Vietnam is a place full of wonderment, excitement and mystery. Although many paths are well-trodden, there is just something in the air of Vietnam that just breathes unknown. Although we all know about the war, the peaceful protests and the beauty of places like Ha Long Bay and Hanoi – there are a lot of things about Vietnam that you will never have realized. That being said, we’d like to enlighten you and give you some insider knowledge of our beautiful country you might never have come across before. Here are things you didn’t know about Vietnam.
Things You Didn’t Know About Vietnam
Motorbikes are EVERYWHERE!
To give you an idea, the population of Vietnam is almost 100 million. According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport, there are almost 60 million motorbikes in the country and only 2 million cars. This is largely down to cost and practicality.
Owning a car is incredibly expensive because the tax is around 100-200%, so it’s a luxury reserved for the very wealthy. The tax for motorbikes is far cheaper, making it a more affordable means of transportation for everyday folk.
Motorbikes are also a handy way to get around, particularly in the tight narrow streets and tiny alleyways. They’re also much easier to park than cars.
Interestingly, Vietnam is the country with the 4th highest number of motorbikes after India, China and Indonesia. But with all the air pollution and traffic congestion this all causes, where is this heading? Well in 2017, the government announced it will ban all motorbikes in the capital, Hanoi, by 2030 and invest more in public transport, such as a Sky Train, much like the ones in Bangkok and Vancouver.
There are 54 distinct ethnic groups
Most people know about the H’Mong people in Vietnam, but there are 54 ethnic groups officially recognized by the government. The largest, with 85% of the population, are the Kinh people — also known as the Viet. After them, there are the Tay, Mường, Khmer Krom and several distinct H’Mong tribes. The minority ethnic groups live primarily in the mountainous areas of northern and central Vietnam.
The second-largest exporter of coffee
Vietnam is famous for its coffee, but what people may not know is that Vietnam also exports a lot of it. When you think of Vietnamese agriculture, you’re more likely to think of vast rice paddies than coffee plantations, because rice paddies look better on tourist brochures. The mountains along the Laos-Vietnam border, however, are perfect for growing coffee beans. Around 95 percent of Vietnam’s coffee is robusta, which has twice the caffeine content as arabica. If you’ve never had Vietnamese coffee, go to the supermarket right now. It’s amazing.
Vietnam is The Queen of the cashew
Vietnam is the world’s largest exporter of cashew nuts, producing 37% of the global number. Cashew is big business here, hence why we added it to our list of interesting facts about Vietnam.
In 2018, the country produced 339,700 tons of cashew nuts worth $3.09 billion, exporting mainly to the US, China and the Netherlands.
Interestingly, the cashew nut itself is, in fact, the seed that grows at the bottom of the cashew fruit unlike other nuts which grow inside of the fruit. The cashew’s fruit is called a “cashew apple” and is super healthy, containing five times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges.
Vietnamese People Don’t Hate Americans
Before visiting Vietnam, all we know about this country is that they had a war very recently. And Americans played a great part in it. Let’s take a look at the interesting facts on the Vietnam war and how it resonates with this reality.
Usually, when foreigners come to another country, start fighting and killing local people, they are treated as aggressors. So we thought it’s quite obvious that Vietnamese people hate Americans. Especially that The Vietnam War ended only 40 years ago.
We were surprised that Vietnamese people actually… like Americans. It’s mainly because of Vietnamese great leader, Ho Chi Minh told that they shouldn’t blame American citizens for the war. It’s the LEADERS who are responsible for all these deaths.
Everything depends on the Americans. If they want to make war for 20 years then we shall make war for 20 years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to tea afterwards.
He also said:
Love other human beings as you would love yourself.
He thought that Vietnam is the most important thing in the world and the Vietnamese should focus on rebuilding the country, not on hating the aggressors. We talked with many Viets and they all said that War was a long time ago and they had already forgiven the U.S. all their faults.