Welcome to Vietnam!
Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries of Southeast Asia, which is safe to travel and full of wonders. Although the roots of Vietnam’s culture are firmly bedded in a thousand years of Chinese domination, the French colonialists brought European-style administration, Christianity in the form of Catholicism. Vietnamese people are very gracious, polite and generous with the conservative nature of Confucianism inherited from the Chinese. They are very appreciative for visitors trying to abide by their customs. The following Vietnam travel tips, taboo, dos and donts will help you to avoid some social taboos and make your trip to Vietnam a culturally and socially enriching experience.
- No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts when you visit pagodas. It is considered extremely rude and offensive.
- Do not touch someone’s head and point with your finger.
Vietnam Travel Donts
- Do not sit with your feet pointing towards people. When visiting someone’s house, do not sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar.
- Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums as a gift. Bring fruit, sweets, flowers, fruit, or incense as a gift if invited to a Vietnamese home.
- Do not sit until shown where to sit. The oldest person sits first.
- Do not carry large amount of money or wear a lot of jewellery. Never leave your bags unattended. You may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher.
- Do not show off. Keep a low profile and a cool head. Losing your temper in Vietnam means a loss of face.
- Do not cause Vietnamese to “lose face”. The concept of “saving face” is extremely important in East Asian social relationships. Avoid behavior that causes embarrassment to another party, and hold back behavior that can be misconstrued as overly aggressive.
- Do not take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people.
- Do not take a photo of somebody without asking for permission. Do not take pictures of anything to do with the military, which is considered a breach of national security.
Vietnam Travel Dos
- Do dress conservatively. Never wear shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas.
- Do avoid public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex. Anything beyond holding hands is seriously frowned upon
- Do use both hands to pass things. But do not pass anything over someone’s head.
- Do learn to use chopsticks. Try to finish everything on your plate, and rest your chopsticks on top of your rice bowl when you are finished eating. Hold the spoon in your left hand while eating soup.
- Do hold your bag in front of you and easy to grab, especially when you hire a motorbike taxi to avoid bag snatching.
- Do take your shoes off at the entrance if you’re invited to a Vietnamese’s home.
- Do expect toiletries in your hotel room such as toothbrush, comb, soap, shampoo, etc. But do carry toilet paper with you when you go out.
- Do drink plenty of bottled water, especially when walking around sightseeing. Do expect to pay less for the local beer (Bovina) than for a bottle of water.
- Do keep your valuables such as cash, credit cards and airline tickets etc in a safe place.
- Do change money from a recognized moneychanger.
- Do get medical insurance before your travel. The price of medical care in Vietnam is ridiculously expensive due to a scam they run with travellers and their travel insurance companies.
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