In Focus: Vietnam People's Culture

In Focus: Vietnam People’s Culture


Every country has a unique culture and traditions that make it intriguing and beautiful at the same time. Vietnam people’s culture is defined by its colorful history and belief.

Join us as we get to know the Vietnamese through this article!

Losing face is a big deal

In Vietnam people’s culture, they care deeply about their reputations and how they’re perceived by their friends, family and colleagues.

It is a fact that losing a face is a big deal in whichever country you are from however, moreso in Vietnam.

You should avoid doing anything that will embarrass or diminish a person in public. That could include arguing, ridiculing, confronting, or even bartering too aggressively.

This is also the reason why you’ll rarely see violent outbursts in Vietnam.

Everyone is non-confrontational because aggression causes both parties to lose face. For the vast majority of minor infringements, a stern glance is enough.

Elders are respected

Vietnam’s society is built on Confucian beliefs where experience and wisdom are highly respected.

In this country, one of the first things being asked is age. This means the older you are, the more respect you command.

You shouldn’t swear or bring up inappropriate topics when you’re with older people – things like death or sex.

At dinners, the elders are served first, and at home or work, their opinions carry more weight. It can be frustrating when an older person speaks down to you at work, but that’s the culture here.

Vietnam people’s culture: Optimism

Vietnam is a country with so much to offer beyond travel and tourism.

There is so much opportunity and everyone is working hard to improve both themselves and the lives of their families, taking a long exposure view: Today’s long hours and sacrifices will eventually pay off.

You won’t hear too many people grumbling about their hardships, so try not to complain about your own problems too much. As a foreigner who can afford international travel, you won’t find much sympathy.

There is no tipping culture

Tipping isn’t expected in Vietnam. If you feel the service has gone above and beyond, feel free to leave a little extra, but if you do, be discrete.

Hide it under a plate or behind the bill.

When you make an overt show of tipping, it could make a person feel like they’re losing face – like they’re begging.

Some people will just flat out refuse a tip, because they think you’ve made a mistake in counting your money.

China’s Influence

China is one of the countries that influenced Vietnam the most, thus significantly shaping the composition of the country’s traditional culture.

The continual efforts by China to assimilate Vietnam have noticeably Sinicized some cultural customs (such as family systems) and ideologies (through the introduction of Confucianism and traditional Chinese philosophies).

However, the Vietnamese people have generally always maintained a distinct identity and resisted being subsumed by the influences of China.

It is important to understand this as comparisons between China and Vietnam often make them seem very similar.

However, Vietnamese national identity and culture are determinedly different.

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