A few years ago, Vietnam was still under the radar, competing with neighbouring Thailand. When I traveled to Vietnam ten years ago, everything looked differently. You would see the occasional tourist in Hanoi, you would hear about hostels opening up, but you would never have imagined that the tourist scene would look like it does today.
Vietnam is arguably one of the most popular destinations in Asia and it’s not hard to see why. The flights are getting cheaper, it’s an inexpensive country to travel around in and it is relatively safe. But there’s many other countries in the world that can offer you exactly that. So what is it about Vietnam that makes it feel so special and unique?
First of all – the food cannot be dismissed. Food is such an important element when you’re traveling, because who wants to go somewhere where you can’t enjoy good food? Well, I certainly don’t. I also don’t want to feel like I can’t afford going out to eat, which is what happened to me when I traveled to Tel Aviv (so expensive!). But Vietnam is the perfect combination of those two – good food, which is also very inexpensive. You could easily eat for less than 10 USD per day and still get very delicious meals.
The country’s culture and history is also something that fascinates me. There are plenty of museums throughout the bigger cities that you can visit to learn more about the history of Vietnam, everything from colonialism to the Vietnam War. As for the culture, I’ve always found the Vietnamese culture to be very unique and special. Something that can’t be found elsewhere. It is still quite a traditional country that is very family oriented, I’ve found the Vietnamese to be quite open minded and willing to learn more about other cultures.
Another thing I adore about Vietnam is the diversity. You go up north and you see the incredible rice terraces in Sapa and the majestic mountains in Ha Giang. There is also the capital city Hanoi, which is always full of life (and expats!). Start traveling a bit further south and you will find yourself in the former capital Hue, which is full of history. Hoi An has quickly become many peoples’ favorite destination in Vietnam, and it’s not hard to see why they have been charmed. If you want to simply relax on a beach, there is an abundance of choices for you to choose from. Everything from the north to the south, you will not have a difficult time finding the perfect beach for you. Whether you like the more family friendly beaches or the more private, secluded ones, Vietnam has them all.
But one thing we must not forget is how cheap it is to travel in Vietnam, especially for foreigners from Europe and the Americas. You could get a beer for less than 1 USD in a bar, you can eat like a king and spend less than half of what you would spend at home, and transportation is both easy and cheap, which makes it the ideal place to travel in.
Vietnam is also developing fast. Tourism has boosted the country’s economy and you can see that the country is rebuilding itself and it is doing so fast. I love the mix of tradition meets modern, and I appreciate the fact that the Vietnamese are very keen on holding on to their values and traditions, yet accept the outside as well. I felt welcomed in Vietnam and I never really faced a problem when I traveled there, which is also a reason why I love it. It feels safe.
There is so much to do in this country that you will want to apply for an E-Visa or Visa on Arrival, so you can stay here for more than 15 days. Once your Visa expires, why not hop on the bus and head to neighbouring Cambodia or Thailand. The two neighboring countries are also very popular choices for backpackers throughout the world, and never before has it been easier to go from one country to the other. Something that is very important to consider is the Visa situation. If you are not sure, contact your embassy and they will help you.
Your journey in Southeast Asia is just the beginning – don’t hesitate and come visit us in sunny, beautiful Vietnam!