Vietnam is a captivating country filled with rich history, vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the picturesque waters of Ha Long Bay and the charming lantern-lit streets of Hoi An, Vietnam offers a diverse range of experiences for travellers. However, like any other destination, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. In this blog, we will highlight some common mistakes to avoid when visiting Vietnam, helping you make the most of your time in this fascinating Southeast Asian gem.
Here are the 10 mistakes to avoid when visiting Vietnam:
1: Neglecting to check visa and flight details thoroughly
When planning your Vietnam trip, securing a visa is crucial. Different nationalities have different requirements, so carefully check the visa regulations and ensure your dates align. Double-check both your visa and flight details to avoid any problems upon arrival. Refer to our previous blog post on Vietnam Tourist Visa for more information on obtaining a visa.
2: Forgetting to carry cash
While credit cards are widely accepted in major establishments, smaller towns and local markets may prefer cash payments. It’s advisable to have cash on hand, especially in such places. Though ATMs are available, having local currency will ensure a hassle-free experience.
3: Attempting to cover the entire country in one trip
Vietnam is vast and diverse, so trying to see everything in one visit can be overwhelming, particularly with limited time. Instead, focus on specific regions, such as the north or south, and explore them thoroughly. Nature lovers will find the north’s stunning landscapes and trekking opportunities appealing, while the south offers a wealth of history, architecture, and vibrant cityscapes.
4: Not carrying your own snacks if you’re vegetarian
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its meat-based dishes, making it challenging to find vegetarian options, especially in smaller towns or local eateries. If you follow a vegetarian diet, carry snacks to ensure suitable options. Learning basic Vietnamese words like “chay” (vegetarian) or “quan chay” (vegetarian restaurant) can also help convey your dietary preferences to locals.
5: Failing to obtain an international driving licence
If you plan to rent a vehicle and embark on a self-drive adventure in Vietnam, obtaining an international driving licence is essential. Driving without a valid licence can lead to legal issues, so ensure you have the necessary documentation for a smooth and hassle-free journey.
6: Ignoring tipping customs
Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, except for exceptional service. It’s important to be aware of local customs regarding tipping. In some cases, tipping may not be accepted or could be considered disrespectful. Observe the local practices and use your discretion when it comes to tipping.
7: Using unfamiliar taxi services
Choose reliable and trustworthy taxi services when travelling within cities in Vietnam. The My Linh taxi app is recommended for its safety and reliability. Avoid using unfamiliar taxi apps to minimise the risk of scams or poor service.
8: Mishandling Vietnamese currency
Vietnamese Dong (VND) has large denominations that can be confusing for travellers. Take time to familiarise yourself with the currency and its values before making any payments. As a reference, 1 USD is equivalent to 23,525 Vietnamese dong.
9: Disregarding local customs and etiquette
Respect local customs and etiquette when visiting Vietnam or any foreign country. Learn about basic Vietnamese customs, such as bowing slightly when greeting, removing shoes when entering someone’s home or a temple, and dressing modestly when visiting religious sites. These small gestures demonstrate respect for the local culture.
10: Overlooking street food experiences
Vietnam is renowned for its delectable street food culture, and it would be a shame to miss out on the culinary delights offered on the streets. Some travellers may have concerns about hygiene, but if you exercise caution and choose busy stalls with high turnover, you’re likely to have a fantastic culinary experience. Opt for freshly cooked food and drink bottled water to stay on the safe side.