After nearly a century of French rule, Vietnam split into the communist (north) and non-communist (south) in the 1950s. Conflict between the two sides led to the Vietnam War. However, by 1975, Vietnam was restored as a completely communist country.
Even with the economic reforms and restoration of diplomatic ties, human rights are limited in Vietnam—especially freedom of religion.
Over 80% of Vietnamese don’t claim any religion, and about 8% are Buddhist.
Vietnam’s story is one of searching and fighting for freedom.
Although anti-U.S. sentiment was once very strong in Vietnam in the years following the end of the War, modern-day Vietnam is much more tolerant and accepting of U.S. cultural influence. Travelers from the U.S. typically find that locals are very hospitable.
When greeting someone of authority, gently grab both of their hands and slightly bow, and always greet people in descending order of authority. It is rude to summon a person with the index finger.
The Vietnamese do not wear shorts in public except when at the beach or at a work site. Foreigners are advised to do the same, especially when visiting more rural areas.
If you find yourself in Da Nang, be sure to check out the fire-breathing Dragon Bridge. It first sprays fire and then a jet of water at nearby bystanders.
The Marble Mountains near Da Nang have incredible views and impressive hikes.
Hoi An is a city about 30 minutes outside of Da Nang and is full of beautiful old town sights and colors and shopping.
Go on an excursion to the gorgeous Halong Bay.
If you find yourself in Ho Chi Minh city, be sure to explore the many different street food vendors. Also, go experience the War Museum there.