Vietnam is by far one of the most intriguing and fascinating countries in the world. The country used to be governed by Chinese dynasties for over a thousand years, the French ruled for a century and it was occupied by American troops for over a decade. But even so, the country has managed to uphold their cultural practices and although some of these traditional customs may seem strange, they’re a big part of the country. Here’s a selection of 7 weird things you’ll see during your trip to Vietnam. Either you’ll feel odd about it or you’ll love it, either way, it’ll definitely make an impression on you.
1. The locals love their pyjamas
Have you ever dreamt of just walking around in your pyjamas all day long? Even when going to the supermarket, malls, cinema, etc? Well, in Vietnam they have no problem doing this. In fact, in the rural areas, it’s basically the norm. The pyjamas in Vietnam looks a bit different though and you can get everything from floral t-shirts and shorts to colorful button-ups. Although it may not be the most stylish thing to wear, it’s very practical and relaxing.
2. Coffee made of poo
Did you know that one of the most expensive coffees in the world is made of weasel poo? Vietnam is one of the exporters of this type of coffee and although it might seem straight up bizarre at first, you’ll quickly notice it’s one of the tastiest coffees you’ll try. The weasels eat berries which contains coffee beans and then the beans come out of the other side whole, transformed with a richer flavour. Once it’s out, the beans are cleaned (thankfully), dried, and then roasted. However, make sure that you visit a farm where they don’t lock in the animals in small cages and force them to eat all day long. Don’t support animal torture just for one cup of coffee.
3. Cricket farms
Vietnam is known to have some of the tastiest food in the world, but did you also know that there’s a few more specialities that tourists usually avoid? Locals love eating fried crickets and down it with a few beers, and if you’re invited to a party, you’ll notice that fried crickets are served. There are a few cricket farms in Da Lat if you’d like to pay a visit or try this special kind of snack.
4. Communal smoking
It’s quite common to see locals smoking from a large bamboo pipe, especially in northern Vietnam. The pipe is passed around after a meal with the friends you’re with. It’s not exactly like just smoking a cigarette though. Even the heaviest cigarette smoker will feel their head spinning, hands shaking and heart beating faster. There’s an insane amount of nicotine so if you want to try it, just be prepared that you might feel a bit nauseous. You can also just opt for the free green tea on the table…
5. There’s a Buddha themed amusement park
This might sound a bit offensive for those who are religious, but it’s actually a nice theme park. It’s located just outside Ho Chi Minh City and offers visitors ferris wheels, Buddha statues, waterslides, and more things that will keep your blood pumping. Before riding the ferris wheel you can pray before a holy Buddha statue and then rush to the fun water slide. It’s a bit weird, but once you just take it for what it is, you’ll just see it as an amusement park. Oh, and there’s also staff in golden monkey outfits running around. Yeah, okay, it’s weird.
6. Eating snakes and draining them of their blood
Locals still love eating snakes so don’t be surprised if you catch a few guys slaughtering a viper and draining its blood. The method they use is quite brutal. First, they tie the snake’s head in a noose and then kill it with a slash to the neck. The tail is then cut open and the snake’s blood drips into a bottle containing rice wine. But it doesn’t stop there – the beating heart is then cut out and then consumed. It’s brutal and nothing that’s recommended to try.
7. People don’t just wear the silkworms, they also eat it
Did you know that the world’s most beautiful natural fibre comes from worms? Silk is produced by silkworms. The silkworm cocoons are first boiled in large vats to kill the larvae inside. The workers then watch the white strands of silk flying free from the cocoons and attach them to spindles on a machine. When the silk process is done, the worms are then removed from their cocoons and gets eaten. Because it wouldn’t be Vietnam without eating weird things, am I right?