ActiveTravel Asia Advises First Time Travelers Things to do in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Most first time travelers don’t know the habits of travel destinations. ATA suggests some things to do and not do in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia which helps travelers save time and money as well as travel safety

Hanoi, Vietnam, July 15, 2009 --( Do

• Store travelers cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place. Most 4-star hotels have in-room safes; otherwise ask the reception to keep travelers valuable things in their deposit facility.

• Take a hotel business card from the reception desk before venturing out from travelers hotel. This will make travelers return to the hotel in a taxi or cyclo much easier.

• Carry a roll of toilet paper in traveler's daypack on long excursions from traveler's base hotel. Travelers never know when travelers might need it!

• Dress appropriately. Not only for the prevailing weather, but also not to cause offence to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes, and it is only in larger cities that these codes are a little more relaxed. Do not wear revealing clothing.

• If invited into a home, always remove traveler's shoes at the front door when entering.

• Ask for permission when taking a photograph of someone. If they indicate that they do not want travelers to, then abide by their wishes. Do Not offer money or push the issue.

• Drink plenty of bottled water. During the summer months travelers should be drinking a minimum of two liters per day. If travelers drink tea, coffee & alcohol travelers should increase travelers water intake accordingly as these will help to dehydrate travelers.


• Never carry more money than travelers need when walking around the streets. Do not wear large amounts of jewelry. There are two reasons for not doing this:

(1) It is considered impolite to flaunt wealth in public;
(2) It is more likely that travelers may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher.

• Don't be paranoid about traveler's security; just be aware of traveler's surroundings.

• Don't wear singlet, shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.

• Avoid giving empty water bottles, sweets and candies or pens to the local people when trekking through ethnic minority villages. Travelers cannot guarantee that the empty bottles will be disposed of in a correct manner, and the people have no access to dental health. If travelers want to give pens, ask travelers guide to introduce travelers to the local teacher and donate them to the whole community.

• Never sleep or sit with the soles of traveler's feet pointing towards the family altar when in someone’s house.

• Never lose travelers temper in public or when bargaining for a purchase. This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties. Always maintain a cool and happy demeanor and travelers will be reciprocated with the same.

• Do not try to take photographs of military installations or anything to do with the military. This can be seen as a breach of national security.

• Never take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people.

The above advice is meant to help travelers have a perfect trip to Vietnam. Do not be overly paranoid though. Generally, Vietnamese people are very appreciative if they see travelers trying to abide by the customs, and very forgiving if travelers get it wrong or forget. If travelers make the effort, travelers will be rewarded.


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ActiveTravel Asia
Bobby Nguyen
#31, Alley 4, Dang Van Ngu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam