1. Bread

Bread Vietnam

Banh Mi Vietnam

Banh Mi Vietnam

In Asia you expect rice and soy sauce, but definitely not bread. In Vietnam though as a legacy of the French, you find baguette all over the place. You see bread vendors everywhere and even a Vietnamese speciality, the Banh Mi consists of french bread filled with delicacies.

2. Socks

Toe-socks Vietnam

As we have mentioned before, the Vietnamese women are petrified of getting a tan. They even wear nylon sockets when the weather is hot to cover their feet. As they often wear flip flops or row a boat with the help of their feet, the use of nylons could pose a problem. But the smart Vietnamese have a solution for that: The toe-socket!

3. Rice

Rice paddy

We all know Asians produce and eat a lot of rice. But would you have thought that Vietnam was the second largest rice exporter in 2012 after India and before Thailand?

4. Cars

Scooters and cars Vietnam

We have shown the masses of scooters that cruise on Vietnam’s streets. But it’s really amazing to see that there are hardly any cars on the roads and the few cars that are rolling, are mostly taxis, especially in HCMC. Cars are out of luck when attempting to overtake anyone…a bunch of scooters are almost always in the way.

5. Buildings

Buildings Vietnam

Buildings Vietnam

The architecture in this country is really weird! You mostly see tall, extremely narrow buildings with no or very few windows on the sides. This not only looks strange, it also makes it more difficult (and more expensive) when you want a hotel room with a window. Apparently taxes based on the width of houses is the source of this phenomenon.

6. Meters

Taxi Meter Vietnam

In many of the other countries we have been to so far, we have had to haggle with taxi drivers about a fair price for taking us from A to B. Or in some places where the taxis have meters we had to persuade the drivers to actually turn them on. Not so in Vietnam. All taxis have meters and they are always in use. But after reading in the guidebook that it is common practice here to tamper with the meter, making it go two or three times faster than it should, you find yourself staring at the digital numbers in a panic of being ripped off, trying to estimate if the speed of the clicking is normal or not.

7. Bikes

Easy Rider Vietnam

Easy Rider Vietnam

Vietnam offers an interesting (even if not my preferred) mode of transportation: The so-called “Easy Riders” are cool guys on even cooler motorbikes cruising along towns offering to take you to your next destination via the countries backroads, your luggage securely fastened on the back of the bike. Some people do all of Vietnam like this.

8. Knees

Squat Vietnam

Squat Vietnam

One thing really striking about the Vietnamese is the way they squat. When they are hanging around with friends on the street or waiting for someone and even when they are selling something, they tend to squat really low, with their butts almost touching the ground and their knees up at their chests. I think the last time I was capable of sitting that way for anything more than 20 seconds and able to get up again without aching knees was at the age of 6. The other day we even saw an older lady sitting in the train with her legs up on the seat and her knees up in the air again. Amazing!

 

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