Vietnamese Culture

Cultural Differences Between the West and Vietnam

As can be expected when travelling to the other side of the world, many things will be different. From eating and drinking, to socialising and relationships, expect a lot of cultural differences!

Eating!

In the West, if you make much noise when eating it may be considered rude and bad manners. However, in Vietnam the more noise the better! When eating a particularly delicious bowl of noodles, locals can be heard slurping.

noodles and coconut

Celebrations!

Whilst your birthday may be considered the most important celebration in the West, in Vietnam it is peoples death day when celebrations take place. During this time they will worship ancestors, prepare a big meal and get all the family and relatives together.

Greetings!

In the West we have no particular routine of introduction, aside from maybe a formal handshake or an embrace with a close friend. In Vietnam however, shaking hands is less common, especially with the opposite sex. When introducing yourself, it is important to greet the elders first before then the younger individuals.

Cutlery!

As I’m sure you are aware knives and forks become a rare sight once you enter the Eastern world. You can expect to eat all your meals with a spoon and chopsticks! This may take some getting used to at the start but after a few meals no doubt you will be a pro!

Knife and Fork vs Chopsticks

Affection!

In Vietnam, you will rarely see husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend showing affection in public. This is considered inappropriate and should be kept to private areas. Very different to the West where you can see a whole variety of PDA!

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