I absolutely love how South East Asian countries lie so close to each other, yet are so distinct in their cultures, their people, their everyday life. Vietnam holds a special place in my heart. As soon as you wake up, the sky glows with the rising sun, and many locals are already at work. Many are fishing, many are heading to market, and as they do so, they have a certain peace and purpose. They rarely look harried, yet they can work long and hard hours.
The sights, the smells, the sounds – they are as clear in my head now as the times I have heard them in real life. The cries of children as they chase each other down the street or call out hello to you. The chattering between the women as they crouch down, selling their produce next to each other at market. The humming of motorbikes is rarely absent. And in the larger cities, everything combines into a happy roar that states that this town is alive!
I like to start my day with their local soup, Phở. A broth you add noodles, spring onions, meat, chillies and herbs to. Refreshing and filling, it is the perfect start to the day, accompanied by an essential Vietnamese coffee (hot and sweet).
As the heat sets in, grab a fresh coconut from a street vendor. Stick in a straw and you are hydrated and energised to keep exploring.
For the not-so faint hearted, jump on board a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City. I was a little fearful I must admit. But there is actually an enviable method to the madness and after a few minutes you find yourself relaxing and enjoying the ride. It is a great way to tour the sights.
Vietnamese love to sell you things. I found an incredible wall hanging and ceramic pot in a beautiful shop in Ho Chi Minh. Keep your eyes peeled for treasures like these, but don’t forget to pick up the essential silk scarves, woven placemats and other linens that abound everywhere.
Finally, wherever you are, whether it is a beach, floating on the Mekong River, or in a village or town, take the time to stop and watch, listen and learn. Our favourite scenes in this video are of every day people in Vietnam, living their every day lives. Smile. wave, have a chat if they speak some English and of course, enjoy the food. It really is a treasure.