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21 reasons for loving Vietnam

Sat, 10 Jan 2015. Last updated Sun, 03 May 2015 20:11

Alison Spiegel, Associate Taste Editor at Huffington Post, recently published an article revealing 21 reasons for loving Vietnam. Accordingly, Vietnam is an ideal place for travelers because of its superb street foods, natural sceneries, and kind people.

1, Street food

A street vendor

In Vietnam, taking a leisurely stroll around any streets, especially in big cities like Saigon, Da Nang, or Hanoi, travelers can find a decent food at a reasonable price in street stalls or small stores. At any time of the day, it is easily to catch small street vendors under blue awnings with plastic chairs which are selling different types of Vietnamese street foods such as Banh My, noodle soups, rice pancakes, pork rolls, and so on. The vendors are often located in open markets, on pavements, or in front of apartment buildings and condominiums. Tasting some type of Vietnamese street foods is a nice experience that any visitors should try when they travel in this S-shaped country.  

2, Motorbikes

Traffic in Hanoi

According to Alison Spiegel, one of the first and most important things when visiting Vietnam is to learn how to cross a street. Setting in big cities in Vietnam like Hanoi Capital or Ho Chi Minh City and immersing in endless lines of people moving a the road, almost foreign tourists will be surprised at Vietnam traffics. In Vietnam, although there are many types of vehicles, motorbikes seem to be the most favorite one. It is estimated that there are approximately 39 million motorbikes in Vietnam currently. Sharing an experience of crossing streets in Hanoi, Llewellyn King, a famous creator and executive producer of White House Chronicle, advised that "If you want to cross the street, pluck up you courage, ask forgiveness from your Creator and step into the maelstrom of motorized wonder believing, as you must, that the throng of riders in Hanoi have extrasensory perception and will part, like the Red Sea, for you". According to King, traffics in Vietnam is "a wonder not because, like so many of the world's cities, it's so terrible, but because it flows in the most extraordinary way".

3, Coffee

Vietnamese Café in Old Quarter Hanoi

Being known as the largest second country in terms of exporting coffee, Vietnam is widely recognized in the world for its famous coffee brands such as Trung Nguyen Coffee and Buon Ma Thuot Coffee. Vietnam coffee has special flavor which make itself different from other types. Especially, Vietnam Egg Coffee has become more and more favorite and widely recognized by world-wide travelers.

4, Mekong Delta

Crowded traders in Cai Rang Floating Market

Mekong Delta is located in the Southwest Vietnam, where the Mekong River flows into the sea. "Visitors can go to Can Tho, the largest city in the area, and get a real taste of rural life in this region affectionately known as the "rice bowl.” Traveling up the backwaters, visitors will be wowed by the floating markets and above all else, the friendly people who live in the region", Spiegel advised.

5, Caves

Phong Nha Ke Bang Cave

Vietnam has a diverse system of caves, in which, Son Doong Cave is known as the world largest discovered cave until now. In addition to Son Doong, there are many other caves distributed throughout the country such as cave system in Halong Bay and Phong Nha Ke Bang and a newly-discovered lava cave system in Dak Nong Province, mainly in Krong No District.

6, Markets

Fruits and vegetable area in Ben Thanh Market

According to the description of Spiegel, "Markets in Vietnam may not be cavernous underground worlds of stunning rock formations and skyscraper high stalagmites, but they can be cavernous worlds unto themselves". Visitors can find everything they need from fabric, clothes to fresh or dry foods. When visiting Vietnam markets, travelers can get lost discovering the rows for hours. 

7, Fresh Seafood

A store selling fresh seafood in a Vietnam market

A plus point of Vietnam markets is that food does not smell at all. Coming close stalls selling fresh seafood, you will not smell anything because these fishes, shrimps, crabs, prawns... were newly caught a few hours ago.

8, Fresh Meat

Fresh meat in Bac Ha market

Similar to seafood, same goes for the meat. "When you see a pig's head laid out on a table next to a slew of other cuts, you'd assume something would smell. The meat was butchered no more than four or five hours ago so it doesn't give off any smell. You can tell it is super fresh by the bright red color. If you see browning meat, it may be a day old and will cost less. Most people buy their meat the same day it was butchered, however, making for some extraordinarily fresh dishes and surprisingly pleasant market experiences", Spiegel shared his experience when visiting a market in Vietnam.

9, Fresh Vegetables

A store selling Vietnam fresh vegetables

According to Spiegel, it is possible to remember all types of vegetables in Vietnam, however, tourists should try all. It is noteworthy that similar to meat, seafood, and other types of foods in Vietnam, vegetables in Viet markets is always fresh.

10, Fresh Fruits

Vietnam fresh fruits

It would not be exaggerating to say that Vietnam is a paradise of tropical fruits. Thanks to the favor of nature, Vietnam fruits are quite diverse, some cannot be found in other countries. If travelers see spiky fruits that they can identify, may be it is a durian, dragon fruit, or rambutan. All of them are worth to try.

11, Vistas

Tam Coc Rice Valley

Not only having fresh fruit and vegetables and superb food, Vietnam is famous for its natural landscapes. Tourists may be surprised by spectacular beauty of the horizon, especially at sunset and the mountainous vista with "filled with sharp undulations, like shoulders standing side by side.

12, Halong Bay

Halong Bay

In recent years, Halong Bay is not an unfamiliar name of world-wide travelers anymore. This is one of favorite Vietnam sightseeing spots of many travelers. From Hanoi, it takes only 4 hours to travel to Halong to discover 1,600 small and big islands. To enhance your experiences in Halong, you can stay overnight in a cruise, enjoy its amenities and ultimates, and savor the magnificent beauty of the Bay. Depending on your budget, you can choose from 3-star to 5-star cruise.

13, History

U.S. Army helicopters attacks a Viet Cong camp

Vietnam has the long historical tradition. Being undergone many wars to protect for the liberation and independence of the country, Vietnam still remains historical evidences of colonial influences in monuments, museums, and architectures. Visiting these places, tourists will have chance not only to learn about Vietnam history but also history of other countries.

14, Bánh Xèo: Rice Pancakes

Xeo cake

Banh Xeo, which is named Rice Pancakes in English, is a favorite Vietnam food of international travelers. Being made from rice flour, water, and other simple materials such as bean sprouts, shrimps, and some types of Vienam herbs, Banh Xeo still attracts anyone because of its exquisite flavors. "They owe their yellow color to turmeric, not eggs, and they'll typically have some small prawns cooked inside. The real fun comes when you add all the fresh herbs you want, and dip them into a sweet and sour sauce", Spiegel provides the description for this special cake.

15, Sapa                  

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa is a small town in the Northwest of Vietnam. From Hanoi, tourists can travel to Sapa by train. It is well worth for a trip from Hanoi to Sapa because of its dramatic rice terraces and surrounding peaks, special culture, colorful brocades, homestay services, and honest people.

16, City Parks

Hanoi Botanical Garden - Place for morning exercise

In every morning in Vietnam, city's parks are always ideal places to see daily life of local people. At this time, Vietnamese people often gather in a park and do exercises. "It's a wonderful sight to behold and scene in which to partake if you're up for it".

17, Beaches

Pristine beauty in Khem Beach

Referring to Vietnam travel, it should be a mistake without mentioning beautiful beaches in the country. The most well-known beaches which receive a great attention from tourists are in Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Con Dao, or Phu Quoc. Nonetheless, some less-traveled beaches like Doc Let, Binh Ba, Nam Du, Ba Lua are also a great choice for those who want to find a peaceful and transquil place to relax. 

18, Fresh Herbs

Vietnam herbs

Vietnam is not only a paradise of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood but also a paradise of herbs. Herbs are an indispensable ingredients for almost Vietnam dishes. It can be said that herbs creating the soul and the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. Dishes will become more attractive and delicious if adding suitable herbs.

19, Hoi An

Hoi An Fairy Tale Atmosphere

Along with Sapa and Halong Bay, Hoi An Ancient Town is another place should not ignore when traveling Vietnam. Hoi An is known as Venice of Vietnam with "the gorgeous, canal-side setting and preserved colonial French architecture" and a wide range of choice for cuisine like Cao Lau, White Rose Dumplings, etc.

20, Noodles Soup

Pho Hanoi

Pho (Vietnamese Noodles Soup) is a symbolic dish of the country. At any time and in anywhere, it is easily to find a street vendor and enjoy Pho. There is plenty of choice for Pho and noodle soups, in details, travelers can enjoy with chicken, beefs, snails, etc.

21, The People

safe and friendly Hanoi

Kind, thoughtful, optimistic and generous are words that travelers using to describe Vietnamese people. If having a chance to visit Vietnam, you should take every opportunity to get to know them. 

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