120+ Essential Vietnamese Words and Phrases for Travelers

Did you know that 100 Vietnamese words account for 50% of any communication in Vietnamese?

120+ Essential Vietnamese Words and Phrases for Travelers

If you’re traveling to Vietnam, a handy list of Vietnamese words and phrases is the best thing you can “pack” in your luggage. If nothing else, knowing a few words in Vietnamese helps you connect with the place a bit more. Besides, the smiles you’ll get from the locals are worth the effort of building a basic vocabulary.

Now, it all comes down to the words you will learn. Putting up the work to learn is commendable, but not all Vietnamese words are equally important for a traveler. If you want to make the most of what you’re learning, it’s important to focus on basic, high-frequency words that are more likely to pop up in small talk and daily conversations. So here’s a list of core Vietnamese words and phrases any traveler should know.

Top 20 Most Common Vietnamese Words

  1. easy — dễ
  2. hard — cứng
  3. good — tốt
  4. bad — tồi tệ
  5. yes — vâng
  6. no — không
  7. (to) have —
  8. (I) use — (tôi) dùng
  9. (to) go — đi
  10. (to) come — đến
  11. (to) make — làm
  12. (I) like — (tôi) thích
  13. (to) want — muốn
  14. (to) see — nhìn thấy
  15. small — nhỏ
  16. big — to
  17. beautiful — đẹp
  18. what — cái gì
  19. where — ở đâu
  20. who — ai

Studies have shown that knowing as little as 100 words in Vietnamese will help you comprehend 50% of any communication in Vietnamese. This is why we focus on the most common Vietnamese words first. These everyday words are the ones you’ll use the most in your daily conversations while in Vietnam. Here are a couple of more Vietnamese words that can come in handy:

English equivalentVietnamese word
(to) laughcười to
(to) takecầm
Mondaythứ hai
Tuesdaythứ ba
Wednesdaythứ tư
Thursdaythứ năm
Fridaythứ sáu
Saturdaythứ bẩy
Sundaychủ nhật
todayhôm nay
tomorrowngày mai
yesterdayhôm qua
timethời gian

Top 10 Most Common Vietnamese Greetings

  1. Good morning! — Chào chị!
  2. Good afternoon! — Chào buổi chiều!
  3. Good evening! — Chào buổi tối!
  4. Good night! — Chúc ngủ ngon!
  5. Hello! — Xin chào!
  6. Hello! — Chào bạn! (person same age as you)
  7. Hello! — Chào anh! (young man, boy slightly older than you)
  8. Hello! — Chào chị! (young woman, girl older than you)
  9. Hey! — Ơi!
  10. Goodbye! — Hẹn gặp lại nhé!

vietnamese days of the week

Greetings and other common phrases are just as important for your Vietnamese adventure. Using the right courtesy phrases and greetings leads to more fun interactions and helps to break the cultural ice. Besides, simple Vietnamese phrases like ‘good morning’, ‘how are you’ or ‘you’re welcome’ are the most efficient way to look confident and feel like you could carry an entire conversation in Vietnamese any day now.

English equivalentVietnamese phrase
How are you?Khỏe không?
Very good, thank you.Được rồi, cảm ơn cô.
What is your name?Tên bạn là gì?
My name is ...Tên tôi là ...
Nice to meet you.Rất vui được gặp bạn.
Please.Làm ơn.
Thank you.Cảm ơn.
Thank you very much.Cảm ơn rất nhiều.
Great.Tốt quá.
I’m sorry.Tôi xin lỗi.
You’re welcome.Không có gì.
Excuse me.Xin lỗi cho tôi hỏi.
No problem.Không vấn đề gì.
Speak slowly.Nói chậm thôi.
Where are you from?Bạn từ đâu đến?
What time is it?Mấy giờ rồi?
Can you help me?Bạn có thể giúp tôi chứ?
How much does it cost?Giá bao nhiêu?

Being a tonal language makes Vietnamese hard to pronounce for some of us. If you need help with this, here’s a short video to help you learn how to pronounce some of the above-mentioned phrases:

Vietnamese Words and Phrases for Food and Drink

  • water — nước
  • tea — trà
  • coffee — cà phê
  • juice — nước ép
  • wine — rượu
  • beer — bia
  • alcohol — rượu
  • chicken — món gà ạ
  • fish —
  • soup — xúp
  • salad — món rau trộn
  • sandwich — bánh mỳ kẹp
  • pie — bánh nướng nhân ngọt
  • bread — bánh mì
  • dessert — món tráng miệng
  • cake — bánh ngọt
  • breakfast — bữa sáng
  • lunch — bữa trưa
  • dinner — bữa tối
  • salt — muối
  • sugar — đường
  • pepper — hạt tiêu
  • no sugar — không đường
  • I have a reservation. My name is _____. — Tôi có đặt trước. Tên tôi là_____.
  • What would you recommend? — Bạn có thể giới thiệu cho tôi món gì?
  • I’d like something without meat. — Tôi muốn một cái gì đó với thịt.
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Whether you’re a foodie or not, adding a bit of “flavor” to your Vietnamese vocabulary will surely come in handy if you’re eating out. After all, food is an essential part of any trip. You don’t just visit a new country; you also taste it. Wouldn’t you agree?

Vietnamese Words for Body and Health

English equivalentVietnamese words/phrases
armcánh tay
fingerngón tay
footbàn chân
facekhuôn mặt
handbàn tay
kneeđầu gối
allergydị ứng
mediciney khoa
I feel sick.Tôi cảm thấy say.
Can you help me?Bạn có thể giúp tôi chứ?
Where is the hospital?Bệnh viện ở đâu?
Please call a doctor.Xin gọi bác sỹ.

The names of the body parts in Vietnamese are some of the most common and useful words you can learn. Whether you are at the doctor’s office, in a clothing store or training for a scuba diving session, various parts of the body can pop up in conversation more often than you’d imagine.

Vietnamese Words Related to Transportation and Places

  • airplane — máy bay
  • train — tàu hỏa
  • taxi — tắc xi
  • car — ô tô
  • bus — xe buýt
  • ticket —
  • restaurant — nhà hàng
  • hotel — khách sạn
  • airport — sân bay
  • train station — nhà ga
  • market — chợ

Do you need to go somewhere? It’s best if you know the Vietnamese words for means of transportation and places you may want to go to. This way, you’ll be able to prevent difficult situations where locals cannot understand what you are trying to say.
'Vietnamese phrases' by Kirill Tonkikh©

Must Know Vietnamese Phrases for Hotel Stays/Accommodation

English equivalentVietnamese words/phrases
I have booked a room.Tôi đã đặt trước một phòng.
The key for room X, please.Cho tôi chìa khóa phòng X.
This room is too noisy.Phòng này ồn quá.
When is check-out time?Giờ trả phòng là mấy giờ?
Thank you for your help.Cảm ơn sự giúp đỡ của bạn.
How was your stay with us?Anh cảm thấy ở khách sạn chúng tôi thế nào?
Here is your bill, please look it over.Hóa đơn của anh đây, phiền anh xem lại.

If you need a place to crash, this course in Vietnamese phrases for common conversations about hotel stays will be handy. Learn these phrases today and make Vietnamese-speaking friends tomorrow.

That’s it! You are now officially ready to embark on an unforgettable trip to Vietnam. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect. But before you go, make sure to check out these next FAQs.

Why is it important for travelers to learn basic Vietnamese words and phrases?

It’s important for travelers to learn basic Vietnamese words and phrases because it facilitates smoother communication in everyday situations such as ordering food or asking for directions, especially in areas where English is not widely spoken. Moreover, making the effort to engage with the Vietnamese community in their mother tongue shows respect for the local culture. This often leads to more meaningful interactions and a deeper understanding of the local customs and way of life. Additionally, knowing the language can help in emergency situations, making travel safer and more comfortable. Overall, even a small grasp of the language can greatly enhance your travel experience in Vietnam.

Are these words suitable for all regions in Vietnam, or do they vary by location?

The Vietnamese language is relatively uniform across Vietnam, making the basic words and phrases suitable for use throughout the country. However, depending on the region you are visiting, there can be slight variations when it comes to accent, pronunciation and vocabulary. Moreover, the local dialects that that can be very different from standard Vietnamese may be more prevalent in rural or very remote areas.

Can learning a few Vietnamese words really make a difference in how locals perceive travelers?

Learning a few Vietnamese words can significantly impact how locals perceive travelers. When a traveler makes the effort to speak even basic Vietnamese, it often reflects respect and appreciation for the local culture. This effort can lead to warmer receptions and more meaningful interactions, as it shows a willingness to engage with the community on their terms. Moreover, using the local language, even minimally, can bridge cultural gaps and foster a deeper understanding and connection, enhancing the overall travel experience in Vietnam.

From 0 to conversational in Vietnamese

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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

3 comments on “120+ Essential Vietnamese Words and Phrases for Travelers

  1. Hi! Is this correct?
    “I’d like something without meat. — Tôi muốn một cái gì đó với thịt.”
    I’ve been learning some Vietnamese, and this seems to suggest “with”, not “without”!

    1. Ăn chay may be more correct, it states you want to eat something vegetarian

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