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25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam


If you are planning to have a trip to Vietnam, check out these 25 things to know before traveling in Vietnam.

General Information about Vietnam

The basic and important information you need to know before traveling in Vietnam

1. When to Go

The best time to visit Vietnam is spring, from February to April, which is the period with the lowest rainfall of the year. At this time, it is still a little bit cool in the north and very dry in the south. The second option is that you can come to Vietnam in the summer, from April to July, quite good weather for Halong Bay travel and cooler atmosphere in the south, but note that there could be unexpected showers in the afternoon.

2. Visa

If you are the residents of ASEAN countries, you are allowed to enter Vietnam for a specific period that does not require visa application. This also applied for residents of England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Learn more about how to obtain a Vietnam visa here.

3. Motorbike

The motorbike tour is one of the must-try experiences in Vietnam. To experience Vietnam like a real local, you should get on the back of a bike riding around the downtown. Motorbike makes commuting more flexible and somehow creates many habits of Vietnamese such as stopping at a vendor to buy something without getting off of the bike. The scene of hundreds of motorbikes driving on the street in peak hour become a signature of the metropolitans like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and has always impressed the international visitors.

25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam motorbike

Motorbikes are very popular in Vietnam

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!


4. Useful Vietnamese Phrases

Knowing some of the simple phrases of the place where you are going to visit always gives you advantages in your journey. For Vietnam, these are the phrases you should keep in mind:

  • Greet and introduce yourself: Xin chào, tôi là [your name]
  • Thank you: Cảm ơn
  • Sorry / Excuse me: Xin lỗi
  • Please help: Xin hãy giúp tôi

Learn more Vietnamese useful phrases here.

5. Security

One of the strengths of Vietnam tourism is political stability. Visiting Vietnam, you needn’t worry about terrorism or demonstrating. Although things are becoming more complicated these days, Vietnam is still a country with an impressive peaceful atmosphere in general. However, you must mind your belongings and be careful with all your valuable assets since the thefts and scams are quite common, especially in touristy areas.

Get your travel insurance to travel Vietnam:


Vietnam Economy

What you need to know about using money in Vietnam

6. Preparing Cash

Although Vietnam is witnessing a fast growth in banking service and the use of bank cards or online payment, transactions involving cash still dominate the market. Moreover, some small shops in the market or street vendors where you can find unique stuff and services of Vietnam do not offer bank payment. Therefore, you should always bring with yourself some cash. You should learn to differentiate them as well since the color of some notes (with a large difference in value) is quite similar. This is one of the important things to know before traveling in Vietnam.

25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam Vietnamese money

Vietnamese money

7. Cost of Traveling

To have a comfortable trip in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you might need approximately 5 to 7 million for 3 days. This includes hotel fees, food, transportation, and expenses for other recreational activities. Learn more about the costs in Vietnam here.

Check prices and reviews of top hotels in Vietnam here:


8. The Amount for Tips

Tipping is one of the things to know before traveling in Vietnam, depending on situations and services. In our country, it is not mandatory to give tips in local diners. Whether you tips or the amount of tips greatly depends on the customer service that you use. If you are very satisfied with the service, you can give tips of about 10% of the receipt. Or else, you just only need to pay for what you ordered. However, in the case of staff in the tourism and hospitality industry, much of their income depends on your tips.

9. Bargain

In Vietnam, bargaining is a culture which not only helps the customer to buy the products or services with lower price but also gives the seller and the buyer chances to communicate with each other, which sometimes considered as a hobby to housewives. So if you know this thing before traveling in Vietnam, don’t be surprised why the Vietnamese bargain all the time.

Vietnam's Historical and Cultural Symbols

Symbols that you often come across and should acknowledge avoiding offending the locals

10. National flower

There has been no flower officially announced as Vietnam national flower. However, when it comes to national flower, most Vietnamese think of lotus. Lotus has long been recognized as the symbol pure and beautiful, and it has appeared almost anywhere in Vietnam, from long-established architectures to logo of modern brand names. That is the reason why the majority of Vietnamese take lotus as the national flower.

11. Ao dai

Ao dai is famous all over the world to be one of the most beautiful and delicate national costumes. Ao dai has had a long history and has evolved into many shapes and forms before reaching today’s design. Looked simple, Ao dai requires excellent tailoring skills to make and a fit body shape to wear.

25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam ao dai

Ao dai - the national and traditional costume of Vietnam

12. Water puppet

Water puppet exists nowhere in the world but in Vietnam. This is a kind of folk arts originated in the north of Vietnam and has developed and become popular all over the nation today. The art of water puppet lies at the puppet controlling skills, the music, and the stage decoration. This is a must when you visit Vietnam.

13. Folk music

You can divide Vietnam into three areas based on some significant cultures of each area and music is one of which. There is a variety of folk music all over Vietnam including cheo, tuong, quan ho, chau van, ca tru, cai luong, etc. Each type of music represents the life and the people there. They are played by unique instruments and have distinct performance styles. They are dying out and maybe not for everyone, even the locals, but are beautiful treasures of the past.

14. Historical figures

Talking about Vietnam's key figures, there are some people you should know about. Dynasty of Hung Kings is considered to be the first governmental reign of Vietnam, while names such as Ngo Quyen, Quang Trung (Nguyen Hue), Ly Thuong Kiet are that of Vietnamese heroes who led the nation to fight against invaders and achieve great victories. Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap were the ones who led Vietnamese through the wars with France and America. There are a lot more. You should get yourself familiar with these figures since they are who Vietnamese people give much respect, and we expect tourists to do the same.

Religions in Vietnam

Similar to historical and cultural symbols, you should have an overview of religions in Vietnam to respect the local traditions.

15. Folk religion

In Vietnam, whether you follow a religion or not, you always have an altar for worshiping ancestors. That is a part of folk religion in Vietnam. It is by default that every Vietnamese practice this religion and it has been more or less a Vietnamese tradition rather than a religious act. This is among the most interesting things to know before traveling in Vietnam.

16. Buddhism

Even though Buddhism is the second largest religion in Vietnam, the proportion is only about 1/6 that of folk religion. Whether following Buddhism or not, Vietnamese has always had a positive attitude toward this religion and most of Vietnamese go to pagodas or temples on special occasion although they are atheist.

17. The harmony of all religions

Besides folk religion and Buddhism, there is a wide range of religion exist in Vietnam such as Christianity and Islam. All the religion exist in harmony, and each of them has its own religious place and practices which are well supported by the government.

Places to Visit in Vietnam

Wonderful places that you should pay a visit when traveling to Vietnam

18. Beautiful nature

With a long coastline, various terrains at different land levels, the landscape, and tourism destinations in Vietnam can indulge your needs to relax in nature. Sandy and sunny beaches of Mui Ne, clear water in Nha Trang, forests and national parks across the country with diverse wildlife, challenging trekking trails in the mountains in the northwest of Vietnam, giant and primitive caves in Quang Binh, calm rivers in the countrysides like Mekong Delta region.

Learn more about the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam.

19. Historical and cultural monuments

Suffering from wars for more than a thousand years, there are countless museums and monuments in Vietnam. However, besides museums showcasing stuff related war, some museums are dedicated to the preservation of art and cultural artifacts. You can spend time wandering in these museums when you want to hide from the hot sun. Another place you should visit is the local markets in Vietnam, where you can be closest to the culture of the destination you are visiting. You can find almost everything in markets, from foods, textiles, to cosmetics, and electronics.

20. Religious architectures

In Vietnam, there are many different religions co-exist with amazing designs. You can find here churches, temples, pagodas, mosques, and so on. There are some renowned religious places that you should pay a visit like One Pillar Pagoda, Thien Mu Pagoda, Mariamman Hindu Temple, and Tan Dinh Church.

25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam one pillar pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi

21. Bars, pubs, coffee shops with live music

If you are seeking a place for some music and dancing, a variety of bars and pubs in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City will definitely satisfy you. Besides, there are coffee shops that put on live music performances with various genres. It can be acoustic, pop, or even rock. Singers are not really famous but passionate about music and performance.

Foods and Drinks in Vietnam

What you need to know about safe and delicious eating and drinking in Vietnam

22. Food hygiene

If this is your first time visiting Vietnam, you should mind all the food you eat. Otherwise, you might have stomachache which will ruin your trip. Ingredients in Vietnam are very fresh, that’s true but not all the food is made of fresh ingredients and newly-made by the time you eat it. Therefore, you should check carefully the cooking process and cleanliness of utensils when trying food served in street vendors, especially when your stomach is not in good condition.

See How to Prevent Food Poisoning in Vietnam

23. Water safety

Unlike many European or American countries, you cannot use tap water in Vietnam to drink directly. Water needs to be boiled before drinking. A suggested solution is you should buy yourself mineral water in convenient stores or bring your own bottle of boiled water with the electric kettle in hotels or hostels, instead of drinking water directly from any tap.

Our advice is to bring your own travel water bottle which you can refill with drinkable water from your hotel or at coffee shops. 

24. Popular dishes

There are some popular and well-known dishes of Vietnam that you must try: pho, banh mi, com tam (broken rice), different kinds of noodles such as bun rieu, bun bo Hue, etc. These are the masterpieces of Vietnamese cuisine which cannot be skipped if you already get to Vietnam. There are also plant-based versions for vegan travelers.

25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam pho

Pho - the most famous dish of Vietnamese cuisine

Contact us now to plan your Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City!

25. Popular drinks

Coming to Vietnam, Vietnamese coffee is a must-try. You can watch hundreds of videos online talking about the special of Vietnamese coffee but you cannot fully feel that until you try it. In your plan, make space for a slow-paced morning with a Vietnamese coffee which will be perfectly accompanied by com tam or banh mi. Other than coffee, tra da (iced tea), coconut juice, and sugarcane juice are good alternatives to cool your thirst. These are the most popular drinks in Vietnam.

Summary of 25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam

Above are 25 things to know before traveling in Vietnam. If you are planning to have a trip to the S-shaped country, read our blog for other helpful information so you can experience Vietnam to the fullest.


© Written by Minh Thuy for

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Guest - Darren Griffin on Saturday, 26 October 2019 15:54

really appreciate the list

really appreciate the list
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Friday, 31 March 2023

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This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Vietnam Travel Information

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First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam?

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Da Lat

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Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

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