Ho Chi Minh City, more commonly known by its old name as Saigon, is a fairly popular tourist destination in Vietnam, and is very popular. The country’s largest city by population, beating out the capital; Hanoi. It’s a fairly welcoming place with welcoming people, but, of course, it’s still worthwhile to learn a little (or a lot) of etiquette, so you don’t come across as disrespectful.
So as you head for the luxury suites in Saigon, it might be worthwhile learning the do’s and don’ts of the country.
- Vietnamese are welcoming, gentle people, but they do have a conservative bent to them. Dress appropriately, not just for the weather. Find something that keeps you cool, whilst showing minimal skin, especially in places like temples or mosques. Even in the beaches, it still helps to be as tasteful as possible. The larger cities, however, are a bit more lax. A bit.
- If the prices aren’t clearly indicated, then bargaining is an option, even a common practice.
- Chopsticks left vertically sticking out of a bowl is not only considered a rude gesture, but as a herald of misfortune. In other words, don’t leave them like that. The proper way is to leave your chopsticks resting across the bowl’s top.
- Take off your shoes when entering a house. If you’re unsure of what to do, always consider how the nearby locals behave.
- To continue on the above point, when people welcome you to their home, avoid disrespecting the hose, by pointing your feet to the house’s altar. Whether you’re sleeping, or just sitting, this is considered as an act of disrespect.
- Whether you’re negotiating for luxury suites in Saigon, or just bargaining for a shirt, maintain a cool, and happy disposition. Losing your cool and getting angry is bad, not just for you, but also for whoever you’re negotiating with. The Vietnamese put a lot of stock in face, and losing it over an argument is something people don’t want.
- Pictures are nice and all, but some people just don’t want to be in a photograph. Ask for permission first before taking pictures, and if they refuse, let the issue go.