If you are someone who loves traveling and hasn’t been to Vietnam, it’s time to put a pin on your map. Born and raised in Vietnam until I turned 16, I didn’t learn to appreciate my motherland until I moved to Canada and spent another 11 years here in Toronto. I recently visited Vietnam again and this trip really inspired and opened my eyes a lot. Today, I will share with you my 7 Valuable Reasons Why You Need To Travel To Vietnam, especially when you are in your 20s.
#1: It is not as expensive as you think.
The cost of living in Vietnam is very low. The most expensive cost that will occur will be your flight ticket. If you travel to Vietnam during the summer, during Christmas or Chinese New Year, you should be prepared to pay the big price. However, if you are like me and are flexible with the dates, the best time to travel to Vietnam is in March – April or September-November. I love CheapOAir because they always beat the price of other traveling sites and often offer coupons or discounts. We booked our flights to Vietnam from September 24th to October 8th and paid around $750 each. This was the cheapest flight we have ever booked with only 1 stop in Shanghai for 3.5 hours. Regularly, flight tickets to Vietnam cost at least $1300.
We booked our stay at this Airbnb and it was not expensive at all. It was 2 bedrooms condo with an exclusive entrance, beautiful rooftop pool, and 24/7 security. We paid $400 for 4 people for 6 nights and 7 days.
Although our Airbnb was 20-30 mins away from “downtown” of HoChiMinh City (district 1), getting around wasn’t a problem in Vietnam. Uber and Grab were super affordable. I personally preferred Grab as they Uber drivers tend to drive you around and don’t follow their GPS. Usually, you will end up paying more for Uber drivers than Grab. The most interesting part is that both Uber and Grab are available as car and motorbike. A ride could cost you anywhere from $2-$15 to get around the city. My most expensive trip was around $12 for an UberX car.
#2: You will learn that Pho is not the only thing Vietnamese people eat.
What I love the most about HoChiMinh City, Vietnam is the variety of food cultures. You can find pretty much anything from authentic Vietnamese cuisine to Korean, Japanese, Mexico and North Ameican food. But of course, while in Vietnam, you must try all the authentic Vietnamese cuisine there.
This is a special noodle called “Mi Quang”, originated from the middle part of Vietnam.
I have been told that if I could have 3 different Vietnamese meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, it would probably take me months to really explore all the options. HoChiMinh City is a food paradise. You could find a whole street full of hundreds of bubble tea and coffee franchises standing right next to one another. Every 20-30 meters, there is a restaurant or a coffee shop. I highly recommend having pho on your first day in Vietnam and save your stomach for the rest of the amazing and delicious local food.
#3: The level of entrepreneurship in Vietnam is surreal.
In developed countries like U.S and Canada, we were raised to get an education, get a job and climb that corporate ladder. That’s not the case of Vietnam. Standing at #5 as a country with the most entrepreneurship in the world, over 15% of Vietnamese are self-employed. Most people own a mobile business as locations are costly and Vietnamese consumers love the convenience of having products and services delivered. We bought food and drink mostly from people who run their business on their bikes or walking on the street.
To people who live in such a small country with not a lot of opportunities, they have to create their own. You will be surprised to learn that a lot of the kids’ dreams are to own their own business and not to get a good job or to work for someone else. I learned about an incredible entrepreneur who sells snacks and fruits on her motorbike and was able to send her son to study abroad in the U.S. These kinds of stories often give me chill and really inspire me to appreciate every single opportunity I have and work my ass off in everything I do.
#3: You will learn to respect the hustle.
Vietnamese people hustle and they do that very well. I am not talking about the “scamming” type of hustle. I am talking about their work ethic, their grind and their willingness to go an extra mile and fight for their dreams.
We landed in HoChiMinh City, Vietnam at 2:30 AM. My brother came to pick us up and we went for pho. To my surprise, the city doesn’t sleep. A lot of businesses were still open. Traffic already starts to build up at 6 AM.
As I mentioned, a lot of people in Vietnam work for themselves and when you work for yourself, the grind doesn’t stop until you get what you want. It always amazes me how persistent and resilient people in this country are. Nobody dares to take things for granted. Because of this, Vietnam has strived to be one of the fastest growing countries in Asia with such aggressive growth rate. You will also find a lot of successful business owners who are under 30 years old. Hearing their stories and their journeys will teach you how to respect the hustle.
If you are a digital entrepreneur/nomad, you will love Vietnam. You will love the smell of hustle in the morning and tons of coffee shops to call your “office of the day”.
#4: Vietnam is a mix of old and new.
Vietnamese culture has become very interesting over the years. With the force to grow economically, Vietnam still finds its way to maintain years of history and tradition. You still see a lot of young women wearing the traditional Vietnamese dress, also known as ‘ao dai’, on the street. You also see a lot of young kids hanging out in designer clothes and handbags. You can also find historical places such as Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (built by Jules Bourard in 1880) standing next to high rise condos and shopping malls.
If you are staying in Vietnam more than 2 weeks, you have to visit Da Nang, a city that has transformed itself completely into a brand new identity. Da Nang has become a great tourist attraction with beautiful beaches and incredible bridges and stunning architectures. It’s a different feeling traveling to Da Nang from HoChiMinh City. Things move a bit slower and people are more relaxed. At night time, the Dragon bridge actually spits fire at 9 PM sharp so it’s a good idea to find a cute coffee and enjoy the beautiful night scenery.
#5: You will discover 300 years of history in the ancient town of Hoi An.
While you are in Da Nang, I highly recommend that you also check out Hoi An. Being a former port city, Hoi An is a melting pot of many different cultures. From Chinese influenced shophouses and temples, French colonial buildings to the famous a Japanese temple bridge, Hoi An holds 300 years of history.
Hoi An is the prettiest at night time when all the lanterns are lighted up. The ancient town turned into something completely different.
#6: You will appreciate the beauty of Ba Na Hills.
Ba Na Hills were discovered by French colonist in 1919. However, because it is located on a high mountain in the middle of a forest conservation, it was difficult to attract a lot of tourists back then until 2013 when the Ba Na cable car was introduced. This cable car holds the world record for non-stop single track cable car at 5801 meters in length. The view from the cable car is breathtaking.
Once you arrive, you will find peaceful temples in the mix with beautiful French village and winery. It’s almost like Europe in the middle of Vietnam.
#7: Vietnam will teach you to be humble and be kind.
What impressed me the most about this trip to Vietnam is the beauty of Vietnamese people. Living far away from home by myself since 16 has taught me a lot. It also caused me to lose my own self. I learned not to trust too easily and not to rely on other people. I learned to protect myself and always put my walls up. My mom always said I lived too fast. I was always on the go. I used to tell her she wouldn’t understand my lifestyle. I got stressed out from the little speedbumps in life. I let people get under my skin. I thought being tough was having the tough personality.
Vietnam taught me how to be kind again. Vietnam taught me that the toughest people are actually the one with the most compassion and the most genuine personality. Vietnam taught me to stop and breath, to appreciate all the little things in life. Vietnam taught me to find myself again…and who knows, you might find yourself again too.