by Giang Hong Nguyen

Hello, everyone! My name is Giang, and I’m currently pursuing my Masters in International Communication here at Unitec. I’ve been in New Zealand for approximately three months (as of April), and so far, I’m enjoying its beautiful nature and kind people.

I came from Vietnam, a country known for its breathtaking landscape, friendly and hospitable people, coffee culture, exquisite cuisine, and traditional festivals. If you haven’t been to Vietnam, let me tell you why I love it and why it should be on your travel wish list.

Travelling to Vietnam from Auckland is becoming increasingly affordable. If you have the chance to visit, I recommend you start with Hanoi. As the capital city of the Social Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi is Vietnam’s centre of culture, politics, trade, and tourism. The city has a long history. In October 2010, it commemorated 1000 years since its establishment.

 Once in Hanoi, make sure you try a ca phe trung or an egg coffee. If you haven’t heard about egg coffee, trust me, it is worth a try. It’s traditionally made with egg yolk, sugar, condensed milk, and Vietnamese coffee. Although it is available throughout the country, and even in some parts of the world, it doesn’t taste as good as having it at its birthplace.

Another must-do in Vietnam is to take a ‘trip through time and history’ at Hue, Vietnam’s former Royal Capital. It is one of my favourite tourist spots back home. Before Hanoi, Hue was the national capital and centre of politics, culture, and religion. The Ancient Capital City is made up of four citadels: Hoang Thanh (Imperial City), Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City), Dai Noi (Inner city) and Tran Binh Dai (Ancient Architecture). At Hue, you can also see tombs of ancient emperors, scattered along the Perfume River. There’s something beautiful about visiting a place that takes you back in time.

If you are more of a beach person, I recommend relaxing on Phu Quoc. It is Vietnam’s largest island, and it’s also home to some of the country’s best beaches. Phu Quoc is an ideal haven for enjoying Vietnamese food, the sun, snorkelling, and scuba diving. It’s also the only destination in Vietnam that offers a 30-day visa exemption to everyone.

I’ve only been able to give you a quick snapshot of all that Vietnam has to offer. It’s a country of breathtaking natural beauty, an incredible cultural and historical heritage, as well as awesome food and drinks. I can’t wait to see you guys in Vietnam soon!