In spring 2018 we spent about 7 weeks in Vietnam. We spent 3 weeks in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), 2 weeks in Nha Trang and 2 weeks in Dalat. In this post I want to show you Vietnam the way we saw it during these weeks while living in these 3 completely different cities. We weren’t doing almost any touristy things, apart from visiting one museum, going on one tour, couple of hikes on our own and a lot of aimless wandering around with a camera in hand.
But that’s something we like to do wherever we travel to. Simply wander around and observe local life, moving around like locals.
Let’s start our mini tour to Vietnam!
Vietnam Photo Story
1. Scooters, Scooters Everywhere
Let’s start with the obvious. Scooters. Millions of scooters. It’s estimated that there are more than 7 million scooters in Ho Chi Minh City alone. No matter what time of the day it is traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is intense.
Scooters on sidewalks.
2. Vietnamese Are Hiding from the Sun
We arrived to Ho Chi Minh City at the beginning of the hottest season. What we saw, though, was that about one half of the people were fully covered. Yes, they use face masks also because of air pollution (in Kathmandu and Delhi it’s far worse, if you are curious), but it’s not only about face masks.
If I would be making a photo gallery called “Faces of Vietnam” it would contain of photos like this one.
And this one.
Women are take it especially seriously.
By far most of women wear special “kind-of-skirt” when driving a scooter. Many wear gloves.
3. A Scooter Is Everything in Vietnam
It doesn’t take too long until you notice that scooter isn’t just a mode of transportation in Vietnam. It’s a family vehicle.
People sleep on scooters.
People eat on scooters.
You can transport anything with a scooter in Vietnam.
Yep, anything and everything.
A table, for example?
A scooter is a family member in Vietnam. You wouldn’t leave your mom sleeping outside, right? So you don’t leave your scooter outside either, you push it into the house. And I mean it. In the house. Not in the yard, but in the house. Well, at least in Ho Chi Minh City. Yes, I know it’s because of safety reasons (yes? That’s what I have heard.)
But at the same time, I must admit, after seeing all these photos of Vietnam online I was ready for far more crazy sights. There have been some good and funny ones I couldn’t manage to capture. But it’s not like every other person here is transporting a sofa or fridge on a scooter either. What you see above (and will see below), though, all of that is what you can see every day here.
But, of course it happens. Yes. Here you can see a fridge being transported on a motorbike in Nha Trang.
4. There Is No Wrong Side, When It Comes to Driving
Which is cool actually, as you are always on the right side of the road.
As I have said – spent almost a month in Ho Chi Minh City, still haven’t figured it out what side of street do you drive on there…
4. Vietnamese Love Their Noodles, Soups, Coffee and Baguettes
And we love their French baguettes (not banh mi, though; plain baguette with butter and/or cheese).
Noodles, soups and coffee in Vietnam are good, too. Very good, if you eat them once in a while. But, I’ll be honest, very quickly it was too much of noodles, soups and coffee for us. No, Vietnamese cousine isn’t our favorite, very far from it.
However if you love coffee, you’ll definitely want to check out at least some of these cool cafes in Saigon.
And Vietnamese eat out. A Lot. Same like in Thailand here you see a lot of street food vendors.
Restaurants are packed with people. Or more exactly – there are a lot of people sitting outside the restaurants. As that’s how people like to eat dinner (and, well, spend evenings) in Vietnam. 95% of the time – on small benches next to tiny tables.
In Ho Chi Minh City it seems like every other restaurant is a coffee shop. There are lots of them in other cities, too.
5. Vietnam Is Much More Diverse Than You Think
Vietnam has it all.
Clean beaches. Clean places. And also dirty places.
Rivers. And there are also beautiful waterfalls in Vietnam.
Temples. Although, not that much as, for example, in Thailand.
And churches, too.
Have you been to Vietnam? What was your experience? Do you like Vietnamese noodle soups?
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.