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Foreigner shares dos and don’ts of travel etiquette in Vietnam

Foreigner shares dos and don’ts of travel etiquette in Vietnam

Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 10:02 GMT+7
Foreigner shares dos and don’ts of travel etiquette in Vietnam
A photo shows a visitor at a tourist site in Vietnam. Photo: iStock

Ian Paynton advises foreigners to be cheerful when visiting Vietnam, according to the The Insider website.

Vietnam is emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destinations for international travelers and experts. More than 100,000 foreign experts are living and working in Vietnam.

Ian Paynton, a British native, resides in Hanoi. He first traveled to Vietnam in 2007, and three years later, he decided to leave London for the Southeast Asian country for resettlement.

Paynton has told The Insider seven dos and don’ts of a Vietnam visit for foreign tourists.

Here are seven travel tips:

Do not go around town while wearing swimsuits 

According to Paynton, the beauty of Vietnam lies in elegance, so foreign visitors should not wear scanty swimwear while traveling to beaches, rivers or waterfalls.

This is considered a taboo at temples and pagodas. In 2016, a foreign visitor was forced to leave a place of worship as the traveler wore shorts and a bra-styled shirt.

Get accustomed to being barged

Standing in line is not a habit in Vietnam, according to the foreigner. Though the bad behavior has improved, many visitors feel resentful at elbowing.

The Insider cited Paynton as saying that the Vietnamese do not see it as impoliteness. Many succeeded in barging, so others follow suit.

Respect places of worship

Like many other Southeast Asian nations, Vietnamese people often place altars at homes, restaurants, and workplaces. 

Tourists who stay at a homestay or pay a visit to an acquaintance’s house should watch their language in front of altars. Removing their shoes before entering the place of worship is a point of politeness.

Besides, couples should avoid public displays of affection, such as kisses, if they are in a room which has altars. “The action is considered as improper by locals,” said Paynton.

Be careful using dating apps

You should be careful if you are asked for a first date at a nightclub. A hot topic being discussed endlessly in the expat community is the way tour guides and nightclub owners are using the Tinder app to find guests.

After successfully joining a pair, these people will invite their mates to nightclubs where they are working. This is a trick to lure guests.

Furthermore, these guests are often overcharged for alcoholic drinks.

Do not be shy to bargain with vendors

It is easy to see hawkers on every street in Vietnam. In 2018, the Statista website estimated that Vietnam had over 430,000 street vendors.

Food hawker stalls often have fixed price tags, so it is not necessary to make a bargain. However, at hawker stalls selling clothes and cheap jewelry items, foreigners can manage to haggle a 50-percent discount for each item.

Tourists should notice that vendors often ask visitors to pay for photos of them. Taking an example, Paynton said that in Hanoi, fruit vendors call on travelers to take photos with non la, Vietnamese conical hats, literally meaning ‘leaf hats,' or their stalls, but they must pay for these photos.

Inadvisable to prioritize visits to major cities

Scenic landscapes in Vietnam stretch from the north to the south. Paynton recommends traveling to numerous destinations beyond well-known cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.

Among must-visit sites are spectacular terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai Province, stunning mountain ranges in Ha Giang Province, Phong Nha Cave in Quang Binh Province, and Hue Imperial Citadel City in Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Do not be mad when getting stood up

Sometimes, your appointments or meetings fail. Paynton advises foreign visitors to see a belated meeting as a bombshell in order not to be irritated.

In Vietnam, arriving late or changing a plan at the last minute is acceptable. “For flexibility, locals believe that everything is OK,” he said.

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Tieu Bac - Phuc Chi / Tuoi Tre News


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