Vietnam is one of my favorite places to visit in Southeast Asia, and these Vietnam facts will prove why. This county is a beautifully diverse and filled with so many beautiful sights and things to do, you won’t even know where to begin!
I love Vietnam because it is a fairly inexpensive country to travel, depending on how you prefer to travel. You can have a luxurious Vietnam vacation, dream honeymoon, or backpack and still stretch your dollar quite a bit!
Vietnam is a hit or miss country for a lot of travelers that I have had the privilege of meeting, but it was definitely a hit for me. There are so many things to do in Vietnam, that you can really create an itinerary that works for you. You can spend your time in the bigger cities like Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, or spend more of your time relaxing on the beautiful Vietnamese islands like Con Dao or Phu Quoc!
From the culture to the people, Vietnam definitely has a lot of interesting facts that will make you feel like you need to see it for yourself while you are in Southeast Asia!
Vietnam borders Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia which are all culturally different in their own ways, but should definitely be added to your Southeast Asia itinerary! When I was planning a trip to Thailand, I was definitely sure to plan to stop by Vietnam!
14 Interesting Vietnam Facts
1. Vietnam Has Some of the Best Beaches in the World.
Vietnam boasts over 3000 km of coastline, which means it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Most people don’t think about the beauty that Vietnam has, so I wanted to make sure you were aware of the hidden paradise in Vietnam!
Pho Quoc Island has some amazing beaches. It has powdery white sand, diving and snorkelling activities, and a lot of fun bars and restaurants spanning their palm tree filled coasts.
2. A Vietnam Fact: The Food Is AMAZING.
Vietnam is known worldwide to have some of the most interesting food tastes in the world. They use 5 main flavor pallettes: sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and bitter. The dishes they create are absolutely delicious, and I was so full while touring the street food vendors in Hanoi!
3. Beware of the Traffic.
This is definitely an important Vietnam fact: the traffic is insanity in Vietnam. Insanity! The larger cities are heavily populated with a lot of motorcyclists who will not stop for you if you venture into traffic. Be very cautious while you are in any larger cities in Vietnam, and make sure it is your turn to walk.
I found Vietnam to be night and day traffic wise compared to Thailand. If you plan to rent a motorcycle or even a vehicle while in Vietnam, make sure you are very comfortable with driving and know how to get around a large city.
4. The World’s Largest Cave is in Vietnam
Vietnam is home to the largest cave in the world, located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Son Doong Cave boasts a large river flowing inside of it, and it’s own ecosystem!
If you are a spelunker, Vietnam is the place to be, as the widest cave in the world is also located in this National Park! Cave diving has always freaked me out a little bit, but I definitely loved seeing what Son Doong Cave was all about!
5. Halong Bay is Beautiful
Halong bay is known around the world to be one of the most beautiful UNESCO Heritage sites in Vietnam. It can be a little touristy, so just be prepared for a ton of people taking in Halong Bay’s beauty.
Halong bay is essentially a large bay located outside of Ha Long city that is home to many channels and isles, and probably going to be the best instagram photo spot on your Vietnam vacation. There are a ton of boat tours and diving options throughout Halong Bay too!
6. Vietnam is HOT, All Year Around.
When you visit Vietnam, don’t be too surprised to discover the heat. Southeast Asia is home to a ton of hot countries, and Vietnam is no exception. Be prepared to sweat it out, and make sure you have water with you at all times.
Loose and long clothing will help keep you protected from the sun, and is a requirement if you visit any temples. The best times to visit Vietnam are Spring (February to April) and Autumn (August to October), as you will be hit with less rain and less intense temperatures!
7. They have a lot of coffee in Vietnam
Fun Vietnam fact: They’re the second largest coffee exporter in the world.
They drink a LOT of coffee, which makes coffee addicts like me super happy! The coffee trade in Vietnam is a tough trade to work in, but the coffee you will find throughout the country is always fresh and delicious.
While you’re in Vietnam, try a Vietnamese drip coffee. You will seriously be amazed at how smooth and fresh it tastes, because its coming from 50 miles away!
8. Lighter Skin is A Beauty Staple
This might be a surprise to people in North America, because we symbolize sun-kissed skin as being an image of beauty. But it’s a Vietnam fact that lighter skin symbolizes beauty. This is actually the same for many countries in Southeast Asia!
In America, having sun-kissed skin is seen as a status symbol because it means you have the ability to travel and spend time in the sun instead of a cubicle.
In Southeast Asia where the sun is always out, being tan is seen as something that poor and working class people will have. For that reason, having pale skin is a beauty and status symbol in Vietnam!
9. Snake Wine Represents Vitality and Good Luck
Yes, you read that right. Snake wine. Snake wine is a Vietnamese delicacy that consists of a bottle of Vietnamese wine, that has a venomous snake dropped into the bottle.
The venom is expelled from the snake into the wine, resulting in wine with a pretty large kick. If you are brave enough to try snake wine, it is said to bring you vitality and good luck!
10. Rice is a Main Component of Almost Every Meal
This Vietnam fact is no surprise to anyone looking to fill their stomachs while in Vietnam, you will be eating rice with almost every meal.
They seriously love their rice out there. Rice is served with just about everything in Vietnam, whether you are dining at an expensive restaurant or picking up street food on the way to the beach!
11. Bartering at the Floating Markets is A ton of fun
The South of Vietnam is famous for their floating markets, where you are taken by boat through vendors and shops that sell everything imaginable. They are definitely a staple while in Vietnam!
While you are at the floating markets, be sure to barter with the shops for the items you like. Bargaining is half of the fun, and can definitely save you some dong!
12. Street Food Is Everywhere.
Having just came from Thailand (check out my Bangkok street food tour), I thought I had already hit street food heaven. Boy was I surprised. There were so many different street food markets throughout the various cities in Vietnam, with every type of food imaginable ready to be enjoyed.
From delicacies to chicken nuggets, you will never be as full as I was after touring the Vietnamese street food scene. Some of the food was pretty out there, I will have to admit (dogs and cats, as well as the delicacies below). But I think I did a pretty good job at pushing myself out of my comfort zone! (I ate a BUG!)
13. Balut is a Delicacy in Vietnam
This one weirded me out, I will not lie. I am not judging for your choices in cuisine Vietnam, but it still felt too weird for me to enjoy this delicacy.
Balut is a duck embryo that fertilized and grown for 14-21 days. It is hard boiled and then generally enjoyed with a beer, shell and all. I didn’t partake in this delicacy while I was in Vietnam, but I might next time around if I am feeling adventurous enough. I mean, there is a reason that it is enjoyed by so many, right?
Balut is also very popular in the Philippines, and Stefan from the Nomadic Boys was brave enough to give it a try while they were touring strange foods in the Philippines. Go Stefan!