What should I do in Vietnam and what should not?

Most of the Vietnamese people are very friendly and hospitable. They can forgive or do not mind some different things when you are wrong or get mistakes. You should keep a cool and happy attitude and you will be reciprocated with the same.

Ao Dai - Long traditonal dress in Vietnam

Here are some basic advises that may help you get perfect trips in Vietnam.

1. What should I do in Vietnam?

Keep your cash, credit cards and other valuables in a safe place. They are good in a safe box in your hotel, otherwise contact the reception for a safe way. Bring enough cash to use daily when going out.

Put in your pocket a hotel card, in the case of your return.

Wear appropriately when you contact the local people.

Ask for permission when taking pictures of someone. However, you should not ask someone while they are working to avoid bothering them.

Carry a roll of toilet paper and a raincoat or an umbrella when you get a long excursion.

Carry your mosquito spray.

Be careful when walking on streets. Although most of the cities in Vietnam are safe, it is better to notice your wallet, jewelry and handbag to avoid robbers.

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2. What should not I do in Vietnam?

Vietnam, a rich-culture nation of rituals, customs, and traditions, will certainly have many taboos. To ensure luck, smooth life, and good health come, you need to pay attention to the following spiritual and cultural things.

2.1 Notes not to do when you’re a tourist in Vietnam

Do not drink water in Vietnam from the tap directly.

Should not carry cash more than you have intended to use when you get out.

Avoid arguing with retail sellers at the market when bargaining.

Do not bargain when you buy a water bottle, or some small things from the people who are struggling to sell to survive.

Should not wear much jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, and expensive rings.

Do not give empty bottles or candies to the local people when you go to the ethnic minority villages.

Should not wear singlet, too short dress or skirt or low collar and bare shoulders to visit temples and pagodas.

If you are invited to the local’s house, you should choose a seat which is not in font the family alter. It is the best way to ask the owner where you can sit.

And below are the spiritual taboos in Vietnam that you need to avoid getting good lucks. However, the below notes are for reference only, this is just the habit, spiritual thoughts, and a part of the culture of the Vietnamese people.

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2.2 The ancient taboos of Vietnamese people, some are still popular today

When it comes to taboos, Vietnamese people have a lot to keep in mind. Most of the taboos are of a customary nature, according to the habit, when seeing grandparents and parents abstaining, they rarely wonder why such taboos are required.

Vietnamese people often have taboos on the first day of the lunar new year, the first day of the month, the full moon day, and even the beginning of the early morning of a weekday. Before embarking on important activities, such as weddings, house construction, funerals, and opening new businesses, it is also necessary to memorize do’s and don’ts.

It can be said that taboo things have no scientific basis, but partly reflect the beliefs of the people since ancient times.

At the beginning of the lunar new year and the first morning of the first month, abstain from debt collection, fearing the whole year or the whole month, you will get in debt.

  1. Abstain from swearing in the early morning, afraid of being afraid all day.
  2. Pregnant women do not pick the fruit from the tree. It is afraid to give birth so late.
  3. When there is a pregnant wife, the husband abstains from killing. If it happens, will get unlucky.
  4. When being in newborn, abstain from letting outsiders throw money into the room, afraid of the child being startled.
  5. Husband and wife avoid washing the same face towel.
  6. Descendants should not get names like grandparents, parents, fear of disrespect.
  7. Do not praise children for being beautiful and fat.
  8. Children should not wear Vietnamese hats at home, they become short.
  9. Students go to school, avoid eating burnt rice (but can eat broken rice). Having burnt rice causes less intelligence, and abstain from eating chicken feet, fear of writing hand tremors.
  10. The bed in the house abstains from standing upside down, afraid of wrong.
  11. At home abstain from sitting in the middle of the door, that is rude.

2.3 Spiritual taboos not to do at night

At night, you should not do the following taboo things to avoid bad lucks.

  1. Do not shake the keys after 10 pm. If you do that, you are calling the spirit coming around you or into the house.
  2. When sleeping, you should not turn your head to the main door. Also, absolutely do not turn your feet to the altar that is showing disrespect to the ancestors.
  3. Don’t wear white: Women should not wear white clothes more than 12 o’clock pm and let their hair down and stand in front of the mirror. That attracts the magic entry.
  4. Do not leave empty seats in a bedroom. If your room has a chair, before going to bed, put something on the chair, or move it under the table. You wouldn’t want someone sitting on that chair and watching you all night.
  5. Do not play the games below at night:
  • After 10 o’clock pm, do not play hide and seek because when playing, the ghost may hide young players.
  • Do not play the game of scaring others, causing their souls to startle and fly away, which are easily penetrated by demons.
  • Do not open the umbrella in the house, the umbrella will invite bad luck into your house.
  • Do not play the game of calling each other’s names out loud at night, the devil will capture the soul.
  • Should not take pictures at night, because ghosts are always around and will be invisible into photos with living people, which is not good.

2.4 Pay attention to the following taboos when going out

  1. Going out at night should not carry broken glass. Carrying around is not good, easy to cause an accident.
  2. Do not break trees, flowers, or leaves at night. Seeing ghosts when going home to sleep.
  3. While walking on an empty street, not talking nonsense, whispering but loudly, for example: “I am so sad, I wish I had a friend or someone besides me.” it shouldn’t. The ghost will follow you.
  4. Go in the dark without the rain, but cover your head with an umbrella. That is taboo.
  5. If you go out at night, do not paint dark color on your face or before you go to sleep, you must not draw graffiti on your face.
  6. Dropping your own blood on a ghostly picture, especially on the eyes of the picture, is not recommended.
  7. Climb the tamarind tree at night with a white towel, you will fall upside down.
  8. While walking on the street at night, smoking a cigarette, suddenly the cigarette ignited into a flame. It is best to go home immediately.
  9. Going at night should not hold the underworld money or votive paper.

2.5 Taboos in the 7th lunar spiritual month

When it comes to spiritual taboos, the month of evils is definitely the time that has the most undoing things. According to folk beliefs, the seventh lunar month is the time when the souls of the deceased are released to return to the positive world. To avoid encountering bad luck, you should know the following taboos this month.

1. Avoid cutting hair

In some localities, the hair will symbolize fortune, so many people abstain from cutting their hair on the 1st day of the lunar calendar, especially the ghost month. Avoid cutting hair to prevent the whole month’s fortune from being interrupted, property loss, making life difficult.

2. Do not pluck leg hair

Some people abstain from plucking leg hair during the holy month. According to folklore, one leg hair governs 3 demons, so if you pluck your leg hair in the month of the spirit, that person is very likely to encounter bad luck in life.

3. Abstain from unlucky foods

From the 1st to the 10th of the ghost month, everyone refrains from dishes that bring bad luck such as duck meat, dog meat, squid, duck eggs, sesame fish, etc.

4. Avoid breaking tools in house

According to the concept, breaking symbolizes separation in family relationships, so many people pay special attention to avoid breaking cups, bowls, crockery… In addition, It is necessary to avoid the occurrence of conflicts, quarrels, and disputes in the ghost month.

5. Reduce from going out at night

Do not go out at night in the spirit of the month because according to folk beliefs, the night is when the devil is most active, so people need to limit going out at night to avoid trouble.

6. Do not burn votive paper arbitrarily

Do not arbitrarily burn votive papers in the spirit month because this can make ghosts roam around you more, disturbing your life.

7. Do not eat offering food before worshiping

Special attention should be paid to not eating food before worshiping the souls. In this month, almost all houses make a tray to offer food and drink to hungry souls and ghosts, but if you eat the food of the negative people without worshiping or asking for permission, you will bring disaster to your life.

8. Abstain from picking up small money

Do not pick up money that falls in the month of the spirit because it may be the money people offer to buy off the demons. If the money is picked up, the picker will have to carry bad lucks instead of the person who scattered the money.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.