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What are some things to do to be polite in the Vietnam that a foreigner may not know?

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Never touch anyone on the head, which is sacred. Go a little lower an touch their shoulder instead.

Avoid shouting in public. To attract someone’s attention, clap.

To beckon, turn the palm down and wave up and down. A palm up signal is impolite.

Always were a shirt when visit come.

Wear long trousers or skirt and cover the shoulders when visiting temples or churches. Some touristy temples supply sarongs.

Wear polite clothes (see above) at government offices. If not (1) expect to be sent home to change, or (2) told to sit down and wait. They will let you leave when the office is closing for the day.

Many Immigration offices simply do not want to see you and will waste your time if you go there. It is usually easier to go to have a travel agent sort out your visa for you.

As others have written, try and learn some Vietnamese. People will appreciate that you have tried, and the more you know the more doors of friendship will open.

Smile. Young woman will always smile back and this will make your day.

When visiting an office or a Vietnamese family, wear sandals or shoes to be polite. Do not wear thongs/flipflops.

Even in the street, wear clean and neat clothes; bathe before leaving your hotel, comb your hair. Vietnamese do not appreciate Westerners who dress like they have just crawled out of a rubbish tip. Russians walking down the street in their H-front underpants is just the worst example I have seen. As a landlord once asked me, “Why do they do this? They are supposed to come from a civilised country?”

Before eating or drinking, invite others first by saying, “Mời ăn cơm” - Please eat, or “Mời uống nước” - Please drink. Even strangers in the next table in restaurants do this. The polite answer is to smile and say, “Mời” in return.

When visiting invite others to eat and eait until they start eating first. In some northern houdeholds, the inviting goes on forever, especially at formal dinners. Be patient.

The hostess will appreciate your bringing flowers and the host will enjoy your gift of a bottle of brandy, the preferred drink of most Vietnamese men.

Generally speaking, Vietanamese are completely turned off by facial hair. Young men, take note. And clean your teeth.

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Greeting Vietnamese as what Thai people do with a bow with two palms pressing together (wai or sawadii), especially to old people is extremely impolite. Western people might think that Vietnam and Thailand traditions are similar, but not. In Vietnam we only bow with two palms pressing together in front of our chess to the DEAD people, which means it is kinda ritual to pray in front of a dead spirit. We always try to not do this to alive people, especially the elderly or sick people because it is like you are saying that person is dead or going to die.

Take your shoes off before you enter a Vietn

amese house. We always take them off and use another clean flip flop to use inside the house in winter and use bare feet in summer. Never walk in without take the shoes off especially you know the host has just cleaned the house. We don’t want to bring all the dust and soil from outside into a cleaned floor.

Before eating, drinking or doing any thing (like coming in, going out, sitting down), invite the elderly first, if they are there with you. They might refuse and leave you and your friend alone but the invitation is a must.

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Here are some tips on how to be polite in Vietnam:

Greet people with a smile and a slight bow, as a sign of respect.
Use formal titles when addressing elders or people in positions of authority.
Take off your shoes before entering a home or temple.
Avoid pointing your feet towards people or religious objects, as it is considered disrespectful.
Use your right hand for eating and giving or receiving objects, as the left hand is considered unclean.
Avoid physical contact with people, especially in public places.
Avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics or religion.
Show gratitude by saying "thank you" or "xin cám ơn" in Vietnamese.
It is also important to be aware of the local customs and traditions and to be respectful of them. It is also a good idea to learn some basic phrases in Vietnamese to help you communicate with locals.

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Leave your shoes at the door
When visiting a Vietnamese family, say hello and talk if necessary to family members
When eating at a table, say xin moi or something like that before eating.
When sharing some food at a table, offer it at least to the eldest or the head of the table too.
When someone puts food in your bowl for you to eat, accept it and don’t give it back
If you invite people out, they might insist on paying. You should hold your ground and insist that you pay. I think it's a saving-face thing.
When meeting people for the first time, dress properly. When I started as an English teacher, I didn't know that teachers had to wear business clothes with a tie. It even seems ok to wear attire that might be seen as showing off.
Don't say anything offensive to elders, parents
If you are riding with a woman on her motorbike, it is expected for the man to drive
Don’t talk about the Vietnam war. I tried many times to ask old people about it, since my VN wife’s aunts were soldiers during the war, but I never got decent responses.
As much as possible, do not reject outright an invite of a person to meet their family or visit their hometown. You can reject it if you’re ok to lose their friendship eventually.
When invited to a wedding, go with the proper attire and donation. I see wedding invites as a sort of fund-raising by the newly married couple. The more you give, the better. They know who gave how much.
Don't give gifts that have been opened. My Japanese friend visited Saigon and gave me omiyage. I just wanted to try one so I opened the box. I closed it again and gave it to my Vietnamese friend so as not to go to waste. When she saw one was missing she rejected it.

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