Everyone who travels wants to have a good time. Whether going to Vietnam for a business, pleasure, or simply to get to know the area better, experts agree that proper preparation prevents travel disasters. There are risks associated with traveling in foreign countries. Being educated and well-prepared is an integral part of enjoying traveling abroad. Begin preparing for a trip to Vietnam by researching and learning the most common phrases or words first. Be sure to learn survival phrases that can help alert others in the event of a medical emergency.
Vietnamese language classes teach students that there are six different sounds that can be made with each letter. There are more letters in the Vietnamese alphabet than the English one, and some of those “letters” are really vowel and consonant combinations, or tones. The number of letters in the alphabet depends upon which dialect is spoken. There are currently three recognized dialects within the country of Vietnam.
At one time, the Vietnamese people used Chinese letters to spell their words. Now, however, they use the Latin alphabet of the Western World with the addition of accent marks and other diacritics.
Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia. From the far northeast to the southern tip, Vietnam’s only neighbors are the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. On the western borders lay Cambodia, Laos and China. Learn more about the geography of Asia with a quick refresher course before traveling in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is home to some of the world’s best diving locations, and there are miles of soft white sand and bright sunshine just waiting to be explored.
The natural beauty and access to the sea has lead to this area having a relatively dense population in relation to other neighboring countries, such as Cambodia. The population of Vietnam is estimated at 83,000,000 people. The country is long and thin, and citizens are spread in cities and villages throughout all regions. More people live near the coast line than in the jungles or in the northern farmlands. Most of the citizens of Vietnam are native, though 10 percent of the people there are migrants from nearby Asian countries.
The weather is tropical in the southern part of the country, and the jungles are thick and wild there. The North Country is hot and susceptible to monsoons from spring to fall, with winters being pleasantly warm and dry.
Vietnamese is a tonal Austroasiatic language. Khmer, the official language of nearby Cambodia, shares very many similarities with Vietnamese, namely the vowel, consonant clusters and intonation of certain sounds. Each letter is packed with the potential to make six different sounds, all of which are closely related to other Asiatic languages.
Until 1954, Vietnam was controlled by the French. Until that time, French was the national language. However, the natives spoke Vietnamese at home. As soon as the country became independent, Vietnamese became the official language of the country. Today, there are millions more Vietnamese speakers living all over the world.
English to Vietnamese Words
When preparing to visit Vietnam, it pays to take a language course. There are many essential words and phrases that are vital to having a good trip and communicating with the locals. Some of these words and phrases are:
Basic Pleasantries and Greetings
Goodbye. Tam biet
What’s your name? Ban ten gi?
My name is ____. Toi ten la
Good morning. Chao buoi sang
Good evening. Chao buoi toi
Good night. Chuc gnu ngon.
How are you? Ban co khoe khong? Or, khoe chu?
So-so. Cung tam tam
I’m fine, thanks. Cam on ban toi khoe
And you? Ban thi sao?
Thank you. Cam on
Thank you very much. Cam on rat nhieu
You’re welcome. Dung ngai
Nice to meet you. Rat vui duoc gap ban.
Where are you from? Ban tui dau den?
I am from America. Toi den tu America
Getting Help with a Problem
Do you speak English? Ban co noi tieng Anh khong?
Can you help me? Ban giup toi cuoc khong?
Turn left. Re trai
Turn right. Re phai
Go straight. Di Thang
Where is the bathroom? Ma la nha ve sinh
I’m looking for…Toi dang tim
How much does this cost? Bao nhieu chi phi nay?
Can you show me? Bạn co the chi cho toi?
Sorry, can you repeat that? Xin loi, nhac lai duoc khong?
Basic Words and Phrases
Sorry. Xin loi
It’s ok. Do la ok.
What is it? No la gi?
What? Gi co?
Where? O dau?
I’m hungry. Toi doi
I’m thirsty. Toi khat
This. Cai nay
That. Cai kia
Here. O day
There. O do
Him. Anh ay
Her. Co ay
Hurry up. Nhanh len
I love you. Toi yeu ban.
My Vietnamese is bad. Ten tieng Viet cua toi xau
I need a doctor. Toi can den bac si.
I like Vietnamese food. Toi thich thuc au Viet
I am allergic to…. Toi di ung voi
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten. Mot, hai, ba, bon, nam, sau, bay, tam, chin, muoi
Of course, these phrases are written in Vietnamese without any accent marks of any kind. To learn how to properly pronounce words, use proper grammar, learn slang and more, take a Vietnamese language course. Unlike depending on Vietnamese speaking friends to learn how to speak their language, take a course and surprise them.
By learning these common words and phrases, travelers are much better prepared to deal with the complexities of traveling within Vietnam. Plan on beginning to learn the language at least a year in advance of traveling. If this is impossible, learn as much as possible before leaving home.
Traveling in Vietnam is quite a lot different than traveling in first world countries. Learn what to expect from traveling in the developing world by taking a travel hacking class. These classes teach students how to save money on travel expenses, what to pack, when to start reserving accommodations, which activities are best for tourists, safety precautions and more. Prepare like a road warrior and travel in peace.