5 fun facts about Vietnam

Vietnam is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world and it’s not hard to see why. The economy has increased over the year, the political climate is stable, it’s considered safe, and there are so many beautiful things to look at that it’s almost impossible to not feel happy here. Traveling in Vietnam, you’ll discover exactly what makes people love this country so much. Imagine golden sand beaches, a stunning coastline, lush mountains, rice fields as far as the eye can see, incredibly tasty food, rich culture, fascinating history, and locals who are warm and welcoming. What’s there to not like?

You’ll probably also quickly discover numerous fun facts about Vietnam that will make your day. Some will make you laugh out loud and other things are downright odd. Here are 5 fun facts about Vietnam that you might or might not have known about before.

1. The Pyjama Fashion

Although the younger generation have become quite the fashionistas, it’s not uncommon to see the locals walk around in their so-called pyjamas, going to the markets, to work, or wherever. This is especially normal in the rural areas, where the women wear a pair of pyjamas during anytime of the day. To be fair, we can’t blame them. You can see pyjama sets with all kinds of floral patterns and colors. Although it might look a bit odd in the beginning, you’ll wish you had a pair of set too when the weather becomes scorching hot and your denim shorts are sticking to your legs. If you would like to get a pair of Vietnamese pyjamas, just head to any local market.

2. The “ninjas” on the road

Walking around in Vietnam, you’ll quickly notice the “ninjas” on the motorcycle. It’s basically a name for the locals who hide their skin with hats, face masks and sunglasses, giving them the “ninja” look. Both men and women in Vietnam considers white skin to be the most beautiful skin so they always try to avoid the sun when they go out, even going to the extremes to covering their entire bodies and faces even though it’s burning hot outside. It might look really strange looking on the road and seeing all these “ninjas”, but it’s just because they try to avoid the sun at all costs.

3. You can hire someone to cry at a funeral

Perhaps the most bizarre fun fact on this list, but if your relatives can’t come to a funeral for example, you can hire professionals who will cry for them. If you live in northern Vietnam, you can find many of these professionals who will not just cry, but also talk about the contribution and merit of the dead one. Their goal is to make the other guests feel the sorrow and cry, too. If you want to pursue a career as a professional funeral crier, you need a very strong voice, be able to make other people cry, and make yourself cry as well. Well… Guess there are worse things you can do for a living.

4. Forget about sitting down in funerals, in Vietnam you dance

In the north they hire people to cry, in the South, the people are instead encouraged to dance to pumping music in order to not feel upset. This might shock a few foreigners who pass a funeral and see people dancing happily, but it’s not because they’re happy to be there – it’s to keep the emotions in check and to celebrate life instead.

In Central Vietnam, there’s an old custom in funerals that’s called “paving the way”. The children of the dead person lies down on the street, making a line from their house to where the dead person will be buried. The coffin is then moved above the line. They do this to show respect to the dead one.

4. Taking wedding photos before the actual wedding

In the west, we usually don’t let the bridegroom see the bride before the actual wedding. But that’s different in Vietnam. In fact, wedding couples are photographed in their wedding dresses and suits before the actual wedding day. Usually they take these photos in front of stunning places far from the cities, to get that perfect nature shot. They take the photos before the wedding so they can display the photos on their wedding day, as a proof of their love.

5. Coconut shaped boats

Forget about the traditional looking boats, imagine floating in a coconut shaped boat instead down the Mekong Delta. The boats are very difficult to steer so don’t try to do this yourself, but go with a local. Otherwise you might end up in never ending circles instead – fun for a minute, terrifying after that. Although it may sound like the boat is made of coconut because of its shape, people use cow dung to make the boat. That’s how the boat doesn’t sink. After weaving bamboo into a half coconut shape, they cover it with cow dung, let it try and finally cover the boat with otter oil.

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