Essential Things to Know Before Your Trip to Vietnam

by Female Abroad

Vietnam is one of the best places in Asia to explore. With their rich history and blending of various cultures over the years, it is quite the mixing pot! Here are a few things that you need to know before you head to Vietnam.


Vietnamese is the main language but a lot of people in the larger cities speak a bit of English.

Ethnic Groups

The country's rather small area of 330,000 sq. km. is home to 54 different ethnic groups. The Kinh people, at 86% accounts for the majority of the country's population and are mostly based on the plains, particularly in the Red river Delta and the Mekong Delta, while the other ethnic groups are based on the mountainous regions. The Vietnamese people in general are warm, gentle, and visitor friendly.


In Vietnam, you will use the Dong.


General annual average temperature ranging from 22 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius. Cold, humid winters and warm, wet summers generally define the climatic condition of the north while the south is characterized by a monsoon season within the months of May to November, and is warm throughout the year.

Book Before You Go

Look for reservations and book a place to stay beforehand. When you apply for your visa you will need to at least know where you are staying your first night. Depending on the season, it may also get extremely busy so you will want to book things before they fill up.

Master The Basics

Here are the most helpful phrases that I used:

  1. I'm sorry/ Excuse me: Xin loi (sin loy)
  2. The Bill Please: Tinh tien! (Tin Tee-n)
  3. Hello: Xin chào (sin chow)

Be Prepared to Haggle

You are a tourist so prices automatically go up as soon as they see you so be prepared to haggle. While you will not get the local price, it will certainly be better than the tourist price.

What to Wear

Casual clothes that you would wear travelling are fine. It does get hot and humid here so you will want to keep that in mind. If you are going to visit temples, they do have strict clothing regulations so make sure that you are covered from neck to toes. I wore a light coat over top of my t-shirt and pants when I visited the temples.


You will find Wi-Fi everywhere here and most of the time it is free.


Because free Wi-Fi is everywhere, it is unlocked, and open for any hackers to access just like you. A VPN will provide protection.

Religions and Festivals

The land of Vietnam plays host to a myriad of spirituality and religious beliefs that range from Confucianism to Taoism and Christianity.

Vietnam's most important festival is the Tet Nguyen Dan, or the "Feast of the First Morning" which is often celebrated either in late January or early February, lasting two weeks with festivities that welcome the coming of the Lunar New Year, and is also associated with ancestor worship. Do not call it Chinese New Year however as they do not like that association with China.

During Tet holiday families go for reunions, and visits to temples and pagodas are also done during this festival.

No matter the holiday, expect the country to shut down while everyone heads off to visit family.