Gifts and Gratuities
Concerns about gifts fall into two categories – bringing
gifts to distribute in Vietnam, and giving presents to people
you meet in lieu of money.
visitors, aware that this is a poor country, feel they should
bring small gifts, particularly for children. While appreciating
that such gestures are made with the best of intentions, we’d
rather you didn't. There are two reasons for our view. Firstly,
it’s inevitable that you'll quickly draw a crowd, and will
find yourself with crying infants when the supply runs out
and, secondly, it’s dangerously close to condescension.
you travel with Haivenu, we’re very willing to help in other
ways. There's a strong sense of community in Vietnam, so we
recommend gifts from which everyone can benefit. For example,
most rural schools are always desperate for equipment. We
can contact the head teacher, find out what's top of the wish
list, and provide it on your behalf. Because prices are low
here, a small amount of dollars goes a long way – a year’s
supply of exercise books and pencils doesn't cost much, but
makes a big difference.
supply you with ideas, and manage it for you – no charge,
of course – and report back to you later if time prevents
you from handing over the gift yourself.
we work with several organisations and charities concerned
with conservation, social care and so on – we’ll be happy
to put you in touch.
While recognition of particularly good service is universally
welcomed, there isn't a general culture of tipping in Vietnam.
are a few exceptions. Tourist guides traditionally rely upon
tips to build up their wages. As a rough indication, $5.00
per day per client would be about right for a good job, perhaps
more for something special, with less than a day at a pro-rata
at railway stations rely upon small tips for an income, but
taxi drivers will normally help you with luggage as part of
their service, unless you have something particularly heavy
or difficult to carry. If you're in a hotel for a few days
or more, a tip for your chambermaid or anyone else who has
been helpful would be appreciated.
find a distinct difference between the North and South of
Vietnam. Saigon's exposure to the American lifestyle during
the war has created an expectation of an automatic reward,
so expect to pay more, and more often!
also polite to make a small donation when you visit pagodas.
Even a small amount will be appreciated – place some small
notes in the donations box or on the altar, and a monk will
sound the gong to recognise your generosity.