The exotic South-East Asian country has one of the oldest and (most popular) backpacking trails in the world and many adventurous types begin their journey in Thailand and include Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in their travels. Vietnam is also increasingly popular with holidaymakers – they are drawn to exotic holidays by a killer coastline and a curiosity about this fiercely independent country.
Vietnam was never a priority country to visit for us. I was more excited to see the beaches of Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We didn’t really know much about Vietnam apart from textbook wars and Pho restaurants down my street. However, Vietnam turned out to be our favourite country in all of Southeast Asia – the food was delicious, the ambiance was fun and vibrant, there was always some type of adventure to be had, and although we’ve heard the opposite sometimes we personally found the people to be very friendly! Vietnam is a must-see when you embark on your world travels and here are the reasons why we think you should visit too.
Vietnam was a food paradise! With a French influence, Vietnamese food was some of the tastiest and freshest we tried in all of Asia. Who would have thought that fresh French Baguettes were available in Vietnam? They were, and they were delicious. From Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches with pork and pickled veggies), to Pho, to fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese food is truly delicious.
The chance for adventure
You wouldn’t expect it, but Vietnam is FULL of adventure. Find some of the fantastic Vietnam tours on offer and go canyoning in Da Lat. Kayak in Halong Bay. Trek the rice paddies in Sapa. Go sandboarding in Mui Ne. And hey, try riding a motorbike or even crossing the streets in Vietnam for a real adventure! There is so much adventure to be found in Vietnam, we promise you’ll never get bored.
UNESCO World Heritage sites
Vietnam has a mix of natural and historical UNESCO Heritage sites. Halong Bay, Phong Na National park (with the world’s largest cave), Hoi An Old Quarter, My Son Sanctuary, and Hue Monuments just to name a few. Vietnam continuously impresses tourists and visitors with its beautiful and unique sites to see.
The plastic chair restaurants!
What are these plastic chair restaurants you may ask? Well these are found throughout Vietnam (primarily Hoi An, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh) on street corners in the old quarters. They are restaurants with little tables and tiny plastic chairs out the storefront, delicious food (where you cook it yourself on a hotplate), and unbelievably cheap beers. $0.25 a beer has got my name all over it! This experience is also a great way to meet other people.
The cheap beer
Did I mention how much I love a cheap beer? 25 cents a beer is outrageous (mind you, that wasn’t even the cheapest beer we found). Beer just always tastes better when it’s pretty much free! It is so hot in Vietnam that a beer was just always a good idea. Plus, beer was cheaper than water. How else would you stay hydrated on a hot day?
The great coffee
Did you know Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world? Vietnam had an incredible coffee culture and because I’m travelling with an Aussie, coffee is a routine in our travelling days. Everything from drip coffees, to cold brews, to lattes, condense milk coffee, to even yogurt coffee (seriously, it’s so good), the coffee scene was just incredible. Don’t miss out on the coffees in Vietnam, we’re drooling just thinking of it!
Convenience to travel
Vietnam is a hot spot for tourist and over the years it has become very easy and convenient to travel. There are trains and busses that go through the country from North to South and vice versa and boats that you can charter to islands very cheaply. The transportation in Vietnam is affordable for all travellers and essentially stops at every city in Vietnam! We even have friends who have motorbiked the whole way across Vietnam, which seems amazing! They have their system down to a ‘t’ and it made our travels throughout Vietnam very easy and very flexible.
The interesting museums and historical attractions
Vietnam has such a rich and deep history, it is important to explore the museums to learn more about it. As an American, I have learned one side of the Vietnam War, but to see it through the eyes of the Vietnamese was heart-wrenching. You can visit the Prisons in Hanoi, the Temple of Literature, The War Museum, Vietnam Military Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels, all which offered a piece of history on Vietnam worth learning.
The pace and energy of the cities
There are motorbikes everywhere. People in markets. Street food on almost every corner. There is just an incredible bustling energy when walking throughout the city. The people are so friendly, people are always drinking on street corners. The smell of food is so delicious. You see entire families on motorbikes. It is hard to explain, but when you get there, you just feel the Vietnam energy and it’s an awesome country.
The medical care
Although I wouldn’t recommend getting hurt in Vietnam on purpose to see the medical care, I also wouldn’t fear the medical treatment in Vietnam. I got stitches in Vietnam (remember how I said there is a lot of adventure? Well, this wasn’t adventurous. Just the typical air-con-panel-falling-on-your-face-while-in-bed – nothing out of the ordinary!) Anyways, I was rushed to the hospital to receive stitches, which cost a hefty $10. They checked on me for at least a week before proceeding my travels. The provided me with antiseptic cream, bandaids, and medical tape to take care of it. They even gave me scar cream and told me “I still look sexy”. Hey, for $10 and a compliment, it wasn’t a bad day at the hospital!
Written by our guest bloggers Jack and Jenn from Who Needs Maps, a long distance couple from America and Australia that travel to make the relationship work! We are thrill seekers, lovers of cheese and wine, world travellers, adventure finders, misadventure attractions, and a fun loving couple who just wants to explore the world together. We hope to inspire, inform and entertain people through our experiences and stories! Embrace the fun, enjoy the craziness, and let’s take on the world together! Find them on their blog, Facebook page or Twitter page.