Basic Vietnamese Phrases and Words for Travellers

Although many Vietnamese 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 Vietnamese friends), I recommend learning a few basic Vietnamese phrases and words before traveling to Vietnam.

To learn Vietnamese, please check my Vietnamese Guide site for more guides.

1. Addressing people

EnglishVietnamese
Itôi
youbạn
heanh
shechị
it
younger peopleem
Basic Vietnamese Phrases and Words for Travellers

2. Greetings in Vietnamese

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.

EnglishVietnamese
helloxin chào
byetạm biệt
How are you?Bạn khoẻ không?
I’m fine.Tôi khoẻ.
See you again. Hẹn gặp lại.
thank youcảm ơn
sorryxin lỗi
yes
nokhông
What’s your name?Tên bạn là gì?
My name isTên tôi là.
Can you speak English?Bạn nói tiếng Anh được không?

3. Asking for direction in Vietnamese

If you’d like to ask for any location, you can ask …. o dau?

For example:

  • Where is the hotel? – Khách sạn ở đâu?
  • Where is the restaurant? – Nhà hàng ở đâu?
  • Where am I? – Tôi đang ở đâu?
  • Where is the taxi? – Taxi ở đâu?
EnglishVietnamese
go straightđi thẳng
turn leftrẽ trái
turn rightrẽ phải
stopdừng lại
go to the airportđi tới sân bay
How far is it?Nó xa không?
wait 5 minutesđợi 5 phút
districtquận
China Town Saigon Vietnam

Basic Vietnamese words for location

EnglishVietnamese
hotelkhách sạn
restaurantnhà hàng
toiletnhà vệ sinh
police stationsở cảnh sát
hospitalkhách sạn
gas stationtrạm xăng
train stationnhà ga
bus stationtrạm xe buýt

4. Bargaining in Vietnamese

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, you must ask how much it costs before entering a cab because they may charge you higher.

EnglishVietnamese
How much?Bao nhiêu?
Too expensive!Mắc quá!
Can you reduce the price?Giảm giá được không?
Is there anything cheaper?Có cái nào rẻ hơn không?
I want to buy it.Tôi muốn mua nó.
One size larger.Size lớn hơn.
One size smaller.Size nhỏ hơn.
thousands VND.ngàn đồng.
Ho Thi Ky Market Saigon Vietnam

5. Numbers in Vietnamese

EnglishVietnamese
1một
2hai
3ba
4bốn
5năm
6sáu
7bảy
8tám
9chín
10mười

6. Dining out

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.

EnglishVietnamese
Excuse me (to waitress)!Chị ơi
Excuse me (to waiter)!Anh ơi
What is it?Cái này là gì?
The bill, please.Tính tiền.
Can I have a menu?Cho tôi menu.
I’m a vegetarian.Tôi ăn chay.
Can I have a beer?Cho tôi một chai bia.
Give me + name of the food or drinks.Cho tôi + name.
One more, please.Thêm một cái.
I cannot eat pork.Tôi không ăn thịt heo.
I’m allergic to peanuts.Tôi dị ứng đậu phộng.
Cheers!1, 2, 3 dô.
Where is the toilet?Nhà vệ sinh ở đâu?
no sugarkhông đường
no icekhông đá
no spicykhông cay
Vietnamese phrases and words for food

Basic Vietnamese phrases and words for food & drinks

Vietnamese food is delicious! Here is the list of words you should know to order food and drinks.

EnglishVietnamese
ricecơm
egg noodles
rice noodlesbún
porridgecháo
beef
porkheo
chicken
fish
seafoodhải sản
waternước
milksữa
orange juicenước cam
teatrà
beerbia
liquidrượu
fruittrái cây
appletáo
orangecam
mangoxoài
coconutdừa
Banh xeo street food Saigon Vietnam

7. Emergency 

In case of an emergency, you should remember the Vietnamese phrases below.

EnglishVietnamese
I am sick.Tôi bị bệnh.
I have food poisoning.Tôi bị ngộ độc thực phẩm.
Where is the hospital?Bệnh viện ở đâu?
I need a doctor.Tôi cần bác sĩ.
I was robbed.Tôi bị cướp.
Call the police.Gọi cảnh sát.
Help me.Giúp tôi.
Please.Làm ơn.
Take me to the hospital/ police station.Đưa tôi tới bệnh viện/ cảnh sát.

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