Religion

Vietnam is one of the least religious countries in the world, though the customs of its folk religions are popularly practised. Expect to see little shrines in many shops and cafes, burning incense and with fresh fruit, choco-pies, and packs of cigarettes piled high as offerings.

People of most denominations can find fellowship groups and services to attend in both major cities.

Etiquette

As Vietnam becomes more and more of a destination for travellers and tourists, the nation's customs and etiquette are giving way to more internationally recognized behaviour and its citizens are becoming more forgiving of western visitors who don't understand the local manners.

1Be aware of the bottom of your feet. The Vietnamese consider it disrespectful to expose the bottoms of your feet to people or sacred objects. Barefoot or in shoes, avoid stepping over people's things or length people see the bottoms of your feet, and definitely don't point them at a Buddha.

2Lay your chopsticks across the top of your bowl when you are finished eating. Don't let them sck out vertically, as it invokes the image of incense burned to memorialize deceased ancestors.

3Avoid touching or pang people on the head and avoid casually touching members of the opposite sex when in public.

4Men, try to wear shorts that cover your knees. Women, try to wear tops that cover your shoulders.

5Use both hands when passing or receiving an object.

6Whenever possible, accept a cup of tea when it is offered to you.