Are Vietnamese people really hostile towards foreign tourists?

On the following of the incident happened in late July where a bus driver’s assistant of Viet Nhat Travel (Nha Trang) forced two female foreign passengers to leave the bus, part of which was recorded on mobile phone by a Taiwanese tourist who also took the same bus, we have received mixed opinions on the topic.

In majority, many shared the thought that what the bus driver’s assistant did was wrong, even if, as his company’s account explained the reason he did what he did was he himself being driven by the aggressive behaviors of the two passengers like spitting/insulting and not cooperating (apparently the passengers didn’t seat at the seats which they had paid for). A fair amount of people disagreed with the two tourists who they believed had to be the cause of the commotion and this whole thing didn’t need to happen if they could have just taken their seats as arranged.

However a small group of people assumed that this incident is, as a matter of fact, a very common thing to happen in Vietnam and this driver’s assistant represents for all Vietnamese or at least a large part of Vietnamese people. Some even warned others to stay away from the country and some just simply thought they would never come to a place like this.

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Neither the passengers nor the assistant nor other witnesses has spoken directly on the incident themselves, so literally we are still left in the dark of what really happened. Yet, to put aside of this unresolved question, we want to turn to the other one which raised a bigger issue: are Vietnamese people rude, hostile towards foreigners and do we all behave like the bus assistant and over all is Vietnam safe and worth traveling?

So let’s recount some of the incidents happened recently to see if we can turn the table around:

Hanoians helped a foreigner who fainted on the street

On 7th November of 2015, a picture of a fainted tourist on the street of the capital of Vietnam attracted a great attention from the media.foreigners2

As we see, the tourist was laying on the ground, being surrounded by many locals. There were five women who physically helped the man.

With the account of T.G.B, we knew that the tourist had fainted while walking on Hang Be street. In fear that this tourist might have suffered a stroke, the local people quickly used 10-finger acupuncture and soles massaging technique to recover his consciousness (which are commonly practiced in daily life of Vietnamese people). About an hour later, the tourist woke up and was able to talk and function normally. Still an ambulance was called by locals to take him to hospital for fully check.

This incident at the time attracted great attention on internet but mostly from local people, praising the individuals who’d helped the fainted tourist.

Injured English teacher helped by locals

Unluckily we don’t have picture of this event – another story about an English teacher in Vietnam named Philip Veinott (age 30) who had a motorbike accident and was helped by locals.

Teacher Phillip
Teacher Phillip Veinott

Philip was injured right in front of a household in Ho Chi Minh city. Not only Mr. Bach and his wife (householders) gave first-aid treatment to his wound, they also took him to the nearest hospital and even paid his hospitalization expenses.

Mr. Bach shared his thought on the event: “I saw Philip just like my son so I empathized with him and wanted to help him. Whoever was in need I gladly wanted to give a hand if I could, moreover this is a foreigner who would be in big trouble without help in his situation.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bach
Mr. and Mrs. Bach

Veinott now is in charge of marketing and social media for Vietnam Is Awesome, a tourism website offering local experience for foreign tourists. On his facebook, he had called the day of the accident was “the luckiest unlucky day” and his story went viral on social network.

A local fed a drunken foreigner

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A Facebook user recounted: “Last night at a Pho restaurant in Ly Quoc Su street, this western tourist was so drunk he almost dived his face down into the bowl. Luckily, a kind staffer came and started feeding him one bit by one bit. After finishing the bowl, he just slept right away on the table.”

One more heartwarming story also in Hanoi was told by Facebook user M.T. At a Pho restaurant in Ly Quoc su street, a foreign tourist was so drunk to the point he couldn’t eat Pho himself. A restaurant’s staffer showed kindness by feeding him. Many other locals and tourists praised the act of this woman as a good example of how Vietnamese people treat tourists.

A French tourist helped by a local in Da Nang

chị thong
Miss Vidal N. and Nguyen Thi Thong

As reported, around noon 3rd April 2016, on the way to Linh Ung Pagoda a hospital staffer named Nguyen Thi Thong met a female French tourist, Vidal N. (age 70) who had a severe accident. She quickly approached and after checking, aware that the tourist’s right femur was broken. Using her professional skill, she successfully fixed the broken bone by a splint then called an ambulance. By her much-needed help, the pain of the fracture was reduced which contributed a lot in her recovery. Miss Vidal N. went through a femur surgery on day 9th April and was discharged from hospital on 14th of April.

Miss Vidal N. later shared: “When my bone was broken, because I couldn’t speak Vietnamese so it was really hard for me. Lucky for me I met Miss Thong. During my time in hospital, she visited me often. I won’t forget her kindness and the medical team who took care of me all this time…”

In any country, there are always all kinds of people. On your part, the most important thing is to prepare for your trip carefully before you go. Knowing the basics of the culture, abiding the laws of the place you are visiting not only makes your trip easier but also helps you to show respect to the locals. By doing all of this, we are sure you won’t have any problem when traveling.

So now we can agree not everyone in Vietnam behaved like the bus driver’s assistant in the story happened in Nha Trang. In over all, Vietnam is a safe country to travel with endless charms and friendly people. The tourism industry of Vietnam is developing and it’s still far from perfection which can satisfies everyone. The locals too need cooperation from you, the tourists – your open-minded views and judgment. We hope that no one will be afraid to visit our country and for those who won’t, would have amazing experiences in Vietnam.

Anyway, it’s only our opinion. How about you? Have you ever traveled to Vietnam? How have you felt about Vietnamese people? We gladly hear your story!

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2 comments

  1. Vietnamese people are quite simple. They are very attracted to “white” people and they do not like darker skin coloured vietnamese people (for them, dark coloured Vietnamese are farmers, poor hard working people). I learned that the hard tour. My boyfriend (German) and I (German but vietnamese heritage) stayed 9 days on Phu Quoc Island. After that I became very tanned, a lot darker than my boyfriend. We stayed for only three days in Ha Noi but it was horrible for me. I have heard a lot from fake vomit noises, been called a dog (which is very disrespectful for Vietnamese people), a whore and so on…
    Furthermore, Vietnamese people are very traditional. For example, a couple should not rent a hotel together before they are married, otherwise, there is a lot of shitstorm on the streets. People on the streets talk loud and I understood nearly everything they said in front of the hotel, for example, one said “In general, you can say western people are ill-bred”. Are their lives that boring? They make up stories and judge people very quickly. Even if they do not know better. It seems some of them do not want to think far. Made up stories are much more amusing than the truth.

    Are Vietnamese people really hostile towards foreign tourists? Yes, they can be. Especially if you are a Vietnamese from abroad. They treat you rude because they think you have a better life than them there. Or they have been treated bad by some other Vietnamese from abroad before, I don’t know. My parents and my brother were also treated very disrespectfully. They said, that this is the reason why we do not travel a lot to Vietnam. Even if our family is there. Of course, the family treat us good.
    Unfortunately, the most uneducated and unintelligent people are the loudest and that is not only in Vietnam.

  2. I have to agree that i really hate vietnam. People are really rude and if its not because of my parents’ wish to visit Halong Bay I would never step foot in Vietnam again. Was in Ho Chih Min in 2006, had a viet blatently opening my friend’s backpack in broad daylight and putting his hands inside rumpaging for things and after we recovered from our shock and asked him what he was doing, he just walked off… another of my friend had her bag slit opened and her handphone was stolen.

    2008, i visit Hanoi with another group of friends, we were overcharged and the viet did not gave us the small changes, they have note down to 500vnd but they just don’t give change. The worst was when we tried to pay our bill with vnd they insisted we pay in usd which the conversion rate was grossly inaccurate.

    2018, came Hanoi and went for halong bay cruise with my parents. It was hardly an enjoyable experience! First off, we were staying at an Ascott serviced apartment, upon check-in i paid for all our room night in full. There was a change of 1750000 vnd but the staff conveniently forgot to give me till i asked him about twice. I was also not given a receipt! The room nights cost close to 20 mil vnd in total and i was not comfortable not getting a receipt. I thought it was the norm for large hotel chains to provide recipt upon payment? Next incidents occurred at Halong Bay. Scenary was nice, yes, but again, the viets were terribly rude and unwelcoming! The cave visits were cramped with people and while taking pictures, they just shouted very loudly “GO AWAY!!” Right behind you. How bad was that? We were also shouted to “GO AWAY!!” By the cleaner woman while trying to wash up at a WC at the beach. Isn’t that what everybody does after visiting the beach? Wash up before we bring all that sand back to the cruise? The worst was i dropped my handphone in the ladies and guess what? I have to use 1mil vnd to redeem it back from the viet cleaner woman who shouted for us to “GO AWAY”. When we initially asked her if she saw my hp, she waved her hands and said no, then we took out a few mil vnd and miraculously my hp appeared! How honest was that?! By the way my hp was turned off by her so i couldn’t call, how scheming she was! Terrible terrible experiences marred by these low life viets who have so much hatred and unhappiness in them that it rubbed off on everyone who visits. Stay off vietnam unless you want the novelty of getting cheated and treated like rubbish as a tourist for a change!

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