REASONS YOU SHOULD TRAVEL TO VIETNAM THIS YEAR
10: It’s a Relatively Inexpensive Destination
A dollar goes far in this country. In Vietnam, one can easily get by on $40 USD per day. Talk to some seasoned backpackers and they’ll tell you that you manage with significantly less, but why push your luck when you’re already spending a fraction of what you would most places around the world? For just $50 to $60 per day (including accommodations), you can have quite a comfortable and experience-filled trip, one that lets you eat out at authentic local restaurants and party in the evening. Hostel dormitories and shared rooms can be as cheap as $5 to $10; a good meal is often just a couple of bucks. And beers is often less than a dollar!
9: It’s Among the Safest Countries in Southeast Asia
Cheap and safe needn’t be mutually exclusive, but when it comes to travel… they rarely go hand-in-hand. Thankfully, Vietnam is one of the rare exceptions. If you’re traveling by scooter or bike you need to be careful as the rules of the road are far less clear than in many countries; same goes for crossing the street, to be honest. But apart from that, the nation actually has a relatively great reputation for safety, in terms of serious crimes. Tourists are more likely to get themselves hurt after over imbibing, acting irresponsibly when exploring the countryside or not respecting the local sea creatures.
8: Locals Are Friendly and Hospitable
Countless backpackers agree that the Vietnamese are absolutely incredible hosts. Whether you’re interacting with a hawker selling street food, staff at a hostel or just a passerby on the street, you’re likely to be greeted with a smile, and treated with kindness and respect. If you open yourself up in kind, you may very well find yourself being treated like family. Now, that’s not to say that you should walk around Vietnam with rose-tinted glasses, naively assuming the best in everyone you meet – scam artists can be found the world over. More often than not in Vietnam however, the curiosity and helpfulness is genuine.
Rather than begrudgingly settle for run-of-the-mill chain coffee, why not embrace local customs and culture? Vietnam is second only to Brazil in terms of world coffee production, and you better believe that they’ve got their own special way of serving it. In fact, across the country you’ll even find a number of regional variations, like in Hanoi where coffee frequently has an egg yolk added to it. Most commonly, however, Vietnamese-style coffee is served with sweetened condensed milk: either iced or hot. The flavor of the coffee also tends to be more robust. Vietnamese coffee culture simply is an experience unto itself.
6: Fewer Visa Issues
The paperwork required to travel overseas is, at best, an inconvenience, and at worst… a massive headache. Sometimes, there are so many hoops to jump through that it can begin to feel like the destination in question doesn’t actually want to receive international visitors! Thankfully, whereas some other nations require an excessive amount of documentation and might demand anything from proof of residence and personal income to hotel reservations or vaccination certificates, Vietnam is fairly relaxed. The rules change depending on where you hail from, but most travelers can apply for a “visa on arrival”, which can be done quickly and easily online ahead of time, and only costs about $40 and $70 US dollars, depending on whether it’s for a single-entry or multi-entry visa. Other than that, just make sure that your passport doesn’t expire for at least 6 months.
Not only is Vietnamese food cheap, but it’s also incredibly delicious. Most people have already tried the country’s major culinary exports like pho, bahn mi and spring rolls, but that’s just scratching the surface of what Vietnam’s culinary landscape has to offer. The key ingredients that give Vietnamese cuisine its distinctive flavor profile includes fresh herbs like holy basil and cilantro, fish sauce, lemongrass, shrimp paste, and much more. Because of its focus on fruit, vegetables and seafood, and a tendency towards smaller portions of meat, Vietnamese food is not just delicious… but quite healthy as well!
4: Culture and History
We’ve talked about the food and hospitality found in Vietnam, but those represent just one small part of the Vietnamese cultural experience. Firstly, the country has a rich Buddhist history, which can be appreciated by exploring its numerous temples. And then one of the most unique enduring traditions of Vietnamese culture are the floating markets located in the Mekong Delta. They’re essentially street markets, but on water, with the locals crowding together in boats of varying shapes and sizes, all loaded down with various goods and produce to sell. Another great way to appreciate Vietnamese culture is to partake in one of its many festivals or holidays; or, for a look at more recent history, by visiting the War Remnants Museum in Hồ Chí Minh City.
3: Diverse Natural Beauty
Despite the widespread destruction of the Vietnam War, much of the country’s staggering natural beauty remains to be appreciated by both locals and world visitors. The entire country warrants exploration, but there are a few especially noteworthy natural spaces that we feel deserve a special mention. First is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a massive area of pristine wilderness that’s home to the Phong Nha and Son Doong Caves. It’s also a cradle of biodiversity, and home to a wide array of unique creatures. Đà Lạt also warrant a mention, and Hạ Long Bay is arguably the country’s greatest natural treasure. Here, tall, dramatic limestone rock formations rise from the crystal clear waters to create an otherworldly and captivating sight.
Indeed, the beaches in Vietnam are so remarkable that they deserve an entire entry to themselves. Nha Trang, Mũi Né and Da Nang’s beaches are just three of the most popular destinations in the nation, but with over 2000 miles of coastline, plus an abundance of islands, Vietnam has plenty of under-the-radar beaches just waiting to be discovered. We highly recommend heading out to the amazing Phú Quốc as well as its neighboring An Thoi Islands, where more quietly secluded sandy coves await, or Bình Lập. If you’re looking for something a bit more dramatic, consider Ly Son, where the rock formations will take your breath away.
1: It’s a Land of Adventure
While any one of the aforementioned points is reason enough to add Vietnam to your bucket list, at the end of the day, the biggest argument we can make is what Vietnam as a whole has to offer. Yes, it’s safe and there are plenty of familiar comforts to be found when you need them, but it also has a genuine authenticity to it; the country feels as if it still holds local secrets just waiting to be uncovered by adventurous travelers. From cliff diving and trekking through the wilderness, to scuba diving and kite surfing, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-inducing activities to partake in. And in the major cities, there’s always something exciting to do. So… what are you waiting for?