My name is Van. I was born and raised in Vietnam and have been living here for over 30 years. I’d like to introduce you to my country from my point of view and invite you to come experience it! Vietnam in my thought is small, peaceful and friendly. It’s a good place for living (if you don’t expect something lavish and luxury, of course!).
MY VIETNAM EXPERIENCE
I am a countryside girl and my childhood was growing up with vast rice, potato, sweet potato and corn fields in the Red River Delta. In early October and November, me and my friends woke up before dawn and walked through my sleeping village to the corn field. (Continued below...)
(Continued from above...) We woke up grasshoppers sleeping in rolling corn leaves, caught them and brought them home. They became our nutritious food at lunch and dinner. From May to June, when the temperature was over 38 degree Celsius (100 F) and water on the rice field was heated up, little fresh-water crabs went out of the water to the ground. I hid under the bamboo tree shadow, waited for them and they became main ingredient in our sour crab soup (crab meat cooked with sour fruits, onions and veggies). On full moon nights, all the children went to the big main road in the middle of the village (no motorbike at that time yet!) and joined in traditional folk games of Dragon Snake, Mandarin Square Capturing, Tug of war… All were friends. And that was my childhood in a peaceful village!
Today, there have been many changes in our countryside, more modern houses and new roads are being built, many water buffalos were replaced by imported machines, and the living standard is higher. However, yellow carpets of rice during harvest season from May to June and October to November still remain the same. Corn, peanut and potato fields in winter time are still there. Villages with handicraft and traditional works are kept such as embroidery village, palm-leaf hat making village, wood carving village, rice noodle village, bamboo basket making village, sedge mat weaving village etc. And especially, people are still friendly with the same simple, rustic lifestyle.
AUTHENTIC VIETNAM TODAY
Working in tourism, I’ve been travelling throughout Vietnam, from remote villages and hill tribe markets in Ha Giang in the northeast loop of Vietnam, to the southern end of Chau Doc, Rach Gia, from the Central Highlights (Pleiku, Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thuot…) to Con Dao Island. Everywhere, I meet such warm and welcome smiles. The smiles made me feel like I was at home! Even when I travelled alone, I always felt safe and comfortable!
Vietnam’s whole east and south direction faces to the East Sea and Gulf of Thailand with the total coast length at 3,400km, so Vietnam is paradise for honeymooners, families and beach fans. May to September is summer time in the North and the Centre of my country while it’s rainy season in the South. And small abandoned beaches in Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay (when you spend 2 nights on boat and join in sea kayaking, you can discover and swim on those beaches!), the isolated island of Ly Son, Cham, Ninh Van Bay, or the white sand beaches in Cat Ba Island, Quang Binh, Hoi An, Danang, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang are my suggestion.
When the winter comes to the North (December to March) and the rainy season comes to the centre of Vietnam (October to January), South Vietnam starts its dry season (November to April) and Phan Thiet, Con Dao Island, Phu Quoc Island are your best choice!
If you are wildlife lovers, come to my country’s National Parks and National Reserve Areas. Vietnam is covered with 40,84% of tropical forests. From the North to the South, you can see Cuc Phuong Natonal Park & Van Long Long National Reserve Area in Ninh Binh (homeland of Delacour’s langurs), Giao Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh province, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province (famous for Ha Tinh langurs), Bach Ma National Park in Hue (renowned for the newly discovered deer species, Truong Son Muntjac), Son Tra Peninsula in Danang (sanctuary of Red Shanked Douc Langurs), Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai Province and some bird sanctuaries in Mekong Delta. All are for you to discover!
I’m proud of my country’s over 4000 year history and the wars in which Vietnamese people, from different generations, fought for freedom, independence and reunification. If you love history, there are many places to visit--moss wall imperial citadel, king tombs, little ancient towns and war remnants--Vietnam should be your destination!
The big cities such as Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City are being enlarged. More high-rise buildings are rising up and more motorbike horns join in the rush hour chorus. But they’re still great for walking. All the main sites visitors come to see are within walking distance. Most of the famous local street food shops and markets are located in the heart of the cities. Don’t be afraid and keep going straight with eyes contact with motor riders, don’t suddenly stop in the middle of the road, and you will be safe!
Above are my thoughts and feelings about Vietnam! She may be very different in your eyes! Come, experience and share with us your thoughts! I am proud to be able be able to host you in my country through Little Vietnam Tours.