Vietnam is like a hidden gem of the Indochinese Peninsula. The country is home to numerous stunning landscapes, tasty foods, and rich multi-culture. In the fact that locals still have a lot of traditional customs and implied etiquettes, there are many things to do and not to do in Vietnam. As a foreign visitor, you should know carefully about that to not cause offense in the country.
Why tourist should know about things to do and not to do in Vietnam
Since you were a little child, parents and older people have been teaching you about things to do and not to do in your hometown. They are the compulsory rule which all people of the land have to follow. If not, you might cause offense.
The same things happen in Vietnam. As you know, the country has a long history with many age-old traditions, customs, and etiquettes. Locals have practiced the rules for thousands of years. As a result, rules become implied things that require all people to follow.
But you are a foreigner so it’s hard to know all about the rule in Vietnam, right? Don’t worry if you do something offending unknowingly. Be relaxed!
Vietnamese people are so friendly and generous. They totally know that oversea visitors might not know about their traditional customs and etiquettes. If you get it wrong, they will forgive without being unpleasant.
Locals very appreciate visitors trying to abide by their customs. The way you learn about things to do and not to do in Vietnam is also a great chance to engage in its culture. Therefore, you might get less culture shock in Vietnam and have authentic experiences while traveling like a local.
On the other hand, there are some other useful tips to keep you safe in Vietnam. Although most locals are hospitable and generous, it’s still a small chance to be a victim of unexpected threats.
Things you should do in Vietnam
First of all, let’s discover some facts about things you should do in Vietnam.Here are 9 important travel tipsthat we compiled for you:
1. Conservative clothes
In Vietnam, people tend to wear clothes discreetly, especially women. They are quite conservative about the dress so it would be disrespectful when someone wears skimpy clothing in public. In a big city, the dress code is more relaxing than in a rural village.
To not look different among Vietnamese locals, you should see what they wear and be moderate. There’s no need to overdress! In fact, let’s check out the weather and the destination you plan to go to then choose your outfit properly.
2. Never forget your Visa
Visa is crucial for foreigners to stay legally in Vietnam but there are a lot of tourists forgetting about it. If you want to enjoy your trips without facing any troubles, you must take your visa seriously.
Before your trip, let’s fill up the visa-on-arrival pre-approval paperclearly. Get stamped and never leave your necessary document forgotten. There are many tourists leaving their Visas at the airport or in a taxi.
3. Keep your valuables in a safe place
Don’t you want to be a victim of pickpockets? Then remember to keep all your valuables in a safe place. You’d better wear your backpack in front of you when walking on the street or going on a bus. In addition, we highly suggest that you bring just enough money for your trip.
Do keep your jewelry at home since it shows that you have a lot of money. That could an attractive sign for petty theft to take action.
4. Right etiquettes with other people
In Vietnam, locals show their great respect to the older. The younger need to bow their head when greeting the older. When receiving/giving things, you should do it with both hands. In a meal with locals, you should wait for the oldest people to start first.
In addition, making a Vietnamese lose faceis bad. He/she will feel seriously worst when being denigrated in front of others. You should never raise your voice or do rude actions when getting angry. In fact, don’t cross your arm on the chess, point your finger or put them on your hips. Just calm down and everything will be okay.
5. Say “No” politely
In some situations, you need to refuse the goodwill of Vietnamese locals. That happens when you really don’t want to try their authentic foodor strong spirit, for example. To make people not feel bad, you should refuse politely, avoid saying “No” in a direct way. Indeed, it’s a great tip for you to not lose a Vietnamese face.
6. Prepare some necessary supplies in advance
You’d better bring your own medicines, toiletries, nappies, baby formula, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and basic first aid kit in your bag. Those supplies can be found in Vietnam but maybe not exactly what you want. Plus, to keep you from sunlight and unexpected rain, you should prepare a hat and an umbrella in advance.
It’s usual that there isn’t any convenience store or retail shop inrural areas of Vietnam. If you are going to explore those areas, you should also prepare some snacks and food. It’s better to have something available on hand.
7. Be aware of your allergic foods
Vietnamese cuisineis super tasty with thousands of dishes. Locals are so clever to combine available ingredients from vegetables to meats together to create the perfect flavor. As a foreigner, it’s a wonderful journey to enjoy new delicious foods.
On the other hand, it’s hard to tell what in the dish. Therefore, if you are allergic to foods like peanut, seafood, or dairy products, you’d better check out the ingredients before enjoying it.
8. Know where you live
It seems to be a big problem when you get lost and have no idea where your hotel is. If this situation comes true, it must be a nightmare, right?
To prevent the issue from coming to you, let’s keep a hotel business card along. You can get the card from the reception desk or hotel staff. Moreover, you can return to where you live much easier in a taxi or motorbike.
9. Use chopsticks correctly
Unlike Western customs, Vietnamese people normally use chopsticks and bowls to enjoy food. It might be strange skills but you will soon get used to it. Indeed, there are some rules you need to remember when having meals with locals.
What’s hand you should use for holding chopsticks? – The right hand! As a young child, Vietnamese people have been taught to do like that. Besides, if you are a left-handed man, go your own way. In spite of an unusual way, it’s acceptable.
You should never put chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. That is considered unlucky because of making the symbol of burning joss sticks which are only used for funerals. Plus, remember not to tap chopsticks into bowls to make sounds. When you finish your meal, put them beside your bowl or against a chopstick holder.
Things not to do in Vietnam
If you are in Vietnam long enough, you might find out that locals have a tone of rules to follow. Here are just the most important things not to do in Vietnamto keep you safe and sound:
1. Don’t do intimate actions in public
The conservative thought in Vietnam considers intimate actions in publicimpolite. That means those physical displays between lovers are frowned upon by locals. They might not tell you to stop but then criticize unofficially.
Don’t want to create big attention? Then just hold hands. If you want to express more affection than that, you should find a private space.
2. Don’t show off your skin in sacred places
Well, it’s more conservative needed when you visit sacred places like pagodas, temples, monuments, and shrines. You must never wear shorts, skirts, singlets, tops with low-necklines, bare shoulders. Those clothes are considered extremely offensive and rude that you don’t respect Buddha and the deceased.
If you wear those types of clothes already, you will have two options: find a long cover-up to wear or visit the place next time.
3. Don’t take picture of military
On your journey to Vietnam, you will find a lot of military installations. Well, it might be an interesting experience but never think about taking a photograph or do anything with the Vietnamese military. All those actions can be considered as a breach of national security and you will get caught.
The same things happen with other ban photograph places like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or even personnel. It would be better if you ask before taking photos. Therefore, you never have to spend time in a Vietnamese cell.
4. Don’t drink tap water
Tap waterin your country is totally safe to drink but don’t do that in Vietnam. To be honest, the tap waterin the country is not safe enough, even in a swanky hotel. Instead, you should boil it up first or buy purified water bottles.
Looking for something fancier to enjoy? Vietnam has numerous freshly squeezed fruit juices or sugar cane juice for you.
5. Don’t get panic when crossing the street
You might have heard about chaos traffic in Vietnam. That makes you feel panic when walking on the street or passing the road.
On the other hand, you will find that locals control their vehicles in an organized way. The issue of being hit is just a little. When crossing the street, you need to keep walking in a predictable direction. Just keep walking and watching out the vehicle around you. Therefore, the driver knows where you aim to go and avoid you.
6. Don’t pick touristy places to visit
Honestly, we have to say that you’d better stay away from touristy places in Vietnam. Those destinations are just for tourism and lack of authentic experiences– what you’re looking for.
Get off the beaten pathand find peaceful, stunning landscapes as well as hospitable locals. You will never have to be afraid of tourist traps, pickpockets, or crowded people. In fact, there are more amazing things awaiting like a friendly vibe, tasty foods, cheaper prices, gorgeous views, and the intact lifestyle.
7. Don’t forget to haggle
We highly recommend that you should ask about the price and haggle when buying things in the market or retail stalls. In fact, it’s a part of Vietnamese society and a great way for tourists to interact with the locals.
There are some skills for you to do it right. If you follow our tips, you will never offend anybody. The most important rule is to be friendly by always keeping the smile on your face. Plus, you should remember the price point of common goods in Vietnam for later use. It’s pretty useful to know the thing you aim to buy is overpriced or not. Snacks or food vendors usually have a fixed price so don’t bother trying to bargain these.
Let’s smile and tell the seller that you want to buy but at a lower price. If he/she refuses, you should walk away and then soonly hear the voice of the seller calling you to come back. The sign shows that you are successful in this haggle.
Every country has its own culture and custom. You might cause offense in a foreign nation without awareness. Doing research about things to do and not to do in Vietnam in advance will help you stay away from unexpected problems. Therefore, you will have the best authentic experiencesin this wonderful tropical country.
Do you want to know more about helpful Vietnam travel tips? Let’s stay tuned and read other related posts on this blog. Moreover, Xin Chao team can help you out to create a perfect customized private tour in Vietnam, depending on your duration and interests. Just tell us and all you need is to enjoy the great trip with friendly Vietnamese local ambassadors.