8 Things That Will Make You Fall For Vietnam

Noisy, polluted, scams, robberies, aggressive touts – these were all words I’d heard describing Vietnam before going there. When I touched down in Hanoi, I was beginning to wonder whether I had made the right decision to spend a month backpacking from the north to the south.

But while all the haters were hating, I had to remind myself not to let it cloud my decision and that one of the great things about travel is that it’s all subjective. One person’s experience of a place, might not be the same as someone elses. So that’s why I decided to give Vietnam a chance. And I’m so glad I did – Vietnam is a country that is thriving with diversity and energy and has ended up being my favourite destination in South East Asia so far.

Adventures in Vietnam - Lovely Little Hoi An

But what makes Vietnam so special? 

Street Food

As my nickname ‘Noodles’ may suggest, I’m a big fan of Asian food, and have a penchant for the cheeky Thai or Chinese takeaway from time to time. But nothing quite tops the real thing and the street food in Vietnam is to die for! Whether it’s noodle soups, sticky rice, stuffed crispy pancakes, fresh spring rolls – Vietnam’s street food leaves such an explosion of flavours in the mouth, your taste buds won’t even know what hit them. Much of Vietnam’s culture is centred around food, bringing communities together. At any hour of the day. you’ll find the locals perched on plastic stools outside store fronts chowing down and enjoying each-other’s company. Eating street food is one of the best way’s to get to know the locals, so grab a stool and join them!

8 Things That Will Make You Fall For Vietnam

The Motorbikes

Aaah the motorbikes. The millions and millions of motorbikes. Anyone who has been to Vietnam will know that this is their preferred mode of transport and will be familiar with the terrifying (but fun) challenge of crossing the street. At first it seems almost impossible as an army of motorbikes loudly whizz past you. As petrifying as it is, the trick is to keep walking at an even pace, and the motorcyclists will move around you. Once you’ve got the hang of it (and given yourself a well-deserved high-five for surviving) you’ll be able to stand by and appreciate the beauty of this organised chaos.

1000s Years of History

Vietnam has a rich and fascinating history, and its colonial past is evident wherever you look. Having been occupied and divided by various countries over the decades, everything from its architecture to its food embodies different foreign influences. Plus, you only have to visit the museums and listen to stories from the locals to fully understand the aftermath of the Vietnam War. But while Vietnam may have a complicated past, it has still managed to emerge from it all with its own sense of identity.

Adventures in Vietnam - First Stop...Crazy Hanoi!

Halong Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is every bit as breathtaking as they say it is (so please don’t listen to travellers who say it’s overrated). Yes, it may be incredibly touristy, but its sheer mystical beauty makes it a must for anyone visiting Vietnam. The best way to explore the bay is by staying overnight on a junk boat, while cruising peacefully around some of the 2000 limestone karsts that rise high above the tranquil, turquoise waters.

Adventures in Vietnam – From Halong Bay to Ninh Binh

Coffee

It’s fair to say that the Vietnamese know a thing or two about coffee…being the second biggest exporter in the world after all. There are many different types that you can try while being there, mostly accompanied with sweetened condensed milk (my idea of heaven in a cup!). But probably the most interesting type I sampled was their “shit coffee” (as seen above) – which is basically coffee made from beans that a weasel has eaten and pooped out! Sounds gross, but tastes amazing!

8 Things That Will Make You Fall For Vietnam

Hoi An

Of all the places I visited in Vietnam, this quaint little ancient town sitting peacefully on the coast, had to be one of my favourites. Once a major trading port, where Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and Indian merchants once settled, the town boasts brightly coloured architecture and temples, influenced by a mix of these different cultures. Now converted into an array of stylish restaurants, wine bars and tailor shops all adorned with pretty hanging lanterns, centred around a charming little riverside, Hoi An has a unique charm and it’s easy to see why it has been labelled the “Venice of Vietnam.”

Adventures in Vietnam - Lovely Little Hoi An

The Diverse Scenery

Vietnam has some truly dramatic landscapes and I was continuously surprised by how different parts of the country looked. From beautifully secluded beaches to lush green rice paddy fields, magnificent limestone caves and winding waterways, Vietnam is blessed with an abundance of beautiful scenery that does not grow tiresome on the eyes. As for the cities and towns, they all have their own unique character, boasting a mix of imperial and modern architecture among narrow ancient streets. No matter where you go in Vietnam, its diverse scenery is bound to impress.

The People

Contrary to what I’d heard about the Vietnamese not being as friendly as some of their neighbouring countries….I actually found them to be some of the kindest people I met on my travels, who helped me out in many a sticky situation (well maybe with the exception of the grumpy travel agent we met in Hoi An….but I got the feeling he was having a bad day….don’t we all?!?) Generally always smiling and laughing, the Vietnamese really made an impression on me. So if you end up visiting – take every opportunity you can to get to know them.

Adventures in Vietnam - Lovely Little Hoi An

Have you ever been to Vietnam? What were the things that you enjoyed the most about this country? 

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    globaloud
    September 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Ah, Vietnamese food. Even though I’ve never been there I ate a lot of it while living in Berlin. Bun Bo Xao is definitely my favorite Asian dish, even better than super popular Pad Thai. Vietnamese Coffee is also something I would suggest to any coffee lover. Almost as good as Italian espresso.

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 22, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      I really need to find myself a great Vietnamese restaurant here in England 😉

  • Reply
    ashbynight16
    September 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    These pictures are beautiful! And I have a huge fan of Asian foods as well 🙂 can never get enough!

  • Reply
    Hostel Highlights – My Top Three in Vietnam |
    October 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    […] one of my previous posts, I touched on eight things that made me fall for Vietnam. The history, the people, the culture, the coffee, the food….oh the […]

  • Reply
    AB3
    October 7, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Beautiful article. I did get to go to Vietnam and enjoy it from deep in the Mekong to the norther Halong Bay! It was an experience that left an indelible mark upon my soul. I went by myself on a Contiki trip and the beauty of the country and the freedom I felt in my soul I will never forget. Everything was memorable but some of the things that stick out most to me were the days I spent in Hoi An where we rented motorbikes and drove around the back fields. It was exhilarating.

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. Your trip sounds wonderful! I agree that Hoi An is truly a special place.

  • Reply
    Amanda Bidwell
    January 3, 2016 at 9:45 am

    My partner and I lived in Vietnam for a year where we taught English and totally agree with this list. The generosity of the people there (particularly those who don’t have a lot) is overwhelming and inspiring. Also their passion for food and feeding people is awesome – fair to say we ate our way across the country and loved every minute!

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      January 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Thanks Amanda! Glad you agree! Where in Vietnam did you work?

  • Reply
    Jo (The Blonde)
    January 22, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I am moving to Hoi An for a couple of months. Can’t wait! Heard so many good things about it and your post just confirms all of them.

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      January 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Hoi An is beautiful. One of my favourites in Vietnam 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    February 2, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Well done you for not listening to other’s opinions… I’ve heard a few bad experiences from the country but it’s still a place I am desperate to visit..you’ve made me want even more!

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 22, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      You definitely should! I really don’t see how people can’t like it! But then that is just me.

      • Reply
        Louis
        December 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

        My bad experience was the war. I loved South Vietnam, sort of remind me of my country. Tropical, hot and humid. I spent 18 months and learned a lot about the country side and people. I would love to spend 3 weeks and visit some of the old base camps I lived. I presume they are long gone, but I always have one place in my mind that I fell in love with. A pagoda in the middle of a rice fields on Highway 13 not far from the highway between HO Chi Minh and Bien Hoang. I hope I get to go this year coming.

  • Reply
    Jesper, The Biveros Effect
    March 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    The food must have been amazing, at least it looks really good on your picture. 🙂

  • Reply
    budget jan
    March 17, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Hoi An was a big favourite with Marty and I and the food was incredible. I was always amazed by the street food vendors.

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 22, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      It’s such a unique and charming place. I’d love to go back! The food (especially the Cau Lau) was delish!

  • Reply
    Jey Jetter
    March 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Great list! And I think it’s with many places around the world, sometimes you gotta look a bit closer before you have an opinion. With this post, though, you definitely carved out the beauty Vietnam has to offer! Lovely!

  • Reply
    Dee Aitchison
    July 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    We land in Ho Chi Minh city on November 10 for 3 weeks. I have always dreamed of visiting Vietnam, and this article just stirs up my excitement even more! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Psyche
    August 31, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Definitely in my bucket list!

  • Reply
    Sarah (JetSetting Fools)
    September 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    These are all the reasons I’m in love with Vietnam…and can’t wait to go back! The food, the people, the cities, the scenery….love all of it!

  • Reply
    stephanie
    November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Ive been to Vietnam for a month last year and loved it.
    Especially, like you pointed out to, Hoi An and Sapa.
    x

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