The teachers brought with them a number of bot loc, a small chewy tapioca dumpling wrapped in banana leaves and served with fish sauce, on board the bus, which Nguyen said “boded ill for the trip.”
“Upon boarding, I made a brief introduction and explained that they should put the banana leaves inside plastic bags and distributed wet wipes to every of them so they could clean their hands after eating,” Nguyen said.
“In the end, the banana leaves were littered everywhere on the floor, and the teachers cleaned their face with the wet wipes and their hands with the bus curtains.”
Other tour guides and passenger bus drivers also listed other common bad behaviors from Vietnamese tourists, from “talking louder than a market” to “playing cards and drinking alcohol on board the bus.”
Root of problem?
While it is not difficult for one to recount a story of improper behavior from Vietnamese tourists, it remains controversial when it comes to answering the question, ‘what’s the root of the problem?’
Some point the finger to education, putting the blame on schools and teachers, while others say parents have to watch themselves and set good examples to their children.
“What can a child learn from his or her parents when they drive a motorbike without the compulsory crash helmet and dump trash on the street?” one comment on Facebook reads.
|This Tuoi Tre caricature depicts the habit of littering of Vietnamese youth.|
Other opinions point to the lack of strict penalties for ‘ugly tourists’ in Vietnam. Passenger bus drivers and attendants normally have to clean the vehicles themselves, and the bad tourists remain untouched.
The impunity results in the bad habit for Vietnamese people, according to Nguyen Huy Duc, a local citizen.
“We were on an international business trip and each of us patiently waited in line at the airport in that country,” Duc said.
“But when we returned to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, that proper behavior immediately vanished.”
|This Tuoi Tre caricature depicts the poor awareness of maintaining hygiene of Vietnamese youth.|