Finally my 2 months in Vietnam are up and I can share my experience with you! This is the longest trip I have had in a foreign country so far and I must say I have seen things that I have never seen anywhere else before. Here are 10 unique things that you will see and feel when visiting Vietnam.
1. Vietnam Love Dogs!
You see dogs everywhere! In coffeeshops, in restaurants , in small corner shops and in many people’s back yard! And there are many of them in one place. I remember sitting in a small restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City when a puppy came up to me and rested his head on my lap (I nearly died of joy). There seems to be a love for dogs in Vietnam no Health and Safety Association is ready to mess with!
2. Vietnam is the Land of Scooters!
There are so many scooters in Vietnam, it risks to overwhelm you the first time you visit. It seems less people rely on public transport and more people own scooters in Vietnamese cities. Also, I was constantly impressed by the how stylish the women on scooters are in Vietnam: perfect make up, perfect attire and even have heels on! Hats off to you, ladies!
3. Military Song in the Mornings
It was the early hours in Ho Chi Minh City when I was woken abruptly by drum beats and loud chanting. It had a military sounding rhythm. Puzzled (and unable to go back to sleep from the noise), I checked this up on google. I found out that this chanting and instrument playing in the early mornings was known as “The Marching Song” which is the national anthem of Vietnam. It is common that Vietnamese soldiers would sing it as early as 5 a.m. in some areas and works as an alarm clock for many of the locals! Read more about the Marching Song here.
4. Beer is SO Cheap
Vietnam is known as one of the world’s cheapest beer places with Hanoi being THE cheapest place for beer in the WORLD! You can buy a can of beer in Vietnam for as cheap as USD 0.25! For many, coupled with the amazing scenery, this is a good reason enough to visit!
5. Children Love to Say Hi
Children in Vietnam are not shy. If anything, they will love to impress you with the English they have learnt at school and ask you how you are and what your name is. They are absolutely adorable! The grown-ups love to say hi too but, with more limited English vocabulary, are less likely to strike a conversation with you.
6. The Coffee Culture is Real!
I was told, before setting foot in Vietnam, that Vietnamese Coffee is the best in the world. I was not lied to! Vietnamese coffee is probably the best coffee you will ever have your entire life! Vietnamese love to add condense milk to their coffee which makes it thick and sweet. Most of their coffees are ice-based due the the climate. If you fancy a classic intense Vietnamese Ice Coffee with Milk, ask for a Ca Phe Sua Da. If you are more adventurous and want the Blended Ice Coffee with Coconut Milk ask for a Ca Phe Dua.
7. They Love Eating Seafood!
A regular Friday night in Vietnam is spent in the beer cafes, chugging beer and swallowing down clams, mussels, sea snails, prawns and many more seafood. Vietnamese love seafood and you can usually find yourself a restaurant or beer cafe ready to sell you fresh seafood in tangy, spicy and garlic-y sauce that will overjoy your taste buds.
8. The Rats Will Scare You
One thing I will definitely not miss in Vietnam is the rats! I might just be one of the unlucky ones, but not a day went by during my 2 months stay where I would not see a rat dash pass me giving me the fright of my life. Once, I saw one move quietly behind a street food vendour. She seemed amused by my concern and instead of shooing it away, she threw a piece of bread at it. The rat grabbed it and ran back to its little hole in the corner. I guess they were friends?
9. Afternoon Nap Anybody?
Vietnamese people love to nap. They would do it anywhere. At work, they have small mattresses that they keep in the far corner of the shop so they can rest during the quiet business hours. I once had to wake one lady up so she could make me a banh mi. They have their toddlers napping on the floors while they are working in their shops. They nap in their cars or on their bikes. The bus drivers store hammocks that they install in the luggage area or they pull out and attach to a tree trunk when to enjoy the cool breeze!
10. Crossing a Street is a Challenge
In Vietnam, there is no such things as rules when it comes to crossing the street. The crossings mean nothing and neither does the little green man on the traffic light! After a few days of panic, you will soon get the gist of it and start crossing the street like a pro! My advise is to lock eyes with the driver and maintain a rhythmic pace. Do not slow down, stop or go faster : the drivers are calculating how far you will get so they can adjust their own speed. The scooters will go around you like a river flowing around an obstacle. Now that is skill!
There you go! In the weeks to come I shall be writing about all the delicious food I’ve tried and places I’ve been to in Vietnam so stay tuned! If you enjoyed this read, pin it here!
Until next time!