July 25, 2017

#TravelTuesday quiz with Trafalgar: Answer

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you? 

Photo © AdobeStock/Efired


Scenic and enchanting, with just a touch of the bizarre – this is Vietnam, where the dead travel and snakes add some extra flavour to your wine.

Those who have been lucky enough to visit this amazing destination talk of its scenic beauty. And yes, from the lush rice paddies to its fascinating natural beauty and breathtaking landscape, you will certainly be spellbound.

But there is much more to this destination than initially meets the eye, and you'll get a taste of what lies beneath on Trafalgar Tours' highlights of Vietnam tour.  With this tour you get to know Vietnam like a local with an overnight stay onboard Bhaya Cruises' traditionally built "junk boats". These boats were developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and were used as seagoing vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. Living like a local, you'll float among the limestone islands of Halong Bay, a place so incredibly beautiful it was named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and it's a Unesco World Heritage Site. Afterwards, roll up your sleeves and join local farmers in the vegetable fields surrounding a local village, and meet the family at Ngoc Son Garden House as they share its royal history over local delicacies.

Culture vultures and would-be historians can look forward to a visit to Ho Chi Minh's house, along with a water puppet performance, the chance to watch local pottery artisans at work and a visit to the colourful market stands of Hoi.

Speaking of famous people; the dead also travel in Vietnam. Or at least the country’s now deceased first president Ho Chi Minh does. The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh travels 12,874 kilometres every year. Catch a glimpse of him at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, but only from January and August. From September to December the museum is closed while Uncle Ho makes his annual journey to Moscow for a bit of...let’s call it "maintenance".

If one of your main considerations in choosing a travel destination is how it will tantalise your tastebuds, you will be happy to know Vietnam's food – and its street food in particular – is world renown for flavour. Vietnamese cuisine balances of the five Asian elements: spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet. More interestingly, the principle of yin and yang is also applied in crafting a meal, to provide contrasts in spiciness and temperature of the food.

If you are a more adventurous eater, be sure to be on the hunt for Tiet Canh, a traditional Vietnamese dish made from fresh animal blood and snake wine, which is made by steeping whole snakes in rice wine for their venom – or "essence". This delicacy is commonly drunk for health, vitality and restorative purposes. And if you are in the mood for pork, keep in mind that when the Vietnamese cook a pig, the entire animal is used, including its innards.

Should you happen to find yourself in the kitchen trying out any traditional cooking, be mindful that Tao Quan – or the Three Kitchen Gods – may be watching your every move. The Vietnamese believe the Kitchen Gods who live with and observe each family’s actions depart at the end of the Lunar Year to report their findings to Ngoc Hoan, The Jade Emperor.

Keen for something different? Why not try your hand at lizard fishing, a popular hobby in Vietnam. You could also visit the tunnels of Cu Chi which comprises a network of underground pathways that were used as a military base for the Viet Cong soldiers in their resistance of American forces. Or perhaps visit the Dong Tam snake farm and living museum, responsible for conserving snake species and finding antidotes to their venom. This is just a taste of what awaits you in Vietnam...

Want to experience this amazing destination? See it from the inside with Trafalgar’s 12-day Highlights of Vietnam tour.


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