Going to a foreign country can be a bit scary at times. But you shouldn’t let your itchy feet stop its journey after small hiccups. With lots of things to do in Vietnam, you’ll find stuff that will allow you to let loose. But these activities aren’t just the typical sight-seeing. Here I’ll suggest to you some quirky stuff that may look creepy at first glance. Once you tried and took the challenge, you can proudly say that you’re one certified veteran traveler.
Note: Some of these aren’t for the weak of heart. Gird your loins!
1. Taste snake wine
One of the craziest stuff you can ever see in market stands here is bottled snakes. Locals believe that these wines can heal diseases or make someone stronger. Whatever its purpose is, the idea is quite gross but truly exotic. Whole snakes are stored in bottles of rice wine and sold like typical drinks in Le Mat Snack Village.
Some of the snakes are venomous so I suggest that you proceed with caution. This is crazy but if you’re losing your wits, this is one of the quirkiest things you can ever do.
2. Walk in HCMC traffic
Ho Chi Minh is a bustling city and it can’t live without the idea of traffic. If you don’t know it yet, Vietnam’s traffic is shockingly chronic for many Westerners. The traffic jam can eat up the six lanes here and many irate motorists will use even the pedestrian lanes and sidewalks. It’s always best to walk with a group of people at a steady pace. Don’t bother to stop as local motorists don’t usually give way for a nervous street crosser.
Just keep your pace and make sure that your insurance will cover whatever happens on these things to do in Vietnam.
Take a glimpse of Ho Chi Minh City crazy traffic via a video by Livin That Life:
3. Haggle to your heart’s content
Vietnam markets are a place to practice your haggling techniques. Locals here are used to such low prices. But before you go, I suggest that you take a local guide with you. Some shady merchants may take advantage of the language barrier and rip you off.
After you get a decent guide, you should haggle 50% of the original price. This may sound very stingy but trust me, you’ll save a lot of money with this technique.
4. Crawl in Cu Chi Tunnels
I’m claustrophobic and it will take more than guts for me to take on the challenge of crawling into Cu Chi Tunnels. This is locally known as the Viet Cong Tunnels located in Ho Chi Minh City. Soldiers used these tunnels back in the ‘40s. This is one of the famous things to do in Vietnam, as it gives a background on the life during the war and it tests the courage of everyone.
Overall, the tunnels measure 120 km with trap doors, kitchens, armory, hospital, and other necessities for soldiers to survive.
5. Go sand boarding
Locals will definitely eat your dust once you tried sand boarding on the sand dunes of Mui Ne. Instead of snow, you’re going to slide through fine desert-like sand. I suggest that you keep your mouth closed so you won’t literally eat the dust. You can rent a plastic sled from the locals to complete your experience.
Mui Ne has white and Saharan-red sand dunes. It’s a geological wonder in its own rights and as someone looking for quirky activities, this is a must-visit.
Are you curious about how it works? Check out this video:
6. Get drunk at Bia Hoi Junction
If you got a dollar, there’s no excuse not to gulp down at least two glassfuls of Hanoi beer at the Bia Hoi Junction. It’s not a bright idea to engage locals in a drinking spree, but if you have the courage to do so, you have all the freedom. Just remember that there might be two endings for this. First, you’re going to have fun and go back to your hotel safe or you lose your stuff along the way.
If you want to get wasted, have these things to do in Vietnam with a trusted friend or a reliable guide.
7. Live with local tribes
There’s nothing more memorable than checking in a homestay with the local tribes. Here, you’re going to live with them and share their humble lifestyle. This practice is usually done for tourism in Sapa. Tribes like Hmong, Giay, and Red Dao are welcoming for such setup. Just remember that they will charge you a certain fee for this. Anyway, this will be a little price to pay to taste authentic cultural dishes and to experience the Vietnamese living.
I still suggest that you stay with a guide or a friend. Local tribes are usually harmless but just to be sure, have company.
8. Cycle through rice paddies
Staying on the countryside has many benefits. First, you get to spare yourself from buzzing motorbikes and second, you get to wake up to fresh morning mist. If you happen to be in Mai Chau, don’t miss to go biking along the rice paddies. This is a refreshing exercise during the early morning.
Aside from the fresh air, you can also bond with local kids and farmers here. This is a humble experience but really quirky if you’re used to hanging out in the city.
9. Ride a buffalo!
Countryside farmers should learn how to ride a buffalo so they can plow their fields. And if you want to add more quirkiness to the things to do in Vietnam, you can book a tour that includes riding an actual buffalo. You can experience this in Sapa, Hoi An, or Maui Chau. Local farming villages will gladly host your fix of fun.
Some touring agencies here offer buffalo riding in their package. It’s as honest as advertised and I suggest that you go for it. You can never ride such buffalo back at home. At least, you have something to boast to your friends.
10. Visit a rural market
There might not be something weird about visiting a rural market, but if you’re in Vietnam, this is a whole new thing. Rural markets here display animal carcasses and sell it as meat for eating. And to prepare you, they sell dog meat here with the whole dog lying dead like pork for sale in wet markets.
Aside from these, they sell more queasy stuff here. You might not want to visit if you’re feeling a bit off. Also, just look at the stuff and don’t eat it! Save yourself from the harm.
11. Become a one-day Vietnamese farmer
One of the most random things to do in Vietnam is joining a group of farmers on their daily plow. Some tours may host this but locals will surely be hospitable enough to let you experience it for free. If you tried riding a buffalo, you should level up and make the most out of it. Get your feet soiled!
This experience will make you realize how hard it is to plant rice. You’ll definitely have a stronger appreciation the next time you eat a bowl of rice.
12. Spend 17 hours on a train ride
Vietnam can be toured via plane or buses but since not many people want a faster transport, trains are the primary choice. If you’re transferring from Hanoi to Hoi An, you can take a crazy challenge of traveling in one ride. This will take about 17 hours. But the ride won’t be boring since you can enjoy the view from the window.
This is best done at night and on a first class ticket. The trains have beds, free bottled water, and charging sockets for your devices. The best catch is a bottom bunk bed!
If you’re tired of the mainstream things to do in Vietnam, you can start fulfilling this list. Proceed with caution and know when to say no to a challenge. Vietnam is an adorable place for tourists and if you put fun and adventure in moderation, you’ll have a memorable trip. Does any of this thrill you? Let us know in the comment section!
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