Vietnam is a perfect destination because of the beauty of its landscapes, the friendliness of its people and the many curiosities it offers, among others. That’s why, in this post, we’re going to tell you all those secrets that this beautiful country hides. This way you’ll enjoy and learn twice as much about Vietnam before making your trip. We’re starting!
1. The conical hat or Nón Lá
One of the symbols of the country is the “Nón Lá”. This Vietnamese hat has many uses. For example, it protects from the sun. The Vietnamese find the ideal of beauty in white skin, so it is used quite a bit for this purpose. On the other hand, it is also used for protection from the rain, given the high frequency of rains in this country. In addition, it is used as a basket or bag to carry food, utensils or whatever. There are two variants, one male and one female, but it is much more common to see the female version.
2. Rice in Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the largest rice exporters in the world. Its cultivation is traditional. It is ploughed and harvested with very rudimentary machinery or directly by hand. Most of the rice is produced in the Mekong Delta and the Red River. However, even though the cultivation is widespread, the farmers who engage in it have a very low purchasing power due to the low cost at which the rice is sold in the markets.
3. The old town of Hanoi
Hanoi’s Old Town consists of 36 streets. Each one is dedicated to a different trade referring to the guilds of feudal Europe. The neighborhood is north of Lake Hoan Kiem. It is very touristy but it is worth walking around and seeing the workshops, which are open to the public. So, you can see how the ancient trades are practiced.
4. Bargaining in Vietnam
Bargaining is very common throughout Southeast Asia, and in Vietnam it was bound to be less so. The vast majority of prices are inflated so you’ll have to haggle to buy a loaf of bread.
5. The meaning of the country’s name and flag
Vietnam was part of China until 938 A.D. Viêt was the name the Chinese gave to the people of that region and Nam means south. So, Viêt Nam would mean something like “the people of the south.”
Regarding their flag, it is composed of: a red background, which pays tribute to the amount of blood that was spilled during all the wars they lived through. And in the middle, there is a yellow star with five points. It represents farmers, intellectuals, workers, soldiers and youth.
6. Seasons of the Year
In northern Vietnam there are 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. However, in the south there are only 2: rain and no rain. Despite the humidity of the country and the rain in the south there are sand dunes in Mui Ne.
7. Motorcycles and circulation
In Vietnam there are more than 15 million motorcycles and almost no traffic regulations. And, with no rules, all the motorcycles, cars and buses cross at the same time you will feel an incredible chaos. You have to be brave and stand on your own two feet. Crossing will be an adventure!
8. Vietnamese language
Until the 20th century, Chinese characters were used, although today they are only used by certain scholars and specialists. Nowadays, Latin letters are used.
On the other hand, Vietnamese is one of the most complicated languages in the world. The problem is the accents and that the tonality given to the words can change their meanings. In the south there are 5 tones and in the north 6. So, the same word can have up to 6 different meanings. Funny, huh?
Another curiosity is that there is no such thing as “I” and “you”. Instead, the words “brother” and “elder/younger” are used, depending on the age of each party.
9. The Pho
It’s the quintessential local dish. The Vietnamese eat it all the time. It consists of a hot soup with rice noodles to which vegetables, aromatic plants, beef, pork or chicken are added.
10. Caodaist Ceremony
Between 2 and 3 million Vietnamese are followers of a religion called Cao dai. It was founded in 1926 and is a mixture of Taoism, Christianity and Buddhism. The three recognized saints of this religion are the founder of the republic of China Sun Yat-sen, the poet Victor Hugo and the Vietnamese professor Nguyen Binh Khiem.
11. Their way of sitting
The Vietnamese, to relax and rest, sit in a very curious way. Squatting, with the sole of the foot completely resting on the ground and with the knees completely bent. Try to stay in that position for more than a minute, it’s not easy!
12. Festival called “Khau Vai”, love market
This is the second most important festival in Vietnam and is based on a sad love story. It tells how two people from different tribes fell in love, but their union was forbidden. So, they decided to separate but promised to meet again every March 26th which was a lunar day. Today, the locals, on that day, look for their past loves with whom they could not be. And even though they are married they go, without the other member of the couple being able to feel jealous, since, because it is a lunar day, it is a one-day thing and cannot affect their daily life.
13. Snake wine
It’s a handmade medicine made by the Vietnamese where they grab various types of poisonous snakes such as krait. It’s available throughout Southeast Asia. It has been made for many years and, according to them, cures any kind of disease.
Now you know a little more about this country which, although it is opening up to the world, maintains its roots and traditions. Are you ready to live and discover all this in the first person?