There’s a lot to love about Vietnam. From its low cost of living to its always helpful natives, it’s easy to see why so many expats are drawn here. If you plan on visiting, or moving to Vietnam, here are a few of the things about the country that are sure to appeal to you:
1. Picturesque Scenery
Tall and remote mountains in the north, verdant green rice paddies in the south, and more than 2,000 miles of coastline make Vietnam a photographer’s dream. There are cascading waterfalls, exotic ethnic minorities, great rivers and caves, vast canyons, and small, meandering roads that pass by quiet, timeless villages.
2. Friendly People
The people here are energetic, pragmatic, and curious. Strangers will come up to you and ask your name, where you’re from, whether you’re married, and how many kids you have. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited for dinner or to meet someone’s family in the countryside. It happens all the time.
3. Amazing Food
Fresh and light, Vietnamese food is rich in vegetables and low in fat. It’s a healthy cuisine that utilizes a wide variety of herbs and spices, with popular regional specialties that can only be found in each particular area.
In Hanoi, you must try the sweet, marshmallow-like cà phê trứng, or egg coffee (which tastes much better than it sounds). In Da Nang, people rave about mỳ Quảng, a delightful turmeric-based noodle soup, while the special soba-like noodles, pork, and fresh herbs that make up cao lau are found only in nearby Hoi An. Nha Trang claims to have the best French-style baguettes in the country, and you’ll find the best bún thịt nướng, a refreshing dish of rice noodles, grilled pork, and fresh herbs, in Ho Chi Minh City.
4. Architecture Steeped in Culture
Vietnamese construction has been strongly influenced by both the Chinese and the French, and you’ll discover an interesting mix of neoclassical French mansions, Chinese temples, and tall, multi-story, skinny houses—sometimes referred to as “tunnel houses.” Some parts of the country still retains a bit of Japanese architecture, while the occasional mansion might sport Greek columns. It’s a mishmash of styles, and just like everything else in Vietnam, it is never boring.
5. The Bustling Environment
It’s stimulating, pulsating, and all-encompassing. You’ll need to re-learn how to cross a street, traversing through the thousands of small motorbikes, bicycles, cars, buses, pushcarts, and pedestrians all competing for space. As crazy and unsafe as it sounds, you’ll notice how tempers never seem to flare and everyone seems to be smiling, soaking in the vibe.
6. Low Costs
A five-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City costs less than a two-star hotel in New York, while a four-star hotel in Hanoi averages just $79 per night.
7. Great Public Transport
Trains run almost the entire length of the country, with several spur lines accessing major cities off the main line. Domestic airlines serve all major—and many minor—destinations in Vietnam, as well.
Bonus Feature: The Welcoming Atmosphere
People are genuinely helpful, and a surprising number of them speak English. They want you to like their country, and they have a habit of being almost embarrassingly generous. Most likely, that will be what impresses you the most about Vietnam—the incredible hospitality that you’ll find here.
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