General Dos and Don’ts for Vietnam (Part 2)

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Halong
Halong
Vietnam is a friendly and safe place to travel with the hidden charm. But each country have special different, Vietnam too. Different about culture, history and style life… With a sprinkling of common sense, your trip should be smooth and trouble free. Do not be overly paranoid though. Generally, Vietnamese people are very appreciative if they see you trying to abide by the customs, and very forgiving if you get it wrong or forget. If you make the effort, you will be rewarded. With a cool head and sensible planning, one can avoid these problems.

The below advice meant to help you have a perfect trip to Vietnam:

DON’TS

  • Never carry more money than you need when walking around the streets. Do not wear large amounts of jewelry. There are two reasons for not doing this:
    (1) It is considered impolite to flaunt wealth in public;
    (2) It is more likely that you may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher.
  • Don’t be paranoid about your security, just be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t wear singlets, shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.
  • Avoid giving empty water bottles, sweets and candies or pens to the local people when trekking through ethnic minority villages. You cannot guarantee that the empty bottles will be disposed of in a correct manner, and the people have no access to dental health. If you want to give pens, ask your guide to introduce you to the local teacher and donate them to the whole community.
  • Never sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar when in someone’s house.
  • Never lose your temper in public or when bargaining for a purchase. This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties. Always maintain a cool and happy demeanor and you will be reciprocated with the same.
  • Do not try to take photographs of military installations or anything to do with the military. This can be seen as a breach of national security.
  • Never take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people. Wear a lot of jewellery or take a bag with you. Violent crime is highly unusual in Vietnam, but petty crime is more apparant. If you have a bag, or tout a digital camera around your neck, you are a potential target.
  • When taking a ride by motorbike taxi (xe om) make sure your bag, if any, is not on display or easy to grab. Bag snatches, although still rare, are probably the most likely crime a tourist would encounter, and it raises the probability immensely if you are tailing a camera or a laptop in the wind.

    motorbike taxi
    Motorbike taxi
  • Physical displays of affection between lovers in public are frowned upon. That’s why you may come across couples holding hands but not hugging or kissing.
  • Remember, this is Vietnam, a devloping country, and things don’t quite work as you are maybe used to. Don’t be paranoid about your safety, just be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not carry your passport a leave it in the safe in your hotel. A photocopy will suffice if local law states that you need to.