Updated: Feb 26
This is your first trip to Vietnam and you are searching for something special, crazy things to do in Vietnam. Relax and prepare! All is waiting for you!
Travelling means exploring new cultures, new adventures, new societies of other countries and people. Coming to Vietnam, from the living way of people to some outdoor activities, from crazy things of local people to attractive activities for tourists, all you might find in this picturesque country.
Cross the maddest racing streets | Things to do in Vietnam
This, surely, is one of the craziest things to do in Vietnam that you should try.. The first time, you will be very scared as the movement of vehicles doesn’t stop for walkers, even when the traffic light is red. Since in some places in Vietnam, motorbikes are allowed to turn right when it is red. In the rush hours, especially from 7:00 - 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 - 6:00 in the evening, people go to work and schools and come back, so the traffic reaches the craziest time. Avoid the roundabouts and use the walking sides only as much as you can. Feel relaxed, take a breath and go. Raise your hands and slowly walk on the walking lines. When you raise your hands, people might let you go, but be careful of the fact that some people don’t.
Survive on the flooded streets
Well, another memory that can make you unforgettable is making yourself survive on the flooded streets. During the year, especially in the rainy season when the rainfalls are heavy, some streets get flooded making traffic more difficult. However, life is going on and so are the people. In spite of the flooded streets, they just cross the street with their focused head and strong skilled control. If you are on the flooded street, don’t get worried as there are many options for you. Book a taxi or motorbike taxi instead of going by yourself. Stop and find yourself enjoyable Vietnamese coffee at some coffee shops. Or just go. Some might find it safe to walk on the walking sides as they are higher than the streets. Some might find it fun to wade through the water. But remember to carefully wash yourself after that.
Ride motorbikes to travel
The main transportation in Vietnam is, well, motorbikes. Therefore, why don’t you spend time learning how to use a motorbike before you travel to this adventurous country? Finding yourself merged on the rush moving of people in some big cities, like Ho Chi Minh City, is an unforgettable memory. Some might do a motorbike trip along the coasts of Vietnam and enjoy the breathtaking beaches. Some are more adventurous that they do a Ha Noi - Ho Chi Minh trip or vice versa, taking around 1.725 km by motorbike.
Taking a “Xe ôm” ride
However, if you don’t want to or you can’t ride a motorbike, then try to experience the Xe ôm ride. Xe ôm means motorbike taxi in English. You can find Xe ôm anywhere in this country even directly or online. Before, people usually used traditional Xe ôm, people with their motorbikes standing on the streets and riding people if asked. However, due to the development of technology, people nowadays can book a motorbike taxi online by Grab or Go Viet. By this way, you can know exactly how much you have to pay and avoid being overcharged. For Vietnamese, traditional Xe ôm is something old, something in the past passing by day by day in this increasingly developed life.
Take night buses
This is believed to be one of the craziest things to do in Vietnam. Buses are the cheapest and most convenient transportation for you to travel around the country. The price is cheaper than flights and trains or boats and more convenient than motorbikes. You should make clear that these are not buses running only in the specific city or town, but running all over the country. Taking the night bus from one city to another is seen to be a memorable thing for your trip. It is obvious that the night bus runs faster than the day bus thanks to no traffic jams. Moreover, sitting or lying on the bus and viewing the sun rise is not a miss for your trip.
Check out Hà Nội Train Street
You might not believe in your eyes what is in front of you as the passing train is tightly mere inches from the residential houses. Twice a day, around 3pm and 7pm, a train passes by a number of narrow streets in Hà Nội maze-like Old Quarter. At that moment, people press tight to the walls or wait on the walking sides. Doors are closed until the train passes. The exact place the train passes by is Ngõ 224 Lê Duẩn. Coming here, your heart might be broken and your breath is stopped when the train and the houses nearly crash together.
Use floating boat as a main transportation
It happens in the Mekong Delta where people use floating boats to do business, travel around or even… to live. In the past, when the living standard was very low, people had to stay on the floating houses as the region is covered by nine branches of rivers. Nowadays, their living standards are much higher; however, few poor families still have to stay in the floating houses. Travelling to this region, you can go around with a floating boat, eat and drink on it also. This is how people from the Mekong Delta live.
Remember the right names of soups
The most difficult tasks after your homework. Numbers of soup can make you crazy. From the North to the Central, from the South to Mekong Delta, soup is loved by Vietnamese people. Some foreigners find it much easier to call all the names by “noodle soups”. However, there is a big difference between noodle and bún, phở, hủ tiếu, bánh canh, mì… The materials, shapes, colors are different from noodles. So, this is your task trying to remember what you eat and how it is called in Vietnamese.
Actually, you can find durians in every country of Southeast Asia, but you are travelling in Vietnam so why don’t you try this conflicted fruit? Not all Vietnamese can eat durian because of its smell. Some who can eat always love the smell, but some hate it. For the people trying it at their first time, they might think the smell is like “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym shock”. To make your trip memorable and truthfully that when you remember it, the first thing pumps out of your mind is durian smell, you should try it one time. The taste is incredible! It is melted on your tongue and you can forget the smell.
Explore food heavens in the alleys
This is the food heaven where you can find several kinds of food at a cheap and reasonable price. People in Vietnam live in the alleys because the main streets are suitable for businesses. Therefore, the alleys in Vietnam are lively and curious. Sometimes, you might get lost in the alleys that it is hard to find the way out. And sometimes, you find yourself lost in the food heaven. Especially in Saigon, there are a number of food alleys attracting both locals and foreigners.
Drink alcohol and beers in Vietnamese style
“Một, hai, ba, Dô!” is how people say “Cheers up!” in Vietnamese. While drinking beers, people sit in a round, hold a big cup of beer and cheer up. Although it is not so proud that Vietnam is one of the countries largely consuming beers in the world, drinking beers in Vietnamese style is believed to be an unforgettable memory to see how friendly and active Vietnamese people are. Some like alcohol more than beers. Vietnamese alcohols are mostly homemade with snakes, stuffed fish, green bananas… And of course it is super strong to drink. “Nhậu” is the Vietnamese word to ask someone to have a drink. Why don’t you try to say it and invite your Vietnamese friends to have a drink with you.
Summit the tallest mountain in Indochina
Mount Fansipan (Phan Xi Păng), the rooftop of Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), is located in Sapa in Northern Vietnam. There are two ways to summit this tallest mountain nowadays, by yourself or by cable cars. Of course, if you use cable cars which cost around 600.000 VND, you will reach the top easily in 15 minutes only. However, if you want to do it on your own, it takes around 2-3 days. What an adventurous journey! However, you can contact some guide climbers to go with you to make the journey safer.
Explore the world’s largest cave
Located in the Phong Nha - Kẻ Bàng National Park in Quảng Bình Province, the legendary Hang Son Doong is believed to be the largest cave in the world. It was recently explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association. There, you can start your journey to explore the cave created years ago, enjoy the spectacular landscape that Mother Nature gives Vietnam.
Explore Hạ Long Bay by kayaking
Visiting Hạ Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, without kayaking is such a miss if you are an adventure-lover, honestly. When cruises are parked at the fish village, you can have a chance to freely join kayaking in the blue water, under the beautiful weather and spectacular landscape surrounding you. You might find yourself relaxed or adventurous to explore the cliffs rolling up thousands years.
Discover local markets
Everything you need is here at a cheaper price than supermarkets or convenience stores. In the past, people went to the local markets to buy everything. Local markets nowadays, however, are lightly ignored by young generations because they like supermarkets and convenience stores more than local markets. Nevertheless, it only happens in big cities. Local markets are still the best places ever in small towns everywhere in Vietnam. Small shops or kios are snuggled with each other making the movement of people hurried. They take place in the morning only when everything stays fresh that people can sell, but some work until the evening. Discovering this, you might find fresh meats or fishes, green and wet vegetables. This is also where you can try truly Vietnamese traditional foods and beverages.
Singing karaoke culture
Although Vietnam is not the country creating karaoke, it is loved by Vietnamese people and always in high demand. You can find karaoke rooms everywhere in this country from cheap-price rooms to luxurious ones. Don’t be surprised if Vietnamese friends ask you to go to karaoke after work, studies or even after drinking. Moreover, you can also find people singing on the street especially when people are having a drink together. What an "enjoyable" culture!
Wearing Áo Dài and Nón Lá
Some people might equate Áo Dài to “Long dress” in English; however, they are not the same. The design of Áo Dài is completely different from a dress which is long. Nón Lá is skillfully made from palm which is mostly used in Central and Southern Vietnam. If you want to bring something back after your trip in Vietnam, you can choose these to keep you remember Vietnam. The woman in Áo Dài wearing Nón Lá is believed to be the beauty symbol of Vietnamese women. People also believe that because of the design of Áo Dài and its gentle symbols, all might gently act and walk even though how naughty you are.
Visiting the ethnic monitories’ families
Ethnic minorities mostly live in the Central Highlands and the Northwest of Vietnam. Although they used to close their doors from Kinh people (most popular counterparts in Vietnam) and outsiders, today they are more friendly and welcomed. Visiting and staying with them is one of the most memorable trips for you. They are ready and enthusiastic to show you their culture, their ways of living. They love nature and live closely to nature; hence, you can also have a chance to live closely to nature too. However, they are not so open-minded like urban people and foreigners, so be careful with their rules and traditions.
There are of course more and more crazy things in Vietnam waiting for you to come and explore. Don’t be strange and scared. Just do it as that is the way Vietnamese people live. After all, you might find how beautiful Vietnam’s landscapes are and how friendly Vietnamese is.
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