DO & DON'Ts in Vietnam: Tips for First-time Travellers
Tourism has a strong impact on local cultures. It is worth remembering, that despite the growth of western trends and habits, Southeast Asian countries have quite conservative cultures.
Vietnam is a friendly country that is generally safe to travel to and full of wonders like Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hoian, Saigon, or the Mekong Delta. The Vietnamese are very appreciative if they see you trying to abide by their customs, and very forgiving when you get it wrong, but just in case, here is a quick list of Dos and Don’ts for traveling in Vietnam.
What we should "DOs" when traveling to Vietnam
- Dress discreetly in public. Undeniably the summer weather in Vietnam is very uncomfortable, but you should not wear too thin or reveal too much skin, especially with the girls. Also, dress politely when visiting temples or pagodas. Shorts, skirts, and tank tops in temples or pagodas are considered impolite.
Dress Modestly In The Public
- Drink plenty of water, especially when trekking or joining a picnic. You do not need to carry one big bottle of water. Along the way, you may purchase bottled water easily and juices are always available in Vietnam as coconut juice, sugarcane juice…
- Keep all valuables in a safe place. If you have a lot of cash, you can divide it into several parts and put them in different places with you, in case you meet a pickpocket or lose money elsewhere.
- Refer to information carefully before traveling abroad. The best way is that you can ask your friends or a reputable Vietnam travel agent. The Internet is an excellent means, but you also need to be sober in choosing reliable sources.
- Always carry a map. Usually, the hotel will give you a local map with the noted places. Streets in Vietnam are very complicated for foreigners. You can use the GPS software on your phone/tablet to find the best direction. Also, you should keep the hotel business card. Almost taxi drivers, motorcycle taxi riders cannot speak English or they can listen to the wrong address (eg, Cau Go Street - phố Cầu Gỗ is different from Cau Go Lane – ngõ Cầu Gỗ).
- Ask for permission before taking pictures. Do not make intentionally or offer the money if getting disagreement. Especially, you should pay attention to when visiting the military area.
- Certainly, confirm the exchange rate before exchanging money
- Bring one roll of toilet paper according to the trip seemed long. This is quite funny but you will not be able to realize its importance until you need it.
- Notice before entering someone's home. Normally, you should leave the shoes at the door.
What we should "DON’T" when traveling to Vietnam
- Wear a lot of jewelry or show valuables in public, especially when in Ho Chi Minh City. You will be a target for pickpockets or robbers.
- Express the affection of lovers in public. You can see couples holding hands, but they will not kiss when many people can see that.
- Show confrontational attitude towards local people. You should be calm and polite, maybe everything will be resolved in your way.
- Go too fast when crossing the road. You should pay attention to around things and can use eye contact with approaching drivers and going with the locals will be the best choice.
Hold Up Your Hands In A “stop” Motion At Oncoming Traffic
- Give money to the beggars on the street or tourist attractions. There is another way you can help people in difficult circumstances is by donating to charity.
- Sleep or sit when the foot pointing straight at the altar or temples when you break at someone's home
- Do not go out alone when it is too late, or in a secluded place.
Besides, do not be overly nervous. Generally, Vietnamese people are very appreciative if you try to abide by their customs, and fairly forgiving when you get it wrong or forget. If you make the effort, you will be rewarded. Paying attention to these "dos and don’ts" during your travel, you will actually get unforgettable experiences in Vietnam.
You can easy to plan your Vietnam tour with BestPrice Travel, our guide will make your trip easier and show you all that you should do or don't when traveling.
You might also want to read: Tipping Vietnam: How Much & for Whom?
(Image Sources: Internet)
Questions & Answers (5)
What about meeting etiquette in Vietnam? Do we have to shake hands or bow?
Hi! In Vietnam, the most polite meeting eitquette is shaking hands, you can do that in both formal and informal meeting situations.
Where can I exchange foreign currency in Hanoi?
You can change it at the airport or at your hotel, but please note that not all hotels in Hanoi provide that service and usually, they only accept USD.
Do you have any charity tours in Vietnam?
Hi! We can customize for you, please send your request to email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp: +84904699428. Thank you so much.
Any dress rule when visiting temples or pagodas?
Vietnam isn't strict in dressing to visit temples and pagodas as neighbor countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, etc. However, to show the respect to local religion, you shouldn't wear clothes that too informal such as sleeveless shirts, shorts, or above-knee skirts.
What about some eating etiquette in Vietnam? I just realized that it's really different from Japan
Usually, eating etiquette isn't that serious in Vietnam, especially with foreign tourists, you don't really have to care about this if you are simply traveling and don't have meals with local friends/families. Traditionally, some most popular Vietnamese eating etiquette include: elders eat first (when you have meals with elders), don't put your chopsticks vertically in the middle of the rice bowl, hold rice bowls close to your faces while dining, don’t flip the fish on the dish (usually only when you having meals in coastal provinces), and eat all foods in your plate/bowl.