Welcome to Vietnam, travelers! Xpath compiles here a quick guide of all the coolest places in town, some useful travel tips and fascinating Vietnam facts – a gorgeous country. The mentioned in this post are not all of the Vietnam facts so remember to stay tune!
1. Here is the first of many Vietnam facts: Vietnamese people take nap. In Vietnam, the local enjoy a good quick nap after lunch. That nap could last from 15 minutes to 1 hour at most. While in most Eastern countries, nap is consider for the elderly or the lazy, Vietnamese people think otherwise. Vietnamese consider a good quick nap could give you enough energy to work smoothly for rest of the day. Therefore, they usually start their afternoon shifts at 1:30pm or 2:00pm. If you want to make sure you’re welcome there, do not be any sooner than 1:30pm.
2. There are many Vietnam facts will surprise foreigners, this is one of them. This is may came as a surprise to most foreigners whom original countries did not encourage asking private information when you first met someone. In order to break the ice, Vietnamese people would want to know more about you through a series of questions, some of them are quite private such as age, marriage status, your family, your income… However, do not be offended just yet. They are just trying to be polite and caring. Instead of answering questions that you do not want, try to show interests in the hoods and Vietnamese culture, the Vietnamese will be more than happy to guide you through.
3. They are cheap, easy made and tasty. You can found these two in any restaurants in Vietnam. A fresh iced tea could be a real life-saver in hot days like these. Since they are quite cheap, you can have them for free (in some diners) or 7000 VND at most. If anyone try to charge you more than 7000 VND, they are probably just trying to overcharge you with that. Be a smart traveler.
4. Saigon Notre Dame, was built in the 19th century by French colonists, is one of the symbols of the city and was made 100% from imported French building materials. In addition to its reputation as a top tourist attraction, the basilica also has rumours. The figure of the Virgin Mary was said to shed tears back in 2005, leading to widespread hysteria. A huge crowd gathered and refused to leave for days and all the roads nearby was forced to closing down. In addition to the religion serving purpose, it is also among the most favorite hangout spots for the locals and sights for couples to have their wedding photos taken.
5. The Indochina is consisted of 3 nations: Vietnam, Laos and Campuchia. Among 3 countries, Fansipan is the highest mountain peak, which is 3,143 m (10,312 ft) in elevation. Fansipan is located in the Lào Cai Province of the Northwest region of Vietnam, 9 km southwest of Sa Pa Township in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. In the local dialect, the mountain is called “Hua Xi Pan” and it means the giant tottery stone plate. Fansipan is great for anyone who loves trekking or love the feeling of conquest. The road to Fansipan is the most beautiful in late February because this is the time when flowers starting to bloom. The journey conquering The Roof of Indochina could be a 3-day long adventour, even only in 2 days for those who are in great health and already had trekking experiences.
6. One of many interesting Vietnam facts is about the Vietnamese original dish – Phở. Phở from the Northern of Vietnam is made, mainly, from beef soup and served with some Chinese crullers and hardly any vegetables could be seen in that bowl of Phở. While in the Southern, people serve Phở alongside with a lot of other kinds of vegetables, also, the soup could be made from chicken or pork, not just beef alone. Therefore, Phở in the South is usually tastes sweeter and greasier. Not only so, Vietnamese also have an array of types of Pho, such as Sour Phở, Phở Roll, Stir-fried Phở,…
7. There are Brush Pen Street, Grilled Fish Street, Paper Street, Cotton Street,… They were all named after daily-used objects and more surprisingly, you can buy the item, after which the street was named, on that street. The locals call these 36 streets “Ha Noi’s Old Quarter 36 streets”. Back in the days, these streets lived the socialites, the officials, the most wealthy people in Hanoi. People from all near-by provinces came here to trade goods then left at the end of the day. Later on, in order to improve the stealing situation, people who sold the same items gathered around and the street on which they set up their stores was named after the item.
8. Water puppet, or literally means “making puppets dance on water”, is a traditional form of art started in the 11th century in villages of the Red River Delta in Vietnam. The shows consist of up to 8 puppeteers standing behind a split-bamboo screen, controlling the wooden puppets, which are attached to long bamboo rods and strings hidden underneath the water. The water serves as the stage for the puppets as well as a symbol of the rice harvest in water back in the day. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra consisting of vocals, drums, wooden bells, cymbals, horns, mono-chord, gongs, and flutes plays background music. The singers sing about the tales being acted out by the puppets. The most notable character is “Chú Tễu”, which means “Mr. Laugh-a-lot”, who has the look of a smiling boy who wears only loincloth. He is similar to the jester in foreign tales, who makes comments about political and social’s realities.
9. Vietnamese pizza (Bánh tráng nướng) is a popular street food among Vietnamese young people. This snack resembles the tradition pizza in many ways. They both have a crust, several types of toppings, and a sauce to combine them all together. But instead of a thick dough crust, Bánh tráng nướng uses thin rice papers. As for the toppings, there is no right or wrong in this. You can literally put anything on top of the rice papers. Cheese, sausages, vegetables, anything you like! Instead of using tomato sauce, Vietnamese use quail eggs and maybe some butter to blend everything together. The pizza is made on the street, usually with only a cart of ingredients and a charcoal grill.
10. Motorbike is the most common means of transportation around Vietnam, counting up to more than 7 million in just Ho Chi Minh City only. Though the bikes have little to none space for nothing but another person to sit behind, you can see bikes carrying up to 4 people or sometimes more. But it’s not just human that can fit on a motorbike. Big baskets of fruits and vegetables, bulky pots of plants, giant flammable gas cylinders, and multiple cages of chickens and live pigs are also loaded on this transport. Some families even use their bikes to transfer all their belongings to a new house by cleverly arranging the boxes onto the back.
11. Dalat has no red light. You must have wondered how can Dalat’s transport system work fluently without a single red light? Here are some reasons why. Dalat city is located on Lam Vien plateau, so there are many hills and slopes; therefore, it is not convenient for drivers to stop at traffic lights if they are speeding up on the hills. At intersections, people installed round-abouts intead. Also, Dalat does not have many means of transportation because their population is only around 210.000 people, so the road is wide open, and people’s sense of law is very good.
12. If you are planning riding around Sai Gon on your own, make sure that you ride your motorbike on the right side of the road. At some intersections, you are allowed to turn right even when the red lights are on. Remember this so that you won’t hurt yourself while engage in Vietnamese transport system. Also, wearing helmets is compulsory on the street in Vietnam if you are on a motorbike. You would be fined heavily if disobey this law.
13. Addresses in Vietnam start with a series of numbers, which can be accompanied by a combination of slashes and letters. For example, if you are finding a place with this code 115/3c, you want to go into alley no. 115 and look for complex no.3, which will then be divided into at least 3 houses, a, b, c, or more. House c is the place you’re looking for. However, if you only see a single number on an address, this is the number of the building, not the number of the alley. Keep in mind that the districts are arranged arbitrarily, meaning that District 1 might not be next to District 2.
There will be more fascinating Vietnam facts upcoming. And if you are planning for a trip to Vietnam, remember to contact Xpath for an unforgettably wonderful trip!
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Nguyễn Huỳnh Anh Khoa
I am Khoa, a gay student and a self-trained artist in Saigon. I love to talk about our culture, history and politics. I love arts and I call myself an…Learn more