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Ho Chi Minh City

Will it be hard to get by without knowing any Vietnamese?

Wondering what your experience has been like language-wise in Ho Chi Minh. Will it be hard to get by without knowing any Vietnamese? I'm going pretty soon and I'm a little concerned about getting around without any. 

7 Answers

answered first by

In Ho Chi Minh City you will be fine.

Few people are fluent in english, but many people know enough to understand you and make themself understood.

Especially the people under the age of 40.

I am sitting right now in Ho Chi Minh City writing this from a small street restaurant and have no problem communicating with the locals here.

9 thankscomments (1)

answered by
David from Ho Chi Minh City

It's not hard, my friend. Almost everyone in center know how to speak English. But you should have a plan to have more fun. Contact me if you need any help.


3 thanks

answered by
David from Zurich

It's easy to handle everything anywhere in the big vietnamese cities without speaking Vietnamese, they are use to see bag-packers from all around the world speaking English. Just ensure to don't go in "risky" places alone or don't trust people to easily. Old ladies advices use to be more reliable that the one of a young guy running after to sell you stuff. Hope it helps :-).

3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Cin from Taipei

Most people don't speak English or very poor English but there are a lot of French restaurants and cafés with English menus. Plus Vietnamese language is alphabetical so it's ok to just write down the address on a piece of paper and show it to people. I don't speak any Vietnamese and found no problem getting around there. The city is small so you can walk to a lot of places. Just get yourself a map and study where you want to go in advance. Hotel staff and shop owners speak better English so you can get them to get you a cab when you need it.

3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Claude from France

Hi alex

I'm French and i still speak a very bad English and i don't ever speak vietnamese, but you don't have any problem with vietnamese because many people speak  like me and i think it will be easy for you to understand them. on the hand, the staff speaks a very good English and you can ask them your way.On the other hand the Vietnamese language is alphabetical and with a map , its easy to find all places. vienamese people is friendly and if you need some help, they will be happy to help you.

I like Ho Chi Minh city but keep warning in going to Cholon.

In Hanoi city above the HOAN LIEM LAKE you will find the old city and its a very nice place.

Bon voyage

2 thankscomments (2)

top answer by
Megan from Los Angeles

It all depends on where you are. If you are concerned about this I would recommend staying in District 1. This is the tourist and backpack district of the city. It is also located right in the start of downtown. Everyone here speaks English so you will have no problem here and in many parts of the city. The further you venture out of the center the hard it may become. But, that being said all the young people know English and speak it very well. If you spend anytime in the  23/9 Park you will most definitely be approached by groups of school/university students wanting to sit and talk with you so they can practice their English. I am an American and have been staying here for about a week now. I have had no problem not speaking any Vietnamese. Everyone here is super friendly and willing to help you out if you look lost or ask them a question. Hope this is helpful to you! 
Ho Chi Minh is an awesome city filled with rich culture and great street food. If you need any other recommendations please let me know. I have found some great, cheap hole if the wall places to eat in District 1. How soon are you coming? 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. District 1 (region)
  2. 23/9 Park (attraction)
13 thankscomments (3)

answered by
bryan from Yountville

Not a problem. Easy to get around.

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