We have spent more than a month in Vietnam. We must admit this country is weird and we are not sure if we want to come back there. We know many people who love Vietnam though. 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, we 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…
Fun Vietnam Facts and Things About Vietnam Culture
Interesting Vietnam facts #1
Vietnamese people eat dogs and cats.
This is probably the weirdest and the most disgusting thing about Vietnam culture. Dogs and cats are very popular to eat in this country.
In the beginning, we thought it is just a rumor or something to attract tourists. We talked with many Vietnamese people though and they all confirmed that ‘pet meat’ is eaten in Vietnam.
Ughh… We couldn’t try it but we saw many restaurants where they served meals made of dogs and cats.
The worst part of it is that most dogs that are eaten by Vietnamese people are raised in a house, they live with people. They are treated like all dogs in any other countries 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. Some of them treat dogs and cats as pets. They must take very good care of them- kidnapping and killing animals is very common in Vietnam.
Read more here: The Truth about Eating Dogs in Vietnam and China
Vietnam interesting facts #2
Munching and belching are normal in Vietnam.
Did we say that eating dogs and cats is the most disgusting fact about Vietnam? Maybe we were wrong. Munching and belching are the things that stopped us from eating in Vietnamese restaurants.
Loud eating is considered rude in most countries in the world. But not in Vietnam (and China).
The other disgusting 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 every traditional Vietnamese restaurant. Ugh… gross!
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 #3
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 a dinner or more than 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, 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 #4
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 #5
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.
He said that:
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.
Vietnam interesting facts #6
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 #7
Vietnamese are smokers.
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 cost less than $1! It is also very popular to smoke from the bamboo tube pipes.
Vietnam Interesting facts #8
Vietnam is the world’s largest cashew nuts exporter.
Vietnam produces almost 30% of all cashew nuts on 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.
If you want to get snacks from all over the world directly to your home—> click here.
Interesting Vietnam facts #9
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 #10
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 in 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 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 the 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 #11
Vietnam is famous from the unique hotels
Book a unique hotel and make the most of Vietnam while you’re there.
Da Lat is known for its beautiful waterfall and for its crazy architectural jewels such as the crazy house. Check out the latest prices for—> Crazy House Da Lat.
If you’re planning on visiting Sa Pa while in Vietnam, why not spend the night in Topas Ecolodge. You could wake up with epic scenic views in the morning. Check out the latest prices for—> Topas Ecolodge.
Ha Noi is one everyone’s list. Why if you could stay in a garden or a tree house? This quirky and colorful hotel should definitely be considered when comes the time to pick your accommodation. Check out the latest prices for—> Lush Garden Studio & Tree House.
Check a map of Hanoi hotels:
Here are some other cool facts on Vietnamese culture you should keep in mind for your upcoming trip to Vietnam.
- Adventure tours Vietnam: Vietnam is also an adventure destination for travelers. Did you know you can drive a motorbike across the country? Did you know you could also go on canoeing/caving adventure tours in Vietnam?
Check out best tours in Vietnam
- 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.
- Other interesting facts about Vietnam war: There are so many interesting facts Vietnam war related that we have to mention it again. The war in Vietnam lasted for 19 and 1/2 years. It’s indeed one of the longest wars that ever happened. The death toll is mostly Vietnamese. In fact, approximately two millions of Vietnamese civilians died during the war which means this doesn’t include soldiers.
If you’re heading to Vietnam next, check out these tips on how to bargain in Vietnam and these photos that will make you fall in love with this beautiful country.