Do’s and Donts while travelling in Vietnam

DO’S

Before venturing out from your hotel, ensure you have a hotel business card from the reception desk. This will make your return to the hotel in a taxi or cyclo much easier.

For longer excursions from your base hotel, it is always a good idea to carry a roll of toilet paper in your daypack. You never know when you will need it.

Always dress appropriately. Vietnamese dress conservatively. Despite the heat, it’s best not to show off too much skin. If you do, especially girls, you’ll only draw stares from the locals. And dress well when visiting pagodas. No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts. Shoes are fine, and rarely will you have to remove them. If unsure, just follow what the locals do.

Always leave your excess cash, airline tickets, passports and valuables with the hotels safety deposit facility.

ALWAYS drink plenty of bottled water especially when walking around sightseeing. No need to carry huge bottles around with you, a vendor is never far away and no doubt they will find you before you find them.

Always be aware when entering someone’s home as at some homes it is a must to remove your shoes at the front door.

Always ask his or her permission first when taking a photograph of someone. If they indicate that they do not want you to, then abide by their wishes. DO NOT push the issue or offer money.

DON’TS

Wear a lot of jewellery or take a bag with you. Violent crime is highly unusual in Vietnam, but petty crime is more apparent. 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.

Don’t wear singlet, shorts, skirts or dresses, or revealing clothes to temples or pagodas.

dosanddont1Physical 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.

Losing your temper in Vietnam means a loss of face. Keep a cool head and remain polite, you’ll have a greater chance of getting what you want.

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.

Never sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar in someone’s house.

Never try and 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 many local people.

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