Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Friday, 3rd June 2016

5 bizarre facts about Vietnam

As Vietnam becomes a more popular tourist destination, it’s good to know there are still little known facts about the country to be revealed. You’ll discover all sorts of previously unknown things as you travel throughout Vietnam, but here are a few secrets to whet your appetite.

The turtle is a symbol of luck in Vietnam

Everyone knows that turtles have a long lifespan on average, which has led to them being revered as a symbol of health and by association, luck, in Vietnam. Turtles are also bound up in popular myth throughout the country, with Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake having a turtle-related tale of its own. According to legend, this is where King Le Loi returned his magic sword to the turtle god after defeating his enemies.

Nowhere exports more cashew nuts than Vietnam

Vietnam is famous for lots of things, but did you know that it’s the world’s biggest exporter of cashew nuts? More than 30 per cent of all the cashew nuts consumed in the world come from Vietnam and its share of the market only gets bigger each year.

The date of Vietnamese New Year changes annually

Unlike most western cultures that have a set date for their New Year celebrations, it changes annually in Vietnam. Tet, as it is known, is one of the most important festivals in the country, and is based on the lunar calendar. Falling in either January or February, Tet coincides with the new moon.

Everyone has the same birthday in Vietnam

How can everyone in the entire country be born on the same day, I hear you ask? Well, in Vietnam, all citizens become a year older at Tet or New Year. This means that individual birthdays are not really celebrated in Vietnam. To make it more confusing, age is calculated from birth as being one, so most people are a year older than they consider themselves in Vietnamese culture.

The Vietnamese have a kitchen god

It may not come as a surprise that the Vietnamese have their own deity known as Ong Tao or the kitchen god, when you think how revered their cuisine is. This god actually represents the whole family, with the kitchen being the heart of the home. Ong Tao works as an intermediate between the family and the Jade Emperor in Heaven, helping to resolve any issues.