For Westerners traveling through Asia, it is always a surprise to discover countries based largely on homogenous cultures. In many countries throughout the world, development has been associated with population movements and integration resulting in systems and attitudes reflecting the multicultural nature of its citizens. Vietnam’s history is mainly the story of one ethnic group – the Kinh – still representing nowadays 85 percent of the population. You can integrate in Vietnam as a foreigner…but you will never become Vietnamese if you weren’t born Vietnamese. Just look in the mirror if you aren’t convinced!

vietnamese culture

Vietnam Travel Tip #1

Do remember that Vietnam was specifically fashioned for the Vietnamese, not for foreigners. It’s their country and for the most part, they are extremely proud of it and fiercely nationalistic.

Vietnam Travel Tip #2

Do not fall for the stereotype that all Asian countries are alike. Vietnam has its own identity and characteristics, quite different from its neighbors, including China…If you were a Swede, you wouldn’t consider yourself the same as a German or even a Norwegian, would you? Similarly, Vietnamese like to think they are unique…because that’s what they are!

Vietnam Travel Tip #3

Do accept that you are a guest in Vietnam and always will be. You will experience what it feels like to be part of a visible minority. Fortunately however, you are part of a rather privileged one.

Vietnam Travel Tip #4

Do try to learn as much as you can about the culture, to integrate as much as possible into the life of the people around you, even knowing that you will never become one of them. The Vietnamese will highly appreciate your efforts to understand them, their culture and their language. And you’ll benefit from better treatment, better prices and wider smiles.

Vietnam Travel Tip #5

Do not offense Vietnamese history and especially national heroes such as President Ho Chi Minh or General Vo Nguyen Giap. It means you offense the Vietnamese people.

Vietnam Travel Tip #6

You can wear whatever you like in Vietnam vacation but in religious or solemn places, you must wear elegant clothes (Long sleeves, no tank top, no shorts, no skirts,..)