Captivating, colorful and chaotic: that's Vietnam. With sublime landscapes, an excellent cuisine, a very affordable standard of living and an activity on the street that is the best spectacle of entertainment you can ask for, the exotic country of Southeast Asia is so grateful to visit that the free visa of two weeks knows little.
TRAFFIC IN HO CHI MINH
There are many bikes. Many. We have all heard about the overwhelming traffic of some Asian countries, but after wandering three months around the neighboring countries and thinking that I am already used to living with such amount of motorcycles per square meter, the traffic of Ho Chi Minh City left me astonished. I know because he suffered from anxiety every time he had to cross the street. Definitely, waiting for no one to pass is NOT an option. The technique used by passers-by is to "flow with traffic" or "dance with motorcycles", that is, to rush forward at a constant pace without sudden movements and with conviction. In my opinion, more than a technique, crossing the street is an art that requires a lot of practice. I can only say that every night before going to bed, I was more grateful to stay alive than usual.
TEMPERATURE IN DALAT
If you want to visit Dalat, keep this in mind when making your backpack: the temperatures are much lower than in the rest of the country's tourist destinations, especially at night, since this Vietnamese city is 1,500 meters above sea level. sea. Dalat, land of berries and sweet potatoes, is ideal for a small retreat from urban life, where you can enjoy pure air and extraordinary landscapes.
The Vietnamese long-haul buses are the bomb: better known as sleeper buses, they have two comfortable seating/sleeping floors, with blankets included. They are very modern, some even offer wifi on board. But, they do not have a bathroom and you never know how many times they stop at the "service stations" during the tour, so pay attention to the amount of liquid you decide to drink.
CROSS THE BORDER
When crossing the border from Cambodia to Vietnam, the officer at the window will point you in the chest with a gun. It is not what it seems, it is a supersonic thermometer that proves that you do not have a fever since you must enter Vietnam in full form.
Do not leave without trying the egg coffee or coconut coffee, which you can find in most Vietnamese coffee shops. Take the opportunity to buy good coffee: in the street of the cathedral of Hanoi, there are a lot of shops where you can smell the aroma of different varieties of coffee before deciding.
Among them is the weasel coffee, weasel coffee, similar to Indonesian kopi luwak made from the feces of these animals, which are locked in cages eating coffee beans and then sell the product as "the best coffee in the world". All the responsible travelers refuse to encourage this cruel practice, so keep that in mind when you go to buy coffee.
Spoiler: Hoi An is going to fall in love with you. Its old town is a very photogenic oasis of peace. Filled with lanterns instead of motorcycles, you can walk without the constant worry of traffic. It is the best place to buy local craft items.
Get in Pho. You will see that the locals take this typical noodle soup at all hours, also as breakfast. And it is so rich! In vegetarian restaurants, you will find pho with seitan or mushrooms instead of meat. Also, they usually bring you a separate dish with lemon, chiles and green leaves so you can customize your soup.
If you want to spend a day in Halong Bay, you can book the tour at any tourist agency or hotel. The packages they offer are all similar, with a kayak tour or bamboo boat to choose from. If you want to go kayaking, put some spare clothes in your backpack, you might get wet!
Vietnam is a beautiful country with an amazing culture and people. Knowing about these things will help you have a memorable trip, checking it off your bucket list.