Do you ever wonder why Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations in South East Asia?
It’s not just because of our crystal clear waters, the beautiful scenery and for a casual look around.
It’s because Vietnam offers experiences no other country can offer. It can fill you with wonderment, excitement and enthral you into its every crevice, gorge, sandy beach and Buddhist Temple.
If you’re struggling to decide where to head on your next journey to South East Asia – here’s 5 reasons Vietnam should be your first choice:
#1 – Go Sailing On Ha Long Bay
A lot of travellers turn up to a beautiful piece of scenery such as Ha Long Bay, take a few photographs – and then leave. Because in a lot of countries, that’s all you’re allowed to do. Unless you fancy paying over the odds for a better experience.
But in Vietnam you’re able to become a part of the scenery, and you’ll never pay more than a couple of dollars to do it.
Ha Long Bay is so beautiful, it’s a shame to just see it from the distant peak of a nearby hill. So, instead you should see it up close and personally.
Head down to one of the local sailing jetties for a D.I.Y Sailing trip across the bay and back. Or take an overnight trip on a Junk Boat and eat your evening meal in front of one of the majestic formations to really experience the bay in its full glory.
This is one experience you won’t find anywhere else.
#2 – Watch A Water Puppet Performance
Have you ever listened to music, or seen a show in a foreign language, that was just so beautiful – to completely understand it could ruin the moment?
That’s what, time and time again, Vietnamese Water Puppetry provides travellers from around the world.
This tradition, performed only in Vietnam, dates back to the 11th century and is one of the most unique experiences you will ever have.
Puppets take centre stage on a pool of water, whilst a Vietnamese orchestra plays classical native music to accompany a Cheo singer who tells the story of the water puppets.
Whether you take it in on a local pond in a remote village or at one of the many travelling performances – you will never experience a show quite as beautiful or intricately performed as this.
#3 – Eat Traditional Vietnamese Food
This might seem a little ‘Well, duh!’ – of course you can eat traditional Vietnamese food in Vietnam.
But there are a few differences between eating Vietnamese food in Vietnam, and anywhere else in the world: the freshness, the quality, the taste and the price.
You’ll never eat fish that tastes fresher anywhere else in the world, unless you catch the fish with your own bare hands. You’ll rarely find food at such a high quality, created to an artist’s perfection, for such a low price.
And the taste? Well, we’ll let you make your own mind up on that.
But if you want food that’s great for the Western palate that’s quintessentially Eastern – and love the taste of Rice – you’ll never go wrong in Vietnam.
Eating is more than just food on a plate. It’s an experience.
#4 – Visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter
A lot of places around the world have an ‘Old Quarter’. Somewhere you can see what the real roots of the city look like from when the first settlers arrived.
However a lot of these have been destroyed, changed and updated. Not in Hanoi. This collection of 36 streets remains perfectly intact and dates back over 1,000 years.
Completely untouched by the French Invasion it’s at the heart of the Vietnamese revolution.
If you come for a look around, you’ll find an eclectic mix of old Vietnamese buildings, modern-goods dispensing market places and the foundations of the original Hanoi city.
There’s no other quarter in the world quite like it, and it’s worth the extra effort it takes to get there.
#5 – Feel Magic In Crossing The Road
For most travellers crossing the road is a pretty simple process: find a crosswalk, press a button, let the light change colour and cross when it’s safe.
But, in Vietnam, that’s a little too easy. Instead, we like to make it a challenge.
You just cross wherever you feel like it – and hope for the best.
Yet in the midst of all the chaos of cars, mopeds and motorbikes, something magical happens. No matter where you walk, how you cross or when – the traffic starts to part and make it’s way around you. Like you’re Moses parting the sea.
This is one of the more simple pleasures in Vietnam, but it’s on par with extreme sports for the exhilarating feeling you get on your first attempt at it.
What are you favourite things to do in Vietnam, that you can’t do anywhere else? Let us know in the comments!