Da Nang coastline from air
Da Nang coastline from air

30 Fascinating Facts About Vietnam

Here are the most fascinating facts about Vietnam we got to know after living there for over a year and exploring from the far north to the deep south.

Some of the facts about this exciting country will surprise you!
Here are the most fascinating facts about Vietnam we got to know after living there for over a year and exploring from the far north to the deep south.

Some of the facts about this exciting country will surprise you!
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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Arijana and Matej - Shipped Away
Hi! We're Arijana & Matej

Welcome & thank you for reading our blog. :)

We love what we do and put a lot of work in our free articles. So if you find them helpful, please consider supporting us.

1. S shape

Vietnam is hugging South East Asia’s east coast in its unique S shape, spanning over 2000km from the south of China all along Laos and Cambodia.

Vietnam map

2. Three distinct regions

Vietnam’s three regions (South, Central, North) are immensely diverse. The food, culture, and people change as you move from one area to another, making you feel like you are crossing the border into another country.

Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho, Mekong Delta
Da Nang skyline from air
Mu Cang Chai rice terraces

3. Egg coffee

The egg coffee is a symbolic Vietnamese drink traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk, and coffee. 

4. Hiding from the sun

White skin is the beauty ideal around here. As such, you will see many Vietnamese covering up COMPLETELY while out in the sun. We can imagine that it’s also helping their skin remain younger.

5. Nguyen

More than 1 in 3 people in Vietnam have Nguyen as their last name. This is mainly because the Nguyen dynasty was so prevalent in the history of Vietnam. On more than one occasion, many people had their last names changed to Nguyen, either after the Nguyen defeated them or because they changed their names not to be recognized and stay alive.

6. 2nd largest producer of coffee beans

Most people don’t know that Vietnam is the 2nd largest coffee bean producer sitting at 20% of the world’s production, after Brazil’s 40%. Robusta coffee accounts for 97% of the coffee exported. The most extensive production takes place in Buôn Ma Thuột City in the Đắk Lắk Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

If you love coffee or are interested in its history and everything connected to it, check out Vietnam’s new World Coffee Museum in Buon Ma Thuot City.

Coffee beans in Dak Lak, Vietnam

7. Amount of motorbikes

There is one motorbike for every two people in Vietnam, which is 45 million. Around 8 million bikes are zig-zagging around Ho Chi Minh City’s streets and a further 5 million around Hanoi.

8. A whole family and MORE can fit on one bike

Safety standards don’t apply if you have only one bike in the family. So what do you do? Well, you all jump on and do what you gotta do. Along with whole families, you can see furniture, animals and sometimes even other motorbikes transported around.

Scooter transport Vietnam

9. The Lunar New Year is the most important event of the year

Tet is the most important festival and celebration of the Vietnamese people. It’s the shortened version of Tet Nguyen Dan, which in translation means “the first morning of the first day of the New Year.” It lasts for almost two weeks, and you can think of it as Christmas, New Years’, Birthdays, and other holidays bunched up into one big celebration.

Read more about it in the article we wrote after experiencing Tet 2021 in Nha Trang.
Tet – Vietnamese Lunar New Year – Year of The Buffalo

10. One of the fastest-growing economies in Asia

Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing developing countries in the world. Many countries are now switching their manufacturing from China to Vietnam, making it grow so much faster.

It’s also a great place for ex-pats and digital nomads, and many more started choosing Vietnam in the past few years.

If you’re interested in going to Vietnam as an ex-pat/digital nomad, read our article about Vietnam’s Top Places For Digital Nomads And Expats that we wrote after living in most Vietnamese cities.

11. Rice is life

Rice is the essential food in Vietnam, and it’s an integral part of any dish. Anywhere you go, you will see plenty of rice fields, and rice is many farmer’s leading source of income. Vietnam is also amongst the top 3 rice exporters in the world.

Mai Chau rice fields

12. Home to world’s largest cave

Vietnam is home to many world’s largest things, but the most magnificent of them all is the Sơn Đoòng cave in the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. It is stunning, and exploring it is the most extraordinary thing you can do in Vietnam.

Paradise cave in Phong Nha, Vietnam
Paradise Cave, the longest dry cave in Asia

13. Longest cable car in Phu Quoc

Another record-setter is Phu Quoc’s world’s longest 3-wire sea cable car with a length of 7899.9m. Its destination is the Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park, where you can enjoy its water park and incredible beaches.

Phu Quoc Cable Car

14. No official religion

Even though religion is a big part of Vietnamese life, the country and government favor no religion. The two major religions of Vietnam are Buddhism and Catholicism. The most considerable amount of Vietnamese classify as non-religious but do follow folk traditions.

15. Vietnam – ‘The King Of Cashews’

Once again, Vietnam is coming in first as the largest cashew nuts exporter. 

16. Over a third of the world’s black pepper comes from Vietnam

Vietnam is the world’s leading producer of black pepper. Although pepper growing is not traditionally Vietnamese, it has become an integral part of people’s lives, not only in food but also in the economy.

17. Vietnam has over 3200 km of coastline 

Vietnam is a true paradise for beach lovers with plenty of water activities and surprisingly good surfing and kitesurfing spots. Mui Ne, in the southern part of the country, is the kitesurfing capital of Asia.


Book your surfing lesson: Mui Ne Local Surf School

18. The largest Vietnamese island, Phu Quoc, is actually closer to Cambodia than Vietnam

Looking at the map, it makes no sense that Phu Quoc belongs to Vietnam, as you can clearly see it’s in Cambodia’s bay. You can see the Cambodian mainland from the northern and north-western sides of the island.

Sunset at a fishing village in Phu Quoc, Vietnam

19. Banh Mi Sandwiches are King

Pho is Vietnam’s signature dish, but so is the delicious Banh Mi. You can find them on almost every corner, and they come in various styles, from the most basic to the newly created recipes inspired by other international foods.

20. Vietnam is home to one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls

There are more impressive waterfalls in Vietnam than you have the time to explore. The biggest and the most famous, and rightfully so, is the Ban Gioc waterfall in the far north of Vietnam, on the border with China.

Ultimate Guide to Ban Gioc Waterfall: Little Known Gem of Vietnam

Close up of Ban Gioc waterfall

21. Vietnam has the cheapest beer in the world

Sit on a small plastic chair at one of the Bia Hoi (translates to “fresh beer”) places in Hanoi and grab a glass of one of the cheapest beers in the world. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though! Grab some local food along the way, and you’re in for a great night!

Bia Hoi Hanoi fresh beer for only 7000 VND per glass
Bia Hoi Hanoi for only 7000 VND per glass

22. Vietnamese cuisine is considered amongst the healthiest in the world

Vietnamese cuisine involves a LOT of fresh herbs and vegetables in almost every dish, making them so lovely and filling. There are, of course, fried dishes, but hopefully, you don’t plan on eating that on the regular anyway. Most street food stalls serve hearty soups and home-cooked style meals.

Vietnamese vegan food

Vegan or vegetarian?

You HAVE to read this! You will be surprised.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Vietnam.

23. Vietnam’s food is based on five elements

A perfect Vietnamese dish is a healthy balance of spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet. 

24. It is easy to mix things up in the Vietnamese language

Remember that Vietnamese is a tonal language, and it’s crucial to get the tones and volume right. Before speaking Vietnamese, we advise you to translate the words on Google Translate and play them back to hear how they are actually pronounced, as it’s immensely more complicated than remembering how it’s written. 

On top of everything, the pronunciations and even words are different in the south and north, so have fun with that! 😁

25. Wide variety of architectural styles.

Due to a long history of colonial rule, you will find a wide variety of architectural styles here.

Hoi An architecture

26. Hanoi’s Long Bien Bridge was designed by the designer of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunset at Long Bien Bridge Hanoi

27. Snow in a tropical country

When you hear Vietnam, you think tropics and jungle, but it’s not that simple. Vietnam stretches for more than 2000 km from the north to the south. There are seven different climatic regions, some in the tropical and some in the temperate climate.

Sapa in the northern part of the country is known to be one of the only places to have snow in Vietnam. We have also heard from our host in Ban Gioc that it snows there too, but you have to be lucky to experience it.

28. Lotus is the national flower of Vietnam

Lotus is not only used as the national symbol but also in many drinks and dishes. It’s a symbol of beauty, purity, and victory.

Lotus national flower of Vietnam

29. Vietnam Is The World’s Thinnest Country

Countering obesity is much easier with a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Along with that, Vietnamese are encouraged by the government to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly. Anywhere we go in Vietnam, we see hordes of people exercising at every sunrise and sunset. There’s also a lot of group exercising in parks and beaches, like group stretching, dancing and practicing martial arts.

Vietnamese exercising in Ho Chi Minh City

30. Diverse culture

Vietnamese culture is one of the oldest ones in the area. Their culture was heavily influenced by China, as they were under their rule for centuries. When Vietnam expanded and took over the Champa and parts of the Khmer territory, they further influenced its culture. In the modern age, the most significant influence was by the French during their colonial rule of Indochina. 

We know many more interesting facts about Vietnam,
but the reading time would go up far too much if we wrote about all,
so perhaps in another round.

Let us know in the comments if any of these surprised you
and if you know any interesting ones yourself.

Arijana and Matej - Shipped Away
Thank you for reading our article :)

Please consider supporting our work if you found it helpful.

Arijana and Matej - Shipped Away
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Please consider supporting our work if you found it helpful.

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