Vietnamese language for travelers for the first time

Are you planning your trip to Vietnam or have been in Vietnam for a few times? Certainly, you can not speak Vietnamese fluently and understand what they say in a short time. Below is the basic Vietnamese language for travelers who have not known about this amazing language.

Vietnamese alphabet

A  Ă Â B C D Đ E Ê G H I K L M N O Ô Ơ P Q R S T U Ư V X Y

We do not have F J W Z

Personal pronoun

Depend on the relationship of the speaker, the situation of the conversation, the Vietnamese can use different types of pronoun.

While English only use “you” and “I”, Vietnamese have plenty of personal pronoun words to express.

“You”: bạn, mày, cậu, anh, chị, cháu, etc.

“I”: tôi, tớ, tao, mình, em, con, etc.

Vietnamese words and phrases for travelers

Did you know what is the most challenge part when learning the Vietnamese language? It is TONE! The Vietnamese language has 06 tones: rising tone, falling tone, heavy tone, wavy tone, question tone & no tone. Depends on the tone the word will have different meanings. For example:

MANo toneThe ghost
/Raising toneMother
\Falling toneBut
MẢ?Question toneGrave
~Weaving toneHorse
MẠ.Heavy toneRice seeds

Non-linking sounds

Unlike English, when speaking Vietnamese you have to pronounce word by word separately. If you link the word, sometimes, it can be a completely different meaning.


“Cảm ơn” -> “Thank you”, sometimes is spoken as “come on” in English, and the locals will hear as “Câm mồm” -> “Shut up”.

Some Vietnamese words and phrases to know

Hello: Xin chào

Goodbye: Tạm biệt

Thank you: Cảm ơn

Sorry: Xin lỗi

No, thanks: Ồ không

Oh my god: Trời ơi

Excuse me (to younger ones): Em ơi

Excuse me (to older ones): Anh ơi

That’s a lie: Xạo quá

1, 2, 3, cheers: Một, hai, ba, dô

Too expensive: Mắc quá

Coffee with condensed milk: Cà phê sữa đá

Coffee with no sugar: Cà phê không đường

It’s so delicious: Ngon quá

I am so full: No quá

It’s so fun today: Hôm nay vui quá

You are so beautiful: Em đẹp quá

You are so handsome: Anh đẹp trai quá

I love you: Em yêu anh

Funny Vietnamese word combinations

Cash: tiền mặt (money + face)

Cucumber: dưa chuột (melon + mouse)

Brush teeth: đánh răng (hit + tooth)

Sun: mặt trời (face + sky)

Heart-broken: đau lòng (hurt + bowels)

Nervous: sốt ruột (fever + intestines)

Kind: tốt bụng (good + belly)

Warmest Greetings To All from Tracy Do! Talented and experienced Tracy’s team offers Vietnam tours and Vietnam travel services, especially Ho Chi Minh City Day Trips including HO CHI MINH MOTORBIKE TOUR, HO CHI MINH FOOD TOUR, MEKONG DELTA TOUR, CU CHI TUNNELS TOUR, HO CHI MINH TRANSFER SERVICE and SHORE EXCURSION. Let us have a chance to show you Vietnam to the fullest. If you have any questions about Vietnam including Vietnam tours, do not hesitate to contact me.

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