Although English is the second language in Vietnam, not everyone can speak English, so mastering these basic Vietnamese phrases will not only help you survive in Vietnam but also will give you huge advantages. Vietnamese people are very friendly and the locals love it if they hear these phrases from you, even if they aren’t pronounced perfectly. In some cases, they might even give you discounts.


Basic Vietnamese phrases for greetings.

At the very least, if you are planning to spend a bit of time in Vietnam, you should get familiar with these common Vietnamese phrases as you will be able to use them very frequently during your time here.


Basic Vietnamese phrases for addressing people

When addressing younger people, regardless male or female, you  use “em” and for yourself, you use “Toi”. If you are addressing an older person, or in a formal scenario, you use “chi” for female and “anh” for male. In general, Vietnamese are very understanding and tend to forgive foreigners if they mix this up.


Basic Vietnamese phrases for direction (on taxis, buses, airport etc…)


Basic Vietnamese phrases for shopping

Negotiating is a fun when you travel Vietnam, and in markets or touristy areas, you need to make sure you negotiate any price you are given, because vendors normally mark up the first price by 2 or 3 times.


Basic Vietnamese phrases for restaurants or coffee shops

The Vietnamese put a lot of flavours in their foods, so make sure you ask before-hand what the ingredients are. It is very common in Vietnam to add sugar to everything, especially to drinks. Knowing these basic phrases will be super handy for getting exactly what you want. Also, do not afraid to call for waiter and waitresses for the bill as them wont stop at your table if you don’t call them.


Basic Numbers

The Vietnamese numbering system is very simple, and once you get the hang of numbers 1-10 you can say any number up to 99. Unlike English, numbers above 10 are said as if you just put the two numbers together. For example, 25 would be hai nam, which literally translates to two five.


Basic sizes & color


Basic Vietnamese phrases for emergency





Which Vietnamese phrases you think is the most useful? Which one do you want to learn but not on the list? Please leave your comments below.

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