A collection of useful phrases in Vietnamese, an Austroasiatic language spoken mainly in Vietnam, with sound files for most of them
common words and phrases in vietnamese, useful words in vietnamese, basic Vietnamese phrases, simplest phrases in vietnamese
1: mot
2: hai
3: ba
4: bon
5: nam

6: sau
7: bay
8: tam
9: chin
10: muoi
20: hai muoi
100: mot tram
1000: mot ngan
coffee: ca phe
drinking water: nuoc suoi
excuse me (used before questions): xin loi
goodbye: tam biet
hello: xin chao
how are you?: co khoe khong?
how much?: cai nay gia bao nhieu?
no: khong
rice: com
tea: che (north), tra (south)
thank you: cam on (‘cahm urn’)
toilet: nha tam
where is_____?: o dau co_____?
yes: vang (north), da (south)

Simplest Phrases

At the very minimum it is important to at least know how to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ – it takes moments to learn yet can make a big impression, as you will already know more than 90% of travellers arriving in Vietnam


Xin chào


Tạm biệt
Thank You Cám ơn

I am sorry

Xin lỗi

No problem.

Không sao


 Addressing people

For Vietnamese people it is important to use the correct form of address than signifies your age and relationship to the person you are speaking to. In general, when talking to someone younger than you you may call them ‘Em’, or if you think you are younger than them you may call yourself ‘Em’ and use a range of pronouns based on the other person’s gender and age.

As a traveller however it is acceptable to ‘cheat’ and use a generic ‘Tôi’ for ‘I’ and ‘Ban’ for ‘Friend’, rather than finding the correct form of address – this is not disrespectful and will help you make yourself understood.

I, me


I am

Tôi là



She, her

Cô ấy

He, him

Anh ấy

They, them


We, us

Chúng ta



Basic Vocabulary

You may find some of the following vocabulary useful for forming simple sentences:









Like to eat

Thích ăn

I like to eat

Tôi thích ăn


Cái gì

What do you like to eat?

Bạn thích ăn cái gì?

I’m hungry

Tôi đói (bụng)

I’m thirsty

Tôi khát nước



I am sorry

Xin lỗi

No problem.

Không sao

What is this?

Cái này là cái gì?

Where is the nearest internet shop?

Gần đây có internet không?

Where is the post office?

Bưu điện ở đâu?

Where is the ATM?

ATM ở đâu?


Hôm qua


Hôm nay


Ngày mai

To go



Xe Buýt



I am going to the bus station

Tôi đi ga xe buýt

 Learn Vietnamese: Thank You, You’re Welcome, and No Problem in Vietnamese

Further Reading
There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are: The Quiet American- Graham Greene The Sacred Willow-Duong Van Mai Elliot Paradise of the Blind-Duong Thu Huong Vietnam: Yesterday & Today -Ellen Hammer One Crowded Hour- Tim Bowden Catfish and Mandala-Andrew X Pham Hitchhiking Vietnam-Karin Muller Vietnam- Lonely Planet A Bright Shining Lie-Neil Sheehan (on the Vietnam-American War)