I’m not sure exactly what I had expected before visiting Vietnam on a one-month tourist visa. Clichéd visions of beaming locals donning rice paddy hats and the stunning limestone islands of Halong bay sprung to mind perhaps. All I really knew was that I had heard many great things about the country and it had rapidly risen to the top of my list of countries to visit in South East Asia.
What I was not expecting was just how different parts of the country looked from one another, and how often I felt like I wasn’t even in Vietnam at all! So I thought it might be quite fun to do a little comparison photo blog post likening some of the different countries I felt Vietnam bore some similarity to.
Vietnam or… France?
The French first started invading parts of Vietnam back in the 19th century, and today you can easily notice the huge French influence across the country. Ho Chi Minh City is particularly renowned for its French colonial architecture. When I visited back in March, I often wandered past pretty little streets and buildings that wouldn’t look out of place nestled within the city of Paris. The Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon central post office were particularly easy on the eyes.
Vietnam or… Saudi Arabia?
I honestly had no idea that sand dunes could be found in Vietnam until I’d even entered the country. Looking at the photos below, you could easily assume that they were taken in the middle of the desert. Saudi Arabia perhaps, or maybe somewhere in Africa such as Egypt. Nope! These white sand dunes were in fact taken in Mui Ne, Southern Vietnam and were situated strangely close to the sea.
Vietnam or… Canada?
When I think of Canada, I think of masses of tall, towering alpine forests. And in Da Lat, Southern Vietnam that’s exactly what we got! We were even able to hop in a cable car to really admire the gorgeous verdant views.
Vietnam or… Japan?
And the cable car led up to… The Tuyền Lâm Pagoda (Truc Lam Pagoda), beautifully placed up in the green hills. Now I’m not sure these temples were built with any particular Japanese influence, but with the delicately tiered buildings and ethnic bonsai gardens, I could definitely picture myself in rural Japan.
Vietnam or… Spain?
The third hit for Da lat, this place seems to have it all! Looking out at Da Lat’s skyline from up high, the clustered bright buildings, lush trees and azure skies make it appear as though it could be a populous Mediterranean city. Barcelona springs to mind?
Vietnam or… China?
The delightful little town of Hoi An, also fondly known as ‘The city of lanterns’, was one of my favourite spots in Vietnam. According to my friends, I would not stop exclaiming how much I ‘love, love, loved it!’ as I stared wide-eyed at the bright atmospheric lantern shops and quaint little eateries. To me, there was a strong resemblance to parts of China (at least how I imagine China to look – one day I’ll have to see for myself!).
What do you think? Have you been to any countries that look a lot like some others?