The Vietnamese people are a mix of various ethnic groups, attached to one another in the common goal of regaining and preserving their country. They live a very traditional lifestyle. Don't touch people on the head or point to someone with your foot, as these are considered very inappropriate in Vietnam.
Vietnamese is the main language spoken throughout the country. English, French and Chinese are also commonly spoken.
The majority of the people in Vietnam are Theravada Buddhists. Other worldwide religions are also represented in smaller numbers.
The Vietnamese live in a patriarchal society and place a great deal of importance on the family. Often, several generations live together. They are respectful of their elders and take pride in their heritage. When meeting a friend or acquaintance, a handshake is the norm.
Following strict beliefs, footwear should be removed before entering a pagoda or temple.
Vietnamese cooking is a fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions. Staples include rice, noodles, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
For breakfast you may have congee, a rice porridge, or pho, a meaty noodle soup. Lunch and dinner might consist of nem, spring rolls with pork, noodles, eggs and mushrooms; banh chung, rice, pork and onions wrapped and cooked in leaves, then eaten cold; or bun cha, grilled pork, cold rice noodles and salad.
And to wash it all down, try lime soda chanh, strong Vietnamese coffee, green tea, locally fermented ruou can or rice wine, or bia hoi, the local beer.