Culture & Customs

Vietnamese Culture and Customs should be known before going to Vietnam.

Behaviour & cultural differences

  • Try not to get angry. Showing any frustrations or annoyances by shouting is impolite and unlikely to achieve a positive outcome.
  • Pointing with your finger is seen as offensive. Try to gesture using your whole hand instead.
  • Refrain from public displays of affection, it is considered impolite. It is extremely rare to see couples holding hands.
  • Wear shorts to the knees and cover your shoulders, particularly at religious sites.
  • Always remove your shoes when entering a temple or somebody’s home.
  • Nude sunbathing is completely inappropriate.
  • Remove your hat when entering a religious site, addressing the elderly or encountering esteemed people such as monks.
  • It is improper to stare, smile at or approach children of people you don’t personally know.
  • When using a toothpick, it is polite to cover your open mouth.
  • Don’t leave chopsticks sitting vertically in a rice bowl as it looks very similar to incense sticks that are burned for the dead.
  • When passing something to another person, use your hands together or just your right hand.

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Public holidays

  • TET (Vietnamese New Year): generally takes place at the end of January or early February and lasts for four days.
  • It is not recommended to travel over this period because transport is often booked or expensive and a lot of places are closed (museums, restaurants, shops…)
  • Liberation of Saigon: 30 April
  • International Worker’s Day: 1 May
  • Vietnamese National Day: 2 September


Tipping is a personal matter and travelers are encouraged to tip any amount they feel is appropriate. For your convenience, we have included a suggested tipping guide below:

  • Bellboy: $1-$2 per room
  • Chambermaid: $1 per day
  • Guides: $5-$10 per day, per person (depending on group size and performance)
  • Drivers: $2-$5 per day, per person (depending on group size and performance)
  • Restaurants: in smart establishments, the tip will be already included in the bill. In local restaurants, tips are not expected but you may wish to leave loose change on the table.




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