It’s our first day in Vietnam today and the morning was spent on a 4 hour coach trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. Luckily the tour guide spoke English and filled our brains with lots of local knowledge so here’s the first 10 things we learnt about Vietnam …

  1. The average salary for a city job is around £200 – £250 per month
  2. Farmers can expect to make between £60 – £120 per month
  3. 70% of Vietnamese people make their living farming
  4. Dog, cat, snake and rat is commonly eaten
  5. At the end of each lunar month, it is thought of as good luck for the next month if dog, duck and squid have all been consumed
  6. Their busy tourist period for Westerners is November – March when it’s cooler but visitors from other Asian countries come in their Summer (April – October).
  7. The language is very complex, for example ‘a’ can have 7 different pronunciations and many words are interchangeable and can mean different things.
  8. Buddhism is the dominant religion, many Vietnamese believe their spirit belongs to the Buddha but their body belongs to their parents.
  9. For this reason they have deep respect for their parents and would never do anything to their body such as getting a tattoo without asking their parents first.
  10. As with other Asian cultures, it’s common for 3 generations of a family to live in one family home.