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What is the attitude of Vietnamese people towards foreign tourists?

In forming a relationship with Vietnamese people, besides understanding their significant traits, the second step you should take is to have an overview about their attitude towards foreign tourists like you. Why? Because you can get a grasp of both your advantages and disadvantages in approaching them. 

Holidays in Vietnam with locals

It is hard to talk about the attitude of the Vietnamese towards foreigners in overall since it differs from individual to individual. If you ever did research on this topic (try Quora or Tripadvisor), you might be surprised at the disparity of the outcomes. 

Most of the search results remain positive: many tourists received good treatments from the Vietnamese – which are, in some cases, beyond their expectations. On the contrary, a number of tourists raised their voice about how badly they were treated to the point they never intended to revisit Vietnam. To make heads or tails of their attitude, you need to look both on the positive and negative side.

Positively, most of the Vietnamese are hospitable and warm-hearted 

There is a topic in Quora asking “Are Vietnamese people friendly?” and the top replies with highest votes are concerned with how hospitable and helpful they are. Among these replies, one even proves this point by telling her heart-warming stories about how she received help without having to ask for it from the locals - who were all strangers to her. Every time she met the Vietnamese, she received a broad smile from them and every time she had troubles, they used all the English they had at their disposal to be of help to her. 

These stories enlightened her heart and became her unforgettable experiences in Vietnam. This woman is not the only one who felt that way about Vietnam and its people. You can read a lot of similar stories via Quora and Tripadvisor. They all saw the kindness and warmth in the attitude of the Vietnamese towards them and felt that rather than just a display, it came from the bottom of their heart. 

vietnamese and foreigners

Most of Vietnamese people are hospitable to foreign tourists

… Even if you are an American

It is worth noting that even when you come from United States and wonder whether they might hold any grudge towards you or not, in many cases, the answer is no. A lot of Americans visiting Vietnam with the fear of being poorly treated came back with the answer that Vietnamese people no longer dwelt on the past. And as a result, they can differentiate American tourists visiting Vietnam with the ones that bombed their country. Therefore, there is no need to worry about this politic factor. However, it is advisable that you avoid that topic in your conversations with them.

Many of them might actively approach you

Not only moving on from the past, Vietnamese people are also open to other cultures and take the initiative to learn from them. A typical evidence of this point is that Vietnamese youngsters are building up their language skills and actively interacting with Western cultures. 

When visiting big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, there are chances that you will be approached by a group of students. Why? Well, because these youngsters are looking for opportunities to sharpen their English skills. And of course, talking to a foreigner is absolutely a good way. 

In fact, you can take advantage of these opportunities to become friends with them and know more about Vietnamese cultures. The knowledge about Vietnam and its people you might gain from them is sure to surpass what you read in your travel guide or on the Internet. 

However, there are also chances that you might feel annoyed or being exploited when the Vietnamese approach you in an inappropriate way. They can be a little bit too curious or invasive, or just they don’t know the right thing to say due to cultural differences.

vietnamese student

Vietnamese youngsters actively approach foreign tourists

Nevertheless, they still appear to be reserved 

Vietnamese people are generally observed to be guarded and non-confrontational. This trait reflects clearly in their attitude towards strangers or someone they are not close to. They are friendly in an effort to maintain harmony, yet reluctant to open up about themselves. Their hesitation is likely grow when approaching someone from a totally different culture like you. 

Another cause for their timidity towards foreigners is the language barrier and cultural differences. Not all Vietnamese people have a good command of foreign languages. Even if they do, they still lack the opportunities to practice their speaking. As they are afraid of making mistakes in their speech and losing face, they might not be confident enough to approach foreign tourists. 

Regarding cultural differences, many Vietnamese also find it hard to seek the suitable topics to prolong the conversations with foreigners. In addition, these substantial differences will become an obstacle in their effort to understand foreigners, not to mention to establish the mutual trust and respect. That is why they are hospitable, yet reserved in their attitude towards foreign tourists. Therefore, an important tip you need to remember if you want to build relationship with the Vietnamese is to be patient. It might take them some time to be comfortable around you.

Be careful, you might be taken advantage of!

Besides positive comments concerning the attitude of Vietnamese towards foreigners, you also need to pay attention the negative ones. They must include robbery and travel scams such as overcharge, begging, fraud, etc – which you might need to have in hand some tips to avoid. Read "Common travel scams in Vietnam and how to avoid" to find out more about those tips.

One reason behind these travel scams is they know that you are not acquainted to things in Vietnam: the market price, basic etiquette. Hence, they take advantage of that to pull a prank on you – who they think are easy to deceive. Another reason is that from their point of view, foreigners are much wealthier and live in a higher standard than Vietnamese locals. Therefore, it is a common sense to them that as a foreigner, you might be fine with the higher prices you are charged. 

That is why most of the complaints about the attitude of Vietnamese people towards foreign tourists are concerned with the business side of the locals – who are simply trying to make a living. But once you break that local-tourist paradigm and make an effort to understand other locals you come into contact with, you will discover how warm and friendly they are. 

Vietnam travel scams

Travel scams in Vietnam

When travelling to Vietnam on a Vietnam Tour, one of the most popular questions a foreign tourist ask the tour guide is the attitude of Vietnamese people towards foreigners. If you have the same question, this article can give you an overview about their attitude in both positive and negative side. Should you have any other questions, don't hesitate to contact Nadova Tours. We are pleased to help you out!

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