Etiquette Guide for Traveling to Vietnam:Essential Rules, Manners, and Taboos for First-Time Visitors - DayDreamHub | day use

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Etiquette Guide for Traveling to Vietnam:Essential Rules, Manners, and Taboos for First-Time Visitors


As you prepare for your journey, your heart might be fluttering with excitement at the thought of Vietnam’s culture and landscapes. But amidst this excitement, have you considered the local rules, manners, and potential taboos? Unintentionally offending the locals is a real possibility for first-time visitors to Vietnam. This guide aims to equip you with the essential etiquette for harmonious interactions and trouble-free experiences in Vietnam.

Tipping and Money Matters in Vietnam

While tipping is not a widespread custom for local services in Vietnam, it is increasingly expected in services frequented by tourists. Leaving a small gratuity in high-end hotels, spas, and restaurants near tourist attractions is appreciated, as many service workers earn relatively low wages and tips can significantly boost their income. Though tipping is not obligatory, it’s a kind gesture for good service and contributes to the local economy.

Vietnamese Dining and Table Manners

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its rich flavors and variety. Understanding local dining and table manners can deepen your cultural experience. Here are specific manners and eating practices to keep in mind:

  • Handling of Tea and Wet Towels: Many restaurants in Vietnam offer complimentary cold tea (Tra da) or wet towels, but sometimes at a cost. Always check if these services are free before using them. Typically, the tea is quite affordable.
  • Sharing Culture: Sharing dishes is common in Vietnam, where food is placed in the center for everyone to share. It’s polite to use communal chopsticks or spoons when taking food and avoid using your personal chopsticks directly.
  • Eating Etiquette: Dishes involving rice paper (e.g., spring rolls) are a staple. They involve wrapping vegetables, meat, or seafood in rice paper. If you’re unsure how to wrap, don’t hesitate to ask staff or those around you for a demonstration. When eating pho or other soup dishes, knowing how to balance the spoon and chopsticks is key.
  • Eat Without Noise: Contrary to the culture of slurping noodles in Japan, it’s uncommon to make loud eating noises in Vietnam. Enjoy your meal quietly and slowly.
  • Avoid Directly Touching Bowls to Your Mouth: When consuming soup or beverages, it’s preferable to use a spoon or straw rather than drinking directly from the bowl or glass.

Dining in Vietnam is not just about eating; it’s about enjoying the entire process. Adhering to table manners and eating practices facilitates smooth communication with locals and enriches your culinary experience. Observing those around you can also introduce you to new ways of eating and cultural insights.

Behavior in Vietnam

Understanding etiquette regarding behavior is crucial for showing respect to the local culture and ensuring a pleasant stay. The following guidelines offer more detailed advice on proper conduct in Vietnam:

Conduct in Religious Places

Vietnam, a multi-religious nation, requires special attention when visiting temples, churches, and other religious sites. Keep these points in mind:

  • Appropriate Dress: Cover your shoulders and knees, and remove hats. Avoid revealing outfits to show respect.
  • Act Quietly: Keep your voice down and act considerately inside religious places to avoid disturbing worshippers.
  • Photography Manners: Always check if photography is allowed. Refrain from taking photos during ceremonies or in restricted areas, and avoid using flash even when photography is permitted.

Public Behavior

Polite public behavior is expected in Vietnam. Consider the following to ensure smooth social interactions:

  • Voice Volume: Avoid speaking loudly in public places, showing consideration for those around you.
  • Queueing Culture: Respect the queue at bus stops, ticket counters, etc., without cutting in line.
  • Littering Prohibition: Dispose of trash properly. Littering in streets or nature not only harms the environment but is also considered rude.

Respect for Elders

Respecting elders is paramount in Vietnamese culture. Here’s how to show respect:

  • Use of Polite Language: Use respectful language when speaking with older individuals, showing your reverence through your words.
  • Offering Seats: It’s courteous to offer your seat to older people on public transport, reflecting not just manners but respect and consideration.

Following these guidelines will make your stay in Vietnam more enjoyable and help maintain good relations with the locals. Understanding and respecting different cultures is not only a traveler’s responsibility but also key to a fulfilling journey.


To fully enjoy your trip to Vietnam, it’s essential to understand and respect local rules and manners. Additionally, making smart use of day-use hotels during transit or short stays can enhance the quality of your trip. Prepare well and approach Vietnam’s culture and people with an open mind.

For those transiting through Ho Chi Minh, consider a day-use hotel to complement your plans:

How to Use Day-Use Hotels

Day-Use Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

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