15 Basic Vietnamese Phrases for Tourists

Vietnam Visa | June 1, 2019

15 Basic Vietnamese Phrases for Tourists

Planning a trip to Vietnam? Tuyệt vời! Have fun. You can find many English speakers in Vietnam, but there are no guarantees! Be a smart traveler and learn some basic Vietnamese phrases for tourists.

Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the language correctly. Many Vietnamese vendors and citizens will respect you for taking the time to learn more about their language. You might even earn a discount now and then!

Vietnamese Basic Words and Phrases

Below are the translations for common Vietnamese phrases, along with pronunciation helps in parentheses when necessary.

1. Greeting and Goodbye

  • Hello: Xin chào! (sin chow!)
  • Goodbye: Tạm biệt (tarm byeet)

2. Terms of Courtesy

  • Thank you: Cảm ơn bạn (gahm un ban)
  • Please: Làm ơn (lam uhhn)
  • You’re welcome: Không có gì (khome co xi)

Being respectful is good in any language! Improve any social situation by using these basic Vietnamese words often.

3. Yes and No

  • Yes: Vâng (vung)
  • No: Không (khome)

4. Good and Bad

  • Good: Tốt (thote)
  • Bad: Xấu (szoh)

5. Asking for Assistance

  • Excuse me: Xin lỗi (seen loy)
  • Can you help me?: Bạn có thể giúp tôi được không? (ban co teh zoop thoy duc khom?)

6. Pronouns

  • I: Tôi
  • You: Bạn
  • Female (junior): Em
  • Female (senior): Chị
  • Male (junior): Em
  • Male (senior): Anh

You’ll be forgiven if you make a mistake with pronouns! Plus, you can often use the “senior” versions, as in these examples of addressing wait staff:

  • Excuse me (to waiter): Anh ỗi
  • Excuse me (to waitress): Chị ỗi

7. Checking for English Language Speakers

  • Can you speak English?: Bạn có thể nói tiếng Anh không? (ban co teh noy thien an khom)

Make an effort to use common Vietnamese phrases, but you can also occasionally ask if the other party knows English.

8. Numbers

Use each of the following numbers on its own, or combine them into two-digit numbers.

  • 1: Một (mobh)
  • 2: Hai
  • 3: Số ba
  • 4: Bốn (Bumh)
  • 5: Số năm
  • 6: Sáu
  • 7: Bảy
  • 8: Tám
  • 9: Chín
  • 10: Mười

9. Terms for Transactions

  • I like: Tôi thích (thoy tick)
  • How much?: Bao nhiêu? (baow nyew)
  • Too expensive: Quá đắt (qwa dat)
  • Can you reduce the price?: Bạn có thể giảm giá? (Ban co teh zam za)

Many vendors in Vietnam overcharge at first, so be sure to haggle!

10. Relative Sizes and Amounts

When purchasing items, here are some words for basic attributes you might need:

  • Big: Lớn (lungh)
  • Small: Nhỏ (N-yor)
  • Medium: Vừa (vurh)
  • Less: It hơn (Eet hahn)
  • More: hơn (hahn)

11. More Courtesies

  • How are you?: Bạn khỏe không? (ban kwe khome?)
  • I’m fine, thank you!: Tôi khỏe, cám ơn! (thoy kwe cam on)

Use these phrases to be more charming to vendors and make a better deal.

12. Terms of Flattery

It’s possible to flatter vendors, but use these phrases sincerely and at your own risk:

  • You are very beautiful: Bạn rất đẹp (ban zet dep)
  • You are very handsome: Bạn rất đẹp trai (ban zet dep chai)

13. Restaurant Terms

  • May I have the menu?: Tôi có thể có thực đơn không? (thoy co teh co tuck don khome)
  • I would like to have this: Tôi muốn có cái này (thoy muhon co cai nay)
  • Cold: Lạnh (langh)
  • Hot: Nóng bức (non boo)
  • No ice: Không có đá (khom co dar)
  • No sugar: Không đường (khom dueng)

14. Common Locations

  • Go to the airport: Đi đến sân bay (di den sun bay)
  • Hotel: Khách sạn (khack san)
  • Where is the ATM?: ATM ở đâu? (ATM urn dole)

15. Emergency Terms

  • I am sick: Tôi bị ốm (toy bee ohm)
  • I need to go to the hospital: Tôi cần đến bệnh viện (toy can den ben vien)

Now that you know some Vietnamese basic words and phrases, remember that you’ll need a travel visa when you get to Vietnam. You’ll have a more convenient time at the airport if you get it in advance. Apply for one now.