Sure, my love for Vietnam is extremely biased. Below are my top reasons why you should visit Vietnam, things so great that an unbiased person will fall in love immediately.
- The people: having read several blogs before visiting, we expected to be treated well by the locals. However, I didn’t anticipate quite how friendly and accommodating they’d be! It wasn’t unusual for us to be sweaty messes in restaurants and on several occasions, employees would find a fan and blow it on us! We were always received with smiles, patience while we used Google translate, and drank boiling hot tea.
- Resilient history: I tear up thinking about how much Vietnam has been though. Regardless of your thoughts about The War, I don’t think there’s any denying that the Vietnamese showed incredible strength and endurance post-American War (AKA the Vietnam War to westerners). And while you’re in South Vietnam, definitely visit the War Remnants museum. Going there will break you and change you.
- The food: where else could you eat all three meals on less $5 per day?? The food in Vietnam is fresh, fast, delicious, and CHEAP. I crave pho and/or a banh mi almost every day. It’s an outrage that I pay $8+ for a banh mi here in Miami. *sigh*
- The coffee: fun fact: Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. However, their coffee is from the robusta bean, which is more intense than the arabica beans we’re used to in the western world. Ca phe su da (think espresso poured over ice and condensed milk) made by the older ladies one the street was so refreshing and a great pick-me-up when it was noon and sweltering out.
- The adrenaline: just crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh City was risky business! But crossing that street, that’s just pedestrian (at least afford me fa pity laugh). Try hopping on the back of a motorbike and travel as locals do. Once you move past the initial terror, it’s really, really fun.
- Affordability: there’s no denying that flying to Vietnam from the United States is expensive. But once that plane ticket is bought, the rest of the trip is really quite cheap. We stayed in a new, five-star hotel for about $100 USD per night. And as previously mentioned, on our cheapest days we could eat for about $5 per day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, coffees).
- Its Beauty: it seems as though the entire country Vietnam has a reputation as a desolate ex-war zone. Ho Chi Minh is a bustling and modern city, much like those in The States. Hoi An was a quant, vibrant town with a lot of colorful charm. And north in Hanoi has an abundance of natural beauty and the vibrancy of a major city.
- Beaches: sure, we Americans have plenty of Pacific coast. However, my first time in the Pacific Ocean was in Vietnam. The beaches were perfect: plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas, attendants that serve snacks and drinks, volleyball courts, and a view of mountains over the ocean’s horizon. There’s nothing better.
- You (might) lose weight: when we visited Vietnam, nearly every day was sunny and HOT. Even by my Miamian standards, Ho Chi Minh was sweltering. But don’t let that deter you: you’ll lose a lot of water weight! Not to mention, most of the food is gluten and dairy-free! Any sensitivities to those common food allergies are of little concern in Vietnam. Shawn and I both came back to The States lighter than how we left, which was very different than how we usually return from vacation.
- The weather: okay, so I know I just told you how hot it is in Vietnam. In Hoi An (central Vietnam), we felt it was significantly hotter than in Ho Chi Minh. I think the difference was that HCMC is a skyscraper clad city where we could find relief from the sun under the building’s shade. It only rained once our entire time abroad so none of our plans were derailed by crummy weather. Just make sure you go when it’s the dry season 🙂
So go, my people! Pay a visit to Vietnam– you won’t regret it. And if you’ve been, let me know what you liked about visiting! There’s nothing I love more than talking to folks about a mutual love for Vietnam.