Interesting facts about Vietnam that you may or may not know about

After spending a big chunk of my time in Southeast Asia, and more specifically Vietnam, there were a few things that stood out to me. Some facts I found very interesting and others… I could have lived without. But one thing’s for sure: everything about Vietnam left an impression on me. It ended up being one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia. The country has so much to offer. Although the neighboring country Thailand receives way more tourists each year, it’s time for Vietnam to also get the same acknowledgement. Because the country has just as much to offer, and perhaps even more, like its neighboring countries.

So if you’re thinking of traveling to Vietnam then don’t hesitate anymore – go! You won’t regret it. In fact, you might even fall in love with it so much that you’ll move there. The expat community is growing bigger and bigger each year, and the international influence is definitely noticeable these days, especially in the bigger cities. But besides having a growing expat community, there are a few more interesting facts about Vietnam that you may or may not know about. Interested in what they are? Then read on!

1. The rumours are unfortunately true – they do eat cats and dogs here

We’ve all heard about it, but I think most of us hopes it’s just a rumour. Sadly, it’s not. Although it’s not the most common meat to eat, it’s still a local delicacy. It’s definitely highly recommended to NOT try this type of meat since there’s many cats and dogs that are kidnapped from people’s homes to be killed and end up in a restaurant. Sounds gruesome, right? There’s plenty of plant based food in Vietnam so why not head in that direction instead, then you’ll at least know what you’re putting in your mouth.

2. Eating loudly is the norm

It’s considered rude to eat loudly in most countries, but not in Vietnam. In fact, here, it’s the norm. You’ll probably hear a few burps here and there, people screaming with food in their mouth and lots of littering. It’s not uncommon to find napkins and food scraps on the floor of every traditional Vietnamese restaurant. Yeah, it’s quite gross. However, this doesn’t apply to EVERY local restaurant though and you can find lots of clean places with locals who doesn’t chew loudly.

3. You’ll be a millionaire in Vietnam

The currency in Vietnam might take a bit of getting used to. One dollar equals more than 20,000 VND. If you’re going to withdraw money, you’ll most likely withdraw a few million Vietnamese dong. So if you’ve always dreamt of being a millionaire, here’s your chance.

4. Hanoi is not the largest city in Vietnam

You might think the capital city should be the biggest city in Vietnam, but it’s not. It’s the southern city Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, that takes the spot as the biggest city in Vietnam. More than 7,5 million people live in HCMC, while in Hanoi, the population is 6,5 million people.

5. Do you love cashew nuts? Then you’re in the right country

Because Vietnam is in fact, the world’s largest cashew nuts exporter. The country produces almost 30% of all cashew nuts in the world! The nuts are very popular in Asian dishes and you can almost always get cashew in your dish. But the production of them is quite controversial. Many of the factory workers have permanent damage to their hands because of a corrosive liquid that causes severe burns. Most often, the factories don’t provide gloves for their employees. That’s why it might be unethical to buy and eat cashews.

6. The locals don’t hate Americans

There will always be a few people who still might have a grudge after what happened in the war, but you’ll be surprised by how many Americans that actually live and work there, and has never had any problems with the locals. Vietnam welcomes millions of visitors each year and a huge chunk of them are Americans. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the leader Ho Chi Minh told his people to not blame the American citizens for the war, but the leaders. He also said that the most important thing is to rebuild Vietnam and not focus on hating the aggressors. This led to forgiveness instead of hate.

7. You must have a Vietnam visa before entering the country

Depending on your nationality, you are required to have a visa before arriving to Vietnam. If you’re on the visa exempt list and wishes to only stay for your visa-free period, then you can ignore this. But if you’re not on the visa exempt list, it’s crucial to get a visa, otherwise the immigration officers will deny you entry. You can either get a Visa on Arrival, E-Visa, or go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them. Do note that the E-Visa is only available for 80 countries in the world and is a 30 days, single entry visa, so you can’t extend this type of visa or exit Vietnam and reenter.

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