Are you doing some research prior to your trip to Vietnam, or you just want to know more about this fascinating country? Then you’ve come to the right place! Here we have listed 10 interesting facts about Vietnam that you may or may not have known about.
1. Everyone has a motorbike
You’ve probably heard about it before coming to Vietnam – there’s motorbikes everywhere! You can’t escape them. The Vietnamese don’t really own cars, and when they do it’s usually for taxi purposes, so you can count on the roads being brimmed with motorbikes.
2. You can put anything on a motorbike
Since not many people have cars, you’ll see that the locals overload their bikes with quite literally everything. It’s not uncommon to see a family of 5 with their dog on one motorbike for example. You will most likely also see people carrying heavy stuff like doors, refrigerators, piles of vegetables, pigs(!), and the list goes on and on. Anything they can load on their motorbike, they’ll do.
3. There’s plenty of beaches in Vietnam but the locals fear the sun
If you come from a western country where being tanned is beautiful, you’d probably be suntanning all the time if you had access to the beach and a favorable climate. You’d think the Vietnamese would too, but think again. They actually fear the sun because their beauty standard is not being tanned – it’s being white. When the sun’s out, you’ll see how everyone tries to cover up with layers of clothes, even if it’s scorching hot outside. When shopping, you’ll also most likely see whitening products everywhere. So if you’re looking for a cream, but don’t want it whiten your skin, read carefully before you buy it. They even have deodorants with whitening!
4. Pho is awesome
Pho is the Vietnamese national dish that has taken the world by storm. It’s a delicious noodle soup that’s usually served with beef and vegetables. You can also get it with chicken or vegetarian, for example. You’ll find it in every local shop. The perfect pho broth is one that’s simmered for more than 6 hours, so you can really taste the flavor of the beef bones and vegetables.
5. Vietnam is very affordable
If you didn’t know by now, Vietnam is a very affordable country to travel around in. It’s much cheaper than Thailand for example, and you could easily get by with just a few dollars per day, that is, if you eat locally and stay in dorms in hostels. Backpackers flock to Vietnam because of this.
6. Ho Chi Minh City is probably more modern that you’ll expect
Vietnam is the fastest growing economy in Asia and you can see it in their biggest city. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is really modern, full with skyscrapers and high buildings. You’ll also see they have all of the international chains such as Starbucks, Zara, H&M, etc. The craft beer scene has also grown immensely in HCMC over the past years and you’ll see both locals and foreigners flocking to these bars. There’s still a local and traditional charm to it though, if you hit the suburbs. But HCMC might not be that typical Vietnamese city that you’re looking for.
7. There’s a thing called “egg coffee” here and it’s delicious
The first time anyone hears of “egg coffee” they give you a strange look. Who wants to drink coffee with egg? Sounds ridiculous, right? But not in Vietnam! In fact, the egg coffee is one of the national drinks in Vietnam and you might surprise yourself by loving it. The egg coffee isn’t just what it sounds like – egg with coffee -, the egg is whisked with condensed milk to sweeten it. It actually tastes like a dessert.
8. Everyone’s last name is Nguyen
You’ll most likely meet a few locals when you’re there and ask for their Facebook. You’ll notice that almost all of the locals you’ve added is called “Nguyen”. Hm, can they be related? Not really. It’s because Nguyen is the most common last name in Vietnam and approximately 40%(!) of the population shares this last name. So next time you meet someone that’s called Nguyen, don’t ask them if they’re relatives to this person or that person. Chances are, they’re not.
9. Vietnam is stunningly beautiful
This might, and should not, come as a surprise to you, but the country is stunningly beautiful. Everything from the high mountains, the rice terraces, caves, Halong Bay, their long coastline and cities, the country is simply beautiful and that’s why it attracts so many tourists each year. If you want to visit a country that’ll make you fall in love, Vietnam is it.
Just remember to apply for a Vietnam visa before you arrive. Most nationalities are required to get a visa to Vietnam. There are three types of visas you can get: Visa on Arrival, E-Visa or go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply for a visa with them.