In 2022, we were lucky enough to visit one of our favourite countries in the world, a country rich in history and culture, stunning natural beauty and of course, some of the best international cuisine in the world.
I'm of course talking about Vietnam.
Vietnam is fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Its natural wonders and incredible culture have inspired tourists to get out of their comfort zone and travel across the world to explore this beautiful country.
Vietnam fully reopened for tourism in the middle of March 2022, becoming one of the first in the region to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions and welcome foreign visitors regardless of vaccination status.
In fact, last year Vietnam welcomed over 3 million tourists to the country and the famous online travel agency, Kayak, even considered Vietnam the top destination in Southeast Asia for 2023.
Today we're sharing with you our top 5 reasons you NEED to visit Vietnam in 2023.
#1 The Food
With some of the world's best cuisine located in Vietnam, it's no surprise that many people visit the country just to get a sample of some of the local dishes.
And one of the best parts about the food in Vietnam is that a lot of it can be found on the side of the street while sitting on a table with a tiny little stool, eating something delicious out of a bowl, while motorbikes zip on by.
The street food culture in Vietnam is one of the best we've experienced in the world, in fact, we ate like this almost every day we were in Vietnam and we can honestly say it was our favourite part of the trip, there's something about finishing your day out on the streets while locals and tourists go about there a business that just makes you feel like you're part of the community.
Some of our favourite dishes in Vietnam include Pho, a spicy beef noodle soup, Bún bò Huế, a spicy, lemongrass noodle soup served with fresh herbs and vegetables, and of course Bahn Mi, The perfect mix of French and Vietnamese cuisine that features a short baguette filled with a fusion of meats and vegetables from native Vietnamese cuisine such as pork, cilantro, cucumber and pickled carrots, combined with condiments from French cuisine such as pâté, red chili and mayonnaise.
The French influence is most noticeable in the many coffee shops and bakeries around Vietnam, here you can try one of the local favourites, Vietnamese egg coffee, although it might sound strange, it's completely delicious.
#2 The People
Vietnamese locals are known for being very easy-going, humble, and friendly and are often very open-minded and welcoming.
As a tourist, you will love the hospitality of the locals, even in the big cities.
We had the opportunity to take part in a tour of Ho Chi Minh city while on the back of motorbikes driven by local women, which was one of the highlights of our month-long stay in vietnam.
They showed us some of their favourite restaurants, took us to local markets, told us a lot about the history of vietnam and even took us to see where the locals hang out with their families after dark, when we started our tour we were complete strangers but by the end we felt like friends.
And this was the case all through vietnam, as long as we were respectful and polite we were given amazing hospitality by the locals which isn't always the case when travelling overseas.
When you think of vietnam, you probably think of big bustling cities such as Ho chi minh and Hanoi, where millions of motorcycles can be heard honking at each other 24 hours a day, but did you know vietnam is also home to some of the best natural wonders in the world?
From the stunning white sand beaches of Nha Trang and epic sunsets of Halong Bay..
to the somewhat surprising sand dunes in Mui Ne where you can take an ATV tour to the highest point and watch and unforgettable sunrise.
Vietnam is more than just a country of 100,000,000 people, if you take your time to get off the beaten path you can immerse yourself in it's stunning beauty that can only be found in this beautiful country
Although it may not live up to the standards of its neighbouring Thailand, vietnam still has some of the best nightlife in southeast Asia, mainly due to the walking streets of both Ho chi min and Hanoi,
Bui Vien street in ho chi min city, is known as the "Backpacker District" by locals, which refers to the large number of backpackers who visit this area of the City and is often compared to Khao San rd in Bangkok, due to the large number of bars and nightclubs.
The street itself is 1,400 meters long and is in the heart of District 1. which is one of the main tourist districts of Saigon with many restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and shopping centres.
The area comes alive around 7pm and stays open until 2am, with the crowds getting bigger and bigger as the night goes on, you can pull up a chair and sit on the side of the street while people-watching and drinking an ice cold beer, but be warned the music can get very loud.
Hanoi is home to a similar street nicknamed beer street in the old quarter, although things don't get quite as chaotic here it's still an amazing way to spend the night and meet like-minded travellers.
for the most part, vietnam seems to be a country that truely comes alive at night, most locals tend to stay indoors during the day to avoid the heat and flock to the streets once the sun goes down, if you're looking for a fun holiday with plenty of nightlife then vietnam is the place for you.
Vietnam, unlike other destinations in south-east Asia, has remained relatively untouched when it comes to it's culture, even in the biggest tourist towns such as nha trang and Hanoi, you will still find very authentic Vietnamese culture which can be refreshing.
in most parts of vietnam you can still expect to see many locals dressed in traditional clothing, while going about there daily lives as if untouched by the western world..
Despite vietnam becoming a popular destination for tourism, it truly feels like they have held on to many of their local traditions and after speaking with some locals, we discovered that the Vietnamese are extremely patriotic and that most of their culture is built on Confucianism, which focuses on the importance of personal ethics and morality.
We took a trip to the northern city of Sapa, where we visited Cat cat village, which is known for its natural beauty, and H'mong culture and traditions.
Traditional wood huts overlook mountainside rice field terraces. As you cross the bridge, you will pass many stalls selling H'mong arts and crafts, homemade wine, and naturally dyed clothes on the way to visit the waterfalls.
This was one of our favourite experiences in vietnam and we would encourage anyone visiting the country to check out this remote village.
Vietnam is personally our favourite country we've ever visited and will forever hold a special place in our hearts, we truly believe it changed us and gave us a newfound love for all things travel, so much so that we're planning a group trip back to vietnam in November this year,
The trip will feature an epic 7-day itinerary starting in Hanoi and travelling to Halong Bay and ninh binh, all 7 days are jam-packed with activities featuring a local guide throughout the entire journey.
This is a chance for anyone wanting to see the real authentic side of vietnam to come and experience this amazing place with a group of likeminded people.
There are limited spots for this trip so make sure you get in quick to reserve a spot!