10 Hilariously Real Things That Happen When You Move To Vietnam

Moving to a new place is always nerve-racking, you never quite know what to expect or how you will change. In case you are looking to move to Vietnam, here are 10 things that will happen when you do!


1.  You become a street-crossing warrior.

The roads in Asia are unlike any the west have ever seen, from the crazy fast drivers in Thailand to the small alleys and incessant honking of Bali, these streets are cray – but Vietnam puts them all to shame.

The roads here, especially in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh are wild. Traffic rules are nonexistent and the onslaught of motorbikes never stops. If you want to cross the street the only trick is to keep moving just as the traffic is. After a while you become invincible and can cross these roads like a pro.

2. You embrace that nap life.

Vietnamese people are an early to bed and early to rise nation. They start their day around 6 AM, and not just wake up at six, I mean they are out and about. All of this early hustle leaves you exhausted by midday, (also it’s really hot) which is why the whole country has a siesta of sorts for a couple of hours.

People will nap anywhere and everywhere, coffee shops, the side of the road, their office, you name it. Due to this complete shutdown of life around noon it’s only appropriate you adopt similar customs. #naplife

 

3. You will up your people watching appreciation entirely.

Vietnamese people take chilling to a new level. Here they slow down, and will just sit on a small stool on the sidewalk taking life in. These small little roadside tea stands are super popular with the locals as a spot to take a smoke break and read the paper or grab a cool drink.

Their love of people watching inevitably rubs off on you, and you notice all the quirks of society from the elderly practicing Tai Chi or daily stretches to the wild amount of things fit on a motorbike – there is never a dull people watching moment.

4. You appreciate the sun more than you ever have in your life.

This is mostly here in Hanoi where I am, because the pollution is so bad that seeing the sun is a true rarity. When you do happen to get a clear day, some direct sunlight and clean air, it’s like you are reborn.

5. Iced tea takes over as preferred day time drink always.

In Vietnam the gold standard day time drink is a cool Tra Da – which means iced tea. There are lots of different varietals but this unsweetened, slightly earthy tea is everywhere and anywhere. You drink it with every meal, all the time, ever and after a while you simply can’t see any other drink to pair with a meal.

 

6. Condensed milk in your coffee becomes the only way to drink it.

Again, with the bev-ys but this is a serious one. I mean it’s coffee we are talking about. Cà phê is a big deal here, and there is no other way to drink it than with some version of condensed milk.

You may perhaps add different things to it like yogurt, egg, or coconut but the tried and true method of getting that caffeine fix is the ol’ Cà phê sữa đá which is strong, black Vietnamese coffee with a smidgen of condensed milk – and let me tell you it’s pure happiness.

7. You will stop wearing makeup and rock that glistening upper lip.

Okay, so this is directed at my other traveling lady babes out there but in Vietnam it’s hot, and I don’t mean just like warm, it’s full on sweaty. So, this inevitably doesn’t make for a makeup conducive environment.

Not to say you won’t throw some concealer on, along with a little mascara but foundation and eye shadows are a thing of the past. If they don’t melt off your face, the everyday monsoon will wash it all straight off. RIP beautiful Mac eye shadow palette.

8. You will start to own this body you have like none other.

It’s no secret that Vietnamese people are pretty small, clothes in shops probably won’t fit you unless you are a very small human as well and this is totally OK. After you are told you are too big for things day in and day out – not to mention if you are a teacher your children will most definitely point this out too – “techa baby?!” Ultimately, you will come to a place of self-love and not give any damns about how others perceive you. Gotta just live your life, shop less and embrace the stares.

9. Your workout struggle will be so real.

Finding a gym that has A/C is a real ordeal here, most gyms have fans but air conditioning is just too dang expensive, hence you will most definitely be working out inside but it will feel like you are outside.

This hot box called the gym will have you questioning all of your life choices. Bugs will fly through the open windows and die in your sweat, and every time you’re there you will be 90% sure that heat stroke is one stifled breath away. It’s all worth it though – wait, is it?

10. Driving in the rain will always be comical (and terrifying).

When it rains it pours, but does life stop? Hell to the no. People have got places to be! Since the majority of Vietnam runs on motorbikes there is quite a stylish and booming business of driving ponchos. Man, the Vietnamese have perfected the poncho like no other country I have seen.

Here, this large plastic tarp is fully equipped with a bit that covers the front of your bike entirely and has little holes for your mirrors and a cut out spot for your headlight. You can even buy them in different patterns and with two hoods so your passenger can be covered as well. These strange things will never not be funny but they are quite useful and make driving in the rain much more comical to distract from all its dangers.

 

And there ya have it – 10 hilariously real things that happen when you move to Vietnam! Anybody have any more things to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Keep smiling! 🙂

Kelsey

48 Hour Guide To Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Dubbed the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh (pronounced Ning Bing) is truly a magical avatar escape, full of towering limestone mountains, expansive caves and secret river ways. All of this awesome is located only two hours away from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. This sleepy little town is full of rice paddies, water buffaloes and some of the most stunning views you’ve ever seen. A trip to Ninh Binh is an absolute must if you are visiting Hanoi!


Getting to Ninh Binh:

 

Getting to this little rural paradise is actually quite easy! From Hanoi there is a train (Ga Hanoi) that departs every day, it takes about two hours, has A/C, chargers for your phone and is only about five US dollars!  When you arrive you can book your ticket back! Easy peasy.

 

What to do:

For being a provincial town there is actually loads of things to do that are packed with adventure and history! Here are my top picks for your weekend escape:

Trang An Boat Tour:

This little boat tour is quite impressive! You will paddle through caves, and float through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenes. For about eight USD you get a around three hours of blissful exploration. You will stop off at a number of different pagodas and temples only accessible by boat! Bring a little snack if you are prone to getting hangry, there are few options for food along the way, and as it did for us – three hours began to feel very long without a snack!

Bich Dong Pagoda:

This pagoda is a great one to visit if you are short on time! There is no hike or boat required. Just bike up to where it is and walk in! It’s striking archway at the front is what draws many visitors along with the pond it sits on, which in the summer explodes in pink lotus flowers!

Mua Caves Hike:

This hike up around 400 stairs will take you to the BEST view of Ninh Binh there is! Photos don’t do it justice, you will have to just experience it for yourself! There also are some caves there but meh – the hike and view take the cake!

Hoa Lu:

This city was once the capital of Vietnam! Around 1,000 years ago there were many different structures but now there are only two. Located only 20 minutes from Ninh Binh visiting this ancient city is well worth the trip!

Other things to do if you have more time would be:

  • Visiting the Va Long Nature Reserve
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda
  • Tam Coc Boat Trip