There’s something about Vietnam that keeps calling me back. Over a span of 6 years, I’ve made 5 trips to Vietnam for vacations that often last more than a week. This is not very common based on Singapore’s travel trend and friends constantly wondered why I always return to the same destination. Yet, there’s always something new for me to discover.
“The eyes of the West have recently been trained on China and India, but Vietnam is rising fast among its Asian peers.” ~ Bill Hayton (Author of Vietnam, Rising Dragon, 2010)
Shaped like an elongated S, Vietnam stretches the length of the Indochinese Peninsula and covers approximately 128,000 square miles, which is pretty similar to the size of Italy. China lies on its North while Laos and Cambodia are positioned on its West. The South China Sea is located on the East, where beautiful beaches with fine sand and crystal clear water lie!
Nature is a good friend of Vietnam, providing her with magnificent mountain ranges, fertile delta, mysterious caves, unique rock formations and heavenly waterfalls. Beyond that, I am constantly awed by Vietnam’s rich history, culture and delectable local cuisine! Without further ado, the following are 05 things that I appreciate most about Vietnam.
1. Staying Connected!
Being overly-dependent on technology in today’s modern world, wifi and internet services are essential mediums that make travelling safe and convenient! With free wifi everywhere (literally! even on streets), it is very easy to stay connected in Vietnam! Have you lost your way? Turn on your wifi and do a Google search! Looking for a good dining place? How about logging on to Tripadvisor? If you are a sole traveller and need to keep your family/friends updated on your safety status, the free network comes in handy when you need to Whatsapp or Viber. Ain’t that cool? PS: Free network tend to be more common in the South than North.
2. Relate to a Simple Lifestyle
(Coffee house at back alley of Sapa, dated Feb 2012)
One morning, I chanced upon a charming coffee place along a back alley in Sapa. In the most unlikely place ever, this colorful cafe with its makeshift stools and small tables along the road gave me one of my best coffee experiences. Vietnamese enjoy their coffee and relaxing time. In this aspect, we should all learn from them. Slow down, take a break… have a cuppa and watch the world goes by. The people lead simple life here, making do with what they have. A simple lifestyle prevails in the small towns and villages of Vietnam, calling to my heart’s desire.
3. Who doesn’t like “Value-for-Money”?
Call me a cheapskate but seriously, one reason why I love Vietnam so… is because everything is priced reasonably! Everything! As compared to the high standard of living in Singapore, the costs of transport, accommodation, food and leisure activities are so-much more affordable! A nice looking office bag costing S$40 in Bugis Village, Singapore, will probably cost less than S$10 in Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh! Diving under the supervision of a licensed instructor costs less than S$50 in Nha Trang and did i mentioned the local mud bath experience costs less than S$10 including hotel transfers? Gosh! I can rant on and on about the “value” for money, but i think you kinda’ get the idea. 🙂 Experience a different orient without bursting your purse.
4. Something for Everyone
(Dining at the Villa Romaine Restaurant & Bar, District 2, HCM, dated Oct 2010)
Are you a luxury seeker, budget-conscious backpacker or the mid-range discerning traveller? Regardless of the category that you fall into, there’s always something to suit everyone. In case you worry that there are only “value-for-money” places and activities (due to the above point #3), hold your horses because there are many nice ATAS places as well as luxury leisure to indulge in. As much as i like blending into the locals, there are times where I seek to enjoy the finer things in life. (heh heh!) With the variety that Vietnam provides, it is no wonder why my fickle nature can stay sated.
5. Seeking that Natural Beauty (that is unavailable at home)
(White Sand Dunes at Muine, Vietnam, dated May 2012)
Home means a tropical island and metropolitan city, otherwise known as Singapore. Due to our location and size (Singapore is very, very small), we do not have awe-inspiring natural landscapes in spite of our man-made wonders. Vietnam, on the other hand, takes on many form of natural beauty that are relatively well-preserved to date. A blanket of quiet joy settled upon me as I watched the beautiful sunrise at the Red Sand Dunes in Muine last May. Walking along the beautiful coastal line of South China Sea with the warm sand beneath my feet felt as heavenly, while overlooking miles and miles of Vietnam at a hilltop temple taught me to be more appreciative of life. Nature often teaches us invaluable lessons that one cannot learn elsewhere. Vietnam is blessed with these great nature and I feel blessed to have appreciated it.
The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out http://www.vietnamtourism.com/.