An error has occurred

Do's & Dont's in the World, Asia, America, Australia, Africa, Europe | KFN Travel guide

Hanoi Do’s

  • You should greet people in their native language which is “Xin Chao!” for “Hello!” and always use “Thank you” which is “Cam on!” with bent head when you get something from them. It shows how much you respect them and how grateful you feel. When it comes to greetings there are no differences to the way western people greet each other.
  • When you enter the church, temple or any other holy or spiritual place you should dress smartly and modestly. You should cover your breast, legs and arms as most of locals are very conservative.
  • When you pay for something hold the money in both hands when passing it to the receiver.
  • When you visit pagodas you should cover your tattoos with some piece of clothes. Vietnamese think that people with tattoos are “bad” and “evil” people. It looks very bad especially on girls’ bodies (according to Vietnamese).
  • Buy a pepper gas in your country before you head to Vietnam in case of any life-threatening situations such as assault. You might get robbed at night even if you walk down the street with your friends in the centre of Hanoi city. Nearly happened to Cez, but he was armed with the gas.
  • Try to have plenty of change in your pocket and don’t let people know where you keep your money. If they know you do not change with you they will quote higher price. Also, once you haggle the right price and give them more money, they try not to give you change back, often by ignoring you.
  • Buy only bottled water and make sure the bottle is sealed. Locals are likely to pick up some empty bottles from the street, put some tap water in it, label and sell it!
  • When you book a hotel room, make sure there is a safe there to put your cash, credit cards and other valuable stuff in it. Otherwise, you might lose them in the blink of an eye.
  • Check the travel agency you are going to book a tour with online before you pay the deposit. There are many unreliable travel agencies here so it’s easy to become a victim of a scam.
  • Ask for the price first before you get in the car/taxi/bus/ train as Vietnamese are likely to make the price much higher once you decide to get in without knowing it.
  • Always keep your receipt when you do some shopping or park your bike/ motorbike/car. You shopping basket will be checked after you pay for it and getting the motorbike/car/bike park without the ticket is almost impossible or very troublesome.
  • Do shopping in the supermarket if there is one around you. Prices for foreigners are much higher when you buy something on the local markets.
  • Bargain as much as you can. The longer you haggle, the better price you get. If someone doesn’t want to negotiate the price with you, just leave it, it’s not worth it.
  • Always take off your shoes when you enter someone’s house. It’s extremely impolite to walk into a room with your shoes on.

Hanoi Don’ts

  • Don’t wear valuable jewelry and don’t show off your expensive iPod/phone/clothes. Petty crimes happen a lot here.
  • Never wear your bag on your back, always keep it in front of you zipped or locked properly. Thieves sometimes use the knives to rip your bag and they are so smart! You won’t even feel it.
  • Don’t rush people. They hate it. They take their time and there is no rush for them. If you have to wait 10 minutes for your coffee, just deal with it, don’t scream or show how unsatisfied you are because people take things slow and easy.
  • Never lose your temper. You lose your temper, you lose your face and locals won’t speak to you again or will not respect you the way you wish.
  • If you travel with your girlfriend or boyfriend don’t show in public how much you love each other. Kissing, touching or holding hands may be perceived inappropriate.