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10 Interesting & Unusual Facts about Vietnam to Intrigue You

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Vietnam has gradually become a popular travel destination as it offers so much to visitors from far and wide, no matter delicious Vietnamese cuisines, jaw-dropping landscapes, or beautiful greenery in plenty of natural parks, amazing karst limestone cliffs, and adventurous caves. Needless to say sun-soaked beaches, and serene islands offer you the best place to enjoy a holiday. You may have known something about this hot travel destination, however, more interesting facts about Vietnam are waiting for you to explore. Here proposes the most fun and unusual facts about the Southeast Asian country to intrigue and surprise you.

Motorbikes on Vietnamese Street
Motorbikes on Vietnamese Street

1. Vietnam - A Country with Unique S-shape

The very first fun fact about Vietnam you should know is that the country has a unique shape, which is just like the letter ‘S’ in the alphabet. This is actually a remarkable shape for a country and there is no other country has. The long and thin terrain endows the country with beautiful landscapes of various kinds from north to south and a super long coastline over 3,200 km (2,000 mi). The narrow S curve starts with the capital of Hanoi in the North and then the S traces down the most popular travel destinations of the country, Hue and Hoi An. In the southern part of the ‘S’, you can find Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, also the economic hub of the country. Finally, it ends in the famous Mekong Delta.

2. The Name of Vietnam Used to be Two Words Viet & Nam

You may not believe it, but Vietnam is actually the combination of Viet and Nam. It used to be two words! It is said that the words describing Vietnam are adopted from ancient Chinese. Nam means south in Chinese and Viet means a crowd of people living outside the country’s borders. The name Viet Nam has actually been used for thousands of years and the name of Vietnam had not become an official name until 1804 during the Nguyen dynasty. However, today, the two-word name is still widely used by local people and even the United Nations and the Vietnamese government.

3. Boasting the Largest Cave in the World - Hang Son Doong

With a super volume of 38.5 million m³, Hang Son Doong Cave hidden in jungles astonish the world with its amazing space and spectacular subterranean features. Have not been explored until 2009, and this newly-discovered system is said to be the largest cave in the world. Located in the famous Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the cave system is worth exploring to admire giant stalagmites, cave pearls, and some gorgeous trees and vegetation grown in the caves due to seeping sunlight.

Hang Son Doong Cave
Hang Son Doong

4. Motorbikes are Everywhere

Even if you have not been to Vietnam, yet, you may still have ever heard about the motorbike madness of Vietnamese people. If the United States is being called ‘the country on the wheels’, then Vietnam can be dubbed ‘the country on the motorbikes ’. You will definitely be amazed at the abundance of motorbikes in Vietnam. More than 60 million motorbikes are possessed and there are only about 100 million people in the country. Vietnam’s car is expensive to afford and the tax is much higher than on motorbikes. Thus people prefer a motorbike to be the main transport way, and feel freer through the narrow streets and alleys.

5. World’s Second Largest Coffee Exporter

If you are a big fan of coffee, then you cannot miss traveling to Vietnam as it is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee, only second to Brazil’s 40%. Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam by the French in the 1800s, but the Vietnamese drink this black beverage in their own special way. Vietnam not only produces high-quality coffee beans but also offers some unique coffee making methods. The best example is egg coffee in Hanoi, amazing and creative to beat the egg yolk into the condensed milk and pour it on the top of a cup of coffee.

6. Crossing Your Fingers is Rude in Vietnam

Actually, in most cultures, crossing your fingers just means praying for good luck. It may sound strange, however, crossing your fingers is not so polite in Vietnam and sometimes even considered very rude, especially in some public places. So just remember that do NOT cross your fingers to another person in Vietnam. It is a kind of insulting, akin to raising middle fingers and saying some dirty words.

7. Two Vietnamese Dishes are Defined in Oxford Dictionary

When visiting Vietnam, you will be addicted to dazzling delicious Vietnamese dishes. Especially the street food, with its endless variety and extraordinary flavors, makes your Vietnam trip full of unforgettable culinary experiences. The most amazing fact about Vietnamese food is that two dishes Banh Mi and Pho are directly collected in the Oxford Dictionary. No English translation is needed and just the two Vietnamese words are available. Pho is a rice noodle soup and Banh Mi is a loaf of bread with fillings of roasted meat, vegetables, and sauce. These two dishes both enjoy a high reputation in Vietnam and you can easily taste them in any city.

Vietnamese Food - Pho
The popular Vietnamese Dish - Pho

8. Vietnam - One of the Top 5 Happiest Countries in the World

Believe it or not! Vietnam is ranked one of the top 5 happiest countries in the world by the New Economics Foundation in the UK. It measured elements and factors including wellbeing, inequality, life expectancy, and ecological footprint. In this report, Vietnam was also the happiest county in Asia. If you are traveling to Vietnam, the local people’s friendly and positive attitudes toward life will surprise you and you will see no lack of smiling faces.

9. No Legal Drinking Age in Vietnam

Before viewing the page, you may think every country has a legal drinking age. Most countries do. In America, the legal drinking age is 21. Canada’s is 19, and over 16 years old teens can drink legally in some European countries. Even one of the neighboring countries of Vietnam, China, also has a legal drinking age of 18. However, there is actually no legal drinking age in Vietnam, which means people at any age can consume alcoholic drinks. That may also be a reason contributing to that Vietnam is the third largest country in Asia to consume beer, around 3 billion liters every year.

10. Drinking Snake Wine is Popular to Improve Health

This is almost the most unusual fact about Vietnam, and Snake Wine is very popular in this country. Said to come from China a long time ago, the exotic wine is widely believed by Vietnamese locals, to have a magical effect on curing illnesses like farsightedness and hair loss.

It is also believed this unique drink can improve virility and increase sexual performance. Generally, a whole venomous snake is soaked into a bottle of alcohol for a few months to make the wine. It may look a little scary but interesting for adventurous people to give it a shot.

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