10 Things To Know Before Traveling To Vietnam

10 Things To Know Before Traveling To Vietnam

Vietnam is a stunning country of rice paddies, scooters, outdoor markets, good food and even better coffee. My first trip to the country, I knew very little about it but after just a week I learned quickly that travelling to Vietnam is an incredible experience.

10 Things to know about Vietnam

Whether you’ve been there numerous times, are in the midst of planning your trip or just have the journey in the back of your mind here’s a list of 10 things you can expect when you arrive in Saigon.

  1. The coffee is the real delicious deal! It’s no surprise considering Vietnam is the second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%). A hometown favorite is the ca phe sua da! It’s a strong single filtered coffee that has sweet and creamy condensed milk mixed in and topped with ice. An absolute must for all of those long and hot days of exploring. Coming across a café isn’t hard because there’s hundreds of cafes that line the streets and alleys of the city.
  2. Road rules don’t exist.  No truly, crossing the scooter and taxi filled streets calls for a strategic plan and a heartfelt prayer. Good news is that the thousands of locals who drive the narrow roads everyday seem to have a method to their vehicular madness. This means that all you have to figure out is the perfect timing to walk straight across the street.  Bonus tip, once you start to walk don’t stop or worry about maneuvering around the scooters, they see you and prefer to work around you.

Vietnam is a stunning country of rice paddies, scooters, outdoor markets, good food and even better coffee. My first trip to the country, I knew very little about it but after just a week I learned quickly that travelling to Vietnam is an incredible experience. Whether you’ve been there numerous times, are in the midst of planning your trip or just have the journey in the back of your mind here’s a list of 10 things you can expect when you arrive in Saigon. 1. The coffee is the real delicious deal! It’s no surprise considering Vietnam is the second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%). A hometown favorite is the ca phe sua da! It’s a strong single filtered coffee that has sweet and creamy condensed milk mixed in and topped with ice. An absolute must for all of those long and hot days of exploring. Coming across a café isn’t hard because there’s hundreds of cafes that line the streets and alleys of the city. 2. Road rules don’t exist. No truly, crossing the scooter and taxi filled streets calls for a strategic plan and a heartfelt prayer. Good news is that the thousands of locals who drive the narrow roads everyday seem to have a method to their vehicular madness. This means that all you have to figure out is the perfect timing to walk straight across the street. Bonus tip, once you start to walk don’t stop or worry about maneuvering around the scooters, they see you and prefer to work around you. 3. Speaking of taxis, if you’re looking to catch a cab in Saigon keep an eye out for Mai Linh and Vinasun two of the most trusted and reliable companies. Your first look at the taxis will most likely be at the airport and from that moment on you’ll see hundreds more during your stay. Not only will the majority of taxi drivers get you to where you’re going fast giving your tired tourist feet a rest but you’ll find that the air conditioning is always on blast. Something to appreciate during those sweltering days. 4. You’ll notice most Vietnamese folks take a nap after lunch. The days start early and end late for most in Vietnam, especially the busy cities like Saigon so that time to recharge during the day is a must. Some even rack out right on top of their scooters! It really is a sight to see and you can’t help but admire their sense of balance. 5. Teenagers have an intense adoration for K-POP! It’s seriously everywhere in part because of all of the imported Korean artists, music, fashions, makeup and accessories trends that Vietnamese young fans love to consume and emulate. Not surprisingly, this has led to the increasing popularity of Korean wave and now there are now more and more Korean language classes conducted throughout Vietnam. It’s not just the music but the culture that the youth wants to understand and embrace. 6. Karaoke is huge in Saigon. This could be the case for many reasons including that Asians, in general, lack a reputation for expressing strong emotions, either positive or negative. Karaoke is cathartic for Asians who bottle up powerful emotions. But let’s not forget that karaokeing isn’t just a pastime that Asian adore. In fact, it’s a $380 million industry in the United States. Basically, it’s just good fun. 7. Endless chilled glasses of delicious iced tea is served no sooner than you sit down in most restaurants. Similar to the customary glass of ice water offered in most restaurants across North America, tea is a staple in Vietnamese culture. Of course, tea drinking has existed for a long time in Vietnam. In the past, drinking was just for noble classes but for a long time now people from all walks of life enjoy tea. It’s also a welcome greeting after stepping into the café and out from the hot and dusty streets. 8. You’ll most commonly run into folks with the first or last name “Nguyen”. Not a surprise since the name is used by about 40% of the population. (That’s around 35,600,000 people) If you’re wondering why here’s a quick history lesson. The surname Nguyen is believed to have originated in the Chinese surname "Ruan" (in the Mandarin language) or Yuen (Cantonese), attributed to China’s long reign over Vietnam. During this time the name Nguyen was either forced upon the public by new regimes or was chosen voluntarily by Vietnamese for other reasons. 9. Vietnamese folks tend to prefer to shower at night rather than the morning. This may have to do with the fact no month in Saigon has an average high temperature of less than 89 degrees. It’s not uncommon to see the parks full of people at sunrise who want to get a good workout and stretch in before the day gets to warm. From my own time there I can tell you that it’s pretty much the best thing ever to grab a cool rinse off after a day out exploring the dusty, sweltering, beautifully chaotic streets of Saigon. 10. The Vietnamese are an honest, hardworking, kind people. The average work week in Vietnam is around 60 hours and most of those jobs are spent in factories and on farms. With exports of in excess of $162 billion (2015) there’s no question that it’s a hard working and hustle type of culture. In recent years ICT and software and tourism have seen growth in Vietnam as well. What the future holds I cannot say however I can tell you from personal experience that in Vietnam there is no lack of hospitality and kindness. HERE’S A QUESTION… What advice to so have to offer people travelling to Vietnam? LET ME SUGGET THIS… Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our ridiculously strong Vietnamese coffee.

(Image courtesy of Flickr, Claire Backhouse)

  1. Speaking of taxis, if you’re looking to catch a cab in Saigon keep an eye out for Mai Linh and Vinasun two of the most trusted and reliable companies. Your first look at the taxis will most likely be at the airport and from that moment on you’ll see hundreds more during your stay. Not only will the majority of taxi drivers get you to where you’re going fast giving your tired tourist feet a rest but you’ll find that the air conditioning is always on blast. Something to appreciate during those sweltering days.
  2. Did somebody say siesta? You’ll notice most Vietnamese folks take a nap after lunch. The days start early and end late for most in Vietnam, especially the busy cities like Saigon so that time to recharge during the day is a must. Some even rack out right on top of their scooters! It really is a sight to see and you can’t help but admire their sense of balance.
  3. K-POP love is strong! Teenagers have an intense adoration for K-POP! It’s seriously everywhere in part because of all of the imported Korean artists, music, fashions, makeup and accessories trends that Vietnamese young fans love to consume and emulate. Not surprisingly, this has led to the increasing popularity of Korean wave and now there are now more and more Korean language classes conducted throughout Vietnam. It’s not just the music but the culture that the youth wants to understand and embrace.

Vietnam is a stunning country of rice paddies, scooters, outdoor markets, good food and even better coffee. My first trip to the country, I knew very little about it but after just a week I learned quickly that travelling to Vietnam is an incredible experience. Whether you’ve been there numerous times, are in the midst of planning your trip or just have the journey in the back of your mind here’s a list of 10 things you can expect when you arrive in Saigon. 1. The coffee is the real delicious deal! It’s no surprise considering Vietnam is the second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%). A hometown favorite is the ca phe sua da! It’s a strong single filtered coffee that has sweet and creamy condensed milk mixed in and topped with ice. An absolute must for all of those long and hot days of exploring. Coming across a café isn’t hard because there’s hundreds of cafes that line the streets and alleys of the city. 2. Road rules don’t exist. No truly, crossing the scooter and taxi filled streets calls for a strategic plan and a heartfelt prayer. Good news is that the thousands of locals who drive the narrow roads everyday seem to have a method to their vehicular madness. This means that all you have to figure out is the perfect timing to walk straight across the street. Bonus tip, once you start to walk don’t stop or worry about maneuvering around the scooters, they see you and prefer to work around you. 3. Speaking of taxis, if you’re looking to catch a cab in Saigon keep an eye out for Mai Linh and Vinasun two of the most trusted and reliable companies. Your first look at the taxis will most likely be at the airport and from that moment on you’ll see hundreds more during your stay. Not only will the majority of taxi drivers get you to where you’re going fast giving your tired tourist feet a rest but you’ll find that the air conditioning is always on blast. Something to appreciate during those sweltering days. 4. You’ll notice most Vietnamese folks take a nap after lunch. The days start early and end late for most in Vietnam, especially the busy cities like Saigon so that time to recharge during the day is a must. Some even rack out right on top of their scooters! It really is a sight to see and you can’t help but admire their sense of balance. 5. Teenagers have an intense adoration for K-POP! It’s seriously everywhere in part because of all of the imported Korean artists, music, fashions, makeup and accessories trends that Vietnamese young fans love to consume and emulate. Not surprisingly, this has led to the increasing popularity of Korean wave and now there are now more and more Korean language classes conducted throughout Vietnam. It’s not just the music but the culture that the youth wants to understand and embrace. 6. Karaoke is huge in Saigon. This could be the case for many reasons including that Asians, in general, lack a reputation for expressing strong emotions, either positive or negative. Karaoke is cathartic for Asians who bottle up powerful emotions. But let’s not forget that karaokeing isn’t just a pastime that Asian adore. In fact, it’s a $380 million industry in the United States. Basically, it’s just good fun. 7. Endless chilled glasses of delicious iced tea is served no sooner than you sit down in most restaurants. Similar to the customary glass of ice water offered in most restaurants across North America, tea is a staple in Vietnamese culture. Of course, tea drinking has existed for a long time in Vietnam. In the past, drinking was just for noble classes but for a long time now people from all walks of life enjoy tea. It’s also a welcome greeting after stepping into the café and out from the hot and dusty streets. 8. You’ll most commonly run into folks with the first or last name “Nguyen”. Not a surprise since the name is used by about 40% of the population. (That’s around 35,600,000 people) If you’re wondering why here’s a quick history lesson. The surname Nguyen is believed to have originated in the Chinese surname "Ruan" (in the Mandarin language) or Yuen (Cantonese), attributed to China’s long reign over Vietnam. During this time the name Nguyen was either forced upon the public by new regimes or was chosen voluntarily by Vietnamese for other reasons. 9. Vietnamese folks tend to prefer to shower at night rather than the morning. This may have to do with the fact no month in Saigon has an average high temperature of less than 89 degrees. It’s not uncommon to see the parks full of people at sunrise who want to get a good workout and stretch in before the day gets to warm. From my own time there I can tell you that it’s pretty much the best thing ever to grab a cool rinse off after a day out exploring the dusty, sweltering, beautifully chaotic streets of Saigon. 10. The Vietnamese are an honest, hardworking, kind people. The average work week in Vietnam is around 60 hours and most of those jobs are spent in factories and on farms. With exports of in excess of $162 billion (2015) there’s no question that it’s a hard working and hustle type of culture. In recent years ICT and software and tourism have seen growth in Vietnam as well. What the future holds I cannot say however I can tell you from personal experience that in Vietnam there is no lack of hospitality and kindness. HERE’S A QUESTION… What advice to so have to offer people travelling to Vietnam? LET ME SUGGET THIS… Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our ridiculously strong Vietnamese coffee.

(Image courtesy of Flickr, Republic of Korea)

  1. Karaoke is huge in Saigon. This could be the case for many reasons including that Asians, in general, lack a reputation for expressing strong emotions, either positive or negative. Karaoke is cathartic for Asians who bottle up powerful emotions. But let’s not forget that karaokeing isn’t just a pastime that Asian adore. In fact, it’s a $380 million industry in the United States. Basically, it’s just good fun.
  2. Can I start you off with some iced tea? Endless chilled glasses of delicious iced tea is served no sooner than you sit down in most restaurants. Similar to the customary glass of ice water offered in most restaurants across North America, tea is a staple in Vietnamese culture. Of course, tea drinking has existed for a long time in Vietnam. In the past, drinking was just for noble classes but for a long time now people from all walks of life enjoy tea. It’s also a welcome greeting after stepping into the café and out from the hot and dusty streets.
  3. Party for Nguyen, your table to 20 is ready. You’ll most commonly run into folks with the first or last name “Nguyen”.  Not a surprise since the name is used by about 40% of the population. (That’s around 35,600,000 people) If you’re wondering why here’s a quick history lesson. The surname Nguyen is believed to have originated in the Chinese surname “Ruan” (in the Mandarin language) or Yuen (Cantonese), attributed to China’s long reign over Vietnam. During this time the name Nguyen was either forced upon the public by new regimes or was chosen voluntarily by Vietnamese for other reasons.
  4. The night time is the right time. Vietnamese folks tend to prefer to shower at night rather than the morning. This may have to do with the fact no month in Saigon has an average high temperature of less than 89 degrees. It’s not uncommon to see the parks full of people at sunrise who want to get a good workout and stretch in before the day gets to warm. From my own time there I can tell you that it’s pretty much the best thing ever to grab a cool rinse off after a day out exploring the dusty, sweltering, beautifully chaotic streets of Saigon.

Vietnam is a stunning country of rice paddies, scooters, outdoor markets, good food and even better coffee. My first trip to the country, I knew very little about it but after just a week I learned quickly that travelling to Vietnam is an incredible experience. Whether you’ve been there numerous times, are in the midst of planning your trip or just have the journey in the back of your mind here’s a list of 10 things you can expect when you arrive in Saigon. 1. The coffee is the real delicious deal! It’s no surprise considering Vietnam is the second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%). A hometown favorite is the ca phe sua da! It’s a strong single filtered coffee that has sweet and creamy condensed milk mixed in and topped with ice. An absolute must for all of those long and hot days of exploring. Coming across a café isn’t hard because there’s hundreds of cafes that line the streets and alleys of the city. 2. Road rules don’t exist. No truly, crossing the scooter and taxi filled streets calls for a strategic plan and a heartfelt prayer. Good news is that the thousands of locals who drive the narrow roads everyday seem to have a method to their vehicular madness. This means that all you have to figure out is the perfect timing to walk straight across the street. Bonus tip, once you start to walk don’t stop or worry about maneuvering around the scooters, they see you and prefer to work around you. 3. Speaking of taxis, if you’re looking to catch a cab in Saigon keep an eye out for Mai Linh and Vinasun two of the most trusted and reliable companies. Your first look at the taxis will most likely be at the airport and from that moment on you’ll see hundreds more during your stay. Not only will the majority of taxi drivers get you to where you’re going fast giving your tired tourist feet a rest but you’ll find that the air conditioning is always on blast. Something to appreciate during those sweltering days. 4. You’ll notice most Vietnamese folks take a nap after lunch. The days start early and end late for most in Vietnam, especially the busy cities like Saigon so that time to recharge during the day is a must. Some even rack out right on top of their scooters! It really is a sight to see and you can’t help but admire their sense of balance. 5. Teenagers have an intense adoration for K-POP! It’s seriously everywhere in part because of all of the imported Korean artists, music, fashions, makeup and accessories trends that Vietnamese young fans love to consume and emulate. Not surprisingly, this has led to the increasing popularity of Korean wave and now there are now more and more Korean language classes conducted throughout Vietnam. It’s not just the music but the culture that the youth wants to understand and embrace. 6. Karaoke is huge in Saigon. This could be the case for many reasons including that Asians, in general, lack a reputation for expressing strong emotions, either positive or negative. Karaoke is cathartic for Asians who bottle up powerful emotions. But let’s not forget that karaokeing isn’t just a pastime that Asian adore. In fact, it’s a $380 million industry in the United States. Basically, it’s just good fun. 7. Endless chilled glasses of delicious iced tea is served no sooner than you sit down in most restaurants. Similar to the customary glass of ice water offered in most restaurants across North America, tea is a staple in Vietnamese culture. Of course, tea drinking has existed for a long time in Vietnam. In the past, drinking was just for noble classes but for a long time now people from all walks of life enjoy tea. It’s also a welcome greeting after stepping into the café and out from the hot and dusty streets. 8. You’ll most commonly run into folks with the first or last name “Nguyen”. Not a surprise since the name is used by about 40% of the population. (That’s around 35,600,000 people) If you’re wondering why here’s a quick history lesson. The surname Nguyen is believed to have originated in the Chinese surname "Ruan" (in the Mandarin language) or Yuen (Cantonese), attributed to China’s long reign over Vietnam. During this time the name Nguyen was either forced upon the public by new regimes or was chosen voluntarily by Vietnamese for other reasons. 9. Vietnamese folks tend to prefer to shower at night rather than the morning. This may have to do with the fact no month in Saigon has an average high temperature of less than 89 degrees. It’s not uncommon to see the parks full of people at sunrise who want to get a good workout and stretch in before the day gets to warm. From my own time there I can tell you that it’s pretty much the best thing ever to grab a cool rinse off after a day out exploring the dusty, sweltering, beautifully chaotic streets of Saigon. 10. The Vietnamese are an honest, hardworking, kind people. The average work week in Vietnam is around 60 hours and most of those jobs are spent in factories and on farms. With exports of in excess of $162 billion (2015) there’s no question that it’s a hard working and hustle type of culture. In recent years ICT and software and tourism have seen growth in Vietnam as well. What the future holds I cannot say however I can tell you from personal experience that in Vietnam there is no lack of hospitality and kindness. HERE’S A QUESTION… What advice to so have to offer people travelling to Vietnam? LET ME SUGGET THIS… Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our ridiculously strong Vietnamese coffee.

  1. Vietnamese people are honest, hardworking, and kind. The average work week in Vietnam is around 60 hours and most of those jobs are spent in factories and on farms. With exports of in excess of $162 billion (2015) there’s no question that it’s a hard working and hustle type of culture.  In recent years ICT and software and tourism have seen growth in Vietnam as well. What the future holds I cannot say however I can tell you from personal experience that in Vietnam there is no lack of hospitality and kindness.

HERE’S A QUESTION…

What advice to so have to offer people travelling to Vietnam?

LET ME SUGGET THIS…

Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our ridiculously strong Vietnamese coffee.

great to meet you

Hi, We're Minh and Teresa and we love coffee

buy big bad bear

Extra Strong Medium Roast Vietnamese Coffee

buy moon bear

Strong Dark Roast Vietnamese Coffee

Why I Love Nuns, Hard Work and Coffee

Why I Love Nuns, Hard Work and Coffee

Quick question, how do you feel about honoring awesome people who commit to hard work? Yeah, we’re totally into it too and this story proves that the world’s most incredible people are motivated by pure honest goodness.

Hard work

Sister Nhi is the definition of hard work. She’s a beautiful soul who’s also a half Chinese half Vietnamese nun living and serving at a convent that doubles as an orphanage for disabled children in a small area of the Central Highlands of Vietnam called Bảo Lộc.

All scooter driven roads led us here because the city is famously known as the regional “capital of coffee”.  Coincidentally also because we have a divine connection of sorts who is a fellow nun in Saigon. After seeking her help one devout Sister made a call to a fellow Sister and opened the door to opportunity.  Nothing like a little divine intervention right? Cảm ơn Sister Anotoine!

Hard work

Inviting us to sit and enjoy a cup of blossom tea and coffee Sister Nhi shared with us that, originally from Hong Kong and by trade a teacher of Economics she liked teaching but always felt something inside her telling her to seek more.  A lifelong devout Catholic she found her purpose in the church and eventually became a nun.  Her calling led her to Vietnam in 2010 and she was assigned to the convent/children’s orphanage in 2014.

Her love and devotion to the teenagers who’ve been afflicted with birth defects, suffer from severe learning disabilities and in some cases have lost their parents to times of despair and violence is incredibly apparent and unshakeable.  Her patience is limitless and her humble smile is often all that’s needed to calm them.

As part of her service to the lives of the orphans Sister Nhi along with her fellow nuns began a coffee bean harvesting program that has been implemented in both their home convent and a sister convent a few miles away that houses over 70 orphans.

She explained to us that The coffee harvesting program is important because many of these children lack the mental capacity to learn traditional schooling.  The harvesting gives them a good job to do where they can work together and feel accomplished.  It’s something they can be a part of and it makes them happy.”

With a tour of their coffee bean trees and bean sorting facility she shared with us the “behind the scenes” of their coffee production.  The nuns exemplify hard work every day by standing alongside the children to produce what has become a small but growing brand of coffee that is currently being sold in local towns throughout the Central Highlands with all profits going back to the orphanage.

Definitely one in a million Sister Nhi left a lasting impression on us although not near as deep as the ones she leaves with those teens every day.

HERE’S A QUESTION…

Who do you know that’s commited to hard work?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our coffee.

great to meet you

Hi, We're Minh and Teresa and we love coffee

buy big bad bear

Extra Strong Medium Roast Vietnamese Coffee

buy moon bear

Strong Dark Roast Vietnamese Coffee

Drink Vietnamese Coffee and Make a Difference

Drink Vietnamese Coffee and Make a Difference

Shocking News Alert!  Our Vietnamese Coffee isn’t the best thing in the world.  True, it does make a brilliant cold brew coffee, an equally a yummy Vietnamese iced coffee and the hot brew is absolutely something to wake up for but it’s just not the best thing.

Drink Vietnamese coffee and make a difference(Images courtesy of Flickr, Lee Lockwood)

Want to know what is? Simple.Three words. Project of Purpose.

As a company ChestBrew sells Vietnamese coffee but as group of people with consciously aware and supportive (and super cool) consumers what we do goes well beyond sales goals and brand recognition. ChestBrew works towards creating opportunities for brighter futures.

Even before the idea of Vietnamese coffee was on the table our parent company Saigonx.com knew down to its corporate core that every business it entered into, every project it considered taking on whether in the world of coffee, tech and beyond had to have one important and non-negotiable condition.

A solid, human to human enriching purpose.

It may not be what most big corporations encourage or are even all that concerned about in their afternoon meetings but we have no aspirations for being the next “big guy”.

Our goal, with your support, is to help the little guy.  It’s to create as many opportunities as possible for as many people as possible who have all the drive, need and desire in the world to build a brighter future for themselves, their children and the future of their country.

It sounds like a big challenge and it is but day by day, one project of purpose at a time together we can make a radical difference.

Here’s how we do it…

  • An opportunity to help those in need is determined.
  • A business partnership is made and nurtured with all the details sorted out.
  • An incredible product/service is brought to the U.S. and purchased by eager and awesome consumers.
  • Revenues are divided fairly to the three parties involved.

Drink Vietnamese coffee and make a different(Image courtesy of Flickr, HG Walte)

Opportunities are created, futures are made brighter and the world gets to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese coffee that not only makes life better but allows each individual a chance to be a part of an even crazier and cooler change.

It’s not a quick fix but our Projects of Purpose have staying power.  Their projects that offer the best to everyone and stand on their own hard working and sustainably solid feet.  Those feet just happen to belong to everyone involved including yours and mine.

HERE’S A QUESTION…

What type of Projects of Purpose are you passionate about?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

Subscribe to ChestBrew for more awesome stories and a coupon to get a discount on our Vietnamese coffee.

great to meet you

Hi, We're Minh and Teresa and we love coffee

buy big bad bear

Extra Strong Medium Roast Vietnamese Coffee

buy moon bear

Strong Dark Roast Vietnamese Coffee