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Jan 20, 2015

If you only have time to explore one country in Southeast Asia, choose VIETNAM!

Let’s admit it, when it comes to travel, Vietnam gets a bit of a bad rep. Before coming here all I heard were stories of travel scams, robberies, aggressive touts, and warnings that I’d be treated like a walking dollar sign. I was beginning to wonder whether I even wanted to spend a full month in this country, but 31 days later as my Vietnamese visa is about to expire, I am sad to leave Vietnam behind.

I’ll admit I’m relatively new to Southeast Asia, and have only covered three countries in the past three months, but Vietnam has left the strongest impression on me by far.

So what makes Vietnam so special?
A woman carries a yoke basket down the streets in Hoi An, Vietnam

The People

The people are warm, kind, and love to laugh and smile. It is in this country where I have met some of the most caring locals.

When I was sick in Hoi An, it was the woman who runs the Green Moss restaurant who took it upon herself to get me all better. She prepared ginger tea with honey for me, gifted me with a mint balm to rub on my neck and my chest, urged me to wear a scarf to bed, and then checked up on me daily whenever she saw me cycling around town or eating at her restaurant.

In Vietnam people have helped me when I looked lost, locals I met on a train have offered to show me around their hometowns (for free! Further proof that I’m not just a walking ATM), and business owners have been courteous to me even when I didn’t eat at their restaurant or didn’t take their tour.
The central market in Hoi An, Vietnam

The Food

Vietnam has been an explosion of flavours! Most dinners Sam and I have eaten in this country have been silent because we’ve both been gorging on local delicacies like the food in front of our plates is about to disappear. We’ve been known to order four different dishes in one go because there’s just so much new food to sample.
Why You Need to Visit Vietnam
Spring rolls and grilled meat at Bale Well in Hoi An, Vietnam
Whether I was learning to cook Vietnamese food in a dim lit kitchen with no ventilation (picture beads of sweat running down my back and hopefully not onto my food), or enjoying a meal at a local farm in the outskirts of Hoi An, the food was spectacular.

Some of my favourite dishes in this country have been bánh xèo (a rice flour pancake stuffed with pork, shrimp, onions and bean sprouts) and fresh spring rolls. Fresh, flavourful, healthy, filling – what else do you need in a meal?

Why You Need to Visit Vietnam
The floating market in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The Options

Then there is the diversity that comes with travelling in such a big country. I can guarantee that Vietnam will not bore you with its possibilities!

Want to travel down the banks of the Mekong Delta and experience the chaos of vendors at work in a floating market? Do you want to get lost in Saigon’s back alleys as you go in search of the best pho? How about getting clothes custom made in Hoi An? Or can I interest you with a cruise of Ha Long Bay where you’ll be waking up to jagged karst mountains outside your boat? You could also spend your time in Hanoi drinking bia hoi at a little street side bar equipped with plastic children’s furniture? Or if you’re feeling a bit more culturally inclined, go for a hill trek in Sapa where you can do a home stay with the ethnic tribes that call this place home?

If any of this sounds interesting, then you need to come to Vietnam already!
Why You Need to Visit Vietnam
The scenic karsts of Halong Bay, Vietnam
I’ve spent the entire month in Vietnam saying things like,

“I could totally live in Saigon. Sam, how would you like to come back to Saigon?”

“I could totally stay in Hoi An longer. Sam, wanna stay in Hoi An longer?” (We extended our stay.)

“Sam, wouldn’t it be fun to spend more time in Sapa? I think living here might be fun. No?”

I can’t sing Vietnam’s praises high enough!

I’m not saying that this country won’t pose its own set of challenges – you’ll encounter that wherever you go. However, if you’re glossing over Vietnam because of the negative things you’ve heard in the past, then you’re doing yourself a huge disfavour. Vietnam is one of the top destination to visit in Asia.

Give Vietnam a chance, and it may just blow your mind

Vietnam Photo Albums

Reasons to travel to Vietnam

Most people think of Vietnam as a war. But the old history has all gone. Now peace and safety resides. It's opening to the world as a friendly and exotic place on earth to be.

So why don't you think of coming. I'll name some of the reasons why you should:

01. It's a new place:  It's not touristy like in Thailand and many places you go, people go stunned by your appearance.

02. It's safe and friendly: The majority of people in Vietnam are farmers. Pure farmers: Many of them have never learnt of much apart from the village they were born in. Naturally, they're almost all friendly safe to be around. Moreover, the communist government does a good job in ensuring securities all over the country. Nothing of a crime has happened to tourists anymore for the last a decade.

03. Vietnam has lots to see: A thin country stretching for thousands of Km from North to South. It has beautiful mountain with colorful hill tribes. It has highlands with their everlasting rudimentary traditions. It has beaches and many of those are considered best in the world but still, they're not touristy. Sound cools enough?

04. It's cheap: If you want to, then 1 dollar could buy you a basic lunch or dinner. Wandering around and you want to find somewhere to sit and drink? Mostly you don't have to pay more than one dollar for it. Only with 1 dollar you can have a delicous breakfast with our Bun Cha, Pho...more and more street foods

05. Is travel here convenient? Sure, many companies operate the open bus (good quality in general) and they run almost to every capital cities in the country. Moving around is very easy.

06. The Climate of Vietnam: Would you like to take a swim on a beach of white sand and crystal-clear in the month of December while you eat mosquitoes and jellyfish? Vietnam is your destination.

07. The Vietnamese Culture:Vietnamese culture is so widespread and often we do not realize the little symbols of their culture that is uniquely associated with Vietnam.

08. Shopping:Asia is the factory of the world. In Vietnam will buy and buy lots of things, spending a quarter of the money that you spend in Europe or in America.


Why Vietnam 01: Breathtaking landscape
If you opt to discover the hidden charm of Vietnam, you will be surprised by the intense beauty of some top-listed World Heritage Sites, namely Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Hoi An Ancient Streets, and Cham Island. The 1600 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay form a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. If you are a photographer or a nature lover, you will rack up piles of satisfying pictures of different subjects. Some of the non-heritage sites will astonish you even more. Dalat is picturesque with many French style villas; Sapa is misty and romantic just like a girl waking up in the morning; and Vietnam’s long coastline brings seemingly endless scenic sea views, leisurely and private sunbathing, or a simple stroll along the beach.

Why Vietnam 02: Friendly and hospitable people
Most clients travelling send their feedbacks on their trip experience highlighting their deep impression of the friendliness and hospitality of Vietnamese people. According to travellers, Vietnam really has a precious treasure: its people. You are welcomed warmly by local people from North to South, whether or not you are familiar with them. Ethnic minority people in Sapa especially always consider you as a friend, even if you are on your first visit to their home with a local guide. People in Hue are royal-like in attitude but welcoming, while those in Hoi An are known as honest. Local farmers in the Mekong Delta always welcome you to their families with enthusiastic smiles.

Why Vietnam 03: Affordability
There is almost a place for every budget if you travel to Vietnam. Many budget travellers choose Vietnam on their list of destinations. There are plenty of hostels and guest houses in most cities at prices below 30 US$/room/night. And even high end adventure travellers often enjoy experiencing the local street food, which is both delicious and cheaper than in many other countries. In fact, although Vietnam is suffering from high inflation, with prices rising monthly, it is still a more affordable destination than many other nations.

Why Vietnam 04: Memorable travel experience
A unique travel experience has to suit your tastes. Are you looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience? You want to be like local people? Trek to ethnic minority villages around Sapa to photo the terraced fields, experience a homestay here and enjoy the mountain atmosphere and lifestyle. Watch the sunrise or sunset while cruising the Thu Bon River in Hoi An. Paddle your kayak on Ha Long Bay to feel the magnificent beauty of thousands of islands and islets. Beyond the scenery and people, the excellent services available here will add more pages to your trip diary.

Why Vietnam 05: Tasty and exquisite cuisine
Pho noodles, spring rolls and bun cha might be familiar to you, as they may be available in your country. But Vietnamese food goes beyond that and varies by region with different types of fresh vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood. Culinary adventurers are fond of exploring the foods available on the street, whereas high end customers often take meals in luxury colonial restaurants. Honeymooners are inspired by dinners in the caves, tasting delicious menus at candlelit tables. Many travellers have decided to return to Ha Long Bay simply due to the excellent and memorable seafood served onboard the traditional junks. Thus, why don’t you visit Vietnam this time not only to see, do, and touch, but also to smell, taste and memorize?

There may be more, but these above reasons are sufficient to make sure you turn your dream vacation into reality. We provide unique tours and completely customized itineraries and reliable services. 
Don’t wait a minute longer to travel with us! 

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