Vietnam is not new to the world travel map but still part of Asia; where a lot of exotic practices and cultural differences should be explored and crossed. Streets are full of motorbikes, crowded outdoor markets, people eating and drinking in the streets, etc. All these make Vietnam a vibrant country at its every corner in the eyes of foreign travelers. Therefore, getting to know these facts before traveling to Vietnam will help you not only enjoy the character of the destination but also let your Vietnam travel run smoothly without a hic-up; and that you know what is what along your journey.
1. Not all the side-walks are big enough, some are very narrow and fully packed by stuff, street shops; while you will have, without thinking, to walk in the streets. Then, you had better walking against the traffic flow so you can see what come up.
>> Experience walking in the streets with Hanoi Walking Tour
2. In Northern Vietnam, many bamboo smoke-pipes are found on the streets, at the tea shops. They seem to be communal ones as everybody can use and they are purely for tobacco, not opium at all. It is because opium is illegal in Vietnam.
3. Except in a fine-dining restaurant, most of the general others will expect you to sit down where available. The owner or manager will be happy if you find the space on your own, because they don’t have to go out and seat you in, especially in a busy restaurant.
>> Suggested Hanoi street food tour: Hanoi Street Food Tour
4. If you see two women sitting close together and one is searching on the other’s head, that simply they are picking out the grey hairs, not finding the head louse. Like most Asians, people don’t want to have a lot of grey hairs that make them look old.
5. In Vietnam, if the opposite and the back vehicle flash the headlights, it means that they are in a hurry and want to pass or take advantage to go/turn first. Sometimes, the one who flashed is getting close enough to road rage. Keep calm.
6. The majority of people in Vietnam will take breakfast out in the streets’ vendors/shops, around their neighborhood or on the way to work, school, instead of having it at home. Therefore, let’s get out in the early morning and see it once you are in Vietnam.
7. Holding hands of the two women in the streets is something very ordinary. Sometimes, it’s accepted if the boys doing so, depending on how “aggressive” they are. Yet gay and Lesbian are not widely be seen at public.
8. When having a sudden small cut from a knife or broken glasses that comes to a bleeding, people usually hurry for some tobacco at the street tea-shops or getting a cigarette to capture the cut and stop the bleeding. Surprisingly, it works very well.
9. In general, a glass of water is not served free in regular restaurants, while you have to buy it. This is because the traditional Vietnamese meal is always consisted of a big watery vegetable soup to share, so people don’t have such a habit to get water while having a meal.
10. When invited to a local home and having meal, you will learn that the family will just use a shared bowl of dipping sauce for all members. This is from the traditional communal lifestyle practice, but you can always request a separate one.
>> Learn to cook Vietnamese yummy food with Cooking Tour In Hoi An
11. The majority of Vietnamese who don’t have children will tend to have an adopted child. It’s because they want to have someone to live with and to lean upon when they grow old. It’s different from the Western’s side to adopt the child to give him/her home.
12. Though this culture seems to get less and less, some people are still eating dog meat. It’s based on an old thinking that having dog meat will help them put away the bad luck. These dog eaters will traditionally take it only after the full-moon period of the lunar month.
13. Known as the main transport means for people in Vietnam, a motorbike is also known as a method to transport goods, stuff and even animals as pigs and buffalos. You will see it everywhere from North to South. This is part of the country’s identity, no doubt.
>> Experience Saigon local life from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter with Saigon After Dark On Vespa Tour
With years in the travel industry, we have been learning that these facts are good explores to any foreigner traveler to Vietnam. The enjoyment of a trip is not only about where to go, what sight to see but to learn the differences in those cultural practices from local people and its country. That’s how your Vietnam travel memories will stay and your experience is enriched.
Suggested Vietnam tours
Tim Lee – Travel Specialist