You can’t visit Vietnam and not learn about the Vietnam War – it’s a key part of history and the region’s current identity and conflicts. Vietnam had been a French colony since the 1880s. The Vietnamese had been fighting the French for independence for a long time before the Japanese came in during WWII. After Japan left, the Vietnamese took over what was left and kicked out the French. The country was split into communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was fought between North Vietnam (supported by China and the Soviet Union) and South Vietnam (supported by the US and allies to defeat communism), and it was nearly 20 years from 1955 – 1975. North Vietnam ended up winning, but the country still seems very divided. For example, people in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City still call the city Saigon (the name of the city before the south lost).
In lighter news, my favorite part about Vietnam was the food. Yummmmm, the food! What you need to make sure you eat:
How to cross the street (see the traffic in the video here): walk out in front of traffic slowly but steadily. Don’t go backwards, and don’t stop. Don’t make any sudden movements. The motorbikes will go around you.
Laughing gas balloons are legal (I think… if not, they are everywhere nonetheless). You’ll see them all over in the bars and clubs, and they’re typically pretty cheap. It makes you dizzy / laugh for like 20 seconds, and then it’s all over.
I was surprised by the weather! It was cold in north Vietnam when we were there. Everyone else seemed surprised too, and they all had to by North Fake (get it? Counterfeit North Face haha!) jackets to keep warm! Just make sure you check the weather before you leave, and don’t assume that it’s hot everywhere all the time.
Check out some detail about each of the cities we visited:
We also visited Ho Chi Minh City, but we were there during the Lunar New Year. I can’t tell you much about it other than that there was a great fireworks show for the new year (see video here)!
See here for our photos from Vietnam!
Hi, I'm Sara Monica Patton. I love animals, traveling, and eating. Read more about me in my first blog post here.