10 things you will shocked for first time in Vietnam | SaigonWalks

10 things you will shocked for first time in Vietnam | SaigonWalks

10 things you will shocked for first time in Vietnam | SaigonWalks


1. Discovering the Charms of Hanoi and the Vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi is the political capital and Ho Chi Minh City is the economic city in Vietnam. These two cities have very different lifestyles. Hanoi is where the government is based. It has historic sites such as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, and well-preserved French Quarter and ancient pagodas. The city has a traditional and calm vibe. On the other hand, Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, is known for its culture, nightlife, and vibrant atmosphere. It has fancy neon lights, rooftop bars, cafes, and a booming art and music scene. Many foreigners prefer to live in Ho Chi Minh City because of its diverse culture and friendly people.

2. Mastering the Art of Crossing the Street

If you've never been to Vietnam before, the idea of navigating the roads can be very intimidating. In large cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the streets are filled with the constant honking of horns and chaotic traffic, which can be overwhelming. Even when walking on the sidewalk, it's not entirely safe, as motorcyclists may ride onto the pavement to avoid traffic at any moment. 

Crossing the street in Vietnam - Is it that terrified?| SaigonWalks

3. Vietnamese coffee is awesome and really strong

Vietnamese food is delicious, but the coffee in Vietnam is on a whole other level. If you're a coffee lover, you'll likely end up taking some home with you in addition to drinking it all the time while in Vietnam. However, unlike coffee in other countries, Vietnamese coffee is typically very strong. Whether you have it black, iced, or with condensed milk (which is the most popular way to have it), the coffee packs a punch. If you're traveling during the summer and tend to drink a lot of coffee, it's important to stay hydrated.

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4. Try to use chopsticks

In Vietnam, using chopsticks is a big part of the culture, especially when it comes to eating rice, noodles, or savory pastries. For some travelers, using chopsticks may be difficult at first. While it's an interesting cultural experience to try, don't hesitate to ask for a knife and fork if you're having trouble using them.

When using chopsticks in Vietnam, it's important to follow some etiquette guidelines,

 - Avoiding pointing them at other people,
- Being careful not to drop them, and
- Not passing food directly to someone else's chopsticks. 

- It's  taboo to stick the chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

5. Weather is highly variable.

Vietnam is a country that can be visited throughout the year. However, the weather can vary greatly depending on the region and season. In Hanoi and the northern part of the country, the period between May and October is characterized by hot and humid weather with high amounts of rainfall. In contrast, the period between November and April is cooler and drier. The far north of the country can experience particularly cold weather in December and January.

Central Vietnam experiences hot and dry weather between January and August, with temperatures reaching as high as the mid-30s Celsius. However, between September and November, the region can experience high levels of rainfall. In southern Vietnam, the period between November and April is generally dry and hot, while the period between May and October is warm and wet, with the highest rainfall occurring in June, July, and August.

6. Avoid tap water

It is not recommended to drink tap water in Vietnam. The locals usually boil tap water before consuming it. However, if you do not have the time or equipment to do so, there is a simple solution. You can purchase a bottle of water from convenience stores like 7 Eleven, Vinmart, Circle K, etc. These bottles of water are surprisingly cheap, with prices ranging from 0,3 to 0,5 USD.

7. Currency confusion with '000

Some travelers have faced confusion with Vietnamese currency. The 20,000 VND note looks very similar to the 500,000 VND note.

vietnam curency - 500,000 dong
Vietnam currency 500,000 dong 


vietnam currency 20,000 dong
Vietnam currency 20,000 dong 


 And the same applies to the 10,000 VND note and 200,000 VND note. However, the value of each note is significantly different. 

vietnam currency 200,000 dong
vietnam currency 200,000 dong 
vietnam currency 10,000 dong
vietnam currency 10,000 dong 

To avoid any confusion, it is highly recommended that you separate these notes when carrying cash.

8. Cash rules in Vietnam

Cash is widely accepted in Vietnam, although it is preferred to use the local currency over other currencies. While some businesses may accept US dollars, it can be inconvenient to use them in local markets. Additionally, paying in Vietnamese Dong will typically provide better value than paying in dollars.

To exchange currency, it is best to go to banks such as Vietcombank, Vietinbank, BIDV, and Techcombank, which are some of the biggest banks in Vietnam. Before the currency conversion process can begin, you may need to present your passport and fill out a form. 

Overall, using local currency is preferred in Vietnam, and exchanging money in banks or reputable currency exchange locations is recommended.

9. Street Vendors and Shops Are Part of the Culture

The Vietnamese culture is characterized by households having their own shops where they sell goods or services, which can supplement their income to support their families. Although it may seem like Vietnamese people are natural entrepreneurs, some still struggle to make ends meet. Vietnamese street shops are considered authentic and offer diverse and delicious food, which is prepared fresh in front of customers. Street food is also cheaper than restaurants, and bargaining is possible. Eating street food for several months did not cause any food poisoning for the author, although hygiene can be a concern. Walking around street shops is a great way to learn and immerse oneself in Vietnamese culture.

10. Passionate Football Fans

During the World Cup, the atmosphere in Vietnam was exciting, with people watching matches and wearing clothes representing different countries. As the tournament progressed, many began cheering for Croatia, and it was common to see people wearing Croatian attire even in rural areas. Vietnamese people are passionate about their food, drinks, and football, with the country currently supporting their team in the finals of the AFF cup. After matches, people celebrate by drinking, cheering, and driving motorbikes while wearing red. The streets become lively and exciting, providing a thrilling experience for those in the midst of it.