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Some Basic Vietnamese Words And Phrases For Travelers Coming To Vietnam

Thuan - Feb 14, 2019

Vietnam is a very hospitable and friendly country which always welcomes foreign travelers no matter what are their nationalities. Despite the popularity of English among countries, learning some Vietnamese phrases or words can help you to avoid some language issues during your trip, since not every Vietnamese can totally understand English. We have listed below some of popular words that can be useful for you.

Daily Conversation

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
Hello/Hi Xin chào sin chow
Goodbye Tạm biệt tam bee it
Sorry/Excuse me Xin lỗi seen loy
Thank you Cám ơn gahm un
Yes Vâng vung
No Không khome
Do you speak English? Bạn biết nói tiếng Anh không? ban byet noy tyeng ang kaumng?
I don't understand Tôi không hiểu toy kohng hugh
How are you? Bạn khoẻ không? ban kweh kohng
Please Làm ơn lam uhhn

Vietnamese people love talking about all things happen around them. Hence, you can start a conversation to Vietnamese people easily. Showing a friendly smile and polite gestures, you would have a chance to make more Vietnamese friends, who can have your back whenever you need them. Below are some of the most basic phrases and sentences you may encounter in Vietnamese’s daily conversions.

Asking direction

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
Where is...? ... ở đâu? …uh doh?
I want to go to... Tôi muốn đến... toy muan dean...
I am lost Tôi bị lạc Toy bee lag
Can you show me on the map? Bạn chỉ trên bản đồ được không? Ban chi tren bawn dau duoc kwnong?
How to get to ...? Đi đến...như thế nào? Di dean...nhu thea nao?

Saigon streets are like a labyrinth which can puzzle any first-time visitors. Taxis or motorbike taxis are certainly the ones who know the city like the back of their hand, it would be interesting if you can find the way to get to the destination by asking them. In addition, navigation skills are a must when you travel  a hustle and bustle city like Ho Chi Minh City. But the issue can be resolved by some simple words above.

Shopping & Haggle

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
How much? Bao nhiêu tiền? Bow neuw tee-en?
Can you give me a discount? Bớt được không? Bot duoc kung?
That's too expensive! Đắt quá! Dat wa!
I can't afford it Tôi không đủ tiền Toy kung du tien
I will take it Tôi mua cái này Toy moo-ah kuy nay
I don't want to buy Tôi không mua Toy kung moo-ah
What is this? Cái gì đây? Kie zee day

When you go shopping at flea markets of tourist attractions, it will require a lot of patience to negotiate with the vendors. It has become an art of haggle when you hunt on good prices. Since the price are occasionally marked up much higher than its real value, you can use some Vietnamese words to deal with them, and your shopping sprees will be free and easy then.

Dining and ordering food

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
Pho Phở Fuh
Bread Bánh mì Banh mee
Iced coffee with milk Cà phê sữa đá Ka fey sooh da
Bill, please! Xin tính tiền Xin tinh tien
Delicious Ngon quá Ngon wa
I am full No rồi No roi
I want... Tôi muốn Toy muan

Food is the soul of Vietnamese culture. In fact, Vietnamese cuisine delivers unimaginable flavors and essences into their dishes. If you are on a tight budget, then street food is an ideal option since it is surprisingly cheap and offers an authentic taste of local cuisine. Unfortunately, not any Vietnamese waiter and waitress serving at street vendors can speak English fluently.

Numbers in Vietnamese

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
0 Không Kohng
1 Một Moht
2 Hai high
3 Ba bah
4 Bốn bone
5 Năm nuhm
6 Sáu sao
7 Bảy bye
8 Tám tahm
9 Chín cheen
10 Mười meui
100 Một trăm moht cham
1,000 Một nghìn moht ngang/ngeen
100,000 Một trăm nghìn moht cham ngang
1,000,000 Một triệu moht chee'ou

It is vital to know how to pronounce numbers in Vietnamese, since this will help you a lot to get used to Vietnam Dong, which is the official currency in Vietnam. Luckily, Vietnamese numbers are quite easy to learn once you understand its structure, because they are not too different from English numbers.

Days of the week

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
Monday Thứ hai tuuh "high"
Tuesday Thứ ba tuuh baah
Wednesday Thứ tư tuuh thu
Thursday Thứ năm tuuh nahm
Friday Thứ sáu tuuh saow
Saturday Thứ bảy tuuh bayh
Sunday Chủ nhật chew ngut

This is exactly the same as the numbers in Vietnamese once you have known how to count. This is because the days are named after numbers in ascending order starting from number 2 (hai), except for Sunday though.

Time

English Vietnamese Pronunciation
Minute Phút phut
Hour Giờ zuh
Day Ngày ngay
Week Tuần tuuan
Month Tháng thang
Year Năm naame
Morning Sáng sang
Afternoon Chiều chew
Evening Tối toy
Night Đêm dehm

 

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