Vietnam and Thailand have long always been wonderful tourist destinations with their beautiful attractions and interesting oriental cultures. Thai and Vietnamese people totally understand that foreign visitors have different ways of doing things so most social indiscretions will be sympathized and forgiven. But locals will have great respect for you if you are aware of some of the crucial Vietnam Thailand’s dos and don’ts. These would also help you to be served better and to avoid problematic moments.
_Do hand and receive things from others with two hands. This is a way to show respect, especially when you are doing it to an older person.
_Always be careful with your wallet, bags and jewelry to avoid being a victim of pickpocket or ride-by bag snatcher
_Keep in mind that the idea of respecting the people that are older than you is very important in Vietnam. The difference of age may only be one year but it is still a big deal.
_Vietnamese people say the ‘invitation’ before the meal as a way to wish everyone a good meal. Knowing how to say this will earn you huge respect from the hosts. The ‘invitation’ is given to the oldest person first.
_Try to learn how to use chopsticks. It is not only more convenient for you in a Vietnamese meal but also a cool thing to learn. When pause, put the chopsticks over your bowl of rice. Do not stand your chopsticks up in the rice as it is a sign of bad luck.
_Dress conservatively, especially if you are a girl.
_Do not just eat at any restaurant/shop you see. Vietnam has some of the best street foods in the world but be selective when eating out on the street. Not every shop maintains the food safety and hygiene standard so it can make you sick. Choose to eat where cooks wear gloves and foods are covered up.
_Do not walk in anyone’s house with your shoes on
_In a meal, do not start eating if the oldest person has not.
_It is extremely important not to embarrass someone in Vietnam. The idea of ‘lose face’ (mất mặt/thể diện) and ‘safe face’ (giữ mặt/thể diện) has been around for a long time in Vietnamese culture. Do not say or act something, especially in public, in the way that would make other people judge your host (make your host ‘lose face’).
_Keep public displays of affection to a respectful minimum.
__Do not be disrespectful to people who are related to the military, especially veterans. The military has a great position in Vietnam’s history and culture.
_Do absolutely respect the images of Buddha and the religion of Buddhism. Acts of disrespecting these are not just impolite but are against the rules and you can be put in jail.
_Treat monks with the highest respect. Do some research of what should be avoid when being around monks. To name a few, do not touch them or give something directly to them. Also, never cross your legs when you are in the presence of a monk.
_Dress appropriately when going to temples and pagodas.
_The wai (pronounce like why) is Thailand’s traditional gesture of greeting and thanking. Wai is done by bending the head and joining hands in front of the chest and it is a way to say ‘thank you’, ‘hello’, to apologize or simple to be polite. Though foreigners are not expect to wai, it is very nice to do it in appropriate situations. Remember not to wai a person at a lower status than you. Also, when you want to make the wai more formal, it should be longer and you should hold your hands higher.
_Sunbathing naked is very offensive to most Thai people even though they would likely to not say anything to you.
_It is very important to never touch anyone’s head. This is considered a very disrespectful act.
_Ask about your food before ordering. Thai cuisine is among the best cuisines in the world but some of the dishes are extremely spicy and contain many spices. Make sure you know what you are eating.
_Do not show disrespect when it comes to the Thai Royal Family. This is something that can send you to jail as well.
_Do not touch or take a picture of a Thai woman without asking for permission first.
_Most Thai people see the feet as the filthiest part on the body. Never point at anything with your feet, place them on tables or pick something up with your foot.
_Do not show you anger. For Thais, only fools and people of poor upbringing lose their temper in public. Loud voices and angry talk are counterproductive in Thailand.
_Do not be offended when asked about age, marriage or salary in Thailand. These are common questions in Thailand and they do not mean them negatively. You can refuse to answer.
_Do not litter in public places. You can be fined up to 2,000 baht for doing so.
Vietnam and Thailand, with their fascinating cultures, are waiting to give you an amazing time. Click here to and let us help you plan your wonderful trip to these two beautiful countries.