Vietnam

Vietnam

Things to do - general

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most compelling countries, and Asia Discovery Travel’s original vacation destination. It offers a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, with vibrant cities, fascinating villages and a wide variety of landscapes to discover.

Traverse the lush waterways of the fertile Mekong Delta, enjoy a beach break in scenic Nha Trang, or soak up the country’s heritage and culture in the central cities of Hue and Hoi An. See beautiful limestone karsts on a boat trip in stunning Halong Bay, or get to know Vietnam’s colorful hilltribe people in mountainous Sapa in the far north.

Explore Hanoi’s atmospheric Old Quarter with its French-colonial era buildings, fabulous local eateries and traditional merchants, and enjoy the international delights of pulsating Saigon. Fantastic food, friendly people, history, culture and an abundance of natural beauty make Vietnam an unforgettable vacation destination.

Official Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Population: 93 million
Capital City: Hanoi, population 6.5 million
People: Viet (Kinh), 53 ethnic minorities
Language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnam Dong (VND)
Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours
International Dialing Code: +84

Geography

Vietnam covers an area of 330,363 sq. km and is about as big as Italy or New Mexico. The country has three main geographic regions – the tropical south dominated by the Mekong River estuary, the dry central region, and the more temperate north comprising the Red River delta and mountain highlands.

Climate

Vietnam’s climate is very diverse because the country covers a wide range of latitudes and altitudes.

The North: The cold season is between November and April when average temperatures are around 60°F/16°C and it is often wet and chilly. In the hot period, between May and October, the average temperature is about 86°F/30°C.

The Central: Central Vietnam offers a combination of climates: northern and southern. The southern part has less rainfall and the temperatures are similar to those in the south. The northern part has more rain and significant changes in temperature. The rainy season in the center lasts from September to December. Especially during the months of October and November, central Vietnam is hit by typhoons with strong winds and heavy downpours.

The South: The temperatures in the south are constant all year, ranging from 77-86°F/25-30°C. The dry season is from November to April and the wet period from May to October.

Pre Departure Check List

– Travel Insurance
– Valid Passport (at least six months remaining) and visa (or two passport pictures as well as 35 US$ for visa on arrival)
– Immunizations/Vaccinations
– Foreign currency (US$) or ATM card
– Flights tickets
– Photocopy of passport either scanned into email account or separate from the original

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)

ADT will try our best to ensure you have a safe and good trip. However, certain risks might be occurred and should be identified by participants. Thus, we require all guests to purchase full travel insurance prior to their trip. Travel insurance is best way to protect yourself and your property in the event of problems due to cancelled trips, delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss or damage. It also gives you peace of mind for your trip.

Visa/Passports

Passports should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Vietnam. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan it and keep it in an accessible email account.

Visitors must have a visa before entering Vietnam, and a visa on arrival can only be obtained with a letter of approval. A visa on arrival is granted to many nationalities for stays 15 days or less. Asia Discovery Travel can arrange this for you. Otherwise, you must apply online or at the embassy for all 30-90 day single or multiple entry visas.

Some nationalities are eligible for visa exemption. Please click here to see if you are exempted for a visa to Vietnam.

Currency
The currency of Vietnam is the dong. All goods and services can and should be paid for in dong. Exceptions are made in hotels and when buying international air tickets. Shops and restaurants in the bigger cities will also accept US dollars, but you should be aware of the fact that usually a lower exchange rate will be used. It is therefore advisable to change a certain amount of Vietnamese dong to cover your day-to-day expenses.

Travelers Cheques

Travelers cheques must denominated in US dollars. You can change them to dong or to US dollars (with a 2 percent commission). Those issued by American Express, Bank of America, Citicorp, First National City Bank, Thomas Cook, and Visa are accepted. They are also accepted at major tourist hotels, but not in most shops. Vietnam is still very much a cash economy.

Credit Cards

Visa, Master card and – with exceptions – American Express are accepted in virtually every hotel in major cities throughout the country, as well as in upmarket restaurants, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Health

No vaccinations are officially required by the Vietnamese authorities, but immunization against hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus and polio is advised. Vaccination for typhoid fever is recommended for long stay and intensive traveling tourists. Rabies is widespread in Vietnam, so you are advised to avoid dogs and other animals that may bite as a precaution.

Malaria
Malaria is widespread in the Central Highlands and some parts of the Mekong Delta. The best protection against malaria is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Check with your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial. If it is considered necessary given your itinerary, you might need to begin before your trip and continue for a time after you return. But if you are not traveling to the Central Highlands nor going on overnight treks in the mountain region of Sapa, no anti-malarial drugs are needed.

Dengue fever, which is also transmitted by mosquitoes, is often mistaken for malaria. Its symptoms are severe pain in the joints, high fever, and extreme headache. Aside from avoiding being bitten altogether (this mosquito is active in daytime and is often a striped variety), there is no prevention available. Hospital treatment is urgently required.

Food & Water

As with most underdeveloped countries, stomach upsets and diarrhea are a common problem and can ruin a visit. Most problems stem from contaminated water. Unless it has been thoroughly boiled, do not drink tap water. You should also avoid ice in drinks, especially in the countryside. Imported bottled water is available in most cities, but beware of bottles that have been refilled with tap water. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are fine and in hotels you can use the hot water in your room to make Chinese tea. You should have no problems with thoroughly cooked food, but stay clear of anything that looks like it has been reheated from a previous meal. Take care with seafood and avoid undercooked meat. Only eat fruit that you have peeled yourself, and salads should be given a miss.

Security

When planning your trip abroad, take steps to protect yourself from crime or theft. Vietnam is a relatively safe destination, with a low record of petty crime experienced by travelers but crimes against travelers are a growing problem worldwide.
Mines & Munitions
Although most of the land mines have been cleared you should avoid walking through jungle or remote areas, especially in the north of the country.
Communication
Telephone
The country code is 84, the area code for Hanoi is 04, Saigon 08, Hue 054 and Danang 0511. International calls from international hotels cost between US $3 and US $5 per minute.
Mobile Telephone
More roaming contracts being signed with cellular phone providers in different countries.
Time Zone
Standard time in Vietnam is 6 hours ahead of Central European Time (CET), 7 hours ahead of GMT, 12 hours ahead of time in New York, 3 hours behind time in Sydney and in the same time zone as Bangkok.
Electricity
Electricity: 220V / 50V.
However, electricity supply can be unreliable in smaller towns.

Country Vietnam
Visa requirements

Visa/Passports

Passports should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Vietnam. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan it and keep it in an accessible email account.

Visitors must have a visa before entering Vietnam, and a visa on arrival can only be obtained with a letter of approval. A visa on arrival is granted to many nationalities for stays 15 days or less. Asia Discovery Travel can arrange this for you. Otherwise, you must apply online or at the embassy for all 30-90 day single or multiple entry visas.

Some nationalities are eligible for visa exemption. Please click here to see if you are exempted for a visa to Vietnam.

Languages spokenVietnamese
Currency usedVND
Area (km2)332.698

Interesting palaces & Activities

1. Halong Bay

If there was any one reason for your visit to Vietnam, this would be it! Ha Long Bay, otherwise known as “The Bay of Descending Dragons”, is made up of nearly 2,000 islands and islets of various shapes. Named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, and in 2012 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World, this is a place where your imagination can run wild in between the local fanciful legends and viewing the mysterious landscape. From uninhabited white beaches, fresh sea-food, unparalleled wildlife, deep caves, world class cruises, and unique karst formations, this is a destination that has it all for any type of traveler. Furthermore, Halong Bay is 165 km east of Hanoi and easily accessible by land, water, and air.

 

2. UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Did you know Vietnam is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered throughout the S-shaped country? Vietnam is a country with a colorful history, which can be easily viewed through many of these sites, such as the Complex of Hue Monuments or the Ancient City of Hoi An, both located in Central Vietnam. The complex of Hue is an exceptional example of Vietnamese culture and is carefully arranged within the natural setting of the area, aligned cosmologically with the Five Cardinal Points (center, north, south, east, west), the Five Elements (earth, wind, fire, water, metal), and the Five Colors (red, white, black, yellow, and blue), while Hoi An is an exceptionally well preserved (and quite romantic) example of a trading port in the Southeast Asian peninsula during the 15th to 19th century. Many travelers remark that Hoi An is their favorite destination in the whole of Vietnam, and cannot be missed!

 

3. History

Although Vietnam is a small country, it is an absolute dream for history buffs. This rich culture and history manifest itself in various ways. With a thousand years of culture and Buddhist influence, Vietnam has thousands of temples, pagodas and tombs that you shouldn’t miss, especially the Imperial City of Hue on the Perfume River. The Old Quarter in Hanoi and Hoi An are also well-known for their unique architecture. Traditional festivals are organized year round with many interesting cultural activities, like the Mid- Autumn Festival, Tet or Lunar New Year, etc. There are also many traditional art performances that you can enjoy like water puppet shows or folk singing.  If you are interested in learning about the wars fought by this strong country, the Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnant Museum, Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long are among the top historic buildings and museums you must see in your Vietnam trip.

4. Ethnic Minorities

Vietnam has a population of nearly 93 million, which is climbing every year. And around 20% of this is attributed to the 54 recognized ethnic minority groups, with the majority of the groups located in the Northern areas of Vietnam, such as the provinces of Ha Giang, Lao Cai, and Cao Bang. Visiting the northern regions of Vietnam is a great way to witness first-hand the way of life in these small communities. It is also a great opportunity to see something different from your everyday life, and, if you plan it right, to participate in traditional festivals, love markets, and kermises!

 

5. Breathtaking landscapes

Unlike touristy Thailand, Vietnam is still an “off-the beaten track” destination, with many hidden gems to offer travelers if they know where to look. Part of this allure comes from Vietnam’s breathtaking landscapes. From the far North to the deep South, there are so many opportunities to drop your jaw. Besides the magical Ha Long Bay, majestic Hue, and romantic, charming Hoi An, there are other must-see destinations to consider when planning your adventure. Keep in mind the unexplored Ha Giang in the Northwest corner of Vietnam, home to Vietnam’s highest mountain pass, Ma Pi Leng, amazing you with its Karst plateaus, deep green valleys, winding roads, steep mountains and fittingly named panoramic views, such as “Heaven’s Gate”, while Da Lat is too cute to miss with all of its French styled villas bordering pine forests and strawberry gardens. Or who can forget the largest known cave passage in the world, only discovered in 2009, the Son Doong Cave in Central Vietnam? Vietnam is also the top choice for those in love with white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and sunshine. Several of the world’s top beaches like Da Nang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Quy Nhon, and Lang Co are located here, with many other undiscovered beaches safe for swimming just waiting for you to find them!

 

6. Delicious and Healthy Food

There is more to discovering a country than just viewing its scenery and visiting its historical sites, and that way is through its food. No one can say they have visited Vietnam until they have sampled some Pho Ga  (traditional chicken noodle soup) and Pho Cuon (fresh spring rolls) and Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles)  in a small alley in Ha Noi, or Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) and Banh Mi (bread sandwiches) in Saigon. Each region has a specialty, and they are all delicious!

 

7. Coffee Culture

What? Coffee is a reason to visit Vietnam? You can never have the answer until you are actually in Vietnam. Enjoy a cup of Ca Phe Den (black coffee) or Ca Phe Sua Da (Iced Coffee with Condensed milk) while watching life whiz by you on the streets as you sit in an old French-style café on the street. Make sure to visit the oldest coffee house in Hanoi, located in the Old Quarter, to try a Ca Phe Trung, a mixture of butter, egg whites, condensed milk, and coffee.

 

8. Tailoring

If you happen to love clothes or fashion, Vietnam is the destination for you! With a thousand year tradition of weaving cotton and dyeing fabrics, you can find high quality fabrics and tailors for a very cheap price. In certain places, tailors in Hoi An can make you the outfit of your dreams in 24 hours or less. Further inspiration can be found in the northern regions of Vietnam, where ethnic minorities use bold and colorful patterns in their every-day weaving and dyeing of fabrics.

 

9. Gateway to South East Asia

Vietnam is a great destination all on its own, but can also be combined with other countries for those who wish to experience even more on their trips. Hanoi, Da Nang, and Saigon are all well-connected via flights to the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia, and Thailand and Myanmar are both less than a 2 hour flight away. For adventurous travelers with ample time on their hands looking for cheaper transportation, Laos and Cambodia are also readily accessed via road.

 

10. Trendy Location

Although Vietnam is a well-known destination for budget travelers, the country also offers everything posh travelers would expect of accommodation, service, activities, and exclusivity. In comparison with more developed locations where a 3 star hotel might cost you $100/night, in Vietnam, you can easily find a 5 star hotel for the same amount. Furthermore, there is really something for everyone here, as Vietnam offers a huge range of travel options, from the best in adventure, cultural, and romantic/honey moon travel, to hobby-related activities such as bird watching or scuba diving. The trip of your life is waiting for you here in the Land of the Ascending Dragon, so what are you waiting for?

Interesting places & activities

Useful information

Vietnam cuisine:

1. Phở

Phở, a noodle soup, is by far the most popular dish throughout Vietnam. Originally from Northern Vietnam, the dish became popular throughout the country during the Vietnam War, when refugees from the north migrated to the south, bringing the noodle soup with them. While a bowl of pho will always contain the basic ingredients of rice noodles, hot broth, herbs, and either chicken or beef, there are varying regional differences from Northern to Southern Vietnam, with southern pho being much sweeter than its northern counterpart. While pho can be eaten at any time of the day in the North, it is primarily a breakfast meal in the South.

2. Bún chả

Bún chả is another dish originating from Northern Vietnam, in Hanoi. Bun Cha is another rice noodle dish that is served with a basket of green herbs and grilled fatty pork in two textures, sausage patties and bacon strips. There is also a dipping sauce made from cucumbers, carrots, vinegar, and fish sauce, with an occasional variation of adding garlic and chili in the mixture. The smoky flavor of the pork makes this dish very popular among locals and foreigners alike, and can be eaten for breakfast or lunch.

 

3. Bún bò Huế

Bún bò Huế is a popular Vietnamese soup from central Vietnam, often compared to the iconic pho. The soup originated in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, and is greatly admired for its balance and usage of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Bun bo Hue uses rice vermicelli noodles (like in bun cha), thinly-sliced marinated beef, chunks of ox tail and pig knuckles, and sometimes, congealed pig blood. It is commonly served with a basket of herbs, with fish and shrimp sauce added for taste.

 

4. Hoành Thánh Chiên and Banh Bao Banh Vac

Hoành thánh chiên, or fried wontons, are a central Vietnam specialty in the enchanting town of Hoi An. Because of Hoi An’s history as a melting pot of cultures, there is no surprise that the cuisine reflects the same eccentricities of the city it comes from. Fried wontons are made from fried rice paper, pork or chicken, cilantro, pineapple, onion, and numerous spices, and a delicious alternative to noodle soups. Another Hoi An specialty, banh bao banh vac, or the white rose, is a type of shrimp dumpling wrapped up and plated as a rose. The dumplings are served with crunchy pieces of toasted garlic and a sweet dipping sauce. The cakes are as beautiful as they are tasty, and can only be found in Hoi An.

 

5. Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo, a savory fried pancake, is a southern Vietnamese forte. The rice flour pancake is flavored with coconut milk and filled with pork, shrimp, green onion, and bean sprouts. It is widely believed the dish is a spin-off of crepes from the period of French colonialism when Vietnam belonged to the Indochinese Empire. Southern style banh xeo is much larger and thinner compared to the northern and central versions, and is served folded in half. Banh Xeo is commonly eaten for lunch or dinner.

 

6. Nem Rán and Nem Cuốn

Nem is a popular spring-roll dish found throughout Vietnam, and refers to a sausage rolled in rice paper and then served cuốn (fresh) or rán (fried). The rolls are filled with minced pork or shrimp, and then depending on what is ordered, can come with extra ingredients, like bun noodles, bean sprouts, and cilantro.

 

7. Banh Mi

Banh mi is the Vietnamese word for bread, but it also refers to the baguette sandwich sold on streets throughout the country. Similar to banh xeo, banh mi is a remnant of the French colonialism period—but instead of using only wheat flour, the Vietnamese incorporate a mixture of both wheat and rice flour. A common breakfast food for locals, the bread can be filled with eggs, sausage, and/or pate, and garnished with cucumbers, cilantro, and chili sauce.

 

8. Cà phê sữa

Cà phê sữa is a traditional Vietnamese coffee that can be found on every street corner in the country. It is made from coarsely-ground dark roast coffee beans, and then brewed in a single small metal French drip filter. As the coffee drips into a small glass, it mixes with the sweet condensed milk at the bottom, making a super strong and caramelized addictive drink. Vietnamese coffee can be enjoyed with or without the condensed milk, and can be served hot or cold.

 

9. Cà Phê Trứng

Cà phê trứng is a Vietnamese drink prepared with Robusta coffee, condensed milk, sugar, and egg yolks! Egg Coffee has been a staple in every café in Hanoi since the 1950s, and with its flavor reminiscent of the Italian dessert, tiramisu, it is a must-try for anyone visiting Vietnam.

 

10. Rượu nếp

Rượu nếp is a mildly alcoholic glutinous rice wine made in northern Vietnam. The alcohol is made from sticky rice that has been fermented with yeast and then steamed in a banana leaf.

Nightlife image

Culture and history info

History

Ancient Vietnam

About 2,000 years ago people in North Vietnam began growing rice in the Red River Valley. To irrigate their crops they built dykes and dug canals. They were forced to work together and so an organised kingdom emerged called Van Lang. However in the 2nd century BC the Chinese conquered the area.

The Chinese ruled northern Vietnam for more than 1,000 years and Chinese civilization had a great impact on the Vietnamese.

However in South Vietnam there was Indian influence. From the 1st century to the 6th century AD the southernmost part of Vietnam was part of a state called Funan.

In the middle of Vietnam an Indian influenced state called Champa arose in the 2nd century AD.

In North Vietnam the people resented Chinese rule and in 40 AD the Trung sisters led a rebellion. They formed an independent state. However in 43 AD the Chinese crushed the rebellion and the sisters killed themselves. The Chinese continued to rule North Vietnam until the 10th century. Finally in 938 a leader named Ngo Quyen defeated the Chinese at the battle of Bach Dang River and North Vietnam became an independent state.

In the 13th century the Mongols invaded Vietnam three times. In 1257 and 1284 they captured the capital but each time they soon withdrew. Then in 1288 the Vietnamese leader Tran Hung Dao routed the Mongols at the Bach Dang River.

However in the early 15th century China tried to regain control of North Vietnam. In 1407 they occupied the country but their rule was resisted. In 1418 Le Loi began the Lam Son Uprising. By 1428 the Chinese were driven out and Le Loi became the Emperor Le Thai To. Under his successors the central Vietnamese state of Champa became a vassal state of North Vietnam.

However in the early 16th century the power of the Le dynasty declined. During the 17th and 18th centuries two rival families effectively held power, the Trinh in the north and the Nguyen in the south. The Nguyen family conquered the Mekong Delta from the Khmer Empire.

In the 1770s a rebellion began in the town of Tay Son. Three brothers called Nguyen led it. Gradually they took territory from the Nguyen lords in the south and the Trinh lords in the north. By 1786 they were in control of the whole of Vietnam and one brother, Nguyen Hue made himself Emperor Quang Trung. In 1788 the Chinese intervened in Vietnam but the Vietnamese routed them at Dong Da.

However a Nguyen lord named Nguyen Anh escaped. He raised an army and from 1789 he pushed back the rebels. Nguyen Anh took Hanoi in 1802 and made himself Emperor Gia Long. Under him Vietnam became a strong united kingdom.

Meanwhile the Portuguese reached Vietnam by sea in 1516. In their wake came missionaries, first Dominicans then Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church made some headway in Vietnam.

The French in Vietnam

In the late 19th century Vietnam became a French colony. However the French took over Vietnam in stages. In 1859 they captured Saigon. Finally in 1883 North and Central Vietnam was forced to become a French protectorate.

The French built infrastructure in Vietnam such as the Saigon to Hanoi railway. They also built roads and bridges. However the building was funded by heavy taxation. Naturally the Vietnamese wanted independence. The Communists spearheaded the struggle for independence. Ho Chi Minh founded the Revolutionary Youth League from the safety of China in 1925. In 1930 it became the Vietnamese Communist party.

In 1940 the Germans defeated France. Japan decided to take advantage of French weakness and they forced the French government to allow Japanese troops to occupy French Indo-China, although they left the French administration in place.

The Vietnamese Communists or Viet Minh fought the Japanese and by 1945 they controlled parts of North Vietnam. Meanwhile in March 1945 the Japanese took control of the administration of Vietnam and when Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945 they left a power vacuum.

Ho Chi Minh moved quickly to fill the vacuum. He called for an uprising called the August Revolution and the Viet Minh took control of most of Vietnam. On 2 September 1945 Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent.

However the great powers ignored the Vietnamese demand for independence. Under the terms of the Potsdam Conference Japanese troops south of the 16th parallel surrendered to the British. Those to the north surrendered to the Nationalist Chinese.

However the French army soon arrived in the south to take control from the British. In the north Chinese troops moved in. However Ho Chi Minh soon decided that the French were the lesser of two evils and he signed a treaty, which said that French troops should replace Chinese troops in North Vietnam for 5 years. In return the French promised to recognized Vietnam as a 'free state'.

However it soon became clear the French had no intention of giving up power in Vietnam and fighting broke out between them and the Viet Minh.

For eight years the Viet Minh fought a guerrilla war against the French. Finally in 1954 they surrounded a French army at Dien Bien Phu. After a siege lasting 57 days the French were forced to surrender. By then it was clear that the French could not win the war and both sides met at the Geneva Conference to end the war. They agreed that Vietnam would be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel and elections would be held by 20 July 1956. However no elections were held and the division of Vietnam became permanent.

Modern Vietnam

In the north Ho Chi Minh introduced a Communist regime while in the south Ngo Dinh Diem became ruler. However in the early 1960s South Vietnam was rocked by demonstrations and in 1963 Diem was ousted in a coup.

Meanwhile in 1959 the North Vietnamese began a long guerrilla war to reunite Vietnam under Communist rule. The Northern Guerrillas were known as the Vietcong.

Gradually the USA became involved in the Vietnam War. As early as 1950 the US sent military advisers to South Vietnam. Financially they supported the French and later the South Vietnamese government.

Then in 1964 two US ships were supposedly subject to 'unprovoked' attacks by the North Vietnamese. First the Maddox was attacked. Two days later the Maddox and a ship called the C Turner Joy claimed they were both attacked. (It is doubtful if this attack ever took place).

The Americans then bombed the north and Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution allowing the president to take 'all necessary measures' to prevent 'further aggression'. As a result by December 1965 there were 183,000 US soldiers in Vietnam and by the end of 1967 there were nearly half a million. However the Vietcong continued their guerrilla war.

In January 1968 the Vietcong launched the Tet offensive in towns and cities across South Vietnam. They suffered heavy losses but afterwards the Americans gradually withdrew from Vietnam. In January 1973 they signed a ceasefire and the remaining American troops withdrew.

The South Vietnamese continued to fight the Vietcong alone. However in the early months of 1975 South Vietnamese resistance collapsed and on 30 April 1975 the North Vietnamese captured Saigon. Vietnam was reunited under Communist rule.

Then in the late 1970s the Khmer Rouge made attacks on Vietnam. So in 1978 the Vietnamese occupied Cambodia. They stayed until 1989.

Meanwhile in 1986 the Vietnamese government introduced market reforms. As a result the Vietnamese economy began to grow rapidly. In 1994 the USA lifted an economic embargo on Vietnam and in 1995 diplomatic relations were restored.

Today the Vietnamese economy is booming and Vietnam is becoming more and more prosperous. Tourism is an important industry in Vietnam. Furthermore a stock exchange opened in Vietnam in 2000.

Today the population of Vietnam is 94 million.

Cultures & custom

People
At present there are 54 different ethnic groups inhabiting Vietnam, in which Kinh (Viet) people make up nearly 90% of the whole population, and 53 other ethnic groups represent over 10%.
The Vietnamese nation was formed through a process of two major ancient cultures, the Chinese and the Indian. Thus a peculiar trait of Vietnam's culture was formed. As far as anthropology is concerned, the Vietnamese people have their origin in the Mongolid race, believed to be one of the major or races of the world and often found in northern and eastern Asia

Language
Vietnamese or Tieng Viet is the national language of Vietnam, spoken by around 87 percent population as the first language. However, there are regional and intra-regional variations in dialect throughout the country.

Religion
The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confucianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect. These are all tolerated, provided they do not threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power.

Customs & Habits

Worship of Ancestor Custom
A very popular belief among Vietnamese is the custom of the ancestor cult. In every household, an ancestor altar is installed in the most solemn location
Vietnamese believe that the soul of a dead person, even if dead for many generations, still rests along with their descendants on earth. The dead and living persons still have spiritual communion; in everyday life, people must not forget that what they enjoy and how they feel is the same for their dead relatives.

Villages – Guilds
The Vietnamese culture has always evolved on the basis of the wet rice civilization. Thus, the lifestyle of the Vietnamese population is closely related to its village and native lands
In Vietnamese society, people gather together to form villages in rural areas, and guilds in urban areas. Villages and guilds have been forming since the dawn of the nation. These organizations have gradually developed for the population to be more stable and closer
together

Customs of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts and smoking thuoc lao
According to legends, chewing quid of betel and areca has been a custom since the Hung Vuong period and is connected to the antique legend of betel and areca
Let’s not forget to mention thuoc lao or strong tobacco. For women, betel can initiate various feminine conversation, but for men, thuoc lao is related to their joyfulness as well as the sadness in their lives.
Peasants always carry their dieu cay (pipe for smoking while ploughing the rice fields).

Wedding Ceremony
Getting married is an important event in a Vietnamese’s life. The procedure of the ancient wedding ceremony was very complicated. Current wedding ceremony procedures include the following steps: the search for a husband or wife, the proposal, the registration, and finally the wedding.

Funeral Ceremony
The sense of the dead is that of the final,” says a Vietnamese proverb, meaning that funeral ceremonies must be solemnly organized

Festivals
Festival activities are living museums in which typical cultural values of the nation have been preserved for centuries. Festivals are events when people pay tribute to divinities that rendered merits to the community and the nation. Festivals are occasions when people come back to either their natural or national roots, which form a sacred part in their mind. Festivals represent the strength of the commune or village, the local region or even the whole nation. Worshipping the same god, the people unite in solidarity to overcome difficulties, striving for a happy and wealthy life. Festivals display the demand for creativity and enjoyment of spiritual and material cultural values of all social strata. Festivals become a form of education under which fine traditional moral values can be handed from one generation to the next in a unique way of combining spiritual characters with competition and entertainment games. Festivals are also the time people can express their sadness and worries in a wish that gods might bestow favors on them to help them strive for a better life.

Art performance

Water Puppets
Vietnamese water puppetry has a long history. The pond and lakes of the northern plains, where crowds gathered during festival and galas, become the lively stages for the water puppet shows. At a water puppet show, the audience watches boat races, buffalo fights, fox hunts and other rustic scenes amidst the beating of drums and gongs. The characters plough, plant rice seedlings, fish in a pond with a rod and line, scoop water with a bamboo basket hung from a tripod, etc. The show is interspersed with such items as a Dance by the Four Mythical Animals: Dragon, Unicorn, Tortoise, and Phoenix and Dance by the Eight Fairies, in which supernatural beings enjoy festivities alongside people of this world.

Cheo or Vietnamese Popular Theatre
Cheo is a form of stage performance that originated in the northern countryside. The word cheo means “lyrics of folk ballads, proverbs”.
Traditionally, cheo was composed orally by anonymous authors. Today's playwrights compose cheo along traditional lines. The characters in the plays sing time-tested popular melodies with words suited to modern circumstances. Human rights and the battle of good against evil are common themes. The joyfulness and optimism of cheo is expressed through humour and wit.

Cai Luong
Cai luong is a kind of folk music that developed in the early 20th century. It was first played by amateurs in the south. Thanks to their soft voices, southerners sing cai luong very romantically

Classical Opera or Tuong
Tuong, also called hat boi in the south, is a stage performance that came about during the Ly-Tran dynasties and that became very popular nationwide during the following centuries. During the Nguyen dynasty, 19th century, tuong occupied a good position in the cultural lives of the royals. In tuong, space and time are captured by songs, dancing, and simple music.

Gongs or Cong-Chieng
Gongs are musical instruments made of alloy bronze, sometimes with gold, silver, or black bronze added to their composition. Gongs hold great significance and value for many ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen. The gongs play an important role in the lives of the inhabitants of Tay Nguyen; from birth until death, the gongs are present at all the important events, joyful as well as unfortunate, in their lives.

Nha nhac, Vietnamese Court Music - An Intangible Cultural Heritage
On November 7, 2003, UNESCO bestowed world heritage status on 28 relics of nations as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Among the 11 masterpieces of Asia, nha nhac (royal music) represents the first intangible legacy of Vietnam to have been put on this list.
The UNESCO Council appraised Vietnamese royal music in the following terms: “Vietnamese royal music represents an elegant and refined music. It deals with the music performed in the imperial courts and on different anniversaries, religious festivals, and on such particular occasions. Of the different categories developed in Vietnam, only the royal music was national.”

Traditional costumes
Over time, the traditional "ao dai" has gone through certain changes. Long gowns are now carefully tailored to fit the body of a Vietnamese woman.
An elegant looking conical palm hat, which is traditionally known as a "non bai tho" (a hat with poetry written on it), is worn as part of a woman's formal dress. This traditional conical hat is particularly suitable for a tropical country such as Vietnam, where fierce sunshine and hard rain are commonplace.
Ao Ba Ba are the stereotypical black silk pajamas (although ao ba ba can be any color) worn by both men and women in the southern countryside, particularly the Mekong Delta. Ao Ba Ba is also worn in the cities, mostly by women. Look for them in the markets and on the street.

Traditional Fine art
Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups, each of which has its own traditional culture. The diversity of the ethnic groups is apparent in the many traditional and cultural Vietnamese treasures. These treasures include the various works of art found throughout the country, including sculpture, ceramic, painting, and casting, made from materials such as clay, stone, bronze, steel, wood, and paper.

Folk Paintings
Folk paintings are a combination of traditional cultural values with ancient artistic methods that have been created through the labour of past generations. There are two types of Vietnamese folk paintings, Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) paintings and worshipping paintings
The Vietnamese believe in ancestor worship and the deification of natural phenomena, both of which are reflected in the paintings.

Dong Ho Paintings
These paintings originated in the Red River Delta. Dong Ho paintings reflect people’s innermost feelings, wishes, and simple dreams. Because the paintings appeal to so many people, they are available throughout the country, from the village markets to the capital city

Sinh Village Paintings
Sinh Village Paintings, which come from Sinh Village, a suburb of Hue City, are well-known in the central region of Vietnam. Most Sinh Village paintings are used for worship, and they express the mystical, nature-based beliefs of the ancient Vietnamese.

Traditional Sculpture
In the realm of traditional art, Vietnamese sculpture has had a significant history of development. Vietnamese sculpture has been heavily influenced by the three traditional religions, Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, which come from neighboring countries China and India. Examples of early Vietnamese sculpture can be found in common houses, temples, and pagodas

Vietnam Handicrafts
Vietnam is a country rich in handicraft products, thanks to the hard-working, dexterous, and creative qualities of the Vietnamese people.
For a very long time, handicraft products have been a source of cultural pride and a source of income for the people. As the varieties of handicraft are fully introduced, only a few typical items and their sources are mentioned here.
Woven tapestries and brocade handbags are unique works from the skilled hands of the ethnic women living in the Northwest regions, such as Cao Bang, Lao Cai.
Embroidered articles and silk products are famous from the regions of Van Phuc (Ha Tay), Nam Ha, Thai Binh, Hue, Dalat (Lam Dong).
Wool tapestries from Hanoi and Haiphong, and jute tapestries from Hung Yen, Haiphong, Hanoi and Thai Binh, are much sought after.
Ceramic and porcelain items have been produced in Vietnam for a long time. Ceramic and porcelain products glazed by traditional methods into beautiful art are well known in Bat Trang (Hanoi), Dong Trieu, Thanh Ha (Quang Ninh), and Haiphong. Copperware is fabricated by the skillful hands of coppersmiths in Ngu Xa (Hanoi), Dai Bai (Bac Ninh), Dong Son (Thanh Hoa).
Jewelry products and metalwork are concentrated in Hanoi, Thai Binh and Hung Yen, while stonework are mainly produced in Danang (Five Element Mountain Region).
Wood products and wood carvings can usually be found in Phu Xuyen (Ha Tay), Dong Ky (Bac Ninh), Haiphong, and Hue.
There are thousands of types of handicraft products. Some of these handicrafts have been internationally recognized and popularized, such as lacquerware. While lacquer artists produce a limited number of paintings and sculptures, lacquer crafts have been part of Vietnamese life in many forms: vases, boxes, interior decorating items, jewelry, and office products.
With about 2,000 years of history, Vietnamese products made by a community of handicraft artists, have established a firm and growing position in the domestic and international markets.

Cuisines

Customs
Influenced by the Chinese, chopsticks and spoons are used in Vietnam. Many foods (such as cakes) are wrapped in banana or coconut leaves. When eating with elders, younger Vietnamese always ask the elders to eat first.

A typical family meal
A typical Vietnamese meal (lunch or dinner) will include steamed rice; a soup dish to eat with rice, a meat or fish dish and a vegetarian dish (either stir fried or boiled).Vietnamese do not eat in separate servings, but the food is placed in the middle. Each member of the family has a small bowl and chopsticks with which they take food from the table throughout the meal.
Vietnamese noodles and cakes
Besides the typical meal with rice, Vietnamese cuisine has many different types of noodles and cakes (mostly made from rice). To name a few: beef soup noodles (pho), crab noodle (bun rieu), spring rolls (nem), sticky rice cake (chung cake)…

Food of three regions
Like everything else, Vietnamese food also differs geographically from location to location. North Vietnam’s food uses soy sauce, fish sauce and prawn sauce and has many stir fried dishes.
With harsh weather and less developed agriculture than the South, North Vietnamese tend to use less meat, fish and vegetables; and black pepper (instead of chili) to create spice. The taste is strict and less sweet, but more salty than in other regions.
Central Vietnam is distinct in its extreme spices and color of food. Hue’s cuisine, affected by royal cuisine once created for kings and queens, emphasized on quality and quantity – A meal constitutes of many complex dishes served only at small proportions.
Southern Vietnamese are heavily affected by Cambodia, Thai and Chinese cuisines (due to trade and immigrants). Southerners prefer sweet tastes (created by adding sugar or coconut milk) and spicy tastes (created by chili peppers).
A variety of dried fish and sauces originate from the South. Southerners prefer seafood and use simple cooking methods with larger and less servings.

Culture and history image

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.

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Dragon Legend cruise 2D/1N

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Paradise luxury cruise 2 D/1 N

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Valentine cruise 2 days 1 nites

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Victory private cruise 2D/1N

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Unfortunately there are no car rental offers at this location at the moment.