Hiking against a backdrop of breathtaking views, sampling delicious traditional food and immerse in the local culture are only some of the reasons that will make you want to visit Vietnam right now. If you need more travel inspiration, read our post and book your trip!
** Guest post by Jolene & Andrzej Ejmont from Wanderlust Storytellers
Vietnam is filled to the brim with exciting and unique things to do and spectacular destinations. Apart from all the touristy attractions that bring masses of visitors to this amazing country, there are plenty of activities and places to see that will simply capture your soul and forever engrave a smile in your heart. We love Vietnam and I’m sure you will love it too. Let us take you on an adventure and provide you with an extension to your bucket list of places to see in Vietnam!
Top 10 reasons why you should visit Vietnam now
Tiny plastic chairs in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
Crowds of locals and tourists alike, storm to Hanoi Old Quarter for their family feasts where they devour the fresh food that is exploding with flavour; all whilst enjoying some good old-fashioned people watching.
Narrow streets beam with life, delicious smells surround you from every angle, making the choice of where to eat almost impossible. We recommend you try out some of the gorgeous cafes around the Beer Corner.
Sitting on tiny little plastic stools is part of the culture and is a great way to immerse yourself properly into the real Vietnam.
Join in with millions of scooters
Vietnam is known for the gazillion scooters roaming around the cities and the country sides. We loved grabbing a cheap scooter rental and exploring various regions of Vietnam on our own. We got lost and saw some truly sensational scenery and met some lovely locals along the way.
Unless you are feeling very brave, we recommend you avoid scootering around the larger cities like HCMC and Hanoi. The traffic there appears to have no rules. Well, at least none that we could understand. It can feel dangerous simply trying to cross a road on foot in these cities, so maybe hire a local driver to take you around instead.
Eat the world-famous Pho
One of the best meals that you can ever have in your life and perhaps one of the cheapest that you can possibly purchase is Pho! Pho Ga, the Vietnamese chicken, and noodle soup are to die for! There is no chicken soup like this in the world and I know, because I tried quite a few.
Vietnamese Pho is one-of-a-kind. And what is even better, your soup comes with an array of sides, that you can freely use to customize your own and unique flavor combination, so you can make it as spicy or as mild as you please. Well, the best way is to try all the condiments, but be careful with the orange sauce that comes in the squeeze bottle. One too many drops and your mouth will be set on fire!
Ride the ancient rattling train at night
Taking the Sapaly Express night train from Hanoi to Sapa was one of the best and most unforgettable train rides that we have ever been on in our lives! This train takes you on a slow and semi-steady ride to the paradise valleys of Sapa. It is like a rollercoaster ride. It is bumpy and shaky, with a continuous feeling of derailment… but yet, when you reach the end you are grateful for the adventure and thrill of the ride.
Hiking in the majestic Sapa Valley
Every Vietnam itinerary should include the extraordinary hike in Sapa Valley. This walk will remain in your memory for years to come. The spectacular Muong Hoa Valley is protected from both sides by the majestic Hoang Lien Son Mountains. These mountains are home to many amazing local tribes, such as the Black Hmong Tribe!
We would strongly recommend you visit Sapa when the amazing cascading-down-the-mountain rice fields are in full bloom or when the fields start to turn gold. This will allow you to truly capture the scenery at its’ best. It is a magical time to visit and you will need a generous size SD card for your camera as the photo opportunities are endless!
Taste the ‘Happy Water’
Vietnamese people are known for their great brewing skills. Nothing goes to waste here! Harvest is a busy time for the local farmers and requires an immense amount of work. What better way to relax and rest after a hard-working day than with delicious home-brewed ‘happy water’.
They call it Rice Wine or Corn Wine, or whatever it is that they make it from, depending on what region you are from and what you are farming. But don’t be fooled by the name! It is definitely not a wine! This happy water tends to light a small fire in your throat and in your chest. Yummy, but I would classify this drink it in a category of liquor or even as a type of vodka. Must try!
Work with the locals
The locals in Vietnam are very friendly. They love tourists and welcome you with open arms everywhere you go. Especially when you want to get your hands dirty with them and help with the chores!
When we visited the Hoi An region, we had a chance to explore the surrounding villages on the scooter that we hired. I had a wonderful time watering the fields filled with vegetables and herbs, whilst the local farmer enjoyed a bit of a laugh at my expense.
Nonetheless, spending time with the locals does get you closer to their culture and teaches you few things about the country and yourself as well. The chance to immerse and delve deep into the local life is one of the reasons why you should visit Vietnam.
Book a home stay
If you are after a real cultural experience, then you cannot visit Vietnam without staying at a home stay. This way you can discover how people live, how they cook, how they spend family time and listen to some interesting local stories.
If you would like to try a home stay in Sapa Valley and wake up in the heart of the beautiful rice paddy country; our friend Bee can accommodate you for sure. You can find her on Facebook under ‘Bee Sapa’. Another popular destination to book a home stay is in the Mekong Delta.
If you are a coffee lover like us, then this is the one for you! Vietnamese coffee is the best coffee that I have ever had in my life and one of the reasons to visit Vietnam! Maybe it is because they use the super delicious condensed milk! Yes, you heard me right!
It really doesn’t matter if you drink it hot or cold this coffee is out of this world! It is one of the reasons, alongside Pho Ga, that we would like to move to Vietnam at one stage, for at least 6 months at a time. I think that these are pretty valid reasons to move to another country, don’t you think?
» Tip: Make sure to try the Egg Coffee as well! Heaven for the taste buds!
Relax on a Junk Boat with a cocktail or two
Finally, taking a two-night trip on a Junk Boat on Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay is simply one thing that cannot be missed and one of the reasons why you should visit Vietnam.
Throw in a couple of thousand mountain-like little islands peeking out from the water everywhere, together with a cocktail and a sensational sunset and you have yourself a magical and romantic setting, for you and your partner. Perfect sight and worthy of being captured by the best of painters or simply by your eyes.
Vietnam is truly an underrated country. It is one of our favourite destinations because it is so easy to immerse yourself in their beautiful culture. The variety of sights and attractions on offers are immense and one can’t help but fall in love with the fresh flavours of their food. Vietnam has a truly special place in my heart.
Jolene and Andrzej are living their dream. The duo is behind Wanderlust Storytellers, their widely successful family travel blog. They love sharing their passion for travel with people all around the globe. The couple says that they have found their purpose in life: “the question and the never-ending search for what we are here for or what we are meant to do with our lives were answered when we created our family travel blog.”
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