One of our favorite countries is Vietnam. So, we are somewhat alarmed at news about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pomp and celebratory meeting with Vietnamese leaders reportedly about mutual agreement pacts.

The agreements reportedly cover trade, energy, and defense cooperation. While not unusual, the current global tensions makes it essential for us to evaluate potential impacts on travel.

Tensions are high in Asia as Russia, looking for support of its invasion of Ukraine, lines up with China, North Korea — and apparently Vietnam — against Russian detractors and US Allies Japan, South Korea, and Australia.


Vietnam Vacation or Not?

So, should you travel to what had become friendly and gracious Vietnam?

First, we are writing here at the start of summer. We suggest avoiding the extreme heat of Vietnam until autumn. Funny incident for us was unknowingly leaving the iPhone recording in the heat and we almost fried our main source for video creation. Luckily we had two iPhones, so we were able to produce the two segments you’ll see below.

Second, we have suggestions before you head to Vietnam. In short, we’re not saying don’t go. Just be informed.

Historically, Vietnam has maintained a policy of neutrality and openness, which has made it an inviting destination for tourists from all over the world. A key factor here: Vietnam thrives on tourism. Millions flock to its iconic destinations like Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, and the ancient town of Hoi An. As we witnessed, the tourism infrastructure is robust, and the locals are known for their warm hospitality.

Below we have two segments that back this up. First, we hit Danang, once a US Airbase during the Vietnam War. Then we take you to Nah Trang, an ancient city that will take you back centuries.  In both places, we were warmly received with no animosity from the Vietnam War that ended in 1975. And the food was amazing!

Despite the diplomatic disagreements, nations like China are so reliant on international trade that, if cut off, could hurt their economies in a devastating way. Does that remove the fear of another world war? Not really. But many geopolitical experts we follow say it could be the main reason to stop what could be a regional or world conflict. So keep in mind that commerce is a major factor and losing western tourism would be a huge detriment to Asian growth.

Travel Tips To Consider

Still, American and other Western travelers should consider some key points that we have gathered here:

Safety and Security: As of now, there have been no official advisories from the U.S. Department of State suggesting that Vietnam is unsafe for visitors. Vietnam continues to be ranked as a relatively safe destination with low levels of violent crime. Precautionary measures that apply to any travel, such as staying aware of local news and avoiding areas where demonstrations might occur, are advisable.

Local Sentiment: As we witnessed, Vietnamese people have a history of being welcoming to tourists, irrespective of their nationality. The local sentiment towards visitors from the West remains positive. The tourism industry is crucial to the local economy, and the Vietnamese government invests significantly in maintaining good relationships with tourist-heavy nations.

Geopolitical Risks: While the prospect of coalition-building between Russia and Vietnam could be a concern, it’s early to predict any direct impact on travelers. Vietnamese leaders might be saying, “Don’t piss off Putie.” As we’ve seen with the Philippines, now a US ally against China, diplomatic relations often fluctuate, and immediate travel conditions do not necessarily reflect high-level political changes. Travelers should, however, keep an eye on travel advisories and updates from reliable sources.

Travel Experience: The allure of Vietnam’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and culinary delights remains unchanged. Travelers can still expect to enjoy their vacations, exploring everything from bustling cities to tranquil rural areas with the country’s natural charm and historical landmarks unchanged by recent political dialogs.

So, there is no immediate cause for American and Western travelers to avoid Vietnam.

Still, keep abreast of news and any travel advisories to ensure peace of mind if you’re scheduled and ready to go.

You have to watch this closely.  Is Vietnam’s relationships on the geopolitical chessboard shifting and will it change its commitment to tourism and hospitality — that right now — remains steadfast.  Can you separate Vietnam leaders from their people, especially their tourism industry?  If so, then go.

Vietnam Alternatives in Asia

However, if you’re not comfortable with supporting a country that appears to be supporting what appears to be the 21st version of fascism, then there are alternatives.

Take a look at this column we wrote about the currency devaluations that make Asia a great travel deal right now. Yes, we have Vietnam included in there. But there are other options like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia.

And then take a look at these two segments we did on Danang and Nha Trang if you are going to travel to Vietnam or if you want to get an idea of what you will miss. First, Danang.

Next, Nha Trang

Give us your thoughts and experiences to share with other Jetsetters.

John Daly and Susan Anzalone are the Co-Creators and Co-Hosts of Undercover Jetsetter, a show on travel, food, wine, mixology and, of course, golf. They show you how to jet set the world and at home. They also co-authored the book, The TV Studio In Your Hand: How to Shoot, Edit & Deliver the Easy Way on Your iPhone. Join them for tips and hacks on the road, at home, or in the kitchen.  Yes, as you will see, all on the iPhone. They cover travel, food, wine, mixology, and golf around the world.  Susan is an expert in food and wine since her childhood days in Australia and then the United States, being the daughter of two lifelong employees of Pan Am Airlines.  John is also a world traveler starting when he studied in Italy through his alma mater Providence College.  John is also a Nevada Hall of Fame Broadcaster during his years as a Las Vegas news anchor at KTNV.  He gained international fame as the host of the first all-video news magazine show, Real TV while also securing his bartending and mixology credentials from the Harvard Bartending School. You can follow them here on the free Wingding app on the Food and Travel Channels, on YouTube, Facebook, X, and Instagram.