Often the most memorable parts of a travel experience are also the most unusual. The quirks of a landscape and culture remind us just how far away from home we are, and what a privilege it is to see the world through different eyes. Check out these cool and unusual quirks of Vietnam.
Hanoi’s Train Street
No, you’re not imagining it. Twice a day, a hurtling train powers through a crazy-narrow street in Hanoi. Children run and seek safety, air-dryed clothes are brought inside and for a couple of seconds, all conversation stops. Never mind “minding the gap”, there is none. The railroad tracks take up the entirety of the residential street which connects Vietnam’s capital to Ho Chi Minh city in the south. Visit it between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Hang Sung Sot
The “Cave of Surprises” in Ha Long Bay is lit like a giant unicorn had a technicolour spew. And to extend the quirky theme, a giant phallus in the cave’s second chamber stands erect under the soft glow of a pink spotlight. The rock is supposed to bring all kinds of good fertility fortune, with locals queuing up to get all touchy touchy.
Life can be found only in the present moment – Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Monk
Cà phê trứng
Egg coffee is Vietnam’s most extravagant cup of joe, offering an alternative to the condensed milk versions favoured by the locals. It originates from the milk shortage caused by the First Indochina War when a bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel had a spark of genius, and whisked in the humble egg instead of dairy. Today’s version features heavy Robusta coffee sitting under a lavish concoction of whisked egg, sugar, condensed milk, cheese and sometimes butter much akin to a liquid tiramisu. Forget the 5:2 that week.
Hanoi hosts a string of famous snake restaurants coiling through Le Mat village. This is the heartland of the snake dining experience, and if you’re lucky enough to be endowed the privilege, you will in fact, be served up the said snake’s very heart. That’s correct, the guest of honour is usually gifted a cobra’s heart, sometimes live and beating only moments before it’s swallowed. The besssst!
Media: Hanoi’s Train Street
Check out Hanoi’s crazy-tight Train Street from our staff member Chris Ashton‘s first-hand experience!
And here for Mel’s first-hand account of our 9 Day Vietnam Tour.
TripADeal travels to Vietnam here.