Cultural Differences and Way of Live in Vietnam: Simplified Living that Will Inspire
When any discussion comes about in terms of certain hotspots and exciting destinations in Asia, people are often curious to debate the differences in culture, quality of living, cost of living and way of life between certain nations. Of course there are facts, figures and statistics that make it easy to come to some sort of conclusion on what a certain country has to offer, but it is about far more than that. Traveling and seeing Asia is all about dabbling in the cuisine and the music, meeting the people and opening your eyes to new experiences. Vietnam, for one, is all about new experiences. You can learn, see, and do things here that will teach you more than anything statistic or book can tell you. To put it simply, Vietnam is a place you need to experience for yourself before you can make any judgments or decisions on what it has to offer.
The curious part about Vietnam is that although there are infinite things to do, a unique culture, a unique language and a different way of life, it is not all that different or off the grid when compared to other countries. Especially other countries in South East Asia. Bicycles and motorcycles are the main modes of transportation and you will not be able to walk more than a block without passing some sort of small scale business operation. You will see old women selling crafted jewelry, farmers bringing in produce, and just about anyone and everyone trying to sell something.
What you will notice in Vietnam is that things are beginning to change. Foreign investment is starting to surge in and the large cities are teeming with people selling, buying, investing and shuffling about. The low set up cost for businesses in the country and stunningly cheap labor are enticing for corporations and the Vietnamese government realizes that. It seems that with each passing day the doors are being opened wider for Foreign Direct Investment in order to try and boost the local economy.
If you are intrigued by the local culture and the relaxed, laid back way of life that you hear about, then you definitely want to travel into the heart of Vietnam. In the interior of the country you will find paddy farms and places where the traditional values of the Vietnamese people are held on to tightly. While the major of citizens in these areas are paddy farmers, it is all done on a very small scale. They run small, local farms to meet their friends and family and go about their business in a very routine and peaceful way. While language will be a major barrier when conversing with these people they are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere. If you are lucky you may even run into a family that is more than willing to show you around and even give you a home cooked meal of rice, fish sauce and lots of vegetables.
As with any country that is not your own there are a number of cultural differences that you will encounter when visiting Vietnam. Whether some of the characteristics may be described as abnormal by some tourists, it is a way of life here and you have to be willing to accept it. One of the first things that you will notice when dining out in Vietnam is the consistent slurping while they eat and the purposely loud conversations. While Vietnamese people are generally relaxed and quite they use meal time as a way to converse and almost let loose a little and they do not care who is annoyed by it, and who is to stop them right?
When shopping in Vietnam you are going to have to learn how to barter or risk being taken for a fool. A common phrase, even though many vendors do not speak English, is same same but different. You will hear this everywhere you go and every vendor no matter how poor their English is will understand. However, when conversing with vendors and other locals you want to keep in mind that when they say “ya, ya” it does not mean they understand. While in English speaking countries ya ya would be a communicative tool to express agreement or understanding, it tends to be more of a leave me alone statement in Vietnam. Vendors will say ya ya when they simply do not understand you, do not want to understand you and have given up trying to understand you. It is a hint for you to give up and move on.
A few other little cultural differences that you may notice when touring Vietnam tend to be a little weird in the eyes of many people. Just remember that you seem even weirder to them and who is to judge which person is right or wrong? However, you are still probably going to have to get used to nose picking. As unbelievable as it may sound to some people, nose picking is as common as rubbing your hair or scratching your face here. Everyone does it and no one thinks about it for a second. You may as well just sit back and enjoy the little bad habit that your mother always told you not to do. It might make for a nice change of pace.
Another subtle difference that people take notice of in Vietnam is that the locals regularly head to the barber shop to have their ears professionally cleaned. Even if it sounds somewhat normal it is sure to stop you in your tracks when you lay your eyes on it for the first time.
Vietnam is funny in a way that it is completely normal yet entirely different in many ways. What you will love about it here is the fact that there is always something going on, something to see, or something to do. Even just sitting on a street corner and watching passers by is entertaining here and can really give you a full appreciation of the little things in life. Vietnamese people have come so far and have seen so much, it will truly blow your mind to see how peaceful and pleasant they are after all they have seen.