Sure, everyone has heard about the Vietnam War and almost everyone knows what a Vietnam field jacket looks like, but this country is much more than these two brands popularized by Hollywood. Today, Vietnam is one of the most curious countries in the world, as well as one of its best-hidden tourist havens. Those who visited this paradise on Earth tend to put it on a pedestal and return here over and over again. Here are few reasons why this place is such an amazing tourist hotspot.
1. A Motorcycling Nation
According to latest estimates, Vietnam is one of the four nations with the largest motorcycling population in the world (others being China, India and Indonesia). Those who step out in the street of any city in Vietnam will have not a single hint of doubt about the truthfulness of this statistic. Seeing a Vietnamese boulevard during a rush hour is something truly unique although it does have its downsides. Being a pedestrian or a car driver in this situation is not a flattering thought, but there is nothing stopping you from renting a motorbike of your own and joining this nation-wide phenomenon.
Sure, riding a bike anywhere in the world is great, but only in Vietnam does it become such a unique experience. The greatest problem here, would be getting a driver’s license (you are supposed to get a local one, which is next to impossible), but most of the time, cops just won’t bother a tourist and even if you do have to pay a fee, it won’t be a considerable sum.
2. Lunar New Year
To someone not from this region, it is nearly impossible to imagine the euphoria that happens around Tet and the Lunar new year (26th to 28th January). Even the weeks before Tet are something incredible. For example, local vendors start working double shifts in order to make up for days off they will take to be with their families for holidays. Those firmly convinced that the Western civilization gave birth to a consumerism in its current form should seriously consider going to a Vietnamese market one week before Tet. Witnessing such euphoria could downscale even the most extreme examples of buyer craze during the Black Friday. Becoming a part of it is something you are bound to never forget.
3. Wine Tours
One of the things people seldom tend to associate Vietnam with are its wines, yet it has some of the most exquisite vintages in the world. When you come to think of it, this is hardly surprising. During a large part of its history, it was a French colony and it has one of the climates most suitable for growing different types of grapes. Dalat Beco, My Hoa and Tri Hiep wineries are just some of the names that sommeliers all over the world are well familiar with and visiting one, or all of them, might be more than worth your while.
4. Incredible Vietnamese Cuisine
Another thing you need to try while in Vietnam is its amazing cuisine. Here, you will encounter so many different ways of preparing rice that you will be smitten by the ingenuity of local chefs. For those who are fans of this cereal grain combined with tropical fruits like banana or mango and enhanced with pork, beef or seafood will be simply delighted. Naturally, the influences of Chinese cuisine can be seen through the excessive use of fish sauce that is specific for almost all of Southeast Asia. One could even say that Vietnamese cuisine is what happens when Far East dish meets French colonialism.
5. Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh
One of the most curious things about Vietnamese nightlife is the range of different experiences you can encounter in a single city. While District 1 looks more like a Vietnam’s response to Las Vegas, its District 3 is offering a more down-to-earth experience. In this amazing metropolis you can encounter everything from nightclubs and casinos to live music bars and dinner cruises down the Saigon River. Still, for the most unique (and probably the cheapest) of experiences, we highly recommend you hit up Beer Hoi on Pham Ngu Lao. Here, you get to mingle with both other tourists and locals alike and sip beer while sitting on a small plastic stool in the street. This is definitely something you will never forget for as long as you live.
6. A Bit of Culture
Finally, you need to keep in mind that the Vietnam is a land of great history, which began long before the infamous Vietnam War or French colonization. It might be worth your while to spend some of your time in Vietnam visiting these landmarks. Some of the things you might want to go to first are Hoi An Ancient Town, Old Quarter in Hanoi and of course the Cu Chi Tunnels situated in Ho Chi Minh City.
The greatest problem with any tour to Vietnam is that there is simply so much to see in such a short of a time span. No list would be elaborate enough to encompass them all. Some honorable mentions are its karaoke bars, supermarkets, night busses and street gambling. This is why, people who come to visit this amazing tropical country at least once tend to come back, year after year.
About the Author
Ian could be tagged as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development, with a particular interest in trying to master the fine art of Social intelligence. After taking on a couple of Vietnam tours, he decided to share his experience and bring it a bit closer for all those that are thinking about visiting Vietnam.