Cultural dos & donts

 

 

Indochinese people are perhaps the most ardent peace lovers in the world. They have longstanding tradition of hospitality and respect for guests. In return, there are things you are expected to do or not in order to keep your journey smooth and enjoyable:

 

  • Do expect that you are warmly- welcomed and always will be. 
  • Do try to explore their way of life and their patterns of thinking. Your efforts to get some insights of Vietnamese culture- language, art, traditions, values and beliefs, etc will be highly recognized. By this way, you will deserve the warmest welcome and the best treatment from locals.
  • Never get too excited, and especially not to speak too loud. This behavior results in losing face to the other party.
  • Never touch the heads (even the children); this gesture is considered an insult. Do not bend up your finger to call someone.
  • When sitting, avoid pointing your foot at anyone.  
  • In places of worship, dress carefully (shoulders and legs covered), take off your shoes upon entering and talk in whispers, never touch the interiors and artifacts
  • Always ask for permission before taking a picture of someone.
  • Avoid showing affection in public.

 



 

In Vietnam


- We respect elder people and greet them with a llight bow, handshake is customary with others

- We often take off our shoes to enter a house or apartment and do not come without being invited.

- Vietnamese people rarely opens their gifts in front of you, do not be offended by this practice because it is a sign of politeness on their part.


In Cambodia


- We do not shake hands and kissing even less. To greet someone, bring your hands together in front of the chest if you are faced with an equal person. To greet a senior, join hands in front of the face but with a God, raise your hands above your head.

- Politeness is very important. Cambodian people respect all as a big family. For new acquaintances, we often ask for ages first to know whether to call you sister, brother or uncle, etc. In public, you should call a person by name preceded by "Mr." or "madame." We do not often use personal names.

- It is acceptable to give money to the real beggars, especially the elderly and disabled war veterans who have nothing else to live.  

- In the temples, go around the Buddha to the left, in the opposite direction of clockwise. Do not sit with your back against the Buddha or point your feet in his direction, this is frowned upon. Under no circumstances should a woman touch a monk or he will lose all merits acquired.


In Laos


- To greet someone, we say “sabai-dee” (hello) with a smile. 

- For men, no topless. Bermuda knee length is possible, but you’d better wear trousers. For women, no shorts or miniskirts, long skirts or pants, preferably.

- Do not try to imitate the local customs or to dress in the fashion of the country. Do not insist on eating with fingers or chopsticks if you do not know how

- Women should not reach out to the monks. If you want to make an offering, place it on a tray or table.


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