Surrounded by Masks: An update of what it feels like to live in Vietnam during the Corona Virus
The beginning of the new decade 2020 is off to a bumpy start, Australia is on fire, NBA legends have passed, the USA is in progress of a re-election, Hong Kong is demonstrating and the outbreak of a new deadly virus has taken over the media worldwide.
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) which originated in the city Wuhan, China is causing panic amongst nations around the world. The WHO expressed their concerns and advised people to take precautious measures like avoiding big gatherings, washing your hands and wearing a mask.
The virus has spread to most countries in the world by now and led to a movie-like display of people covering their faces, racist backlashes and an exaggeration my media outlets. In Vietnam 16 cases were reported of which zero have died and 100% have been cured successfully and released from quarantine. Nevertheless, schools have remained closed weeks after their official TED holiday during Chinese New Years. Even though it is a weird feeling to see so many people wearing masks around you the atmosphere in Saigon appears rather unaffected by the outbreak.
Many people have expressed their concerns in regards to travel to Vietnam as it is a labouring country to China but the world health organization has praised Vietnam for their successful measures and dealing with the situation. Officially there is no travel ban towards Vietnam and considering my experience on place that is justified. As of now, Vietnam has fewer cases than, Italy, Germany, Australia, Austria, Canada and most other affected countries. Although the virus is not to be taken too lightly it most likely won’t be affecting your travels in this wonderful country with all the beauty it has to offer.
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Looking for something to do in Ho Chi Minh City? Well, you’ll find it pretty easy! It’s a city of contrasts, with the old mixing with the new in this wonderful melting pot of a place. It offers visitors a plethora of things to do; from its coffee shops, markets, cheap food and drink to its buzzing atmosphere – alive with the sounds of motorbikes (there are around 10 million in the city!) However, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best places to visit in HCMC to help you out!
War Remnants Museum
Displays the brutal results of war on its civilian, including well publicized atrocities, that many westerners rarely hear about. The displays feature victims telling their stories of US military action. Many of the information about these atrocities are from US sources, including the infamous My Lai Massacre. This is a very important site to visit in HCMC if you wish to understand its history and how it came to be the place it is today.
Giac Lam Pagoda
The Buddhist temples has aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism in its design and Gives a great insight into Chinese influence on religion in Vietnam.
A window into the 1960s this historic government building has a solemn atmosphere as you walk around its quiet halls. Once home to the offices of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war, it was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and has some very interesting Architectural features.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
This Taoist pagoda was built by Vietnam’s Chinese community in 1909. It is also known as ‘Fuhai Temple’ – Sea of Luck Temple. This is a spectacular temple full of with beautiful statues depicting the gods and heroes of Taoist belief.
Fine Arts Museum
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts covers three buildings featuring Vietnamese silk paintings, sculptures and lacquer painting, as well as traditional woodcut paintings. It used to be the Villa home of the ‘Hua’ family but became a museum in 1987.
This street is just a short walk from the Fine Arts Museum. The art and antiques stores along this street are full of fun curios, but beware of fakes!
Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
The built in 1902 the temple is dedicated to Quan Cong as well as several other guardians to happiness and wealth. The temple is full of beautiful features including brass lanterns and coiled incense hanging from the roof beams as well as fine woodcarvings.
Built in 1926 museum home to a collection of artefacts from across Vietnams history, from the Dong son civilisation to the modern Vietnam. For those interested in Vietnamese history the museum is definitely worth a visit.
Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay is the main market in the Cho Lon district of HCMC. This area is part of HCMC’s China town, which covers almost half of an entire district of the city. The market is a bustling lively place and expect to have a warm welcome when You got eat at one of the markets many street food vendors! It is also home to a fantastic outdoor Wet Market where you can buy fresh local seafood.
Notre- Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Completed in 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral lies right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s government quarter. It still contains some of its original stained glass and with its 40m-high square towers the cathedral is a striking contrast to other styles you will see in HCMC.
Curious to know more about Vietnam’s population? It is a relatively young country, which has undergone incredible growth over the past 70 years and thus has seen some fascinating changing to its demographics. Here are some facts to help you get to grips with the country!
Vietnam is the 14th most populated country on the planet with a population of close to 100 million in 2018. It has seen a huge population increase over the last 68 years with estimated population in 1950 being just 28 million. The means the population has more than tripled since the 1950s – an impressive population increase considering Vietnam is a relatively small country.
The country’s life expectancy is continuing to grow and currently averages at 73.
Vietnam’s age structure further emphasizes the country’s population growth with the majority of Its population consisting of 18-64 year olds, who make up close to 70% of the population. Children make up almost a quarter of the population whereas the older generation is just 6%!
In terms of ethnicity, Vietnam’s population is made up of majority Kinh, who represent 85% of the population. However Vietnam has a very large number of ethnic groups, with 54 recognised by the government.
Gender is very well balanced in Vietnam with almost exactly the same number of men as women for under 65 year olds. However, Vietnam’s population demographics also reveal historical conflicts, such as the Vietnam war, which have meant the older population has far fewer men than women, with a ratio of 0.6 men for every women.
Vietnamese is the county’s official language however, some minority groups also speak Chinese, French and Khmer. English is also taught widely in schools.