Although there are many Vietnamese who can speak basic English in big cities, it may be challenging to find one in rural areas or off-the-beaten-path areas.
To have the best trip to Vietnam (and make some cool Vietnamese friends), I would recommend learning a few basic Vietnamese phrases and words before traveling to Vietnam.
Vietnamese people love talking to foreigners and making new friends (but we can be shy), so start a conversation first if you’d like to.
Hello – Xin chao/ Chao (Xin chào)
Hey – E! (Ê)
Goodbye – Bye (You can say “Bye,” and most people will understand)
Farewell – Tam biet (This one is more formal)
How are you? – Ban khoe khong? (Bạn khoẻ không)
I’m fine, thanks. – Toi khoe, cam on (Tôi khoẻ, cảm ơn)
See you again! – Hen gap lai! (Hẹn gặp lại)
These phrases are commonly used in Vietnam to call someone. You may hear them often in restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
Thank you – Cam on (Cám ơn)
Sorry – Xin loi (Xin lỗi)
Yes – Co (Có)
No – Khong (Không)
Would you please help me? – Ban giup toi duoc khong? (Bạn giúp tôi được không?)
You’re welcome – Khong co chi (Không có chi)
Please – Lam on (Làm ơn)
I like you – Toi thich ban (Tôi thích bạn)
Do you have Facebook? – Ban co Facebook khong? (Bạn có Facebook không)
How old are you? – Ban bao nhieu tuoi? (Bạn bao nhiêu tuổi)
> Read: Best places to visit in Vietnam
Because there are several tourist traps in Vietnam (unfortunately), you should bargain first when you purchase anything.
You can start with 10% – 50% less than the price a seller tells you.
Also, if you use a traditional taxi instead of a Grab car, you must ask how much it costs before entering a cab because they may charge you higher.
How much? – Bao nhieu? (Bao nhiêu)
How much is it? – Cai nay gia bao nhieu? (Cái này giá bao nhiêu?)
Too expensive – Mac qua / Dat qua (Mắc quá / Đắt quá)
Is there anything cheaper? – Co cai nao re hon khong? (Có cái nào rẻ hơn không)
Counting: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 – Mot, Hai, Ba, Bon, Nam, Sau, Bay, Tam, Chin, Muoi
Thousand Vietnamese Dong – Nghin Dong (nghìn đồng)
Vietnamese food is tasty!
You should ask for an English menu first when you enter a restaurant. However, not all Vietnamese restaurants have an English menu for foreigners, so it may be difficult to order.
I’m a vegan – Toi an chay (Tôi ăn chay)
Not spicy – Khong cay -> You add “Khong” before an adjective to indicate “not + …”
Can I have a beer? – Cho toi mot chai bia (Cho tôi một chai bia)
Can I have (name of food or drinks)? – Cho toi (name of food or beverages)
Sweet – Ngot (Ngọt)
Salty – Man (Mặn)
Spicy – Cay (Cay)
Beef – Thit bo (Thịt bò)
Pork – Thit heo (Thịt heo)
Chicken – Thit ga (Thịt gà)
Beer – Bia
Alcohol Liquid – Ruou (Rượu)
Where is it? – Cai nay o dau?
If you’d like to ask for any location, you can ask …. o dau?
Where is the hotel? – Khach san o dau? (Khách sạn ở đâu?)
Where is the restaurant? – Nha hang o dau? (Nhà hàng ở đâu?)
Where is the toilet? – Nha ve sinh o dau? (Nhà vệ sinh ở đâu?)
Where am I? – Toi dang o dau? (Tôi đang ở đâu?)
Hotel – Khach san (Khách sạn)
Restaurant – Nha hang (Nhà hàng)
Toilet – Nha ve sinh (Nhà vệ sinh)
Police – Canh sat ( Cảnh sát)
Hospital – Benh vien (Bệnh viện)
Gas station – Tram xang (Trạm xăng)