On my last trip to Mui Ne, I had a wonderful time chatting with some young adults who are on sabbatical or gap year- It’s a one-year transition period from high school to college. A chance for students to immerse themselves in a culture that’s completely different than their own. Some do it to evaluate what career they want to pursue in college, while others do it to have a break. From the many conversations we had, I gathered the top 6 reasons why Vietnam is probably the best place to spend your gap year too.
1. Volunteer Jobs.
Be a part of a noble cause while gaining first-hand work experience. There are tons of agencies that arrange volunteer jobs for 2-24 weeks. Generally, the agency offers a package that includes board and lodging; volunteers can either stay in the dorm together with the other volunteers or housed with local Vietnamese families for full immersion. You can choose which volunteer works for you, be it working with the underprivileged children teaching them how to read or taking care of older people, feeding the orphans, working with the mentally challenged children, and even assisting HIV patients. For complete details and best volunteer opportunities in Vietnam, visit Go Abroad.
2. Cost of Living.
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is one, if not the cheapest place to live for backpackers. Some study shows that you can live in Vietnam for as low as $19.68/day. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Hoi An are the top 3 cheapest cities to live according to this study.
Based on the daily expenses index, such as the cheapest accommodation, at least two transportation, one paid attraction, three meals, and miscellaneous for either drinks or some entertainment.
3. Rich in History.
If you are a history buff and would like to dig more than knowing some facts such as Vietnam as a Socialist country and Vietnam as the 15th, the most populous country in the world, well, this is the perfect country for you. When visiting Vietnam, you couldn’t help but noticed that among many other nationalities, there are just too many Russians flocking in the country. In fact, in some cities, restaurant menus and signages have Russian texts. Sellers even speaks Russian to be able to communicate well. Why is this so? Aside from the fact that it’s a great holiday destination, it’s also because Vietnam was a buffer state and an essential ally of the former Soviet Union in the Cold Wars. Many Soviet and Russian specialists were sent to Vietnam in the 1980s to assist in its newly-established petroleum exploration activities, and some just stayed there for good. It is always better to understand evocative history by walking through it than just re-imagining the sequence from the books.
4. Every adventure-seekers dream place.
Aside from the fact that there are eight listed UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam. Adventure seekers will never run out of things to do here. Be it exploring the countryside in Sapa or trekking the world’s largest cave, Son Doong in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, visiting the charming coastal city of Danang, strolling in nearby Hoi An Ancient Town or Enjoying the French colonial architecture in Dalat city. Vietnam is also home to some of the top beaches and dive sites such as towns of Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. There’s simply no end to adventures.
You can easily explore Vietnam through a motorbike for less than a month. Yes, you heard that right, For a detailed motorbike route and how to buy a bike in Vietnam visit here.
5. Proximity to other countries.
Vietnam shares borders with three countries: Cambodia (southwest), China (north), and Laos (northwest). It’s good to know as many other cultures and traditions as you can while you are on this side of the world.
5.1 China is one of the most powerful economies in the world. It has a border with northern Vietnam, and there are three main border crossings: in Lao Cai- Hekou (40 km from Sapa) in the north. Mong Cai and Dong Dang. The border gate connecting China is called Friendship Gate (also called Huu Nghi) – Ping Xian it is 17km from Lang Son Province. Find out all that you need for border crossing between Vietnam and China through here
5.2 Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia that borders Vietnam to the northwest. Although it can be quite a journey, travelers can enter Vietnam by car, bus, or motorbike from Laos through eight checkpoints. The most famous route is from Hanoi to Luang Prabang or Vientiane. Find out all that you need for border crossing between Vietnam and Laos through here
5.3 Cambodia, also known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, can be reached from the south of Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Travelers can cross the border by bus from Moc Bai Bavet. You can also travel by boat on the Mekong River from Chau Doc in Vietnam to Phnom Penh. Find out all that you need for border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia through here.
The three categories of Border gate accept for Vietnam e-visa are International airports, Land crossing, and Seaports (entry by boat) For the complete detail about the border and visa regulations. Visit Vietnam Immigration.
6. Learn New Cuisines.
Isn’t it valuable to master another cuisine aside from the one you grew up with? Well, Vietnamese food is very famous internationally, probably not as hit as Thai food, but it’s the best cuisine for health-conscious foodie. Just like other countries, Vietnam cuisine has different characteristics in each region. These regions contain sub-regions with specific cuisines. In Vietnam, the cooking school is spread all over the country. If you want to learn the secret recipes for making some famous Vietnamese food such as Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle), Bun Thang (vermicelli and chicken soup), Bun Cha (noodles and grilled meat), etc., this is the best place to hone your cooking skills during your gap year.