Published 10th July 2019
Vietnam is so popular in the world of TEFL, that it wouldn’t surprise us if you’re reading this from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, sipping a cup of sweet, dark coffee and eating a banh mi. Because it’s so popular, you are probably already aware of the places you should visit while you are there – Ha long Bay, Hoi An, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh.
Don’t get us wrong – you should definitely visit those places. They’re breathtakingly beautiful and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t see them, but we all know about them. *yawn*
So we’re not going to talk about them.
Instead, we’re going to tell you what you should do when you’re in Vietnam, nine quirky experiences you can only have in Vietnam.
Get lost in the Phong Nha caves
Ok, try not to get lost, because it’s very easy to do that here. Cave exploring might not be for everyone, but these caves aren’t what you’re expecting. Hang Son Doong is the biggest cave in the world – so big that it can fit a skyscraper, a boeing, or a New York city block in it (but not all at the same time), so big it has its own weather system. Even better, you won’t have to jostle in a crowd to get in; thanks to tourism controls, more people have stood on the summit of Mount Everest than have been here.
Find love in Sapa
Sapa is a mountainous little town in the north-west of Vietnam. With backdrops that would make any influencer jealous, it’s the perfect place to go trekking. It’s also the perfect place to find love. The Love Market is a traditional market where Dao and H’mong men and women come to sing love songs from each other. If you’re expecting John Legend or Boys II Men, prepare to be disappointed.
Get a tailored suit in Hoi An
Hoi An is the place to be if you want anything tailor-made. Walk in, choose your fabric, have your measurements done and voila, in two or three days you’ll have your very own unique garment.
Eat pho in Hanoi
Pho is a surprisingly simple dish made from just four ingredients – stock, beef, rice noodles and herbs – but a bowl of this steaming goodness has been known to change people’s lives. Hanoi is considered the pho capital of Vietnam, so this should be first on your to-do list while here.
Have a mud bath in Nha Trang
The Thap Ba Hot Springs are where you need to go if you need a good old-fashioned mud bath. Medicinal and therapeutic, you can hire a private bath for yourself (or you and up to seven of your closest friends) set into the mountainside and soak in the mud while enjoying the view.
Adopt a cat for an hour in Ho Chi Minh
If you’re missing your beloved furbabies back home, head to one of the many pet cafes in Ho Chi Minh. You can grab a bite to eat, read a magazine, and spend some quality time with a cat of your choice – or a dog or a bird or a lizard, if you’d prefer.
Bike the Hai Van Pass
Like the thought of riding a motorbike but not confident enough to ride yourself? Hire a driver who’ll strap you and your belongings onto the back of his motorbike and be taken for the ride of your life. Expect gorgeous scenery, wind in your hair, and a very sore bottom if you decide to do a 14-day tour.
Walk the Golden Bridge in Da Nang
Two giant hands hold up this bridge which blends in beautifully with the forest and the mountains around it. Walking along the walkway truly feels like you are a teeny tiny part of a fantasy novel.
Eat with Anthony Bourdain and former President Barack Obama
The two men visited the hole-in-the-wall noodle shop Bun Cha Huong Lien in Hanoi in May 2016. Today you too can sit on a plastic stool and drink cold beer, even though their particular table is now encased in glass. Definitely still worth going for the noodles.
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