Good manners

What are the big norms of politeness to respect?

In Viet Nam, we particularly respect older people, it is very important.


Some of the norms of politeness and respect:

Never raise your voice if a person cannot understand you,

Always shake hands with your two hands,

Always give things with your two hands (especially money),

Never throw away things (especially money),

Do not point with your finger,

Wave your hand when calling for somebody (like in France) but with your palm facing down,

Do not touch children’s heads,

Do not say that a baby looks nice,

Do not take a cigarette out of its box without offering some to the men around you (cigarettes are really cheap, I assure you),

Do not refuse a gift (cigarette, fruit, etc…), but you don’t have to use it right away,

If someone offers you a present, do not open it in the presence of the person who offered it to you,

Try not to pull faces if someone serves you something disgusting to eat,

And finally, even if you are very upset, try to keep smiling…



But fear not about politeness and respect, the Vietnamese people are very lenient people, especially with foreigners and there is no reason that clumsiness would bring you any sort of animosity!


How to behave around beggars?

In Viet Nam it is common to give money to old people who beg but not to children…It is true that when we know about the solidarity of this people and the sweep of the black market, if a person has to beg that means that he or she really is in need. But do not give extravagant sums either, stay in line with the economic situation of the Country: 1000 or 2000 VND are usually what people give.


Can we take pictures of people?

The Vietnamese people are usually very open in front of a camera. Buddhism, the philosophical current deeply rooted in Viet Nam does advocate a detachment of the soul from all material acts, in this way they usually feel indifference in front of a camera… Apart from a few minorities, the Vietnamese people do not believe that a picture can steal their soul, and if children refuse to be photographed it is often because they are shy.


Is it common to leave tips in Viet Nam?

In general, tips are not common in Viet Nam and you will see very often that they are not accepted (in restaurants for example). In fact, if get along well with a guide, a driver or any other person, in those casse tips are justified. Do not forget that the living expense is not very high in Viet Nam. Count 50 000 VND / day / person for a guide or a driver (2.5 dollars)…


Do we have to bring gifts if we sleep at somebody’s house?

It is not necessary to bring gifts when you sleep over at somebody’s house. But if you want to, the most appreciated gifts are those for children, mixing entertainment and education: paint, books, colored pencils…


Avoid medicines… Firstly because self-prescription is dangerous and that standards medicines are not expensive here…