Vietnam is a well-known country to Koreans. Many Koreans have traveled to Vietnam, and understand relatively accurate information about Vietnam.
I would like to introduce below what do average Koreans think about Vietnam.
1. Park Hang-seo Magic
Recently, most Korean's first interesting one about Vietnam is the success of Park Hang-seo who is the head coach of the Vietnam national football team. Most Koreans support him and Vietnam Soccer team.
2. Most Favorite Destination
Vietnam is one of the most preferred tourist destinations for Koreans.
About 4.3 million Koreans had toured to Vietnam in 2019. If it were not Covid-19 pandemic, it would not be strange to expect more than 8 million Koreans to visit Vietnam every year within a few years.
Before pandemic, about 28 millions Korean go abroad a year. This says all Korean go abroad at least once every 2 years. It’s no doubt more Koreans go abroad in the future.
3. Rapidly growing economy
All Koreans are amazed by Vietnam's rapid economic development. Most Koreans expect Vietnam will achieve sustainable high rate economic growth in the future.
4. Cultural homogeneity with Korea
Koreans who have traveled to Vietnam are very surprised that the traditional culture of Vietnam is very similar to that of Korea, especially the more for middle-aged or elderly Koreans.
5. Workers and Brides from Vietnam
Recently, cooperation between Korea and Vietnam has been increasing.
In the last 10 years, Korea has been the most invested country to Vietnam. The number of Vietnamese living in Korea is increasing, and more than 6,000 Koreans marry Vietnamese every year.
Most of Vietnamese in Korea are smart and diligent. They maintain friendly relationships with their Korean neighbors or co-workers.
In 2020, more than 230,000 Vietnamese staying in South Korea.
6. Vietnamese cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is very familiar to Koreans.
Traditional Vietnamese food made with a lot of vegetables, strong seasonings and numerous cooking methods is similar to Korean food.
There are more and more traditional Vietnamese restaurants are on business in Korea.
7. Respect to patriotism of Vietnamese
Both Korea and Vietnam are countries that have experienced colonial rule and severe war.
Most Koreans are well aware of how much effort need to overcome these difficulties. We Korean also know that it is not easy and requires a lot of sacrifice. So many Koreans admire the patriotism of Vietnamese.
During my trip to Vung Tau in March 2019, I visited the Memorial Hall of Vo thi Sau at small town Dat Do near Vung Tau. She was a young patriotic girl who was arrested and executed for fighting French invader.
Some Koreans call Vo Thi Sau as the Vietnamese Ryu Gwan-Soon who was also young Korean girl student arrested and executed by invader Imperial Japan in 1920. She was a leader of the peaceful demonstration for independence of Korea at her home town in April 1919. In jail, she also was a leader to protest against the invader Japan with endless singing and shouting hurray.
Japanese invaders severely tortured her and destroyed and scattered her dead after executing. So nobody can not find her real tomb in Korea. Nevertheless, at the heart of every Korean, she will remains as a Korea's great patriot for ever.
If you are a Korean who knows about Vo thi Sau's patriotic behaviors, you can't help but respect her.
8. Korean’s friendly heart to foreigners
Most Koreans do not discriminate against foreigners in Korea including Vietnamese. Most Koreans treat them with the heart of friendly and regards them the same as their family.
Korean law prohibits discrimination against foreign workers. For example, the minimum wage in Korea is about $7.5 per hour, which is the same for foreigners and Koreans.
Korea is a multicultural society where more than 5% of the population is foreigners. Since long ago, the Korean government has been promoting education and policies for a multi-cultural society.
For example, 10 years ago, when I was an elementary school teacher, I taught my 10-year-old children with activities to understand the foreigners in Korea.
All local governments provide comprehensive services to support the stable settlement and happy life in Korea as a married immigrants.
9. Enlarging trade with Vietnam
The expansion of trade between Korea and Vietnam is remarkable. The volume of trade in 2020 is estimated more than $70 billion. There is no doubt that Vietnam is a very important trading partner for Korea.
Most Koreans are well aware that the trade balance with Vietnam is unbalanced, so Koreans invest in Vietnam without sparing money. In this context, you can understand rapid Increasing Korean traveler to Vietnam.
Vietnam is 14th large scale trader in the world with more than $500 billion total amount. Most Koreans expect enlarging trade with Vietnam.
10. America-Vietnam War
Most Koreans are well aware of the tragic the America-Vietnam war. We are aware of the fact that Korean troops were dispatched to Vietnam as an alliance of the USA, and also aware about the civilian massacre that was committed by the some Korean soldiers. In history class in all Korea schools, teachers say the historical facts about it.
Although there are no official historical issues between South Korea and Vietnam, many Koreans believe that a legitimate investigation and compensation should be followed. Many Koreans have uncomfortable feelings that Korean troops joined America-Vietnam war.
Some Koreans regularly visit the Vietnamese villages to share sufferings of victims and their families.
11. Safety in Vietnam
Most Koreans think Vietnam is politically stable and a very safe country to travel. The low crime rate and good impression of friendly Vietnamese are the biggest attraction of Vietnam to Koreans.
This is why many Koreans visit Vietnam so often.
12. Tiny discrimination toward Koreans
Most Koreans are well aware that Vietnam's influential political leaders are more familiar with Japan. Sometimes, Vietnamese officials make minor discrimination toward Koreans, and many Koreans doubt that it is due to the influence of these politicians.
For example, long delays in schedules for flights to Korea at airports in Vietnam are more common than flights to other countries. I could not aware of this little discrimination at first, but after visiting Vietnam several times, I found out that this was deliberate.
For another example, when I was visiting Vietnam in November 2019, I heard that the Korean International Driver's License is no longer valid in Vietnam. It's not reasonable for most Koreans.
We all Koreans know that international relations are reciprocal and must be respected the sovereignty of the Vietnamese government, but many Koreans are concerned that small discrimination toward Koreans can interfere with friendly relations between the two countries.
13. Uncertainty about investment in Vietnam
Many Koreans try to find something to invest in. The average middle-class Korean would consider investing in real estate or funding in Vietnam or other countries in Southeast Asia.
However, not many Koreans do this. This is because of the uncertainty of Vietnam's investment environment. A Korean, who bought an apartment in Vietnam a year ago, is concerning that he still has not received a registration document proving his ownership.
Regardless of whether it is true or not, many Koreans believe that the Communist Party-dominated government could change their policies at any time without notice.