LIFE IN Vietnam

For anyone who has visited or lived in Vietnam, we all know that there is something very special about it. While it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason why, here are some of the things that makes Vietnam so unique.

1. Street Culture  
As you walk around the streets of Vietnam, one of the things you’ll notice is that life spills out onto the pavement. You really feel that there is a powerful sense of community as life is lived in the public realm. One of the best places to get in all the action is a trip to the local market, especially in the morning.

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2. Food
Where do I even begin with Vietnamese food…? YUM! The street food culture is everywhere. The hardest part will be deciding where to start as you are spoilt for choice. Vendors in alleyways are probably your best choice in getting some of the most authentic flavors at the best price.

3. Beer
Your trip to Vietnam won’t be complete unless to take a seat in one of those small plastic chairs at a bia hơi stall. It’s commonly found on the streets of Hanoi and is bustling with people by the time night falls. Một hai ba, yo!

4. Natural Beauty
The country really has it all; from the land to the sea, mountains, caves, limestone formations, rainforests and rice paddy fields as far as the eye can see. And the wonderful thing is that you don’t have to travel too far to find Vietnam’s beauty. The best way to take it all in is to go on a road trip and just explore. No matter where you find yourself, be it in the very north, center or south, there is no doubt that you’ll come across something that catches the eye.

5. Contrast of the old and new
Vietnam has undergone rapid change and development, especially in the last ten years. Although parts of the skyline may now be filled with tall, modern buildings, you will still find them standing next to traditional, older houses. This contrast between the old and the new work harmoniously together, giving the cities a unique feel.

6. Coffee
When it comes to coffee, there are two options; cà phê sữa đá (ice coffee made with condensed milk) or black coffee served using a coffee drip. Once you’ve tried Vietnamese coffee there is no turning back.

7. Motorbikes
They are just EVERYWHERE, and really is what makes Vietnam so special. I like to think of it as organized chaos, as they all buzz past one another, sometimes driving on the wrong side of the road. All of it just works. With a population of 90 million people, there are 37 million registered motorbikes, with only 2 million cars (Ministry of Transport, 2013).

8. Crossing the streets
There’s not much that needs to be said here…. Just try it for yourself! The trick is to keep going.

9. Festivities
Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated celebration ever year is Tết; the lunar New Year. You can tell when a holiday is approaching as the atmosphere is just buzzing with life. The city streets become decorated in preparation for the big celebrations. For the National Day you’ll see plenty of Vietnamese flags hanging outside homes, for Tết, you’ll find bicycles stacked with cây đào, pink peach blossom branches, budding with blooms. In the south you’ll notice yellow apricot blossoms known as cây mai. And then there’s the Mid-Autumn Festival known as Trung Thu where star shaped lanterns are sold everywhere.

10. People
Last but not least, the people of Vietnam is what brings everything together; they are what makes the experience so unique. Although at times, they may be a little cheeky and try to rip you off, most of the times they are incredibly hospitable and just want to be a part of your unforgettable journey in their amazing country.

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By Nguyễn Oanh on Oct 15, 2015 11:14:15 AM

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