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Vietnam is one of these places that can’t leave you without strong emotion. Some people love it, some hate it, but one thing is certain- this country is pretty unique. It has a lot to offer: beautiful mountains (like Mai Chau), amazing sea and of course the Halong Bay. Vietnam may be controversial but it’s still a place everybody should visit. In this post, I gathered for you interesting Vietnam facts. Some of these facts on Vietnam may surprise you, some disgust you and some will make you laugh! So here we go…
Interesting Vietnam facts #1
Some Vietnamese People Eat Dogs and Cats
This is probably one of the weirdest facts about Vietnam culture. Dogs and cats are quite popular to eat in this country.
Some of them are raised in a house, they live with people. They are treated like dogs in any other country in the world. And then, usually, when they are about 2 years old, they are killed and eaten.
Vietnamese claims that the best meat is from the young dog. The older the dog is, the more tough and gristly its meat is. They also said that every dog breed tastes differently.
It’s also worth to know that Vietnamese buy stray dogs from other Asian countries (like Thailand) only to eat them.
Not every Vietnamese eat dogs though. Some of them treat dogs and cats as pets. They must take very good care of them as kidnapping and killing animals is still very common in Vietnam.
Read more here: The Truth about Eating Dogs in Vietnam and China
Vietnam interesting facts #2
World Famous Bridge Is Located In Vietnam
Have you seen the Giant Hand Bridge? This jaw-dropping tourist attraction is located in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Even though it opened up in 2018, it has gone viral and quickly became one of the best places to visit in Asia! The Golden Bridge is 150 meters (500 ft) long.
Interesting facts about Vietnam #3
Munching and Belching Are Acceptable in Vietnam
Loud eating is considered rude in most countries in the world. But not in Vietnam (and China).
The other thing is that Vietnamese has a despicable habit of littering in the place they eat. So you will find used napkins, food scraps and cigarette butts on the floor of many traditional Vietnamese restaurants.
Not all the people in Vietnam eat loudly though. Not every restaurant is dirty, you can find the places that are clean.
Interesting Vietnam facts #4
Vietnam Is The World’s Thinnest Country
While most of the countries in the world are struggling with the obesity epidemic, it’s not really a problem in Vietnam. Only 2% of Vietnamese people are obese which makes them the thinnest country in the world!
Interesting Vietnam facts #5
Everybody Can Feel Like a Millionaire in Vietnam
Vietnamese currency is very funny! $1 is more than 20,000 VND. That’s why it’s normal that you will pay 50,000-100,000 VND for dinner or more than a million VND for a stay in a hotel! This is surely one of the interesting facts of Vietnam because everyone likes to have the impression to be rich!
Such a big amount of money is very confusing to tourists and sadly, some Vietnamese people take advantage of this.
For example- you may give someone 100,000 instead of 10,000 and he won’t tell you that you are mistaken. You have to be very careful with the money in Vietnam!
Vietnam interesting facts #6
The Capital City of Vietnam is Not The Largest In The Country
It’s a fun Vietnam fact. In most countries in the world, the capital city is also the largest one in the whole country.
It is different in Vietnam. Hanoi (capital) has a population of 6.5 million people, whereas in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) live more than 7.5 million people!
These two cities are the biggest in the country but they are situated quite far away from each other.
The distance between Saigon (Southern Vietnam) and Hanoi (Northern Vietnam) is more than 1,500 km (930 miles)!
Interesting Vietnam facts #7
Vietnamese People Don’t Hate Americans
Before visiting Vietnam, all we know about this country is that they had a war very recently. And Americans played a great part in it. Let’s take a look at the interesting facts on the Vietnam war and how it resonates with this reality.
Usually, when foreigners come to another country, start fighting and killing local people, they are treated as aggressors. So we thought it’s quite obvious that Vietnamese people hate Americans. Especially that The Vietnam War ended only 40 years ago.
We were surprised that Vietnamese people actually… like Americans. It’s mainly because of Vietnamese great leader, Ho Chi Minh told that they shouldn’t blame American citizens for the war. It’s the LEADERS who are responsible for all these deaths.
Everything depends on the Americans. If they want to make war for 20 years then we shall make war for 20 years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to tea afterwards.
He also said:
Love other human beings as you would love yourself.
He thought that Vietnam is the most important thing in the world and Vietnamese should focus on rebuilding the country, not on hating the aggressors. We talked with many Viets and they all said that War was a long time ago and they had already forgiven the U.S. all their faults.
As we dip into fun facts on Vietnam, did you know that there are many anti war Vietnam songs? It was their way to protest against the war. Here are some of the best anti war songs Vietnam has: “For what it’s worth” of Buffalo Springfield and “Give me love” of George Harrison.
The other interesting fact about the Vietnam war is that it’s actually called the American war in this country.
Vietnam interesting facts #8
Tortoise Is a Lucky Symbol in Vietnam
When we were looking for interesting facts about Vietnam, we noticed that Vietnamese people love tortoises. They believe that they are bringing luck and health. They admire the longevity of turtles and believe that keeping tortoiseshells at home will prolong their lives as well.
There are four sacred animals in Vietnamese culture. Tortoise is one of them. The others are dragons, Phoenix and unicorns. So the tortoise is actually the only REAL animal of all that Vietnamese worship which means it belongs to the fun facts of Vietnam.
There is even a myth about a Tortoise God who helped King An Duong Vuong building Co Loa citadel on the outskirts of the capital city of Vietnam- Hanoi. The famous Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as the Lake of the Restored Sword) is associated with a myth about King Le Loi. It is believed that he returned the sword to the Tortoise God after defeating his enemies. Vietnamese people believe that the old tortoise is still living in the Hoan Kiem Lake.
Interesting Vietnam facts #9
Vietnamese Smoke A Lot
One of 10 facts about Vietnam culture that people didn’t know about is that it’s a heaven for smokers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 25% of Viets smoke cigarettes. It is 1/4 of the population of the entire country! Smoking is considered as manly ‘activity’ so it is very unlikely to see Vietnamese woman with a cigaret.
Smoking is very cheap in Vietnam. One package of cigarettes costs less than $1! It is also very popular to smoke from the bamboo tube pipes.
Vietnam Interesting facts #10
Vietnam Is The World’s Largest Cashew Nuts Exporter
Vietnam produces almost 30% of all cashew nuts in the world!
Why? Because it causes very serious damage to cashew’s factories workers. Cashew has two layers of the hard shell between which are caustic substances (cardol and anacardic acid). They can cause severe burns.
Many people who work in the cashew industry have permanent damage to their hands because of this corrosive liquid. The factories don’t always provide gloves for their employees.
That is why some people believe that buying and eating cashew nuts is not ethical.
Interesting Vietnam facts #11
Viets Embrace Their Culture
You can still see women wearing traditional clothes Ao Dai on the street. Not to mention Non La, the famous Asian conical hats.
Fun Vietnam facts #12
Vietnam Is Famous For Weird Drinks
Have you ever heard of the Snake Wine? It is quite popular in Vietnam (and also in China). They put the whole snake (or scorpion) into the bottle and then pour the rice wine into it.
We tried it- it tastes quite well!
The best liquor is from the venomous snake. Its venom is denatured by the ethanol so it is harmless.
The other weird Vietnamese drink is Eggnog Coffee. It’s a coffee with… egg.
It tastes amazing! We were surprised at how good this drink is. In addition to coffee and egg, Viets add to this beverage sweet, condensed milk.
So the condensed milk is on the bottom, strong, Vietnamese coffee is in the middle and egg white foam is on the top. These 3 layers look and taste amazing.
Interesting facts Vietnam #13
Vietnamese New Year is Celebrated At a Different Time Each Year
There are many cool interesting facts in Vietnam and the Vietnamese New Year is surely one of them. It’s the biggest holiday in Vietnam and it is called TET (Tết Nguyên Đán).
It is celebrated at the very same time as the Chinese New Year, always in January or February. It is interesting that is doesn’t have a fixed date and the time of celebrating TET is different every year.
We were lucky enough to be in Hanoi during the Vietnamese New Year. It was wonderful to see the people celebrating. They behaved like people in any other country in the world- they were watching fireworks at midnight and wish themselves a happy new year.
The one weird thing was that there was a table in front of every house. It was a kind of gift for the God that lives in every home. The feast included whole boiled chicken (with head), beverages (like coca-cola, water or tea), alcohol (beer, whiskey or even vodka), fruits and cigarettes.
After midnight, people were eating all these gifts and burning fake money (to send them to their ancestors and deceased relatives in case they need them in their afterlife).
Interesting Vietnam facts #14
The Vietnamese Language Is Not That Difficult
It has tones just like Chinese. Even though it’s not the easiest language in the world, foreigners may learn to speak basic Vietnamese quite fast.
How to say hi in Vietnamese? It’s quite easy to learn how to say hello in Vietnamese. You can either say Chào or Xin Chào.
What’s interesting, every word in the Vietnamese language has 1 syllable. That’s why the name of the official name of the country is Viet Nam (two separate words), not Vietnam.
Fun Vietnam facts #15
Vietnam Is A Motorbike Kingdom
In fact, motorbikes in Vietnam are way more popular than cars. Even though they are officially suitable for a maximum of two people, some Viets use is as a family vehicle. We’ve seen 6 people on one small motorbike, including toddlers and infants.
It’s not something you can see in the big city though. Everyone is driving safely on the city roads, as the traffic is very high there.
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Did you know any of these facts about Vietnam? Do you know any other Vietnamese interesting facts? Share your thoughts in the comments!