Coffee

Vietnam’s Signature Drink

Every country has its signature drink. In Ireland, they’ve got Guinness. In Belgium, they’ve got hot chocolate. In Scotland, they’ve got whiskey. And in Vietnam…they’ve got coffee.

Any coffee-lover who travels to Vietnam is sure to fall in love with the country’s unique, heady version of the classic drink. A cup of Vietnamese coffee starts with locally-grown, darkly-roasted beans. The grounds are brewed in a French-style drip filter, which makes for an especially strong ‘cuppa joe’. Condensed milk is added for sweetness, and the lot can be poured into a glass of ice when you’re in the mood for refreshment.

Here’s a guide to help you order the perfect cup:

Cà phê sữa đá – iced coffee with condensed milk

Cà phê sữa nóng – hot coffee with condensed milk

Cà phê đen đá – iced black coffee

Cà phê đen nóng – hot black coffee

While Western tastes have been grounded in Italian-style coffee – venti, anyone?! Vietnamese coffee is distinctly French. They introduced it along with the banh mi baguette in the 1850s Vive Le France! And the drip-style coffee method emerged soon after. It quickly became a national love affair.

Vietnam

Find Your True Self By Exploring Different Cultures

By the time I finally had to go away from home, I was a perfectly restrained, introverted, overly careful individual. Even away from the protective grip of the family, my life still consisted of repeating the cycle of acts that were familiar to me and which gave me the feeling of safety and security.

The Shock

That all changed when I traveled to Vietnam for the first time. My previous trips abroad, well-planned and short-lived as they were, took place well within a cultural standard which was still known to me. The architecture, food, clothing style and expected behaviour were largely the same as the ones I was accustomed to. As such, traveling had no major impact on me at first.

Culture shock finally caught up with me as soon as I landed in Vietnam. Without sounding unnecessarily poetic, the world had a different colour there. Or better put multiple colours. The very environment was essentially different and foreign to me. For the first time, I gained real perspective, becoming aware of my individuality and size on this planet.

From hand gestures to clothes and greetings, everything was different. Without realizing, at first I mostly glared at my new surroundings and the people populating it. Interaction seemed wildly inappropriate. Culture shock had overwhelmed me with silence.

The Accommodation

After the initial shock, my plan all side tried to compensate the novel surroundings by behaving as it usually did. The street was covered in colour and diversity. Speaking to the peculiar strangers made me realize, despite our differences, how much we had in common. Instead of sightseeing, I let the city take me wherever it wanted. Going off the beaten track led me to meet different people. Their world was dramatically different than mine, with values and goals that barely even occurred to me. Interacting with them reminded me of something that I already knew..that the world is vast and that my safety zone is but a speck of dust in it.

My own outfit became rich in colours and surrounded by my new friends-slash-guides, I discovered the feeling of being part of a community. This is something that I experienced in other places as well. Living side by side with starkly different people from across the globe, even for a limited amount of time, taught me acceptances and friendship.

The Experience And The Lesson

Since my first trip to Vietnam, I traveled as much as I could and I had always wanted to see Europe. After all, what better multicultural country to start than one which has 4 official languages? Switzerland was absolutely mesmerizing and Annecy proved to be as breathtaking as my Vietnamese experience. I felt my wanderlust blossoming as flowers do in spring. My path carried me from the French Alps to the border of the Atacama Desert, from the Panama Canal to the high slopes of Tibet. With each travel, I discovered another piece of my true self and got to know myself bit by bit.

The entire experience I got from traveling and exploring different cultures was not that it changed who I was, but that it primarily allowed me to discover parts of me that I did not previously know.

I discovered that I could live in the present without having to nervously plan my every waking moment. My true self, a psychological concept that is cross-culturally stable, was not that of a frightened introvert, but of a charming and outgoing person that could befriend total strangers in a few minutes.

At the same time, I found that I could deal with large periods of being on my own. Alone and often confused, I had to face every situation by counting on my ability to pull through no matter. If confident is not the way in which I would have described myself before, traveling revealed to me a strength and an ability to adapt that I never thought I had.

Perhaps the most important lesson I got from traveling and exploring different cultures is that the best journey is within ourselves. No matter where, when and with whom we are at any given point in our lives, we can make the most of it and live life to its fullest by being our true selves. The best way to discover that part of us, of course, is by exploring different cultures.

Why You Need To Visit Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu

Ba Ria Vung Tau Vietnam

It is the perfect blend of mountain and sea…aka HEAVEN!

Located on the coast of the Vietnam’s Southeast region, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu offers breathtaking views and countless outdoor activities. There’s truly nothing like its presence and the free spirit feeling it provides its visitors. Bà Rịa should be at the top of everyone’s travel list but there’s a few key reasons why I believe you should try to get here.

Ba Ria Vung Tau Vietnam

The scenery is breathtaking and the experience is exhilarating. It’ll bring you back down to Earth, and you’ll appreciate it. Bà Rịa is the best place to unplug and rejuvenate. Most places don’t offer wifi and if they do it’s typically not free and spotty.

To escape from work is one thing but to escape from social media is what our generation really needs. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media…It’s stupidly addicting. It’s also stupidly toxic and full of false realities, promotes a “keeping up the jones” attitude, and instills a “fear of missing out” which all leads to angst, jealousy, and depression. The opportunity to disconnect in such a beautiful place as Bà Rịa will make you appreciate the importance of disconnecting. It’ll remind you of who you are and where you came from. Play outdoors! If you ever went to any kind of summer camp (brownies, boy scouts, church camp) when you were younger, you probably stayed in cabins or tents and went hiking. The scent of Bà Rịa will bring back those memories and the scenery will force you to stay outdoors like you did as a kid. My experience brought back memories from camp, which is one of the most special experiences of my youth. Which led me to reflect on who I was then and take a hard look at who I am now.

Ba Ria Vung Tau Sunset

Planning Your Trip

Where to stay: Valley Mountain Hotel is located at Bai Dau Beach and offers beautiful affordable and quaint rooms. The hotel faces the ocean and leans on the mountains, which allows visitors to experience the beauty of Bà Rịa. Other places to stay are: Thang Muoi Hai HotelPalace Hotel, Imperial Hotel and Pullman Resort. 

Grub: Food wise as with many regions in Vietnam, seafood is aplenty. Banh Khot (prawn fritters) are a specialty of Bà Rịa. One can rarely find this dish in other regions of Vietnam. The grand daddy of them all is Goc Vu Sua located at 14 Nguyen Truong To. One can’t really leave Bà Rịa without savouring the delights at these two restaurants. Truong Cong Dinh street is great for stingray hotpot, a speciality in Bà Rịa. Vũng Tàu is also considered to be the home of Banh Bong Lan Trung Muoi, the famous Salted Egg Yolk Sponge Cake. Try asking a local person at the market to order some for you. They will make them overnight and have them ready for you the following morning.

What to do: Bà Rịa beaches are ideal places for relaxing and falling in line with Vietnam’s beautiful nature. Tam Duong Beach where you can watch amazingly beautiful sunset every evening and gaze away huge coconut trees along the coast and Phuong Thao Beach for a romantic and quiet atmosphere. If you go during the weekdays it’s less likely to get busy. The city folks come out on the weekends. Russian oil drillers and their families go there a lot, so the signs are in Vietnamese, English and Russian. There is a famous statue of Christ, standing on Mount Nho and looking down over the ocean on one side and the town on the other. The Catholic association started building the statue in 1974, and it was completed in 1993. It is the only one in Southeast Asia. The walk up to the statue is absolutely gorgeous with small vistas looking out the ocean at every corner and bright pink and white frangipanis flowers. At the top the huge Jesus stands with his arms outstretched overlooking a small Mary statue just in front. There are 133 steps up inside the statue to come out onto his shoulders to look down at the beautiful views from the top. Other attractions in Bà Rịa includes: The Old Lighthouse, Bach Dinh White Palace and The Whale Temple.

Ba Ria Vung Tau Vietnam

Ba Ria Vung Tau Vietnam

Statue of Christ in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu

ba ria vung tau vietnam

Let me know if you are looking to plan a trip! Comment below or message me with questions.