There are many things Vietnam is famous for besides being a Southeast Asian country and a top-worth-visiting place due to its ancient history, diverse culture, and quintessential natural landscapes. Check out our list of What Vietnam is Known for and our suggestions for your Vietnam travel.
1. Vietnam War
Also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam War was a fight between North Vietnam, which was supported by communist allies, including the Soviet Union and China, and the government of South Vietnam, which was supported by anti-communist allies, including the United States. To most Vietnamese, it was a resistance war against Americans with the aim of defending themselves and the country. When I need someone to write a paper for me, topics about the Vietnam War are one of the areas worth exploring in the essays.
Though not many people want to be reminded about the Vietnam War as the only thing that Vietnam is known for, it was a significant milestone in thousands of years of Vietnam’s history with several war artifacts remaining. Historical landmarks, therefore, have always been a top attractive part, which must be included in your Vietnam travel plan. There are many historical locations related to the Vietnam War that you should pay a visit to. Some top attractions include the Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants Museum, and the Reunification Palace.
Read more on Worthy Vietnam Tours to Understand the Vietnam War.
2. The Capital Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Located in the North of Vietnam, Hanoi is one of the best cities in Vietnam home to the Old Quarter and many historical attractions. While Ho Chi Minh City is known as a bustling modern city, Hanoi is considered an ancient capital city, which could bring you a nostalgic feeling and an interesting view of Vietnamese culture. As it used to be the citadel of several previous dynasties from the Hung Kings period to the end of the Trinh – Nguyen Lord civil war, Hanoi has been chosen to become the cultural and social center of the country and is a notable representation of what Vietnam is known for.
Where to Go in Hanoi
- Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red Bridge, and Ngoc Son Temple
- Hanoi Military History Museum
- Temple of Literature
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
- Long Bien Bridge
- Dong Xuan Market
- Long Bien Night Market
- Quang Ba Flower Night Market
- The Perfume Pagoda
- Hanoi Old Quarter
- Hanoi Opera House
- One Pillar Pagoda
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- Water Puppet Theatre
- Bun Dau Mam Tom
- Bun Cha
- Banh cuon Thanh Tri
- Cha Ca La Vong
3. Motorbike Madness
Ho Chi Minh City in rush hours
As a developing country, the motorbike is the main transportation in Vietnam. Almost all Vietnamese adults have their own motorbike, scooting to their destinations on a daily basis. Thousands of motorbikes on the streets in rush hours somehow have become an emblem of what Vietnam is known for. In other words, Vietnamese life which moves on two wheels has always given foreigners an amusing anecdote when coming to the country. According to the statistics in 2016, there were around 7.43 million motorbikes over the population of 8.3 million in Ho Chi Minh City. Also, there are over 1 million motorbikes that are brought into the city by migrants, making the total number of motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City the highest in the country.
4. Ao Dai
Vietnamese high-school girls wearing Ao Dai
Ao Dai is the most well-known Vietnamese traditional garment, which can be worn by both men and women. Despite being a traditional costume, the Ao Dai is quite popular in Vietnam today society. Coming to Vietnam, you can often catch sight of high-school girls wearing white Ao Dai and walking along the street after school. The Ao Dai has become the required uniform for many female teachers and high school students. It is also compulsory for female staff in some companies including banks, hotels, and travel agencies to wear this kind of clothes. Besides, Ao Dai is always a standard for weddings and other formal occasions. Vietnamese especially show a strong preference for Ao Dai for celebrating Tet and important meetings.
5. Vietnamese Coffee
Vietnamese black coffee and white coffee
Coffee is not only one of the most important parts of Vietnamese culture, but it has also been taking part in building up Vietnam’s reputation among coffee-producing countries. Vietnamese coffee is widely known for its unique strong flavor due to the special preparation process, in which the ground roast coffee beans will go into a small filter with a small amount of boiled water added in order to release dark-flavored coffee. Some common types of Vietnamese coffee that you can find in any part of the country include Black Coffee (Ca Phe Den) and Milk Coffee (Ca Phe Sua).
Read more on A Guide to Drinking Vietnamese Coffee.
6. Pho and Vietnamese Rice Dishes
Pho Vietnam, rice noodle soup with slices of beef
Being one of the top agricultural regions, Vietnam is one of the largest rice exporters in the world. Rice, therefore, has always been an integral part of what Vietnam is known for. As rice is the staple diet in Vietnam, almost every meal of a day of a Vietnamese is based on rice.
Bun Cha – Hanoi’s favorite rice vermicelli dish
A normal day of Vietnamese often starts with a bowl of Pho – soup with rice noodles and ends with a dinner including white rice with some meat and vegetables. There is a wide variety of rice dishes including Bun Cha, Banh canh, Bun Bo Hue, Bun Thit Nuong, Banh Khot, Banh Xeo, Banh Cuon, and Vietnamese spring rolls.
7. Vietnamese Street Foods
Banh trang nuong, a famous street food in Vietnam
Like many other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is a heaven of street food. When traveling to Vietnam, you would be surprised by the amazing culinary culture here. Every city and every province like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Nha Trang have specialties of their own, thus, serving you a wide range of Vietnam’s popular dishes. The cheapest and most delicious places to try street food are in local markets and single-dish food stalls standing along the street. Some of the best street foods that you should try include Banh Trang Tron, Banh Mi, Balut, Papaya Salad, Snails, Banh trang nuong, Banh cuon, and Banh xeo.
Read more on 15 Vietnamese Street Food Options You Should Try
8. Vietnamese Beer
Vietnam beer culture
Since Vietnam is one of the biggest beer consumers in Asia (according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade), trying Vietnam beer culture is always an enjoyable experience you should have once in your life. Coming to Vietnam, you can feel the beer culture on every corner, on every street, and at any time. It is very common to sit on a small plastic chair along pavements, cheering, and enjoying a few beers with your friends and family in Vietnam. Also, within a reasonable range of budget, there are various types of beer offered including Bia hoi (draft beer), bottled/canned beer, and craft beer.
Read more on A Guide to Vietnamese Beers
9. Ancient Town Hoi An
Hoi An’s Fujian Assembly Hall
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage town, Hoi An is one of the most worth-visiting places in Vietnam. The town used to be a flourishing port during the time between the 15th and 19th centuries. In the 1990s, people started considering this town the “Venice of Vietnam” due to its picturesque landscapes, preserved French colonial architecture, and peaceful vibe. Besides its beauty, Hoi An is well-known for its variety of local specialties that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Some of those are Cao Lau and White Rose Dumplings, which can offer you a pleasant taste of Vietnamese local food.
10. Vietnamese Natural Landscapes
Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site
Although Vietnam is a small Southeast Asian country, there are several picturesque and breathtaking natural landscapes that can quench the thirst of any backpacker all over the world. Traveling to Vietnam, you would be amazed by the diversity of the scenery, which ranges from white-sand beaches and beautiful natural caves to immense majestic mountainous areas. Some tourist attractions areas you should pay a visit to are Nha Trang, Da Nang, Vung Tau, Phan Thiet, and Sapa. It would be incomplete without mentioning Halong Bay, which is considered the quintessential scene of what Vietnam is known for with many sun-drenched beaches and an amazing system of floating limestone karst formations.
Read more on 12 Beautiful Places in Vietnam
Terraced rice fields in the North of Vietnam
In Vietnam, there are a great number of natural masterpieces originating from Vietnamese rice culture, in which the Vietnamese terraced rice field is considered one of the most specific delegates. The terraced rice field, which is also called the “stairway to heaven”, is located mainly in the Northern mountainous areas of Vietnam like Sapa. This special kind of field is the result of the creative work of the H’mong people, an ethnic community living in the Northwest of Vietnam, a hundred years ago. Due to living in the high mountains, they had no choice but to create terraces on the slopes of such mountains in order to keep water for growing rice. This gradually becomes an incredible landscape that reminds people of what Vietnam is known for.
11. Vietnam Countryside
Mekong Delta is a top worth-visiting place in Vietnam
The Mekong Delta, which is also called the Nine Dragons River Delta, is a rich and lush area in Southwestern Vietnam. The delta is a network of nine distributaries that all bring plenty to rice fields and make the delta a rice bowl of Vietnam. Coming to the Mekong Delta, you will be impressed by the lively vibe here with colorful floating markets, beautiful rice fields, and unforgettable local specialties.
A scene of a floating market in the Mekong Delta
One of the most well-known floating markets in Cai Rang is located in Can Tho. Visiting the market, you would be surprised by the amazing sight of hundreds of boats packed with various kinds of fruits, foods, and flowers. This interesting culture will give you valuable experience of the picturesque agricultural communities in Vietnam.
Read more on What to do at the Mekong Delta
Summary of What Vietnam is Known for
Being a Southeast Asian country with a diverse culture, tasty food, and many beautiful landscapes, Vietnam is a worthwhile destination. Have a look at Vietnam at a Glance for more information about the country and check out our guides for Vietnam travel tips and a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture.