Given its bloody 20th century history, it’s easy to forget that Vietnam has a history as a nation going back over a thousand years, with centuries of self-governance, culture, and civilization that rival anything the rest of the world has to offer. Vietnam is full of ancient buildings, awesome food and beer traditions, and natural wonders that the 20th century’s wars couldn’t erase. In this list, we’ll enumerate ten reasons why Vietnam is once again ripe for invasion – tourist invasion, that is.
Vietnam’s location at the crossroads of multiple civilizations has left its mark on the land. The Dai Viet civilization ruled the north and later became dominant throughout the country – the remnants of their Chinese-influenced culture can be seen in historic buildings like the Temple of Literature, an ancient university that educated Vietnam’s elite centuries ago.
The Cham people lived south of Dai Viet territory, carving out an empire that corresponds to today’s central Vietnam and parts of south Vietnam.
Unlike the Buddhist Dai Viet, the Cham were Hindu (many later converted to Islam), with a culture that put them at odds with their northern neighbors. The Cham kingdom was eventually lost to Dai Viet invasion – their descendants live on in Cambodia and Malaysia, and their culture can still be seen in sites like the Champa My Son Temple Complex near Hoi An.
Vietnam continues to be a treasure trove for archaeologists: numerous sites continue to yield insights about cultures that extend even further back than the Dai Viet, including the Hoabinhian, the Dong Son, and the Phung Nguyen. Archaeological sites like Da But, Dong Dau, Cai Beo and Co Loa shed plenty of light on those dark, distant years.