30 surprising facts you should know about Hanoians a.k.a. cultural shock guaranteed

  1. Get ready for friendly, joyful, generous and polite people
  2. Expect questions about your age, weight, height and relationship status
  3. If you are one of the taller ones in your country, you will definitely be super tall in Vietnam. Be ready that beds, some doors or chairs won´t fit you and you will feel like a giant
  4. If you like to jump to your bed, be careful – mat is usually made just from bamboo, in better case it´s thicker, but definitely not soft.
  5. It will be your first and last time you will be a millionaire (1 $ is 21 000 Vietnamese dongs)
  6. YES often means NO and NO often means YES. You can often meet very nice people that will say yes for anything you ask for, maybe it´s politeness, maybe they don´t understand. So don´t take these yeses seriously. –Do you prefer tea or coffee? –Yes. 😉
  7. If someone tells you that you are tanned, it´s often NOT a compliment. The most probable sentence after will be “you are ugly”. Or they will just say that you are sun burnt in the beginning.
  8. Ran out of face cream or body lotion? It can be an adventure to try to find one which won’t be whitening. Vietnamese love pale skin.
  9. If you are looking for fresh ingredients, Vietnam is the place. You can choose a chicken, duck or fish that is still alive and they will kill it for you right on the street
  10. Desperately looking for a trash bin? You can quit. There are none in Hanoi! Instead of trash bins there are people that collect garbage along the streets every evening.
  11. Be careful. Romantic moments by the lake or in a park can turn into runaway from rats.
  12. Vietnamese are very friendly so you can easily make a lot of new friends in Vietnam. Number of your FB friends will rapidly rise
  13. Hanoi traffic is crazy. Maaany passengers, dogs, pigs or other animals, beds, fridges and mirrors are carried on the motorbikes…. Nothing is unusual and nothing is impossible to carry.
  14. There are motorbikes driving without lights on, in opposite direction, on the sidewalk, motorbikes everywhere 😛
  15. While crossing the street, be aware that the car drivers that flash on you want to let you know that they are going, not that you can go
  16. All you need to rent a motorbike or buy one is money. There is no ID or driving license needed.
  17. You will feel like a celebrity as many Vietnamese will ask you to take a pic with them
  18. Do you feel old? In Vietnam you will feel even older! Don´t be surprised if Vietnamese will count 2 yrs more to your age as they count your age from 1 instead of 0 and in the beginning of new year they automatically add 1 year
  19. If you are Spanish and you wanna party, don´t! It´s already over! Most of the parties finish around midnight.
  20. When you see a ninja don´t run away! It´s probably a nice woman protecting herself from the sun, covering her face, eyes, hair, hands, the whole body. Literally.
  21. You have a taste for something sweet and you order a cake? Enjoy your meal! There is 90% chance that there will be meat inside
  22. If you order a soup, you must prepare for the challenge. You won’t be given a spoon, Vietnamese eat it with chopsticks!
  23. If you are offered a cup of tea, you will see a sophisticated process of cleaning cups first. They were obviously used before, so your host will clean them by pouring water from one to another and spill the “dirty” water to bin right next to the table.
  24. Before you decide to accept invitation from locals for a shot of rice wine, check how many of them are sitting by the table as they will expect you to drink with each of them
  25. Do you feel like eating ice-cream? Chocolate? Rocky road? Overrated! Don’t go with the mainstream and try rice, beans, potato or corn flavored ice-cream. However, the best is the coconut flavor (Kem dừa– served in real coconuts)
  26. Question: „Do you like dogs?“ can in some situations have a totally different meaning from the one you would expect.
  27. If your friend tells you that (s)he is on the way, relax, get some iced tea (tra da). (S)he will probably come in one hour. Thanks to crazy traffic possibility of someone’s being late is very high. You can easily get stuck in traffic jam, get a flat tire or just get lost in old quarter’s chaos
  28. In US you cannot miss double cheeseburger, in Europe double vodka aaand in Vietnam double raincoat that is btw very useful when two people are driving motorbike in rain 😛
  29. Fashion in Hanoi is very unique. Do you wanna be trendy? Put a hair roller on your fringe, pyjamas and wear socks for your high heels
  30. Are you a man and you need a quick haircut? No problem. There is a big variety of street barbers that can right on the street shave your beard and cut your hair according to the newest shape

Klara & Marta


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