Vietnam, a country full of surprises and diversity, where you can lay on the beach one day, the other hike in the jungle and afterwards go wander around big, metropolitan cities. These are just some of the things Vietnam has blessed us with, but there’s more to it. Let’s take a look at the 8 things Vietnam has given the world – and we’re so happy they did.
Did you know that Vietnam is the second largest coffee distributor in the whole world? Yes, that’s right. So it’s no surprise that you can find some really intense and good coffee in the country. The locals drink their coffee by adding it to a phin filter, putting hot water in it and letting the coffee slowly seep through. One of the most typical ways to drink coffee is by having a bit of condensed milk at the bottom. When the coffee has seeped through, they mix it. Usually the coffee is very intensely strong so a bit of sugar helps it if you’re not used to the flavor. When it’s really hot, you’ll probably want something cold, so just ask for a “ca phe sua da”, which is a coffee with milk and ice. It’s a refreshing drink no matter the season.
2. Fish Sauce
Whether you like it or not, fish sauce is a staple product in Vietnam and most locals will have it in their homes and serve it in restaurants. The fish sauce is made from fish that’s been fermented from weeks and up to two years, hence the strong smell that comes from the sauce. It works as a soy sauce basically. You can dip almost anything in the fish sauce – spring rolls, meat, vegetables, you name it. In order to enhance the flavor of the fish sauce, the locals usually add some lime and chili peppers to it. If you love it, make sure to buy a few bottles to bring with you home. It’ll be a hit!
3. Ao Dai
The long, traditional Vietnamese dresses are some of the most beautiful national costumes in the world. It emerged during the Nguyen Dynasty in the 18th century and has gone through some makeovers when the French were in the country. You can get a tailored one for yourself, which makes for a great souvenir to bring back either to yourself or as a gift for a friend or family.
4. Banh Mi
Going back to food (because the Vietnamese does this so good), the banh mi is such a simple, yet flavorful dish – or some call it snack – that will make you want to eat it over and over again. It’s basically a baguette filled with all kinds of delicious things such as vegetables, paté, different kinds of meat, egg, hot sauce, etc. You can choose whatever you’d like in it. It’s inspired by the French, who brought the baguette to the country when they were there. Since then they made it their own and it’s become a hit both in the country and worldwide. The cherry on top is that it usually doesn’t cost more than 1-2 dollars to eat one, sometimes even less.
6. The biggest cave in the world
If you’ve never heard of Son Dong Cave, you’re about to. It’s not only Vietnam’s biggest cave, it’s also the world’s biggest and wasn’t opened to the public until 2012. It takes about 2 years to get a permit to enter the cave though, and you have to go with a guide. But once you’ve gotten a spot, you’ll be able to climb, crawl, swim through underground caves before reaching your destination. You’ll set camp inside the cave and sleep there with your tour group as well. It all makes for an adventurous experience.
6. Halong Bay
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, this spectacular beauty in the north is not only a beautiful to look at, it’s also full of history. Halong Bay was created millions of years ago, thanks to tectonic movement, erosion and climate. This made for the creation of thousands of limestone islands and islets, most of them uninhabited, and topped with layers of dense jungles. Nowadays Halong Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and you can either do a day trip around the bay or go on an overnight cruise and sleep under the stars. It’s an experience that should not be missed when you’re traveling to Vietnam.
Has this list sparked your interest to come here? Then you should first of all apply for a Vietnam visa. You can either go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them or you can do it online. The online way is by far the most popular choice amongst travelers, because it’s fast, easy and affordable. You can either get a Visa on Arrival or an E-Visa. The latter is only eligible for certain countries though.