Vietnam Local Customs

  • 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

Vietnam Local Customs

  • People

    Ho Chi Minh City Local Customs

    During my stay in Ho Chi Minh City, I noticed that many motorcycles had an extra seat for small children. Actually, it was a wooden chair placed between the driver and the handle bars. I don’t know if the chair is special designed for this purpose?

  • Politics

    Ho Chi Minh City Local Customs

    Though Vietnam seems like any thriving capitalist city in asia, it is still a communist country by heart. You'll see propaganda pictures and policemen everywhere, even in places like Apocalypse Now ( A Happening Night Spot Frequented by Tourists and Yuppies) Needless to say , talking about politics is a no-no but asking about Uncle Ho is fine. The...

  • The custom of burning incense sticks

    Incense burning during the Buddhist holiday as well as days to remember one’s ancestors, especially during Tet holiday í a must-do and beautiful gesture that reflect our thousand years old tradition. The custom of worshipping ancestors is a beautiful, rich, and colorful and joyful tradition in Vietnamese culture. The majority of Vietnamese families...

  • Vietnamese Cuisine

    In food as in death, we feel the essential brotherhood of mankind”A Vietnamese SayingVietnam’s cuisine is very much a reflection of its culture and contact with other cultures. Rice, com in Vietnamese is the main staple of the diet and the basic of the country’s agriculture. The year of Chinese influence and occupation is evident in the use of the...

  • The family altar.

    The vietnamese have a saying that goes:"When you eat the fruit, then remember those who planted the tree"Because of this most vietnamese families have an altar in the house and you will see that most businesses have one too.these altars are mainly there to honor the encestors.These ancestral altars are a key thing in most vietnamese families and...

  • Farming in Vietnam is still mainly...

    Vietnam is a country that is very heavily farmed and it's still very much done by manual labour.This is of course first of all cause Vietnam is still a developing nation where people earn little.It does look very colorful though and remind the western travellers a bit of how our grandparents had to work in the fields before it was...

  • Take your shoes off.

    In buddihst culture it's generally polite to take your shoes off before entering a building and this is particulary important if you enter temples or pagodas.Most places have a sign asking you to take your shoes off before entering but it can be missed and you should just make it a habit in Vietnam to check if there are shoes by the entrance of a...

  • International womens day is big in...

    International womens day on march 8 is a big day in Vietnam.You will see the streets flooded with flower shops where men buy flowers for the wifes, firlfriends, mothers etc and there are many events all over the country celebrating women.Many bars give free drinks to women and visiting female travellers will mabye also find that their hotel gives...

  • The vietnamese live in their hammocks.

    The hammock is a very important itam for many vietnamese.Many people sleep most nights in a hammock including most truckdrivers who usually sleep in a hammock attached to their truck.And in the southern part of Vietnam just about every house on the countryside has at least one hammock in the garden and you have whole cafes where there are hardly...

  • Vietnamese boats have eyes.

    In Vietnam you will see that most of the boats have eyes painted on the front of the boats.this is an old tradition that they have in order to keep seamonsters away from the boats and from what i hear they also try to have the same kinda eye painted on the baots from each harbour so they can use it too see what harbours the boats come from.As a...

  • Dan Bau.

    The Dan Bau is a traditional vietnamese musical instrument that is made from bamboo and has only one string.The string can be vibrated in many ways though and it's a very hard instrument to play and it requires a lot of precission and skill.In the past young unmarried women were not allowed to hear the Dan Bau being played as the vietnemse...

  • Cockfighting.

    Cockfighting is popular in Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta.You will often see big strong cocks kept in cages there that are waiting for next weekends fights.There are for sure many opinions about this sport and i am not encouraging it, just informing that this is a popular persuit in this part of the world.Lot's of betting goes on during...

  • incense sticks on the number plates.

    You will very often see vietnamese car number plates with a little holder for incense sticks.While i won't say that vietnamese are a very religious bunch in a dogmatic way, they certainly have a liking for their own little spiritual rituals and you see this on the number plates of their cars for instance.The long ditance busses especially have them...

  • Wear long sleeves in the sun, also when...

    It was of course very hot and moist in the Delta. I noticed that women of all ages always wore conical hats, which are excellent for keeping the sun out all around the head while letting air in, and always long sleeves when in the sun. The tourists are much more exposed to the strong tropic radiation to which they aren't used, wearing short or no...

  • Ao Dai - Women's traditional dress

    The ao dai is a silk costume that consists of a long, slim shirt over loose pants. Interestingly, this outfit was designed as recently as the 1920s and 30s. The modern ao dai was based onclosthing from the 1800s and 1900s, but the ao dai much more colorful and sleek, accentuating a woman's body. After the end of the Vietnam War, the ao dai went out...


    It is considered rude to attract a person's attention by using the forefinger, you must use your hand in a downward position as if in a scratching movement. Using your forefinger is only considered for animals, thus a grave insult.


    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...


    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...

  • Fish farming.

    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...

  • 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...

  • Floating villages.

    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...

  • Basket boats.

    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...

  • There is still some Cham culture left in...

    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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Palms down when attracting someone's...

    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...

  • 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...

  • 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:...

  • English is King

    The Vietnamese people are extremely industrious and hard working and you cannot help but to love and admire them.Right now is an incredible time to visit Vietnam, because all the hope and upcoming prosperity is like watching a flower bloom. Excitement is in the air and strides are being made on an almost daily basis that are making life better for...

  • City homes and lifestyle

    The government used to tax based on the width of the houses, subsequently many of the houses are thin and tall. In the cities people seemed to make a combination home and business on the first floor and rent out the subsequent floors above. During the day the home was a store front, a tailor, or even a shop selling pirated DVD at night the displays...

  • Sand dunes in Muine

    Muine is popular for it's sand dunes - there is a yellow one, and another one much further with red sand.It's cool to see all the fishing boats in the horizon, and the fishermen pulling in the catch off the shore as a unified force. Quite charming, old-world way of life.The custom is to hire a motorbike and go out to the dunes. Then you surf down...

  • Crossing roads

    When crossing a busy road, don't wait until a clearing comes along, because it never will. Instead walk calmly across while holding your open hand out at stomach level to the oncoming traffic and they will simply go around you. It will seem scary at first, but it works.


    The syncretic religion that is Cao Dai arose in southern Vietnam in the middle 1920's. There are anywhere from 3 to 8 million followers of the religion. Both Cao Dai and Hoa Hoa are indigenous religions to Vietnam - they also both grew up very close to each other. God is credited with founding the Cao Dai religion revealing himself to man through...


    Catholicism accounts for between 8-10% of the population which is the second largest percentage of population in east Asia after the Philippines. Catholicism came to Vietnam with the Portuguese in the 16th century while the French would really get things going. French Jesuit Alexandre de Rhodes gets credit for developing a writing system using the...


    Most homes in Vietnam have a little shrine where the family remembers those that came before with rituals that supersede religious beliefs. The family can be Buddhist, Catholic, Cao Dai, Hoa Hoa or atheist and there will still be a shrine. Graveyards are scattered about the rice fields of the country. Recent economic gains are also reflected here...

  • Communism in Vietnam

    Vietnam is still a communist country and if you look you will see evidence of this everywhere. The Government of Vietnam posts bill boards everywhere giving messages to its citizens. Some of the bill boards just say to be a good citizen, where others talk about family commitment, getting regular immunizations for children or warn about AIDs. They...

  • Drinking Coffee

    After ordering coffee in a restaurant i was suprised it was served in a glass(partly filled) and a metallic cup.Till this incidence i only remember taking coffee or tea in one glass or a cup.Trying to figure out how to drink i place the glass and cup separetely.(as seen in the photo)Since i could not communicate with anybody in the restaurant i...

  • Vietnamese block building

    Vietnamese architecture has rich history and many influences - old buildings - houses, palaces, tombs, gardens and temples are influenced by Chinese, the colonial era brought French style, then there's social-realism of huge and massive buidlings in the North, again there's native approach in mountainous areas where ethnic minorities live. By the...

  • Experience life inside locals' homes

    Vietnamese people are very kind and inviting. The problem that many westerners have is that there is either a language barrier, or they do not take this hospitality as genuine.Granted, everyone should have their eyes open for a scam or theft (Vietnamese are opportunistic and known for petty theft), but one should graciously accept an offer to...

  • vietnam angkor extension

    hi thereit was very easy for me, i just did book 9 days private trip vietnam extend to cambodia to see angkor. one click to pay money then board to plane then enjoy that let check out this website

  • Betel and betel nut in Vietnamese...

    As a tradition, Vietnamese people used to invite their guests to chew betel before starting a conversation. That is why everyone here knows this saying:"A piece of betel starts the ball rolling." A quid of betel accompanied with greetings has been a popular custom from very early on in Vietnam. It made people closer and more openhearted. At special...

  • Sheep testie and *** barbecue

    My husband and his friends were invited for a barbecue. What was served was sheep testies and ***'s. They were surprised but they ate em.


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Vietnam Local Customs

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