Vietnam Diaries

Vietnam is known for its Culture, Communism, and Colonisation.

On 21 December, 2017 I escaped to this dynamically beautiful place which has a lot to offer to travelers. It’s the same country which was suffered a long dark history of colonialism, communism, war, and poverty. Now what you can experience in Vietnam is something indescribably wonderful.

The Vietnamese people are nice, friendly and kind. You could see a big smile on their face when they see a foreigner. They are the happiest people you could meet. They’re also very helpful and genuinely nice. Of course, there are some bad moments which is part of all travel stories, but in all my time in Vietnam, I’ve seen only good.

In this medium story I will articulate: Why should you consider Vietnam as your next travel destination?

For more than one thousand years, until A.D. 938, Vietnam was under Chinese rule. Although nine centuries of independence followed Chinese rule, China’s impact on Vietnamese culture was probably greater in the centuries of independence. As Vietnamese kingdoms were expanding in the south, resisting the Chinese and Mongolian invaders in the north and conquering the south became major themes of Vietnamese history.

Highlights

Hanoi
As the capital of Vietnam with more than 1000 years of history, Hanoi has many cultural and historic sites that attract a lot of tourists nationwide. French and Chinese influences mingle with traditional Vietnamese culture in Hanoi to make it a colourful city of Southeast Asia. Be it the mausoleum dedicated to its beloved leader, Ho Chi Minh, traditional temples or unique food.

Don’t freak out if Cobra Blood Wine or Dog Meat is on the menu, consider it a part of Hanoi. Yes, such is the uniqueness of Hanoi. This place has got all these and more.

Ha Long
The name Ha Long means — “The descending dragon” in English, Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.

The bay consists of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, several of the islands have enormous caves. On many days, a light mist lightly obscures the islets, creating a mystical wonderland for those at water level. When the sun is out, the deep green waters and lush vegetation gleams and glistens. It is a place of tranquility and astounding beauty.

Asking a four-hour or a one, two, or three-day cruise is one of the most popular methods of seeing Halong Bay. Cruises are available in just about any price range, from budget to mid-range to deluxe.

Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is a classic lowland northern Vietnam.

If you reach this place do consider a two-hour boat journey at Tam Coc valley and caves, a photographic exploration of the ruins at Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu, and a sunset wanders through the stunning paddies and river valleys of this beautiful region.

Phong Nah
It’s hidden in the thick tropical forest of Vietnam is a land of phenomenal caves. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest major karst area in Asia. Protecting those caves is the reason for the park and also why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The karst is believed to have formed 400 million years ago, during the Palaeozoic era, With every cave discovery, that cave is considered the largest and longest in Phong Nha-Ke Bang, only to learn later that yet another even more massive cave has been found.

Hoi An
Hoi An is a magnet for tourism. Visitors marvel at the lovingly preserved architecture of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, French, and other European influences. You can also enjoy the food, culture, and artistic industry of the current residents within an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, for “Hoi An” translates as ‘Peaceful place to meet’.

Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is such a perfectly preserved example of ancient culture and architecture.

The town’s layout and buildings reflect the history of various indigenous and foreign cultures that have lived in and traded in this bustling port city between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) formerly named Saigon; is the largest city in Vietnam. It is one of the two main cities of Vietnam.

This place attracts millions of tourists each year, Ho Chi Minh City is also fitted with a wide array of accommodation options of varying price range and styles while unique modes of transportation such as motorcycle taxis and cycles make it relatively easy to explore the city center and beyond.

Cu Chi Tunnels
The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City.

At the peak of the Vietnam War, the network of tunnels in the Iron Triangle and Cu Chi linked Viet Cong (VC) support bases over a distance of some 250 km, from the Ho Chi Minh Trail and Cambodian border to the outskirts Saigon.

People & Culture
Vietnam has the 13th largest population in the world and experiences the problems of having a large population. Due to a historically violent and difficult past, many Vietnamese fled their country. Many are now being repatriated from other Asian nations, such as Cambodia. If the political system in Vietnam were to change, more would possibly return. The southern part of Vietnam has kept many of the social and cultural influences of the West while the north continues to be more traditional.

Respect for authority and harmony with others are crucial values for the Vietnamese. Avoiding embarrassment and maintaining harmonious relationships demonstrate respect. Other values include marital fidelity, generosity, hard work, and promptness.

Vietnam is a blend of many different cultures, customs, religions, and increasing international influence. This illustrates an open-mindedness and tolerance in the Vietnamese culture. However, some hostility does exist between the overwhelming majority of ethnic Vietnamese and the many minority groups. Despite working towards and being enthusiastic about a better future of wealth and security, the Vietnamese continue to work to maintain traditional values.

Food & Drink
In Vietnam, you’ll discover one thing: Vietnamese people love noodles. They eat them every day, sometimes for every meal. Vietnamese noodles are made from a few basic ingredients, the most common being rice, wheat, and mung beans, but a whole sub-cuisine is built on these basics.

The food is usually excellent, really cheap, and you can watch it being cooked in front of you. Stick to the local food and you’ll save money. The street-side pho, bread, meat sandwiches (called bahn mi), donuts, and bananas are your best deals all of which can be found for a cheap price.

White rice is eaten with chopsticks at all three meals. The main meal includes rice, a salty dish, a vegetable dish, and soup. The rice bowl is held in one hand, as it is considered lazy to eat from a rice bowl that is on the table. One should not leave a pair of chopsticks sticking vertically in a rice bowl. This looks very similar to the incense sticks that are burned for the dead and is considered to be a powerful death sign.

Hateful Eight — Avoid doing this is in Vietnam
1. Remove shoes when entering a temple, a Vietnamese home, or any other place where others have removed their shoes. 
2. Do not wear shorts or anything that can be considered provocative. 
3. Do not cross legs when sitting, show the soles of one’s feet, or point one’s feet at other people, or at anything sacred. 
4. Arms should not be crossed, or hands placed on hips during the conversation, as this conveys hostility. 
5. Do not touch the head of a Vietnamese; it is considered the body’s most spiritual point. 
6. Men and women should not show affection in public. 
7. Do not disrespect elderly people. 
8. One should never criticize or become angry in public.


“Life is too short to have a boring hair cut”

I’ve never had a haircut where I’ve gone to a hair cutting place and they gave me an incorrect haircut. So I’ve been pretty lucky.


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About Author:
Hello! I’m Aditya Krishna a.k.a Aditya Dhotre, I have worked with a number of clients, both independently and through corporates. Sometimes, I’m fortunate to teach and give lectures. I’m fuelled by true passion, with an excellent eye for detail & craftsmanship. Currently Crafting Experiences at Freshworks.

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