One of the biggest reasons that I fell in love with Vietnam is because of the people. They are honestly some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met and I have made life longs friends. They have an eagerness to learn about your life and a passion for sharing their world with you. They will open up to you, invite you to unforgettable experiences and share their love of Vietnam with you over a cold beer or coffee.
1. They know how to enjoy family time and life in general
The Vietnamese are really big on family life. Every TET holiday (which celebrates Chinese New Year) or on any national holiday, the big cities empty and the roads out of town fill with people off to visit their relatives in the countryside. It’s a time to be with family, to cook food and eat together, to catch up and play games. The villages are filled with the youth who have left, parents and children are reunited and the air fills with love and laughter. Pretty much every chance they get, locals will travel and take time to be with the people they love most.
But it’s not just their love of family that I really admire and respect. They also know how to have a good time, with very limited resources. I often see Vietnamese people in fits of hysterics over a game of snap, or shrieking with excitement while playing cards. They will laugh and joke all afternoon over a cup of coffee or milk tea, and will sit for hours around the lake talking and laughing. Generally, the little things in life that make it worthwhile and what the Vietnamese really respect and appreciate. Love, laughter and of course, family and friends.
2. They aren’t scared of hard work
Many Vietnamese will be up and about in the streets by 5am, carrying cargo and goods from place to place, settings up shops and stalls and preparing for work for the day. Those who only work a 9-5 job will often be up early to do exercise before work, either in the park or a local gym.
Then, a large amount of both adults and kids attend after school or weekend classes to learn English, in order to improve their chances of a higher paying job or moving abroad.
On top of this, many are also learning other extra curricula activities such as sports, music or another language. I really admire their commitment and dedication to life and improving themselves and not giving up. It’s not surprising that when I ask my students what they do at the weekend they usually say “Sleep!”
3. They are interested in you and your way of life
They will ask you about your life back home, your friends and family, where you studied and what you do in your free time. They will ask you what you think of your country and your government, how much you earn and whether you like your job. They will want to know about your hobbies, customs and traditions. They will enquire about food from your home country and what you like to eat. They want to know your favourite Vietnamese dishes and what you love about Vietnam. They will ask what countries you have visited and stare with wonder and they will always want to know whether you are married and do you have kids. Warning. If your answer is no then the next question will always be “When are you getting married and having kids?!”
4. They do things differently
Vietnam is crazy for sure. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t see something that blows my mind. I’ve witnessed labourers walking along telephone wires above my head, no ropes, drilling and welding in a cap and flip flops. I’ve seen eight people on the back of a motorbike (as well as a wardrobe, chickens, balloons, blocks of ice, water containers, the list goes on…). On motorbikes kids squatt in the front, others hang off the back. I’ve seen telephones wires so mismatched and tangled that they look like spaghetti, stuck together with blue tape.
5. They are extremely hospitable
I have befriended many people during my time in Vietnam from my cleaner, to my teaching assistant, to the lady I buy my Banh Mi (sandwich) from, to the people who I teach and tour guides who I have met. The Vietnamese people enjoy meeting you as much as you enjoy meeting them.
I have been invited to people’s houses for dinner on countless occasions, asked to attend weddings, gone on holiday with people, been adopted for the night and made lifelong friends from only the briefest of encounters. As a general rule, if you are kind and friendly to them, they are kind and friendly to you.
The tour guides in Vietnam are also usually great. They speak very good English (especially considering that most of them have never left Vietnam) and they understand the expectations of Foreigners and know what you might find difficult. They also have in-depth knowledge of their tours and their country and they usually always have an excellent sense of humour and a smile on their face.
For more information on how to obtain a Vietnam Visa On Arrival to start your holiday or journey then please get in touch 😊