5 things you didn’t know about Vietnam

Nga Do
Vietnam on the pages of newspapers, magazines show you about breathtaking scenery, beautiful mountains like Sapa, amazing sea and of course the Halong Bay. Vietnam may be controversial but it’s still a place everybody should visit. In this post we gathered for you Vietnam interesting facts. Some of them may surprise you and some will make you laugh! So here we go…

Tortoise is a lucky symbol in Vietnam.

Vietnamese people love tortoises. They believe that they are bringing luck and health. They admire longevity of turtles and believe that keeping tortoiseshells at home will prolong their lives as well.

There are four sacred animals in Vietnamese culture. Tortoise is one of them. The others are dragon, phoenix and unicorn. So the tortoise is actually the only REAL animal of all that Vietnamese worship.

There is even a myth about a Tortoise God who helped King An Duong Vuong building Co Loa citadel on the outskirts of the capital city of Vietnam- Hanoi. The famous Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake (also know as the Lake of the Restored Sword) is associated with a myth about King Le Loi. It is believed that he returned the sword to the Tortoise God after defeating his enemies. Vietnamese people believe that the old tortoise is still living in the Hoan Kiem Lake.

Vietnamese are smokers.

One of 10 facts about Vietnam that people didn’t know about is that it’s a heaven for smokers. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 25% of Viets smoke cigarettes. It is 1/4 of the population of the entire country! Smoking is considered as manly ‘activity’ so it is very unlikely to see Vietnamese woman with a cigaret.

Smoking is very cheap in Vietnam. One package of cigarettes cost less than $1! It is also very popular to smoke from the bamboo tube pipes.

Vietnam is world’s largest cashew nuts exporter.

Vietnam produces almost 30% of all cashew nuts on the world! Cashew nuts are popular in many countries and continents, especially in Asia, Europe and America. But production of them is quite controversial.

Why? Because it causes very serious damage of cashew’s factories workers. Cashew has two layers of hard shell between which are caustic substances (cardol and anacardic acid). They can cause severe burns.
Many people who work in the cashew industry have permanent damage to their hands because of this corrosive liquid. The factories don’t always provide gloves to their employees. That is why some people believe that buying and eating cashew nuts is not ethical.

Vietnam is famous from weird drinks.

Have you ever heard of the Snake Wine? It is quite popular in Vietnam (and also in China). They put the whole snake (or scorpion) into the bottle and than pour the rice wine into it.

We tried it- it tastes quite well! The best liquor is from the venomous snake. Its venom is denatured by the ethanol so it is harmless. The other weird Vietnamese drink is Eggnog Coffee. It’s an coffee with… egg. It tastes amazing! We were surprised how good this drink is. In addition to coffee and egg, Viets add to this beverage sweet, condensed milk.

So the condensed milk is on the bottom, strong, Vietnamese coffee is in the middle and egg white foam is on the top. These 3 layers look and taste amazing.

Vietnamese New Year is celebrated at different time each year.

Vietnamese New Year is the biggest holiday in Vietnam. It is called TET (Tết Nguyên Đán). It is celebrated in the very same time as the Chinese New Year, always on January or February. It is interesting that is doesn’t have fixed date and the time of celebrating TET is different every year.

We were lucky enough to be in Hanoi during Vietnamese New Year. It was wonderful to see the people celebrating. They behaved like people in any other country on the world- they were watching fireworks at midnight and wish themselves happy new year.

The one weird thing was that there was a table in front of every house. It was a kind of gift for the God that lives in every home. The feast included whole boiled chicken (with head), beverages (like coca-cola, water or tea), alcohol (beer, whiskey or even vodka), fruits and cigarettes.

After the midnight, people were eating all these gifts and burning fake money (to send them to their ancestors and deceased relatives in case they need them in their afterlife).

Did you know this facts about Vietnam? Does it really surprise you? The answer lies in the unique journey to Vietnam, join if you love it: sapatoursfromhanoi.com/tour-category/vietnam-packages-tours/

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