Vietnam: A little history, outcome of the War and how children of the War were treated in Vietnam.
This excerpt I am including here came from the PACIFIC RIM LAW & POLICY JOURNAL.
In Vietnam, as in other Asian cultures, the father plays a significant role in a child’s development. A Vietnamese child derives its sense of personal identify, nationality, and race from its father. Because the American fathers of Amerasian children cannot perform the traditional Vietnamese paternal duties, the Vietnamese exclude Amerasians from the mainstream of their society. In Vietnam an illegitimate child does not legally exist because he or she is not a Vietnamese citizen.
Most homogenous Asian cultures disdain racial impurity. Because the Vietnamese tend to regard the physical features of their people as symbolic of their national identity, many Vietnamese associate Amerasians with the dilution of their national character. This phenomenon largely explains the harsh treatment of Amerasians in Vietnam. In Vietnamese society, Amerasians lack basic rights, live in the squalor of poverty, and are deprived of a solid sense of identity. Most face a daily barrage of racial slurs. Furthermore, Vietnamese-Amerasians typically are outcasts and excluded from full participation in education, marriage, and employment".
Some interesting reading about Vietnam
Vietnam is also safer and tourism has increased dramatically over the years, according to http://www.vietnamtourism.gov/, tourism has increased by 63% since 1999, with the most visitors from China, South Korea, Japan and coming in 4th, United States.
Traveling to Vietnam
I have been to Vietnam a total of 3 times for a minimum of 10 days and up to 15 days. I would recommend at least two weeks for the full experience and also because flights are not cheap, you are travelling 8,400+ miles, flying for about 15-24 hours depending on how many connections and what airline(s) you are using and where you are traveling from within the States. If you are on the West Coast, you will be saving some time as most flights are connected in LAX.
I have flown on the following airlines: Korean, Malaysian, and Cathay Pacific. My favorite is Malaysian Airlines. Malaysian Airlines had the best food selection, drinks, desserts, movies, games, comfort, and flight accessories (I got a little bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eye mask). Korean Airlines had really good food but much more limited, not to the extent that Malaysian Airlines did, less variety and they were not serving as often but still highly recommended if you don't need a lot of variety and don't eat as often as I do, if you are a foodie, these airlines will give you variety and a pre-asia vacation experience.
As for Cathay Pacific, I was not impressed, food was mediocre, and entertainment was poor.
One of the things I really enjoy in addition to going to traveling to Vietnam, is the flight to Vietnam, all the movies I can catch up on, especially new releases that haven't even made it out to blockbuster, playing all the cool new games, eat interesting foods and drinks. In addition to all that, Malaysian and Korean Airlines treated me like I was sitting in first class. And it is important to have a good experience especially when you are flying over 8K miles.
Using a Travel Agency or website for booking?
Now a little background on this, my mom had been to Vietnam two other times prior to me going and each time she would use some Asian Travel Agency in D.C., her tickets typically ranges from $950- $1200.
Prior to my trip, I decided to do some digging on airlines and pricing, just to see if I can find a better deal. I was surfing all the known traveling sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Cheap, Travelocity, Malaysian Airlines main site, Korean Airlines main site, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, you name it and I surfed it). And all these were ranging from $1600+ with 2+ connections; however these were with US Airways, United, American Airlines, Continental, etc. I have flown to Paris on Continental before and the food & drinks, etc. were quiet limited. My mom had mentioned that she flew on Korean and Malaysian Airlines and the food, drinks, desserts, entertainment were phenomenal. Finally, I looked up a couple of Asian Travel Agencies in my area, at the time Philadelphia. I had the Asian Travel agencies get me some quotes, and to my surprise, each of these Asian Travel agencies had better pricing than other those sites, with 3 connections as I was coming from the East Coast. Now you may ask how much? Our flights were $900 (the quoted pricing from others were in the same ball park with the highest being $980. The price also included expediting our Visas. Vietnam requires that you have a Visa in addition to your passport.
Call some Asian Travel Agencies and you will get the best rate, do not use the online sites mainly because of pricing and also because you will be flying with American Airlines or US Airways or United, it is not the same experience as being on an actual Asian Airline. You are going to Asia, start your experience as early as possible and on top of that, you will save money and get treated like you are in first class.
Where to go and what to do in Vietnam...to be continued...