Although English is the second language in Vietnam, not everyone can speak English. Thus, mastering these basic Vietnamese phrases will help you have a fulfilling trip to Vietnam. In fact, 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 if you can say these basic Vietnamese phrases!

100 basic Vietnamese phrases

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.

  • Hello = Xin Chao (Sin chow)
  • How are you? = Ban Khoe Khong (Ban Kwe Khom)
  • Thank you = Cam on (kahm uhn)
  • Sorry = Xin Loi (Sin Loy)
  • No Problem = Khong co gi (Khong koh zi)
  • Goodbye = Tam Biet (Tarm Byeet)
  • No, Thank You! = Khong! Cam On (Khom, kahm uhn)
  • Can you speak English? = Ban noi tieng anh duoc khong? (Banh noi thien an durkh khom)
  • How old are you? = Ban bao nhieu tuoi (Ban ban nyew twoi)
  • I am __ years old = Toi ___ tuoi (toy ___ doyy)
  • What is your name? = Ten ban la gi?  (Ten bang la zi)
  • My name is ___ =  Ten toi la ___ (Ten toy la ___)

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

Next, negotiating is a fun when you travel Vietnam, and in local 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

It is true that 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


  1. if this is a guide for tourists visiting Vietnam, it’s unreasonable for you to include “too expensive” and “reduce the price” as must-know phrases… given that the dong exchange rate makes it so that lunch could cost an American only about 2 USD or like 1.5 Euros.

    stop trying to haggle with people who are just trying to make their living so that you can save your ass 15% the price of your coffee at starbucks.


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