Generally, Vietnamese people are very gracious, polite and generous and will make every effort to make guests feel comfortable. Here are some general advice about things to do and not to do while traveling in Vietnam
1. 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.
2. Drink mineral water or bottled drinking water when traveling.
3. Dress well when visiting pagodas and temples in Vietnam.
4. Bargaining before using the services in the streets or in the shops/restaurants without prices clearly indicated.
5. 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 because public toilets in Vietnam are rare.
6. Dress appropriately. Not only for the prevailing climatic conditions, but also not to cause offence to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes and it is only in larger cities that these codes are relaxed a little.
7. Leave your valuable things such as cash, airline tickets, passports,...with the hotels safety deposit facility.
8. Be aware when entering someone’s home as it is a must to remove your shoes at the front door in some houses. Just follow what the local people do.
9. Ask people’s permission before taking a photograph of them. If they do not want you to do that, do not push the issue or offer money.
1. Avoid venturing into unfamiliar areas at night, especially in certain parts of Ho Chi Minh City such as Dong Khoi district and a long the Saigon River.
2. Wear shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders when visiting Pagodas and Temples. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.
3. Sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar in someone’s house.
4. Walking around in the streets with much cash, jewelry in your handbag. It’s not something to be paranoid about, simply do not make yourself a target for pickpockets or drive-by bag snatchers in the streets.
5. Lose your temper in public or when bargaining for a purchase. This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties. You’d better maintain a cool and happy demeanor and you will be reciprocated with the same.
6. Try and take photographs of military installations or anything to do with the military. This can be seen as a breach of national security.
7. Don’t be paranoid about your safety, just be aware of your surroundings when traveling in Vietnam.