Tourism has a strong impact on local cultures. It is worth remembering, that despite the growth of western trends and habits, Southeast Asian countries have quite conservative cultures. Below you will find the useful list of do’s and don’ts while volunteering or simply visiting Vietnam.
Do cover up
Due to hot climate visitors tend to wear shorts or mini skirts but it is preferred to dress modestly in Cambodia. Appropriate clothes is a must when inside a religious site (upper arms and legs should be covered, hats removed).
Do ask for permission before taking photos of others.
Do take ooff your hat and shoes when entering vietnamese house.
Do bring a small gift such as fruits, flowers, dessert if invited to dine in Vietnamese home.
Do pass things using both hands, as a sign of respect.
Don’t sit with your feet pointing towards people.
Don’t visit orphanages.
Despite the big number of warm invitations, orphanage tourism is a big problem, not a solution. Check out why here.
Don’t touch someone on the head (even children).
Don’t give in to frustration.
Loosing control, shouting and screaming is not socially acceptable and means “loosing face”. Facing this kind of situation Vietnamese often smile out of awkwardness or totally ignore your requests.
Don’t display affection in public.
Vietnamese are conservative in sexuality which is why one should be mindful in contact with opposite sex in general – even small gestures like placing an arm around a local to pose for a picture can be misinterpreted.
Don’t give as a present anything black or yellow.
Don’t sit until shown where to sit. The oldest person sit first.
Don’t give money to street children and don’t buy souvenirs from them.
Children should never be involved in raising money for their families. There are many organizations giving opportunities to street children but by giving money to them, tourists make the problem increase.