Vietnam is one of South East Asia’s most beautiful countries. The capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi. Whilst it isn’t the largest city in Vietnam, it is the most populated. Hanoi is located approximately 1,760 km north of Ho Chi Minh City, which is the largest city in Vietnam. Vietnamese is the main language spoken by the majority of the population. The current population of Vietnam is around 90.5 million people and it is the 8th most populated country in Asia. In regards to climate, Vietnam is very tropical, experiencing heavy rains, warm temperatures, light winds and high humidity throughout the year. The winter dry season lasts from November through to April, whilst summer lasts from May to October bringing substantial rainfall.
The main form of transportation in Vietnam is motorcycle. Whilst motorcycles are cheaper to run it is also a more convenient way of travelling through the chaotic and busy streets. There is said to be approximately 45 million motorbikes registered in the country. The national dish in Vietnam is ‘Pho.’ It is a noodle soup that can be found everywhere! This dish can be found in small markets on the streets or at fine dining restaurants. Vietnam is also known for being the second largest coffee producing nation in the world, so if you love coffee then Vietnam is the place to visit! Vietnam tourism is growing every year and more people are discovering the unique beauty of this country and being introduced to the culture, food and architecture.
Vietnam has many popular tourist spots that have a lot to offer with many attractions and activities to undertake. When Development Together interns and volunteers apply for their visa’s with us we are able to ensure they have an extra week at the beginning or end of their placement if they wish to explore the country.
Below are our top 3 things for you to do on your Vietnamese adventure:
- Guided Street Food Tour
If you want to get a real taste for the Vietnamese culture then we would recommend going on a street food tour in Hanoi! On such tours you are given the opportunity to try many authentic dishes including the most popular and traditional “Pho.” Whilst on this tour you are given the chance to learn about Vietnam’s culture and history along the way. It is great to indulge and immerse yourself in other countries culture to make the most out of your trip.
2. War Remnants Museum
If you’re into history then this could be the place for you! Vietnam is known for its history and the impact that the war between the Vietnamese and countries such as the US, Canada and Australia had during the late 1960’s early 1970’s . The War Remnants Museum is supposedly the most popular museum in Vietnam and has approximately 500,000 visitors each year. This museum conveys the saddening effects of war on local citizens. It is extremely eye-opening but said to be a great experience! The War Remnants Museum is situated in Ho Chi Minh City.
3. Day Trips Visiting Islands off Vietnam
Vietnam has a great range of Islands to explore throughout the day and there’s no better way to see them then on a day cruise. These islands are know for their unique beauty surrounded by great swimming and kayaking spots. Many companies offer a wide range of day trips to take a traditional cruise with a professional tour guide and trained boat crew. The trips can also allow you to visit local fishing villages or pearl farms where you’re able to get a true taste of how some locals live.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteering placements in the rural region of Da Bac, west of Hanoi. This is a mountainous agricultural region where there is still a lot of poverty, and access to sanitation and clean water is limited. Our placements are open to Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture university/college students (who have completed at least the first year of their studies by the time the program starts), OR professionals with experience in these fields. Participants spend 1 month in Vietnam, in a small inter-professional group of 6-12 participants.
We partner with a local not-for-profit organisation and village chiefs/elders with a focus on bringing clean water and sanitation to local families. We partner with locals to develop and implement access to clean water for personal use via water filtration systems, improved methods of irrigation for crops and animals, along with the installation of safe hygiene facilities such as toilets and hand washing stations.
Participants use a Human Centered Design approach to identify the main issues in the village, liaising and discussing with local community members, and then working on a design solution together that will meet their needs. Participants are also responsible for identifying what materials will be required, the timeline and budget, construction and evaluation of the project. Participants are supported by Development Together staff, and our local partners in Vietnam who assist with interpreting and community facilitation, along with a local Vietnamese Engineer who provides technical support and guidance. Community members get involved and contribute towards the physical labour and design process. Development Together assists by providing all the necessary financial funding required to complete this project.