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,
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.
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.
What vietnamese carry on their scooters.
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.Related to:
- Road Trip
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.Related to:
Burning fake money for the dead.
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.Related to:
- Religious Travel
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.
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.
There is still some Cham culture left in Vietnam.
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.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Water puppet theater.
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.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Arts and Culture
Nam Khan border crossing
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:
Palms down when attracting someone's attention....
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.
special food for Tet celebration
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.
Two handed hand off and business cards
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.
Graves in Fields and Ancestor Worship
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)
The Caravelle was opened to the public on Christmas Eve 1959 originally as a ten storey hotel. ...more
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Staff in the restaurant were very slow in delivering food ordered, poorly trained and unprofessional...more
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