Besides its beautiful culture, the southeast Asian country of Vietnam is full of surprises and adventures. There are so many interesting facts about Vietnam that you just can’t encompass in one place. The country is brimming with diverse cultures and is a land of undiscovered gems.
Top 10 Interesting Facts About Vietnam
1) The Famed Red River
Song Hong, also known as the Red River, flows through the northern region of Vietnam and Hanoi’s capital city. It’s a part of the interesting facts about Vietnam because it gets its name and red color from the deposits of silt that come from the red land.
Stretching across some 1200 km, the river is the largest in the entirety of Northern Vietnam. It forms the Red River delta, which stretches for about 120 km, and the area surrounding it is home to almost 15 million people.
2) The Ha Long Bay – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Located at about a distance of 165 km from the country’s capital Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is arguably one of the most beautiful sites across Vietnam. Ha Long, in Vietnamese, loosely translates to “descending dragon.” It is filled with limestone karsts, which are limestone that’s carved naturally throughout the years.
The area of the bay is filled with about 2000 limestone islets. The coral reefs and caves, along with the limestones, make for beautiful scenery. The Cát Bà National park is also located here. While you’re here, you can go scuba diving or rock climbing or hike in the national park. If you’re in or around Hanoi, you should give the bay visit and see what makes it a part of the interesting facts about Vietnam.
3) Water Puppetry: A Traditional Art Form in Vietnam
Water puppetry may not sound very familiar to a lot of people, but it has been a part of the Vietnamese culture since the 11th century. It has proven to be a form of self-expression as well as a way of bringing the communities together.
The wooden lacquered puppets are brought out, and the shows are performed in special pools, and a bamboo rod arrangement supports the show.
Due to the abundance of rice production in Vietnam, the traditional puppet shows were held in the paddy fields back in the day. Present-day water puppetry features local and national folklore themes along with the tales of rural Vietnam and skits about the life of the common people. These days the shows are held in specialized pools or ponds in villages, which is quite a contrast to the traditional rice fields.
4) Vietnam- Home to the Forbidden Purple City
The city of Hue is very enthralling and beautiful. Inside the city limits within walled fortresses lies the Forbidden Purple City. Back in the 19th century, Hue was the capital city of Vietnam, and the Nguyen dynasty ruled it. Back then, people who didn’t belong to royalty weren’t allowed to enter the forbidden city.
A lot of the purple city was destroyed throughout the years owing to bombing and wars. Today by paying a fee of 7 USD, you can enter the Imperial City Complex through the Noon Gate and see the palace and other attractions of the citadel. It’s a pretty impressive sight and a must-visit if you’re already in Hue.
5) The Vietnamese Lunar New Year- A 3-Day Celebration
The Vietnamese people celebrate their new year according to their calendar, so it falls around early February every year. Tet, or Tet Nguyen Dan, is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and is celebrated over a span of 3 days.
The new year makes in the interesting facts about Vietnam due to its traditional celebrations and the joy that seems to take over the country during the time. People distribute their time for the 3 days among friends family and, visit the worship places and seek blessings, and paying respects.
It is one of the busiest times of the year, and there’s a different kind of excitement in the air. A significant part of the festival is decorations. People in the North decorate with beautiful peach flowers while the southerners use Ochna integerrima. Kumquats are brought in homes, and they’re believed to fertility and more.
6) First President Ho Chi Minh’s body- Preserved in a Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh city is the largest city in Vietnam, with a whopping population of about 9 million. The city gets its name from the first president of the country Mr. Ho Chi Minh, also popularly known as Uncle Ho.
Located in Hanoi, the mausoleum was opened in 1975. A team of Russian scientists held a key role in embalming the body of the president. These scientists had their experience and expertise by working with the preservation of the body of the Russian politician Lenin.
The process of the embalming of president Ho Chi Minh began after his death in 1969. But the work isn’t just one and done. Every year, around early November, the president’s body is reportedly sent to Russia, where the process of embalming is repeated once again for better upkeep and longer preservation. Although a little morbid, this fact makes for one of the most interesting facts about Vietnam.
7) 16% of All Species Found in Vietnam
Vietnam’s bio reserves, national parks, and jungles are home to some of the world’s most exotic and diverse wildlife. Animals that are popularized in Vietnam include Indian Elephants, Burmese Pythons, Pygmy Slow Loris, and an endless list of other species.
One of the most interesting facts about Vietnam is that the famed world heritage site Halong Bay homes 1600 islets that are brimming with nature at its purest and best. It is also located in Vietnam; it is the oldest major karst area in Asia, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Park. This national park is spread over a gigantic over 85000 hectares. All in all, it makes for an adventure of a lifetime.
8) Son Doong- The Largest Cave in the World
It could come as a surprise to a lot of people, but this cave was just discovered in 2009 and has been open to the public even more recently since 2013. Besides being the largest cave by area, this breathtaking site is home to 2 dolines, an underground rainforest, and an absolutely fascinating calcite barrier.
The calcite barrier is actually so large that it hindered the very first exploration of the cave. The naturally developed landscape is millions of years old, and its strength and sheer massiveness make this a very intriguing place to visit.
The dolines or the collapses in the cave roof make for a very interesting site that you can only find through nature’s form.
9) Snake Wine- A Common Drink in Vietnam
The name doesn’t sound quite appetizing, but snake wine is a very common alcoholic beverage in Vietnam. Its health and medicinal benefits have been adapted by its mentions in the works of Chinese medicine.
The snake wine is made from poisonous snakes, but it in itself isn’t venomous to drink. This is one of the interesting facts about Vietnam because, sometimes alive, mainly dead, venomous snakes are steeped in the rice wine, by themselves or in the accompaniment of other spices. It’s safe to drink because the alcohol in the rice wine destroys the venomous traits present.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, this wine is said to have a cure for joint pains, leprosy, and more. It was supposedly first drunk during the Zhou Dynasty and has been a part of the traditional medicines since.
Though it’s a safe drink, trusting any street-side vendor with it may not be a wise choice.
It’s quite an adventurous alcoholic drink and something you’ll probably never get to try anywhere else in the world. So, if you get a chance and you’re feeling risky, snake wine is the way to go.
10) Vietnamese Street Food- Amongst the Most Famous Globally
Besides its natural beauty, life and culture, Vietnam is extremely popular for its decadent street food. There’s nothing better than eating pho in one of the famed Vietnamese markets, surrounded by delicious smells of more food.
One of the interesting facts about Vietnam is that pho is their national dish. It is essentially a type of broth with various add-ons. A traditional pho that you can get on the streets of Vietnam has beef, noodles, different Asian sauces, and broth. It can be varied according to your taste and can have a vegetarian version too!
Another one of Vietnam’s street-side delicacies includes banh mi. It’s a sandwich that, thanks to globalization, you can find in many different countries. But probably nothing beats a banh mi you’ve had on a humid day on the streets of Vietnam. A baguette is served with various pickled vegetables, meat, and more.
Vietnam is a culturally rich country, and one of those places where the only way you can really know best is by visiting it.
Besides, its inane culinary and natural wealth makes it a key destination for foodies and explorers alike.
Make sure to add Vietnam to your bucket list of places to visit, and be prepared to be thrust head-first into an overpowering and enjoyable experience.
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