Vietnam: the Haven for History, Cuisine and Travel

Traveling in Vietnam with Minds AbroadVietnam has been a popular destination for students visiting China for a good few years now. The primary reasons for this are the accessibility and history. The country has turned over a new leaf with the turn of the century. It has become one of the most visited destinations in Asia due to a variety of reasons. When in Vietnam, one can also easily access Laos and Cambodia.

Traveling in Vietnam

Historically, Vietnam has been associated with resilience. This is a country that has always fought off many invaders and has emerged independent. Though the world remembers it as a site of the Vietnam War (American War for the Vietnamese), what people do not know is that before that there were numerous attempts to occupy the country by the Japanese, the Chinese and even the French. The French colonization has left a huge impression on the country’s culture, particularly its cuisine. Even though French cuisine is radically different from the Vietnamese cuisine, the latter does carry features of the former in many discernible forms. Tourists love the delicious local food that is usually found in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s proximity to China and its history has made it an important destination both for travelers as well as students of study abroad programs. Even though the nation is governed by one-party authoritarian regime, it has introduced select features of capitalism to give boost to its economy. Naturally the inflow of students traveling to Asia for Chinese language programs and gap year jobs has increased considerably. The facilities available for those visiting the country are abundant and no one feels out of place while living or visiting there.

If one wants to explore the country, he or she can divide it into three distinct regions which include the north, the central and the south. The capital Ho Chi Minh City is in the south. Weather wise all of them are similar in almost all aspects. One should expect a lot of rain during the months between September and February in the central part of the country; traveling in that area should be avoided because of heavy rains, strong winds and sea swells. During this time, the southern part of the country is most accessible because of the cool and dry weather.

While in the country, students can get around on motor bikes, cycles or rented cars. However surprisingly, renting a car in Vietnam does not only entail renting the car–the driver comes with it. One cannot drive cars around independently. However there is a signature vehicle in Vietnam which would certainly appeal to a younger age group; it is called ‘cyclo’ and it is a vehicle where the driver sits in the rear while passengers sit in the front. It is a manually driven utility with components of a bicycle.

It must be pointed out that Ho Chi Minh City comprises of a sizable Chinese community apart from the native Vietnamese population. This is owing to the vicinity to China. From Vietnam, Laos, China and Cambodia are easily accessible and people often go on tours to all of these places as well.

While the historical destination for almost all students on gap year programs is Ho Chi Minh City, one can also go to many other destinations like Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

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