How to Say Hello in Vietnamese

Vietnam's stunning landscape attracts many tourists.
Vietnam's stunning landscape attracts many tourists. (Image: north vietnam landscape image by John Hofboer from

Learning just a few words of a local language can make a big difference while traveling. People are more likely to help you out and act friendly if you've gone to the trouble to learn simple greetings, such as as "hello." In Vietnam, people tend to use different expressions for hello depending on the situation, the time of day and the person they're greeting.

Say "chao" to friends and family as a way to say "hi." Pronounce "chao" like the word "chow."

Greet a man with "chao anh" and a woman with "chao chi." To greet a Mr. Jackson, for example, say "chao ong Jackson." To greet a Mrs. Jackson, say "chao chi Jackson." To greet a young, unmarried Ms. Jackson, say "chao co Jackson."

Show respect to elders by adding a small bow as you say hello.

Swap "hello" for "good afternoon" or "good morning," both common greetings in Vietnam. "Good morning" is "chao buoi sang," pronounced "chow boy sang." "Xin chao," Vietnamese for "good afternoon," is pronounced "shin chow." "Xin chao" is commonly used for "hello."

Try using the phrase "a-lo" on the phone. This is commonly used for telephone greetings in Vietnam. Pronounce the word as "ah-low."

Ask "how are you" if you want to initiate a conversation, or to be extra polite. Say "ahn khoe khong?" to men and "chi khoe khong?" to women. Pronounce "khoe khong" as "ko-eh kong."

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