Vietnam is an Eastern country with the long-standing development of agriculture. Its cultural characteristics are far cry from those in the Western country, especially in UK. Therefore, there are many differences you should care about before taking your Vietnam tours from UK.
Best time to travel to Vietnam
Being 1,000km long, Vietnam has a huge climate diversity. Each area in this S-shaped country has its own type of weather. While UK travelers can enjoy the cold weather with even snow in some mountainous provinces, the Southern part is in its dry season. Therefore, your Vietnam tours from UK will become much better if you know the first artifice – when the best time to visit each zone is.
The most suitable time for mountainous fields such as Sapa, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, etc. should be the dry season. It lasts from October to March. During this time, you can experience a different winter to that in Britain which is less cold but very dry. Also you can avoid accidents caused by erosion in the rain season. Or, if you’re keen on taking romantic pictures in Hanoi during fall leaves season, July to September is recommended period.
Visiting this part of Vietnam between January and March, tourists from UK can not only experience Tet holiday but also make the most of the cool weather. The next period, from April to July, is the ideal time for a trip to the beach.
June and July is the time when visitors to the southern part of Vietnam are offered with fresh, delicious fruits from local gardens. However, September to November is the best time for eco-tourism.
Top places to travel
Among a variety of tourist destinations, British travelers cannot finish their journey to Vietnam without going to some of these sites below.
If you want to explore the most modern cities in Vietnam, your holiday should be in Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam, Da Nang – the largest city in Central or Ho Chi Minh – the most up-to-date city of Vietnam.
Interested in biodiversity in Vietnam? 10 national parks and 61 nature reserves of the country will satisfy your needs. Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong national park- the first national park in Vietnam should be on your top list. Besides, Phong Nha – Ke Bang in Central and Cat Tien in the North are also worth exploring.
In case you want to lie in the sun in the beach, Con Dao, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, My Khe is suggested for you.
Pagoda and temple are places where you can expand your knowledge about Buddhism in Vietnam and about this country’s architecture. Some places you ought to go are Huong Perfume Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Thien Mu Pagoda, Yen Tu Pagoda, etc.
Unless you love exploring Vietnamese minority ethnic groups and their distinguished culture along with relaxing in a fresh environment, you shouldn’t visit Tay Nguyen and mountainous regions in the North.
Festivals in Vietnam
Joining festivals gives you opportunities to know more about traditions, customs, and culture of this southeast Asian nation. Each festival has its own color and meanings. However, it is recommended that you try at least one of those main festivals. In order that you can have a good overview about different culture characteristics between Vietnam and Britain.
- Lunar New Year (Tet)
It is the biggest festival over a year. Occurring in late January or early February, Tet is the longest national holiday with various Tet activities. This is the time for family gatherings, for relaxing after a hard- working year, for displays of firework and for hope about the next new year. If you plan to go on a tour to Vietnam during Tet, it is essential that you book your flight and your hotel in advance as early as possible. Otherwise, there will be no slot available for you.
- Hung King Temple Festival (Early April):
This festival is held every year to commemorate King Duong Vuong, Vietnam’s first king. This is also time for Vietnamese people to commemorate their ancestors.
- Mid-autumn festival:
Also known as harvest festival, Mid-autumn festival is when interesting activities, especially for young children happen. All the streets are decorated with colorful lanterns and other lovely items. Lion dances, fruits, and moon cakes are things that cannot be missed during this festival.
- Perfume pagoda festival:
Held in mid-February at the Perfume Pagoda, the festival is an opportunity for Vietnamese people to pray for a prosperous year and show their respect to Buddha.
Above are just 4 biggest festivals in Vietnam, there are still many other local festivals that are worth taking part in.
Table manners notes
Unlike table manners in UK, there is something travelers need to know and understand while having a meal in Vietnam. These notes will help British people who take a trip to Vietnam have greater experiences.
- Chopsticks are mainly used and should never be stuck straight into a bowl of rice.
- Don’t be surprised if a small food gift sitting in your bowl as this is the way Vietnamese people show their hospitality. Instead, you’d better say “Cam on”.
- Before the meal starts, it is important to invite other people to eat, especially the elder.
- Be free chatting during the meal. As mealtime is considered to be the best time for family members to share their stories.
- After finishing your meal, don’t leave too soon, stay until other people finish. This is because leaving soon to Vietnamese means that you don’t want to talk with them and don’t respect them.
Being affected by traditional values and modern changes, communication in Vietnam is a combination of both. Your voyage to Vietnam would be more meaningful if you can have a conversation with a Vietnamese. When communicating with local residents, UK travelers need to remember some important tips below.
- Greet people in order of age
- Vietnamese people tend to shake hands to greet other. Some might use two hands and bow the head slightly while shaking hands to show their respect. But to the opposite sex, it is more suitable to give a slight bow.
- Do not hug or kiss as Vietnamese only do so with their really close friends and family.
- Avoid touching straight kids otherwise people may think you’re trying to kidnap children.
- Be careful to choose suitable clothes when going to worship places like pagodas or temples.
- Use both two hands to give things to other people to show your respect to them.
- It’s possible to make a bargain with sellers at traditional markets.
That’s all the basic things you need to know about when taking a tour in Vietnam from Britain. However, it is difficult for you to cover everything in your Vietnam tours. Therefore, you are recommended to pick a tour covering all the highlights with Vietnam itinerary 2 weeks. If you’d like to add more to that tour, just simply ask your travel consultant for a customized tour which suits you the most. It will certainly help you gain more interesting experiences about this developing country.
Do Toan – Travel Lover