I spent 33 days traveling the whole length of Vietnam from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city), Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Danang, Hoi An, My Son, Hue, Ninh Binh, Hanoi, Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay, Sa Pa and Dien Bien Phu. It was during this interesting journey that I experienced and came to know some of the below interesting things about Vietnam.
1) If you are born a male in Vietnam, you are supposed to smoke. If a male does not smoke, he is not considered a male in his group and is rejected by his friends. The men smoke absolutely anywhere, inside homes and inside air conditioned buses.
2) The women in Vietnam do more work then the men.
3) In Vietnam’s tourism world, prices are always over-exaggerated and that leads to a huge bargaining potential.
4) The Vietnam script uses the English alphabets with some notations for their various tones.
5) Apart from the tourism belt, most of the country does not speak English.
6) A Hindu empire can be found in the center of Vietnam.
7) It is very difficult to find vegetarian food in Vietnam. They use chicken and pork in all their dishes for flavor. Even the broth in the soup is either from beef or chicken. And the best part is that all the meat is of very less quantity.
8) Vietnam’s favorite sport is baseball. They watch it with as much fervor as the Thai do with Thai boxing and the Indians do with cricket.
9) Halong bay is very beautiful, but also equally dirty.
10) The people in the countryside who are far away from the easy money from tourism are very nice and welcoming. It is just the opposite with the others.
11) The country comes to a standstill during their New Year ‘Tet’ and the whole country can be seen holidaying for as much as 10 days at a stretch. This is also the time that all the hotels get over booked, the public transport prices go over the roof and even restaurants hike up their prices.
12) Vietnam is growing at a rapid pace and this can be seen in the increased developments taking place and can be felt in the poor quality of the air in the cities.
13) Clothes are very cheap in Vietnam and they are known for stitching a quality suit in less than 24 hours in Hoi An.
14) Most of the country’s ocean is cold water, which is very unlike the rest of South East Asia.
15) Half of the country is in love with Ho Chi Minh and the other half do not want to talk about him.
16) Pho or noodle soup is like the national dish of Vietnam. It can be found all over the country in different broths and in different forms (color, texture).
17) Vietnam has sleeping buses or nicknamed the capsule, due to the individual beds that are extremely short even for the tall Vietnamese.
18) Meat desserts and meat cakes are a favorite here.
19) There are places in Vietnam that see four seasons in a single day.