Vietnam is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination in Southeast Asia, and it is easy to see why! Here is why we think you have to put this bustling country on your list of must-visit places.
If you’ve had your fill of tried-and-tested Asian favourites like Thailand or Korea, Vietnam might be just right for your next vacation spot of choice! Cosily tucked between the South China Sea and Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, this gem is home to more than just pagodas, beaches and phở. We reveal the seven surprises awaiting you at this dream destination.
1. Vietnam has 37 million motorbikes, with 4 million alone in Ho Chi Minh City
That is nearly as many motorbikes as we have people in Singapore! For the population of 90 million in Vietnam, this means that well over a third of the population travel on two wheels. Motorbikes are by far the most popular means of transport in Vietnam, and according to the Ministry of Transport for Vietnam, 37 million of them are registered on the roads. If you want to experience the city like a local, this should be your mode of transport!
2. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest producers of coffee beans
Introduced to Vietnam by the French in the mid-nineteenth century, Vietnam has come to embrace the coffee culture and is well known for its traditional coffee and condensed milk. The majority of the coffee beans are grown in the central highlands of Vietnam. With a huge coffee culture, expect to find amazing java from hip cafes offering free Wi-Fi, to sidewalk stalls. Here’s a list of some coffee places to get your caffeine fix:
- Café Runam, 96 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1
- M2C Café, 44B Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1
- Cafe Pho Co, 11 Hang Gai
- Mien Dong Thao, 221A Nguyen Trong Tuyen, District Phu Nhuan
3. Vietnam is home to the world’s largest cave
Son Doong Cave, located in the middle of Vietnam, close to the Laos border, is the world’s largest cave. 5.5 miles in length and 650ft wide, Son Doong is home to jungle vegetation, water, cliffs, and its very own climate! The name translates to “mountain river cave”.
4. Almost 40% of the country shares the same surname – Nguyen
If you’re wondering why every other Vietnamese you know has the name Nguyen, that is because it is the more popular surname in the country. Many events in Vietnamese history have contributed to the prominence of the name, but more commonly people tend to take the family name of Kings to show their respect and loyalty. Nguyen was the name of the last ruling dynasty in Vietnam.
5. Vietnamese cuisine traditionally combines 5 fundamental taste elements
In love with Vietnamese cuisine? You are not alone! Famous throughout the world, Vietnamese cuisine is unique and exotic in its flavour. One reason why it is so yummy might be the traditional Vietnamese combination of five key fundamental taste elements to complete their dishes and give it its well-known flavours. These elements – spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (earth), could be the reason you’re reaching for that second bowl of phở.
6. Vietnam is the largest exporter of black and white pepper in the world
Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of black and white pepper and has exported 111, 395 tons of pepper so far this year alone! Globally, Vietnam makes up for a third of the world’s production of the product.
7. Vietjet Air is the country’s first privately owned airline
Launched in November 2007, Vietjet Air was granted operational approval and became the first privately owned airline in Vietnam. With twice daily flights from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, this is an easy option for those looking to take a spontaneous trip out of town.