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15 Reasons To Love Vietnam

By Jolene Ejmont of Wanderlust Storytellers

We always wondered what Vietnam would be like. It was one of those sorts of destinations where we truly did not know what to expect but I think that travelling to a destination with an open mind and no expectations is sometimes the best way to go!  Never would we have thought that this place would change our lives and, in so many different ways, change who we were and how we looked at life.   It is a country that captures your mind, enriches your senses and teaches you about a new sense of appreciation for life.  A country that you will love exploring and, when you leave, you might find yourself missing the country, the people, the culture and the scenery more than you thought you would!

15 Reasons Why We Love Vietnam… & You Will Too!

local children in Sapa Vietnam

We fell in love with Vietnam for many reasons, the most important ones are a bit hard to put into words as it was something that we felt so deeply, some sort of connection that simply bonded with our souls, that created a little dance.  We fell in love with Vietnam over and over and we hope to return one day soon and spend more time there, exploring slower, soaking in all that we possibly can.

Whether you’ve yet to visit, or have already been, we’ve got some reasons we think Vietnam is a place that can touch anyone’s hearts and make them fall in love!

1. The Truly Spectacular Limestone Islands Of Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay vietnam

Ha Long Bay is a very popular tourist destination and typically one of the first places people think about when discussing a trip to Vietnam.  There are some pretty obvious reasons why Ha Long Bay is so popular, however even though we knew that the limestone islands would be amazing, we didn’t realize how truly gobsmacked we would be by this truly unique sight! Situated in northeast Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is best experienced by junk boat (an ancient Chinese sailing ship). We felt that the 3 day/2 night cruise was the perfect length to soak in all that the bay had to offer.  We do have a tip though, and that is to choose a cruise that includes Bai Tu Long Bay as part of its itinerary as this will allow you to venture away from the hoards of tourist boats into more peaceful and secluded areas.



2. The Beautiful People Who Live in Vietnam

The majority of the Vietnamese people live pretty hard working lives.  They have very little in terms of material items.  Their homes contain only the necessary items needed to survive and yet you will generally find smiling and friendly faces around Vietnam. Regardless of their grueling hours working hard, they seem happy.  Here in this country, you won’t find people walking past you with their heads down stuck in their phones. You won’t find people walking past you with headphones plugged into their ears.  People will notice you, people will smile at you, wave at you and acknowledge you.

Sure, there are going to be some pretty persistent hagglers out on the streets.  The people are pretty desperate to earn some money as with all their hard work, they earn very little and often live from one day to the next. You might feel the desperation as they try to push you to ‘buy from me’.  Keep in mind the circumstances they work under and how different their life is to yours!  That doesn’t mean you have to feel obliged to buy from them. Keeping your temper in check and affirming your ‘no thanks’ will be all that is needed.  We loved the people of Vietnam and we missed them when we returned to our technology-driven home country.

3. The Vibrant, Fresh And Delicious Cuisine

vietnamese-cuisine-why-we-love-vietnam

The food in Vietnam was some of the best cuisine we have ever had!  You can taste the vibrancy of the fresh ingredients –  meals made with love and meals made with herbs and spices to tantalize your tastebuds!  Each region of Vietnam offers its own specialities together with choices of the more traditional versions of their cuisine.  Food in Vietnam is absolutely delicious. Our recommendation?  Just try everything!

4. The Variety In Products Found In The Local Markets

We really enjoyed exploring the local markets in Vietnam.  There are some pretty touristy markets around, selling the typical souvenirs and kids toys however, if you ask around, you will find more authentic markets which are much more interesting to visit. It is within those markets that you will find an incredible buzz of local activity. From flower sellers to fruit and veggie stalls, from spices and a variety of beans displayed in baskets to a selection of animals such as birds, turtles and cats and from dried fish to fresh fish, these markets are visited daily by the Vietnamese people, usually early in the morning before starting their own day of work.  It is incredible to watch and we highly recommend hanging out at the local markets to learn more about the local way of life.

5. The Regions That Are Truly Bursting With Colour

Hoi an vietnam ancient town

Hoi An Ancient Town’s architecture is really spectacular – a mix of French colonial, Chinese and Japanese. It is a town that is screaming with colour, charm and one filled with eclectic designs.  Awaken your sense of sight as you try to absorbs the sights: colours, lanterns, bougainvillaea flowers and patterns found in abundance within the town streets.  Hoi An is pretty touristy, but one can’t help but fall in love with the bright yellows from the walls lining the streets and alleyways, the colours of the lanterns strung above your head and the blues and reds of the boats lining the rivers.  The vibrancy of colour in this destination will be engraved on your mind for years to come!

6. Vietnam’s Choice In Adventurous And Unique Activities

A trip to Vietnam offers a variety of adventurous and unique activities. From exploring the countryside through local villages on a Russian sidecar motorcycle, to exploring the farming fields by bicycle. You can sign up for some treks through the mountains and rice paddies of Sa Pa and experience local life through a homestay or head out on a junk boat through Ha Long Bay. You can explore close by islands by speedboat or why not go camp out in some incredible caves? Whatever your heart desires, Vietnam has you covered!

7.  The Incredible Natural Beauty Of Vietnam

sapa hike in vietnam

One of the main reasons we loved Vietnam as much as we did was because of the fact that the scenery was forever and always changing.  From one region to the next, each had its own natural beauty to offer, each unique and each different from the region before. In Sa Pa we found the most beautiful lush green rice paddy landscapes, cascading down mountainsides down to the valleys below. In the northeast, we found the most incredible limestone islands protruding out of the Ha Long Bay waters. Central Vietnam offered some gorgeous beaches, marble mountains and gorgeous countryside scenery surrounding the villages, whilst the South holds the Mekong river. Your senses will always feel alive in Vietnam, always something new to take in, something new to appreciate.

8. The Fact That You Can Indulge In Luxurious Tours And Accommodation At Affordable Prices

hoi vietnam luxury

Like most families, we find it challenging to be able to afford luxury while on holidays in Australia. The beauty of travelling to countries located in southeast Asia is that you can afford to treat yourself with luxuries that would otherwise not be affordable!  That beach front suite might just be within reach now!  That cruise on a 5 star boat on Ha Long Bay, whilst expensive for Vietnam standards, is still very affordable compared to the prices you might be used to in your home country.  Who doesn’t love spoiling themselves with a bit of luxury every now and then?  Especially if that luxury doesn’t ‘break the bank’.

9. Delicious Choices Of Different Types Of Vietnamese Coffee

vietnamese coffee

The coffee is pretty unique in Vietnam and actually forms a large part of their culture. Here the Vietnamese coffee is part of socialising and as a result you can find this drink in different forms, formats and styles – something to suit most tastes and satisfy most desires!  Our favourite by far was the traditional Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trứng) in Hanoi (trust me it sounds gross but it truly delicious!) and we simply could not get enough of the strong drip coffee with a layer of condensed milk. Served hot (Cà Phê Sữa Nóng), or cold (Cà Phê Sữa Đá), it always made us happy! There are loads of coffees to try out, including another favourite of ours – the coconut ice cold coffee!

10. Cheap Massages

I think we had a massage almost every day on our travels through Vietnam.  When massages are so cheap it is hard not to indulge in a special treat on a regular basis!  And when you have been walking and exploring all day long, it really just happens to be a perfect way to end the day! Sure if you want a quality massage you might have to fork out a few more dollars and go to a fancier spa, but you can also get really decent massage treatments for not much money at all if you persist and find the ones you truly like!

11. Authentic Vietnamese Touches Visible Throughout The Country

Authentic-things-to-do-in-Hanoi-Traintracks

It is true that some aspects of Vietnam have been very much geared towards the tourism industry yet, if you look in the right spots and you get off the typical tourist trail, you will find some beautiful authentic aspects of Vietnamese life. In Hanoi for example, we couldn’t resist going for a walk down the train tracks. Life on the train tracks may look amazing and somewhat romantic to us, as foreigners, but this is just everyday life here. A densely populated Old Quarter means that people live wherever they can, even if it means living in close proximity to the railway tracks.  People simply make the most of what they’ve got. Cooking, cleaning, washing, resting or enjoying the family gatherings with their loved ones, just like anywhere else in the world.  This is just one of the many examples of authentic touches still found in Hanoi as well as all across Vietnam.

12. Beautiful Palm Tree Lined Beaches

hoi an beach vietnam

Imagine golden, fine-sand covered beaches, all lined and filled with spectacular palm trees. Picture hot sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see and a shaded beach bed to lay on with a delicious, freshly prepared refreshing cocktail delivered to you by one of the local cafe workers!  Sounds too good to be true?  Well in Vietnam this is the norm!  Sure these beaches might not be the most impressive beaches that we have seen thus far, but we can promise you that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, indulging in laziness on some of the best beaches in Vietnam.

13. Having a Variety Of Cruises

Vietnam has a variety of pretty impressive cruises offered.  For a luxurious cruise, you can head out on a 5 star junk boat on Ha Long Bay.  Whilst in the South, you can explore a more cultural side on the Mekong Delta. Both types of cruises are incredibly different to the other, both offer very unique experiences and very contrasted natural scenery!

14. The Insane Scooter Bike Culture

scooters in Hanoi Vietnam

People going in all different directions, seemingly no rules on the road, but somehow it all comes together in a perfectly coordinated and synchronised manner. Beeping of the horns everywhere, locals and tourists talking all different languages all around you.  The only way possible to describe the atmosphere on the roads in Vietnam is CRAZY!  At first, the noise and the, what appears to be. ‘chaotic’ traffic is almost like an assault to your senses.  You might even be too afraid to even attempt to cross the roads!  But after a while, this little chaotic traffic ‘dance’ of the Vietnamese locals becomes the norm and with fluidity you can cross the road as if you belonged there all along!  I think this scooter culture is very much a part of our strongest memories of Vietnam!  What an experience!

15. The Ease To Hire A Scooter And Go Exploring Yourself!

Half the fun of visiting this country is being able to easily hire a scooter and explore life in Vietnam at your own pace.  By choosing to explore this way, instead of in a tour group, you allow for opportunities to get lost, and let’s face it, it’s usually when you are lost that you discover the real hidden secrets of a country.  We truly enjoyed exploring the surrounding areas of Sa Pa by scooter seeing waterfalls, taking short walks, and experiencing some incredible views and roads!  We also got ourselves delightfully lost in the countryside of Hoi An and met some great locals as a result!  I must admit we did stay away from scooter hire in the crazy busy cities of Hanoi and HCMC, but I know of many travellers that even braved those streets!

 

As you can see, there are many reasons why we fell in love with this beautiful Asian country.  Listing 15 reasons was super easy and I could probably add 15 more!   If you love Asian destinations and you haven’t been to Vietnam yet, I highly recommend you visit!  It happens to be one of our favourite countries in southeast Asia.  Vietnam, you stole our hearts and changed our very nature!

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wanderlust StorytellersJolene & Andrzej of Wanderlust Storytellers, live in Australia with their two girls when they are not travelling the world inspiring and enticing families to do the same! They are a whole family of wanderlusters, a family who loves to tell their stories, a family who wants to chase dreams! You can also follow their adventures on Twitter and Facebook!


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