You've dreamed of this trip for a long time, and that's it, you're there! The landscapes are splendid, the weather perfect, the food delicious, the locals are nice and smiling ... Well were nice and smiling! You don’t know why, but suddenly they seem insulted or even angry, it's true that you don’t speak the language, but who cares ? You are experts in mime ! Maybe the problem comes from that ?
In some countries, gestures that are familiar, friendly, even sympathetic to us, may mean something else in a foreign country! To avoid hurting and shocking the local populations of the countries you visit, it is better to always learn before leaving on the customs and habits of the country, but also the laws, in order to know the behavior to adopt once there. Even if it is only through clumsiness, it is better to avoid finding yourself in an embarrassing situation that could turn against you for lack of information. The status of a foreigner does not necessarily confer a pass, so it is better to pay attention to a successful trip !
Here are some tips for a successful stay.
How to behave in Vietnam ? :
Have a clean and correct outfit (mainly have shoulders covered and not dressed too short).
Take off your shoes in places of worship..
Greet and respect the elderly (they are proud of their longevity).
When you take a picture of a local, show him/her afterwards. It's always a pleasure.
Wait for everyone from your table to be served before eating.
Wear a helmet when you're on a scooter.
Use both hands to give or receive something. (Nevertheless, not everyone does it, it's an act that is less present than in Japan)
Know how to say no. By being polite and firm, you will avoid being harassed continually.
Expose your wealth (even if it's the latest mobile phone).
Lose your temper. In Vietnam, anger is linked to the fundamental value of personal dignity, so getting angry is seen as poor self-control.
Plant your chopsticks in rice. As in many Asian countries, this refers to the funeral rite.
Call someone with the index finger so he can come. In Vietnam, it's how they call dogs.
Take pictures of military installations.
Avoid talking politics.
Touching the head of someone especially children: this is where the soul is. It's a part of the sacred body.
Point someone or Buddha with your feet. It's unpolished, that's why we sit on our legs folded.
Be upset by their questions or reactions to you. Vietnamese are of a quite curious nature and will not hesitate to ask you questions that you can judge "indiscreet". It is also possible that they mock a little of your clumsiness, etc.
Rely on their answer. We were dumped several times before understanding that even if they don't have the answer, they will give you one because they prefer to do this rather than admit that they don't know ...
Avoid gestures of affection in public. They all remain modest and this is quickly frowned upon.
Buy drugs. You wil have proposals, but often the dealers are in tandem with the police, and trapping tourists has become the livelihood of some.
Drinking tap water: It's not drinkable !