If you plan to make a thorough visit to Vietnam, you may want to get familiar with the way local people live and the unwritten rules they obey during their everyday routines. On the other hand, the knowledge of the local etiquette can also be useful in your interaction with them. You don’t want to be rude or impolite without even realizing it. That’s why today we’re introducing some of the elementary facts you should know when it comes to native Vietnamese etiquette.
Saying Hello in Vietnam
When you arrive in Vietnam, you will quickly realize the majority of local people, especially youth, have accepted the western manner of greeting. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t have their own way of doing so. If you want to greet someone in a traditional Vietnamese way, you should put your hands together in front of your body and bow a bit. The traditional way of showing respect when communicating with old people or monks also includes taking off your hat, while bowing your head. No matter how you decide to greet people around you, make sure not to touch people’s heads. That’s considered really disrespectful.
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Eating in Vietnam
In most of the restaurants in larger cities of Vietnam, you can eat your meal using a fork and a knife. However, if you decide to eat in a Vietnamese way (which can be both difficult and fun!), you should pay attention to your attitude when it comes to chopsticks. If you use them to eat, you must know that you should never leave your chopsticks vertically in a rice bowl. This reminds the local people of the incense sticks burned for the dead, so, therefore, it definitely isn’t a preferred way of putting down your chopsticks.
Dressing in Vietnam
If you’re a tourist in Vietnam, nobody will judge you if you don’t wear their traditional clothes. As a matter of fact, the number of local people insisting on wearing them is decreasing lately. However, you should still be respectful and choose appropriate clothing. You’ll be sure you respect local standards if you wear shorts and skirts that cover your knees and if you are a woman, make sure to cover your shoulders. The respect of these rules is especially important if you are visiting religious places. Additionally, when you’re entering the sacred places in Vietnam, you have to do it barefoot. Finally, forget about sunbathing nude, even if you’re at the seaside.
Be careful with your feet
In Vietnam, like in some other parts of Asia, clean floors have a great importance. That’s why you’ll probably be asked to take off your shoes not only when entering temples but homes of local people, as well. Additionally, make sure not to show the bottom of your feet towards other people or something sacred.