Vietnam is one of the oldest cultures in South East Asia, dating back to 2000 BC, and it has has a complicated history starting from its native Dong Son culture and spanning thousands of years. The country has been influenced by Chinese, Khmer, and Indian cultures, as well as French colonialism.
Street food is a trademark of Vietnam. Stop at one of those food stalls on the sidewalk, grab a small plastic stool and sit down. What you will get next is simply heavenly. From pho noodle soup, spring rolls, banh mi and sticky rice to seafood, Vietnamese food is always tasty, fresh and healthy.
Tropical fruit is not to be missed while in Vietnam. Fans of watermelon, pineapple, banana, mango, and mandarin will certainly find paradise here, as well as discovering new, strange, spiky types that they might have never seen before. Fruit is sold everywhere in the markets, on the sidewalks, or in the mall, and is always fresh and cheap.
The second largest coffee exporter worldwide, Vietnam boasts an excellent coffee culture in the green tea continent. Black coffee, coffee with condensed milk, coffee with coconut milk, coffee with egg yolk, coffee with yoghurt; try it all.
Vietnam should be called ‘the land of endless smiles’. Friendliness is present in every corner, from the urban cities to rural countryside. Don’t hesitate to make friends and explore local culture while you’re here.
While Thailand or the Philippines are popular for beach holidays, Vietnam’s tropical beaches are far less acknowledged. But once found out they will no doubt get the same levels of tourism; go before they are discovered.
Mountaineers will love visiting Vietnam, home to the peak of former Indochina, the Fansipan. Sapa town in the North of Vietnam attracts not only leisure travelers but also mountain hikers.
The best way to get the most out of Vietnam is to do as locals do; rent a motorbike and either drive to the mountains in the North or along the length of the whole country from north to south. The roads can be tricky and badly maintained though, and this epic ride is not for the faint hearted.
Budget travelers will certainly love Vietnam. Hostel dorm rooms can go as cheap as $5 per night and great street food can be found for $1-2.
Shoppers with a taste for ethnic fashion and handicrafts will find a shopping paradise here. From earrings and scarves to traditional women’s outfits, you’ll find great offers throughout the whole country. In Hoi An you can also get speed tailors to make your suit and dress in just a day.