Why Vietnam should be on your bucket list
South East Asia has been seducing budget holidaymakers and backpackers for decades now, with affordable living costs, breath-taking scenery, a strange and compelling culture and an abundance of new possibilities. But, there’s one country that stands above the rest, with its striking beauty, harrowing history and mouth-watering cuisine. Vietnam is a place of sheer inspiration and beauty, the locals are both friendly and laidback, while the landscape defies belief. These are just a few reasons why Vietnam should be next on your bucket list.
Hoi An food markets
Vietnam is the place to exercise your inner foodie, and Hoi An is brimming with succulent street food, such as fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese noodles known as pho and dim sum. But, if you really want to experience life in Vietnam, eating on the go is commonplace, so food markets are favoured, one of the most popular is Bale Well – named after an ancient well, and located right on the edge of Hoi An’s Old Town. It’s very popular with locals and sells a wide range of Vietnamese specialities, including a thick noodle soup known as Cao lau and special pancakes named banh xeo. However, if you wanted to try one of Vietnam’s signature dishes, head for the Com Ga Huong market, near Le Loi Street in Hoi An, where they sell the exceedingly popular dish com ga huong - a mix of com ga rice, cooked in chicken stock with shredded chicken and crushed onion.
Terraced Rice Fields
Many countries have experienced the consequences of poor soil and mountainous terrain, luckily there is a solution, terraced farming. It may be a highly labour intensive endeavour, but the results speak for themselves and they not only provide food, but they’re a massive hit with tourists. People have travelled far and wide to glimpse the Sa Pa terraces, found in the North-West region of Vietnam, which exists on a backdrop of thick woodland, stretching for as far as the eye can see, or the Vietnamese national heritage site, in the striking rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi.
Ho Chi Minh City
The bustling city is abuzz with life. Locals and tourists alike have fallen in love with this incredible city and it’s easy to see why, with sights such as the War Remnants Museum, a place highly popular with tourists, where people go to see US armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and infantry weapons. But, if your tastes lie in modern-day Vietnamese culture, then evenings is the time Ho Chi Minh truly comes alive, with a variety of night markets, live concerts and even coffee shops.
Cai Rang floating market
A large body of water isn’t enough to stop the locals of Cai Rang from peddling their wears, with a highly popular floating market, held just 6km from Can Tho. People travel from all over to buy locally sourced fruit, vegetables, as well as a wide range of meat and seafood. Although, it’s advisable to get there early, as it gets very busy, very quickly.
Fishermen in Hai Hau
This rural fishing village in the rural district of Nam Dinh province is a quiet haven, with a population of around 300,000 and a place known for its longan cake (named after the longan fruit inside) made from rice, egg, fine sugar and black sesame.