Local traditions and culture in Vietnam

  • Rice planting in Vietnam.
    Rice planting in Vietnam.
    by cachaseiro
  • Planting rice in Vietnam.
    Planting rice in Vietnam.
    by cachaseiro
  • Working in the rice fields in Vietnam.
    Working in the rice fields in Vietnam.
    by cachaseiro

Most Viewed Local Customs in Vietnam

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    PROMISES

    by davidjo Written Jun 21, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Making a promise in Vietnam is considered the same as gentlemen shaking hands as an agreement in England and should you not keep your promise it is considered as a break in the relationship and probably very difficult to re-establish friendship based on trust and honesty,

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    MEALS

    by davidjo Written Jun 21, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When a Vietnamese invites you to their home they will pick out the choicest food for you as you are the guest of honour, so don't forget to thank them for the appreciation. When invited to their house don't forget to bring alcohol, candy or fruit. Should you wish to invite vietnamese friends for dinner they will probably refuse until you repeat the invitation several times. Be persistent until they accept. They will refuse the first time as they do not want to appear greedy.

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    GIFTS

    by davidjo Written Jun 21, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When a Vietnamese offers you a gift it may be very expensive but they will pretend that it is nothing. On the other hand when you give a Vietnamese a gift they may just put it aside , not acknowledge it and open it later after you are gone.

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    What vietnamese carry on their scooters.

    by cachaseiro Updated Apr 5, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Vietnam it´s impossible to overlook how the locals use the scooters for transportation of absolutely everything.
    They are the masters of the universe of have mother, father, two children and the old granny on the scooter at the same time while carrying 4 bags of rice and a live pig on it too.
    Wathcing the scooter scene in Vietnam is in my opinion one of the greatest sights of the country and it´s very amusing.

    Vietnamese sccoter with half load :)
    Related to:
    • Motorcycle
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Fish farming.

    by cachaseiro Updated Mar 31, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fish and shellfish farming is very common in Vietnam and many people make a living from it.
    The fish farms is also one of the main reasons why you see such an aboundance of seafood in the vietnamese cuisine.
    The fish and shellfish farms are located both along the coastline and along the rivers in Vietnam and if you take a roadtrip through Vietnam then you are sure to see many of them.

    Fish farm in Vietnam. Oyster farm in central Vietnam. Oyster farm in Vietnam.
    Related to:
    • Fishing

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Burning fake money for the dead.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The dead encestors are very important to the vietnamese and they often burn fake money they buy at the market and paper clips of various things such as scooters, houses, and other things they would like the dead people to have.
    They burn these things at specific alters at the temples and you can recognise these alters cause they are full of ashes and have clear signs of fire.

    Alter for burning fake money and paper clips.
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Floating villages.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Vietnam you have quite a few people who live permanently on the sea in floating houses.
    These people were originally driven out on the sea cause they had no land and were very poor, but these days the floating villages are quite organised and even have floating schools and floating karaoke bars.
    Because they are so unique some of them also attracts quite a few tourists and that brings a nice extra income to the otherwise poor villages.
    They are really charming and i highly recommed that you try and visit at least one floating village when you are in Vietnam.

    Floating village in Vietnam. Floating village in Vietnam.

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Basket boats.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you travel along the coast of Vietnam or in the Mekong Delta, then you will see lot´s of little basket boats.
    They are very common and is used by the fishermen to transport themselves and their net´s to the fishing boats that are often anchored in the bays and along rivers and in places that suffers from seasonal flooding you see them a lot too as they use them for transport.
    At first glance they do not look like anything you can sail in as it is really just an oversized basket, but they are suprisingly good at sea and they sure give Vietnam another colorful aspect.
    In some tourist areas you can also get a ride in one of them for a couple of dollars, but it´s not a tourist boat as such.
    It´s first of all a boat that is used by the locals for local transport.

    Basket boat in Vietnam. Basket boat.

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    There is still some Cham culture left in Vietnam.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 13, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From the 7th till the 15th century, southern Vietnam was called Champa and was a hindu kingdom with very different traditions from the Vietnam of today.
    The cham people were gradually driven out of the country and fled to Borneo, Malaysia and Indonesia when the Viets from the north invaded, but a few Cham people remained and you still have a Cham minority in Vietnam today of around 100 000 people.
    They mostly live in the region around Nha Trang where they have the Pho Nagar temple as one of their holy places and that is worth visiting if you want to see a bit of Cham people and experinece their culture.
    The Cham people are generally darker than Vietnmese and have more square faces and if you go to the Pho Nagar temple then you are likely to see some of them pray there and they do often have a few Cham dancers who are aloowed to make a little money by performing their traditional dances there.

    Cham dancers at Pho Nagar. Cham dancers at Pho Nagar.
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Water puppet theater.

    by cachaseiro Written Oct 2, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Water puppet theater is one thing that is unique for Vietnam.
    It started out in the rice field where the farmers entertaining themselves with this kinda theater while the fields were flooded.
    In these modern days this kinda theater has lost appeal to many of the local young people, but because it´s so culturally unique, people flood from around the globe to see it and water puppet theater is alive and well these days in Vietnam and can be seen in Hanoi where you have a couple of theaters with daily shows.
    I think it´s really interesting to see and i would recommend that you go to a show when you are in Vietnam.

    Vietnamese water puppet theater.
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nam Khan border crossing

    by stripe78 Written Jul 18, 2011

    Hi, I did the Nam Khan crossing few years ago. I had a vietnamese visa allready, but just wanted to give some good advice:

    1) dont be there at around 11.00, because the guys with the stamps are taking a nap from 11-14 and the border post is in the mountains without any shade.. so its a long wait.

    2) when you enter Vietnam you have to fill out a form in which you have to explain if you are suffering form any form of illness. There are around 40 questions with everything from coldsweat to hiv, just say no to it all... otherwise you will have to go through 14 days of quarantine.

    3) if you can, then try to get a bus that goes all the way from Phonesavan to Vinh. The bus to Nongkhet only goes to the border and once you are on the vietnamese side there are no busses. only a few drunk guys with motorcykles ( hopefully that has changed ;-) who will take you to Mxen. its a fun and adrenalinfilled ride but quite a hassle when you are going to pay them and the price just went up x 10.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • huephubai's Profile Photo

    Palms down when attracting someone's attention....

    by huephubai Updated Apr 4, 2011

    When you want to attract a local's attention with your hand, as we do here in the USA, do not beckon that person with the hand (or palm) facing you, as is the norm for us. Instead, use the same gesture except with palm (hands and fingers) facing in a downward position. Do not yell out to them as well. Very impolite.

    In greeting, it is typical to use the bow as the out stretched hand for a shake is usually not used. A slight nod of the head is sufficient, unless the gesture to shake your hand is offered first by the locals. The Western way of greeting is slowly making its' way in the city, so you will begin to discover this more and more during your travels.

    Was this review helpful?

  • galy's Profile Photo

    special food for Tet celebration

    by galy Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Banh chungis a square cake, wrapped in dong leaves and tied with lacings of bamboo. This cake is made of sticky rice and stuffed with bean paste, and small pieces of pork. Its square shape is said to symbolize gratitude to the earth for bountiful harvest.

    serving Tet cake

    Was this review helpful?

  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Two handed hand off and business cards

    by tampa_shawn Updated Jan 16, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Vietnamese have an unusual attachment to Business Cards and they will look for any opportunity to present you with theirs. So much so in my three week trip to Vietnam I had managed to accumulate over 100 business cards!

    The Vietnamese usually present the business card with BOTH hands as a sign or respect. In fact, I found most of the time I was handed something it was formerly presented with two hands.

    Was this review helpful?

  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Graves in Fields and Ancestor Worship

    by tampa_shawn Updated Jan 16, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many Vietnamese believe their ancestors are still around...just living in in another realm, and that it is the decedents duty to tend their graves and meet their needs. On special days (including Tet) the Vietnamese burn special offerings for their ancestors. These offerings include tokens of what their ancestors need in the other realm including: play money (American one hundred dollar notes as well as Vietnamese dong) and paper motorcycles and cars....

    Many also feel it is important to keep their dead nearby, so it is common to see graves in the midst of a family rice fields.

    Another common belief is if they are unable to bury their deceased family members on family soil that the souls of these ancestors will be left in turmoil forevermore.

    Due to the American War there are hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese dead that never received a proper burial. In fact, the families often don't know when, where or how they died, they only know that they never returned. Special ceremonies are also conducted on the anniversary of the ancestors death. Not having the bodies of the deceased and not knowing the circumstances of the death continues to haunts many Vietnamese families.

    The Vietnamese also worship heroic national figures, such as Tran Hung Dao, Trung sisters and of course Ho Chi Mihn. (It is virtually impossible to visit Vietnam or read about the history of Vietnam without hearing about these national icons)

    Grave in Mekong

    Was this review helpful?

Vietnam Hotels

See all 1180 Hotels in Vietnam

Top Vietnam Hotels

Ho Chi Minh City Hotels
3154 Reviews - 7291 Photos
Hanoi Hotels
2806 Reviews - 6210 Photos
Nha Trang Hotels
450 Reviews - 1019 Photos
Vung Tau Hotels
69 Reviews - 258 Photos
Da Nang Hotels
78 Reviews - 191 Photos
Hoi An Hotels
808 Reviews - 1731 Photos
Phan Thiet Hotels
161 Reviews - 424 Photos
Hue Hotels
623 Reviews - 1726 Photos
Can Tho Hotels
128 Reviews - 292 Photos
Da Lat Hotels
255 Reviews - 808 Photos
Sapa Hotels
189 Reviews - 825 Photos
Phu Quoc Hotels
110 Reviews - 284 Photos
Cai Rong Hotels
1 Review - 8 Photos
Quy Nhon Hotels
16 Reviews - 55 Photos
Ha Long Hotels
459 Reviews - 1609 Photos

Instant Answers: Vietnam

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

15 travelers online now

Comments

Vietnam Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Vietnam local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Vietnam sightseeing.
Map of Vietnam