Attention! Here are dos and don’ts while Traveling in Vietnam!
ABROADER February 20, 2023 4 minute read
Traveling to Vietnam? Make sure you have a great time by learning the local dos and don’ts with our guidance right here!
It is always a good idea to come to a foreign country (whether for traveling, interning, or studying abroad) well-prepared with a proper code of conduct and ready to experience the culture with the minimum amount of culture shock. Vietnamese are world-known friendly and they would appreciate it a lot if they see travelers making the effort of learning and trying to respect their etiquette. Therefore, here are some of the things we suggest you do and avoid doing during your traveling to Vietnam.
- Dress rather conservatively. Vietnamese people, especially the older generation in rural areas are still pretty conservative. It is therefore a good idea to dress moderately if you are visiting a local family. The dress code is more relaxed in significant cities. We know it’s tempting to wear that cool shorts out since it’s hot. However, it is best to avoid wearing short shorts to most places.
- Drink loads of water as you’re wandering around checking out the sights. The heat can be oppressive and heat stroke can be a real killjoy while traveling in Vietnam. There are plenty of convenience stores or local stores around the city center areas that sell water bottles.
- If you are eating out, use lime to brush your utensils, lime is available at almost any dining place and will help sanitize your chopstick or spoons.
- Keep hold of your bags. If you are wearing a backpack, make sure to put it in front of you when you are on a bus or in a very crowded area. If you have a small cross terrible, make sure to keep it close to you, especially when riding a motorbike or bicycle. Bag snatching is a big problem that big cities in Vietnam haven’t been able to fix.
- If you’re invited into a local’s home (which is really the only way to travel), be sure to take your shoes off at the entrance.
- Travel by train, it’s one of the best ways for traveling in Vietnam through the eyes of the locals. Prepare for the trains to be late and smelly – but that’s part of the charm, right?
- Carry a bit of toilet paper with you at all times – we won’t go into detail – just trust us.
- If you are staying at a hotel or hostel, take their business card with you wherever you go, this will make it easier for you to communicate to drivers where you want to return to. Vietnamese words are hard to pronounce correctly, therefore the chances of you mispronouncing or the driver misunderstanding is very likely.
- Expect to pay less for a beer than a bottle of water – but remember our hydration tip above!
- Don’t wear shorts or revealing T-shirts to visit a Pagoda, they won’t let you in. Be sure to dress conservatively and dress for the occasion, you are after all visiting a piece of history.
- Don’t sit with your feet pointing towards a family altar if you are staying in someone’s house.
- Don’t take video cameras into the small villages, it is considered very intrusive and they’ll be too polite to ask you to stop filming.
- Don’t drink ice when you are eating out at a street food vendor. The ice from some places is made with tap water and tap water in Vietnam is unsafe to drink, especially for foreigners. If you do want to drink at a street vendor, make sure to omit the ice from your cup.