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Why do you need to learn Vietnamese? (part 2 or Valentine edition)

Hello lovely Duolingoers,

When love is all around the corner, from romantic city escapades to relaxing beach vacations, have you had any plans to celebrate this Valentine with your loved ones? Well then be prepared to add some edge to your romance with an adventure from North to South Vietnam ;)


Vietnam is a truly hidden charm in the Asia-Pacific region that only those visiting the country themselves will be able to tell. With Vietnam’s long history of colonization & War, there is a mixture of Eastern & Western influences whether it be in the guise of Chinese or French food or architecture, yet Vietnam is still very much Vietnam in its own right with idyllic landscapes and ethnic cultures.


Sa Pa, the first place of our tour is a mountainous district, where several ethnic minority groups live. You will be amazed to see terraced fields stacked atop each other to form a marvelous staircase. Having a love affair with climbing or trekking? Then challenge yourself with a journey to the roof of Indochina - Fansipan summit, which is 9 km southwest of Sa Pa Township in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.


Next to Mai Chau, another mountainous region famous for its stilt houses made of bamboo and timber.


Time to visit our capital - Hanoi and enjoy your Valentine with a stroll around 36 streets in the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter evolved from workshop villages organized by trades, or guilds, and even today, streets are dedicated to a product or trade. Some of the streets below still sell or produce the same items; others have evolved to more modern goods, but the clumps-of-industry principle remains: China bowls (Bat Su), roasted fish (Cha Ca), silver or jewelries (Hang Bac), women accessories (Cau Go), shoes and sandals (Hang Dau), silk (Hang Gai), mixed fruits (To Tich), combs (Hang Luoc), jars (Hang Chinh), bamboo products (Hang Buom), etc.

Hanoi is famous for many ancient monuments, such as The temple of Literature - Imperial Academy (which Duo chose as a symbol of our course), The One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, etc


Leaving the capital, we are now heading to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where according to the legend, the mother dragon descended here after helping us fight agaisnt invaders. (For those who are into rock climbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQrZNU9SNg8)


Our next destination is Quang Binh province with the world's largest cave - Son Doong. Just recently explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association, the cave has only been open to the public for a year. When visiting it for the first time, a scenery here reminded Jonathan Sims of a similar scenery delinated in the novel "The Lost world" by Conan Doyle, "Watch out for dinosaurs" just slipped out and then became the name of this place. Rowing inside, the "Great Wall of Vietnam" will leave you speechless. While the Great Wall in China is a human work, this ethereal beauty is made completely by the greatest artists ever - our NATURE. If you love this cave, please join us by liking this page to oppose the construction of a cable car


Hue, our former capital, is famous for its citadels of Nguyen Dynasty - the last feudal empire in Vietnam.


My Son, a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed during a single week of the War.


Let's go to Hoi An Ancient Town , an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.


Who is ready for having a mud-bath or scuba-diving :D? Then Nha Trang will be the one for you. Nha Trang is one of the most important tourist hubs of Vietnam, thanks to its beautiful beaches with fine and clean sand and the clear ocean water with mild temperatures all year round.


Da Lat, my favorite place for vacations, is too picturesque to miss. French style villas sitting next to a pine forest, bordered by strawberry garden- you feel like Europe but the market scenes speak otherwise. Because there is no traffic lights here, you can rent a tandem, cycle around Huong river and enjoy the pristine atmostphere.


8 hours by bus from Dalat, we will head to Ho Chi Minh city, the largest city in Vietnam. Most old buildings in the city are of French architecture style, for example, Notre Dame Cathedral, situated right in the heart of the city, is the first real church in Vietnam and all materials were imported from France, even a brick. Across the street are some parks where all young people gather to chit-chat or play music or enjoy street food where you will always receive a friendly smile on the way :)


The last place of our tour is a floating market in Me Kong delta - Cai Rang. Originating in times and places where water transport played an important role in daily life, most floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions


Vietnam surely has many world heritage sites, however, it is the bits and bytes of the non-heritage site that will surprise you even more. Whether a must-see site or an off-the-beaten-path attraction, you will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, except in the big cities, people do not speak much English, so knowing some Vietnamese will definitely help to absorb the beauty here.

Moreover, Vietnamese is taking the lead in gay rights and is going through some changes to welcome more travelers from LGBT community, more info

Finally, here is a suggestion to help save your expense during the time here: FREE TOUR GUIDE! (yay) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.



Click here to read part 1.

February 13, 2015



This is such a beautiful post, Trang! Thank you so much for contributing and posting this! :D I'm really looking forward to the Vietnamese course!

Vietnam really is a hidden beauty! I can hardly wait to learn the language with the course, and someday visit this marvelous country :)


This is one of the languages that keep on growing rapidly in America especially in TEXAS... Vietnamese are everywhere from CA to MidWest to NY... So for those learning this, you made the right path...

Im just so glad that here in DUOLINGO, Vietnam is the first that will open the door to Asian Languages... Thank you too all those who put their hard work for this languages to be implement here. It is such a beautiful country and way cheaper!


Thank you for your support. It is really difficult because the conversational Vietnamese is flexible, and when we add real-life materials to this course, it may be confusing to the users. Luckily we have a native speaker of English in the team and have contacted with some experts in this to help ^ ^


I can't wait for the Vietnamese course, especially since I now realize that it is VERY USEFUL for my new job. :-)


Some amazing pictures there. Didn't realize Vietnam was so beautiful and had so much variety. Will definitely be on my list of places to visit.


Yeah Vietnam is very diverse in topography, and when you get the visa to Vietnam, you can travel to other countries in South East Asia visa-free :)


Oh, what a beautiful and enticing post! (And congratulations :)


I'm pretty excited for the Vietnamese course to come out. Maybe I'll even plan a visit to Vietnam later on. Thanks for the post!


Great ^ ^ and you are welcome :)

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