Vietnam is a beautiful country with so much to offer travelers. From the bustling city life of Ho Chi Minh City to the stunning natural scenery of Ha Long Bay, there’s something for everyone in Vietnam. But one of the best things about traveling in Vietnam is the chance to meet new people and make personal connections. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your travels in Vietnam and connect with locals.
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photo: Hải Nguyễn
1. Learn Some Vietnamese Phrases
One of the best ways to connect with locals is to learn some key Vietnamese phrases. Even if you only know a few basic phrases, locals will appreciate the effort and be more likely to engage with you. Plus, it can be a great icebreaker when you’re trying to meet new people. Try learning a few basic phrases like “hello,” “thank you,” and “where is the bathroom?” before you travel to Vietnam.
2. Attend a Cultural Event or Class
Another great way to meet locals and learn about Vietnamese culture is to attend a cultural event or class. There are often Traditional Vietnamese Dance classes offered at hotels or resorts, or you can look for local events happening during your stay. This is a great way to not only meet new people but also learn about traditional Vietnamese culture and customs.
3. Volunteer in Your Community
If you’re looking for a more meaningful way to connect with locals, consider volunteering in your community. There are many volunteer opportunities available throughout Vietnam, from teaching English to working in orphanages or animal shelters. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and make lasting friendships with locals who share your passion for giving back.
4. Shop at Local Markets
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture is to shop at local markets. Not only will you get to try delicious local food, but you’ll also have the chance to haggle with vendors and meet other shoppers. Be sure to wander around the market, even if you don’t plan on buying anything, and strike up conversations with the people you meet.
5. Take a Cooking Class
If you love Vietnamese food, then taking a cooking class is a great way to connect with locals while learning about the cuisine. Many hotels and resorts offer cooking classes, or you can look for classes at local restaurants. This is a great activity to do with friends or family, and you’ll get to enjoy a delicious meal at the end of it!
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6. Join a Local Tour
One of the best ways to see Vietnam and meet locals is to join a local tour. There are many different types of tours available, from food tours to city tours, and you’ll be able to find one that interests you. This is a great way to learn about the country and its people while getting to see some of the most popular sights.
7. Visit a Local Temple or Pagoda
photo: HONG SON
Another great way to connect with Vietnamese culture is to visit a local temple or pagoda. This is a great way to learn about the country’s religious beliefs and meet people who share your interest in religion. Many temples and pagodas offer tours, so be sure to ask about them when you’re visiting.
8. Go on a Hiking or Cycling Tour
For those who love the outdoors, joining a hiking or cycling tour is a great way to see Vietnam and meet new people. This is a great way to explore the country’s stunning scenery while getting some exercise. Be sure to bring your camera so you can capture all the beautiful sights along the way.
9. Attend a Local Festival
Vietnam is home to many different festivals throughout the year, from the Lunar New Year to the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is a great way to meet locals and learn about Vietnamese culture. Many festivals offer traditional food, music, and dance, so be sure to check them out when you’re in town.
10. Visit a Local Coffee Shop
One of the best ways to relax and meet locals is to visit a local coffee shop. This is a great way to try different types of Vietnamese coffee and chat with the people around you. Many coffee shops also offer snacks and light meals, so you can stay for a while and really get to know the people you meet.
11. Talk to Locals Learning English at a Park
One of the best places to meet locals in Vietnam is at a park. This is a great place to chat with people who are learning English, and you can help them practice their language skills. Many parks also offer other activities, such as yoga or tai chi, so you can join in on those as well.
12. Go on a Boat Tour
photo: Quang Nguyen Vinh
For those who love the water, going on a boat tour is a great way to see Vietnam and meet new people. This is a great way to explore the country’s stunning coastline and meet people who share your interest in the sea. Be sure to bring your camera so you can capture all the beautiful sights along the way.
13. Volunteer for a Charity Event
There are many opportunities to participate in charity work in Vietnam. This is a great way to meet locals and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. There are many different charities to choose from, so be sure to find one that aligns with your interests.
14. Teach English
One of the best ways to meet locals and make a difference in their lives is to teach English. This is a great way to help people learn a new language and improve their future prospects. There are many different organizations that offer teaching opportunities, so be sure to find one that suits your interests and skills.
15. Join a Local Sports Team
For those who love sports, joining a local sports team is a great way to meet new people. This is a great way to stay fit and active while meeting people who share your interest in sports. Many teams offer different levels of competition, so be sure to find one that suits your skills.
16. Join a Local Book Club
One of the best ways to meet locals and learn about Vietnamese culture is to join a local book club. This is a great way to chat with people who share your love of reading, and you can learn about different aspects of Vietnamese culture through the books you read. Many book clubs also offer other activities, such as movie nights or discussion groups, so be sure to check them out when you’re in town.
Vietnam is an amazing country with so much to offer travelers. From the bustling city life of Ho Chi Minh City to the stunning natural scenery of Ha Long Bay, there’s something for everyone in Vietnam. But one of the best things about traveling in Vietnam is the chance to meet new people and make personal connections. So get out there and explore everything that Vietnam has to offer—you never know who you’ll meet along the way!
Knowing some of the language will definitely help. I think if you plan on going here more than once, it is worth learning the language, even if it is just a crash course.
I love information like this. I always look for ways to connect with people when I travel so I will be sure to keep everything mentioned in mind. I think this is excellent advise.
I like the idea of offering to teach English or working with children as a means to connect with people. You help the country while making lasting connections and memories.
It can be hard to connect with people when you have a language barrier so it is always best to know some Vietnamese before going. Even if it is just 20 different phrases. It helps a lot!
@photastic I agree with this 100%
You don’t have to know everything but having a basic understanding helps. Having a travel booklet or app handy helps too.
Bond over food. Seriously. Vietnamese people love to eat and love knowing the food they have prepared is enjoyed by you.
As someone who loves to travel and meet new people, I found this article to be really insightful. The advice on building relationships with locals is especially helpful.
I love how this article emphasizes the importance of learning the language and respecting local customs. It’s so important to be respectful and open-minded when traveling in a new culture.