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Things you should know about Vietnam culture

Having been through ups and downs for thousands of years, Vietnam is home to many customs and traditions. Sometimes, it is hard for tourists to apprehend these ethics and behave in a proper way. If you plan to have a Vietnam customized tour this year, you may want to take a look at must- know information about Vietnam culture.

Temple of Literature, Vietnam

Vietnam culture is diverse with 54 ethnic groups

Vietnam has 54 tribal groups with the most populated one is Kinh people. They mostly dwell in the Red River Delta while other ethnic minorities are scattered over the mountain areas. Each society has its own culture, traditional activities and of course, appetizing specialities. Among that, Cham group is the earliest culture with a wide range of historical stories or Ede is stemmed from Malaysia. Tourists are definitely seduced by the exotic beauty of these ethnic group and broaden their horizons about different cultures. Besides, all 54 groups live harmoniously and develop stable solidarity.

Trekking in Sapa

Most people try to avoid arguments and violence

As you may hear before, Vietnamese people are friendly and hospitable in general. They also care much about their honors as well as respect the virtues. They tend to avoid behaving violently or insulting a person in public. As a result, you will seldom witness turbulent outbursts in the Vietnam roads. That’s why you should consider not acting too aggressively or making dark jokes on local people. In fact, a mocking glance can be the reason for a brutal clash.

Cai Be, Vietnam

Read more: How to communicate with Vietnamese people

The elderly are respected

In Vietnam: “The older you are, the more respect you command”. Following to Confucian beliefs, Vietnamese especially appreciate to experience and savvy. Therefore, you should treat them with your admiration. Swearing or mentioning to sensitive topics (like death or sex) with the elders may make you cope with troubles. In addition, the young have to greet when they meet seniors, which are regarded as a traditional etiquette in Vietnam. At meals, the eldest is served first and their opinions carry more weight than the others.

The elderly in Vietnam

The shopping can be bargained

Visitors having Vietnam private tour may feel strange when go shopping in Vietnam markets. You can hear many distinct voices from both vendors and buyer when they negotiate for products. The fact that most of the merchandises can be bargained and you can have what you want with reasonable prices. In case you are unable to deal with shopkeepers, the best plan is to use your feet. Just keep bargaining for the price you can afford and pretend to walk away. For most shops, a smaller profit margin is still better than getting nothing.

Street Foods in Hanoi

Read more: Life of street vendors in Vietnam

There is no tipping culture

One more thing when you register a Vietnam family tour is that tipping for waiters is not compulsory. They may think you’ve counted your money incorrectly and paid them back for you. However, waiters’ income is generally moderate so they always try to please your demands. After hard- working hours, they can be on cloud nine when you give them some tips as an incentive. Therefore, if you feel satisfied with the service and feel free to leave a little extra, you can hide it under a plate or attach with the bill. This is a polite behavior which makes the waiter grateful. On the contrary, it is rude if you make an overt show of tipping.

Hanoi Street Food Tour

Try not to leave food uneaten

Food (especially rice) plays an important part in Vietnamese meals. As an agricultural country, Vietnamese people rarely waste their food because it is arduous for farmers and workers to bring them to the table. Thus, it is impolite if you leave food uneaten, particularly when you are in someone’s home or a buffet dinner. The best way to deal with this situation is trying not to take more than you can eat, give excuses and compliments courteously in case you have to leave food.

Street Foods in Hanoi

Vietnam War history is revered

Vietnam has been through two huge historical wars and they are so proud of their victories against these colonial empires. However, Vietnamese people still remember the pain of loss when millions of soldiers sacrificed for their homeland. As a tourist having tours in Vietnam, please bear in mind that do not speak ill of Vietnamese War heroes or make any jokes related to the war. It is a sensitive topic and triggered. In fact, Vietnamese people are friendly and have a good sense of humor, but not about war years and colonial past.

Hoa Lo Prison, Vietnam

Read more: Top 8 best historical sites to visit in Vietnam


Avoid criticizing

Just sitting in a pavement café, you can hear anything about social problems. They could be pollution, corruption, traffic jam, etc. Though, they may lose temper if a foreigner tries to criticize their home country. In other words, it is fine when you complain or even make jokes about the crazy traffic but keeping disparaging on and on cause their dissatisfaction. Particularly when you end your stories with “My country is much better”. Every resident have their patriotism, so think thoroughly before mention to the dark sides in Vietnam. Besides, if you have a positive outlook, there is so much to love about this wonderful country.

Tourists in Ninh Binh, Hanoi


See tours:

Vietnam Culinary Tour 13 days

Cambodia - Vietnam Highlights 15 days

Indochina Connection Thailand - Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos 18 days

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