There’s no such thing as a boring trip to Vietnam. Known for its stunning beauty, delicious noodle soup (called pho), and bustling cities, Vietnam is traveler’s dream. Gawk at the limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay, trek through lush paddy fields, and immerse yourself in Vietnam’s culture at local markets.
What do we do? What don’t we do?
Know before you go
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. While it may feel awkward at first, attempting the local language goes a long way when navigating a city and interacting with people. Practice these basic phrases to get started:
- Hello: Xin chào (Sin chow)
- Goodbye: Tạm biệt (Tam biet)
- Please: Làm ơn (Lom on)
- Thank you: Cảm ơn (Cam on)
- Yes: Dạ (Dza)
- No: Không (Kong)
- Cheers!: Dzô! (Yo!)
Vietnamese people as a whole are humble and optimistic, making it easy to want to immerse yourself deeper into their way of life. Here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs, and feel like a true local:
- GrabTaxi is basically Vietnam's version of Uber. You can use this app to order a taxi, and it’s a safe and reliable way to get around!
- Vietnamese people are very modest. Even though some things may be very cheap to you in comparison to what you're used to, be careful not to flaunt money.
- Shouting for your server at a restaurant isn't considered rude. If you need to get their attention, simply call out, "Em ơi!"
- Haggling over prices in markets is the norm. But don't bargain too aggressively, as saving face is important. A good rule of thumb is to start at 40-50% of the asking price.
- Try your best to finish the food on your plate, it's considered disrespectful not to finish a meal.
- Chopsticks are a staple of Asian cuisine and culture. Attempting to use chopsticks instead of western cutlery will earn you some respect with the locals, but be wary of using chopsticks to point at someone, poke at food, or play them like musical instruments - these are all signs of disrespect.
- If you need to put down your chopsticks while eating, put them on the table or lie them horizontally across the rim of your bowl. Avoid sticking them upright into the bowl.
- When out in a group, people often drink in unison, particularly if there's something to be excited about. It's initiated with a call od, "Mot, hai, ba, dzo!" Meaning, "One, two, three, cheers!"
From vibrant colors to herbal aromas, Vietnamese cuisine strives to appeal to all of the senses. Read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.
- Phở: If there's only one Vietnamese dish people know, it's almost always pho. And with good reason; it's a classic rice noodle dish with an herbaceous broth.
- Mi quang: Additionally, you could try Hanoi's specialty noodle soup based around a turmeric-infused bone broth.
- Bánh mì: This sandwich often comprised of pate, pork, pickled veggies, coriander, and chilis is a staple of Vietnamese street food.
- Gỏi cuốn : Spring rolls of shrimp, pork, and fresh veggies wrapped up in a rice paper package.
- Bánh xèo: Rice batter cooked like a crepe, but folded like a taco, and loaded with pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and mung beans. Not to mention the fish sauce with garlic and red pepper to dip it in.
- Cha ca: With so much coastline, it's no surprise that there are plenty of fabulous seafood options on offer. This white fish seasoned with turmeric, dill, garlic, and ginger is pan-fried in butter.
- Tea: You'll have no shortage of tea options (usually iced), infused with everything from kumquats to artichokes.
- Rice wine: Not to be imbibed like glasses of wine, this liquor is proofed around 40%.
We plan it all. And then some.
Our group trips to Vietnam come with everything included. That’s accommodations, flights (unless you wanna book your own), activities, and an expert Tour Director who knows just where to find the best bowl of pho.
Round-trip flights & airport transfers (or book ’em yourself)