Posted: 12 September 2017

Travel Etiquette in...Vietnam!

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When travelling to a country with a very different culture, one concern is that we may accidentally cause offence!

Well, we've got your back!

Here's our brief guide to travel etiquette in Vietnam:

• Dress conservatively, covering chest and legs.

• When entering a temple or any other sacred place, you’ll also need to cover your arms, and any tattoos you may be sporting!

• You should also avoid wearing old t-shirts into a sacred place such as a temple or pagoda, as a mark of respect.

• If you’re invited in to a local's home, remember to remove your shoes when entering.

• Don’t wear too much jewellery – this is regarded as a rather vulgar way to flaunt wealth.

2. Demeanour

• Of course, PDAs (public displays of affection) will generally be discouraged on a school trip, but it’s worth letting everyone know that anything more than holding hands in public is very much frowned upon in Vietnam.

• When you pay for something, or give someone a gift, always offer it with both hands – this is seen as a mark of respect.

• Heads are seen as sacred in Vietnamese culture – do not touch a Vietnamese’s head and don’t pass anything over anyone’s head.

• Avoid pointing the soles of your feet at anyone – this is considered very disrespectful.

• Do not point with your finger, instead gesture with your whole hand.

• And try not to stand with hands on hips or arms crossed against the chest.

• Hopefully this won’t come up, but try not to lose your temper in public - doing so will cause the person you’re angry at to lose face, which is taken very seriously in East Asian cultures.

• If you’d like to give a Vietnamese a gift, perhaps because you’ve been invited into their home, good choices include fruits, sweets, flowers or incense.

• Do not give handkerchiefs, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums, or anything black.

• Learn to use chopsticks!

• Try to finish everything on your plate.

• When you’ve finished, rest your chopsticks on top of the rice bowl – and never leave them sticking up in the air.

• If you’re eating soup, hold your spoon in your left hand.

5. Photography

• Never take a Vietnamese person’s picture without first asking permission.

6. Language

Learn some Vietnamese! Basic phrases include:

• Hello – xin chao

• Goodbye – tam biet

• My name is… - ten toi la…

• How are you – ban co khoe khong?

• Thank you – cam on

• Thank you very much – cam on rat nhieu

• Sorry/excuse me – xin loi

• Can you help me? – Ban co the giup toi duoc khong?

• You’re welcome – khong co gi

• Do you speak English? – Ban co noi duoc tieng Anh khong?

• I don’t understand – Toi khong hieu

Not booked your school trip to Vietnam yet? Check out Zoe and James trip diary, before chatting to them about the options available!

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