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I’m not going to lie, I saw some of the strangest things in my life in Vietnam. These strange sights, of course, were matched with stunning scenery and an amazing experience, but I still wanted to share the parts of Vietnam that stand out most to me, and that is the strange sights I saw.
Open squat toilets
Let me start with the most shocking of all. On a bus ride between Ninh Bin and Halong Bay, we made a pit stop to buy snacks and use the bathroom. Public Bathrooms in Asia aren’t always the most hygienic, but this was something else. As I entered the bathrooms I noticed squat toilets around the edge of the room with no doors. Locals were openly using the squat toilets in the same room, and with no toilet paper. Needless to say, I walked straight out and got back on the bus.
Fish on the street in Sa Pa
Sa Pa is a town in the far north of Vietnam, known for its large rice fields and trekking experiences. The surrounding scenery in Sa Pa is remarkable, the town itself, unique. As you walk down the streets of Sa Pa, you notice fish tanks filled with fish, out the front of restaurants. This wasn’t the shocking part. One day we were walking along the street when suddenly I noticed a man standing out the front of the restaurant, hitting a fish on the head with a wooden bat, on the ground of the street. WHAT THE! I literally stopped in shock and started screaming. Is someone really going to eat that?
On an afternoon bike ride through Ninh Binh, a rural country town with stunning scenery, similar to that of Halong Bay but over land, we came across a sale of dead goats. But not like a regular meat sale in Vietnam, this was something else. These goats were propped up, with their fur on and dressed in hats. I can only imagine where these poor goats end up. And I hope it’s not your plate.
Speedos in Cat Ba
Cat Ba is an island of Ha Long Bay that was recommended to us by many other travellers. I have to be honest, as we arrived we had to ask ourselves, are we in the right place. There are some stunning sights outside of Cat Ba town itself, but the town is nothing special. If you do plan to visit Cat Ba, I would recommend a maximum of 1-night stay.
The strangest thing we saw in Cat Ba was a crowd of hundreds of Vietnamese making their way back from the beach, all dressed in Speedos. A very entertaining sight, I must admit. Granted, we did happen to visit during Vietnamese holidays so many places were filled with domestic tourists. At other times of the year, you probably wouldn’t expect to see so many locals walking down the street in speedos.
The street food
Our first destination in Vietnam was Hanoi. Famed for delicious street food, we were excited to experience it for ourselves. But the reality of the street food was something else. Piles of meat lay in the sun, on a dirty surface, covered with flies, waiting to be cooked in Pho. I turned vegetarian before my trip to Vietnam, but even if I was still eating meat there is just no way I could do it!
The power lines
The power lines in Vietnam, in particular in the big cities, are an electrician’s worst nightmare. I have never seen anything like it in my life. At times there must be over 100 power lines connecting at a single point.
Now I do have to admit, that out of all the countries I have visited in South East Asia, Vietnam was my least favourite. Many people love Vietnam, and it is definitely a country worth visiting, it just didn’t wow me like other destinations. I am telling you this because when I started my blogging journey I promised myself that I would provide my readers with trusted information, so here it is.
Aside from the strange sights I saw in Vietnam and the hostility I experienced, it is still filled with stunning scenery and amazing experiences. It is always best to experience places for yourself because everyone is different and many people love Vietnam.