Essence of Vietnam

Phong Tran is one of our local leaders in Vietnam. We spoke to him about his country, and some of the reasons he loves it so much. Discover a little bit about Vietnam through the eyes of someone who was born and raised there. And get an insight into some of the ways that our local leaders can take you beyond the beaten track and right into the heart of a destination.

Where in Vietnam are you from? And what’s your favourite thing about being a local leader?

I’m from Hue, right in the middle. I enjoy meeting people, sharing the beautiful culture of my country and understanding more about the people around the world. That is my favourite and it is like being an ambassador for showing people around my beautiful country. 

What’s your favourite thing to show people?

In Vietnam there is a lot of beautiful places, but Halong Bay is really beautiful. I love Hoi An. Ho Chi Minh is a busy city. But for the work culture, heritage and connection to a lot of beautiful history from the war-torn culture and kingdom system, my favourite is Hue, my hometown.

What can you tell me about Halong Bay?

Halong Bay, I always love it. There’s one year I came here like 20 times and it always has a different feeling. One thing about meeting different people in the group is that each person has a different question and a different way of looking at Halong Bay. And they see how beautiful and natural it is.

I really like it even in the rain, even in the really hazy atmosphere. It’s also beautiful in the sunny times. It’s the gift from nature and actually it’s one of the seven natural wonders in the world.  I think you will always want to come back and see it again, because it makes such an impression in your mind.

If there was just one meal that someone should have in Vietnam, what would it be? 

You know that in Vietnam we have a thousand traditional type of food.  I always love to ask people, “Do you really want to try Vietnamese traditional food?” It’s exciting for me. I can take them to a beautiful bun cha, or if they don’t like meat I’ll find for them fish or really hot pho. One thing I’m looking to show the people, something really lovely, is mackerel cooked in caramel in the clay pot with red shallot and a little slice of ginger. It goes with the hot steamed rice and steamed vegetable and it is my favourite.

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