Dating in Vietnam

The dating scene in Vietnam is a fascinating blend of traditional values and modern influences, creating a unique cultural tapestry. Historically, Vietnamese dating customs were heavily influenced by Confucian and patriarchal values, emphasizing family honor and arranged marriages. Parents often played a significant role in choosing partners for their children, with the focus being on finding a match that would benefit both families in terms of social status and economic stability. These traditions were rooted in the importance of maintaining familial lineage and harmony. Romantic love was often a secondary consideration in the matchmaking process.

However, in recent years, Vietnam’s dating culture has undergone significant changes, particularly among the younger generation. The rapid modernization and globalization of Vietnamese society have introduced more liberal attitudes towards dating and relationships. Young adults in urban areas, influenced by Western culture and the internet, are increasingly taking control of their love lives, choosing their partners based on mutual attraction and personal compatibility rather than solely on family approval. Dating apps and social media platforms have also gained popularity, allowing individuals to connect and interact in ways that were unimaginable in the past.

Despite these modern influences, many young Vietnamese still uphold certain traditional values, particularly the respect for family and the importance of filial piety. It’s common for young couples to seek parental approval before progressing in their relationships, and family gatherings remain an essential part of the dating process. This blend of traditional and modern values creates a dating scene in Vietnam that is rich in cultural nuances, reflecting the country’s dynamic evolution while still honoring its heritage.

Interesting facts about dating and romance in Vietnam

  1. Influence of Confucian Values: Traditional Vietnamese culture, influenced by Confucianism, emphasizes family values and societal harmony, which significantly shape marriage and dating practices.
  2. Arranged Marriages: Historically, many marriages in Vietnam were arranged by parents or matchmakers. While this practice has declined, especially in urban areas, it still exists in some rural communities.
  3. Importance of Family Approval: In Vietnamese culture, family approval is crucial in both dating and marriage decisions. The family’s opinion, especially that of the parents, is highly respected and often decisive.
  4. Betrothal Ceremony (Lễ Dạm Ngõ): Before the wedding, a formal betrothal ceremony is held where the groom’s family visits the bride’s family with gifts to officially ask for her hand in marriage.
  5. Wedding Celebrations: Vietnamese weddings are vibrant and elaborate, often involving two main ceremonies: the traditional ceremony at the bride’s home and the more modern reception at a restaurant or hotel.
  6. Traditional Wedding Attire: In traditional ceremonies, the bride often wears the ‘Ao Dai’, a long, form-fitting dress with trousers, usually in red or pink colors symbolizing luck and happiness.
  7. Astrology in Marriage: Consulting astrologers for an auspicious wedding date is a common practice. Couples often choose their wedding date based on the lunar calendar.
  8. Modern Dating Practices: In urban areas and among younger generations, Western dating practices are increasingly popular. Online dating, casual dating, and public expressions of affection are more common.
  9. Role of Education and Career: Modern Vietnamese, particularly in cities, place significant importance on education and career achievements before considering marriage.
  10. Cohabitation Trends: While still not as common as in Western countries, cohabitation before marriage is gradually becoming more accepted in urban areas of Vietnam.
  11. Changing Views on Marriage: Younger Vietnamese have more liberal views on marriage, including the importance of mutual love and companionship, contrasting with traditional views of duty and family obligations.
  12. Diverse Ethnic Customs: Vietnam’s ethnic diversity, including Kinh (Viet), Tay, Thai, and others, means a variety of wedding and dating customs exist, reflecting the country’s rich cultural mosaic.

These aspects of marriage and dating culture in Vietnam reflect a society that cherishes its traditions while also embracing new, modern perspectives.

Top dating apps in Vietnam

The dating app scene in Vietnam showcases a mix of global and local applications, each catering to different aspects of the dating experience.

  • VietnamCupid: VietnamCupid stands out as a leading Vietnamese dating app, boasting over 800,000 members. It caters to those seeking serious relationships as well as casual flings, offering advanced search features to help users find matches based on their preferences​
  • YmeetMe: Exclusively used in Vietnam, YmeetMe caters to both Vietnamese and foreigners looking to meet new friends or partners. With a functionality similar to Tinder, it offers a more localized dating experience and had over 1.8 million users as of early 2019​
  • VietSocial: Specifically dedicated to the Vietnamese market, VietSocial is a free dating app that allows users to connect with Vietnamese singles both locally and globally. Unique for its video-based interaction, it enables users to meet people through videos, offering features like group social chat rooms, private inboxes, and the ability to create video and photo profiles​
  • Tinder: Widely used across the globe, Tinder has also become a favorite in Vietnam. Its simple swipe feature and user-friendly interface make it easy for users to find potential matches, whether for serious relationships or casual encounters​
  • Bumble: Unique for its approach, Bumble is designed with women’s safety in mind, giving them the power to initiate conversations. This feature makes it a preferred app for many, particularly those looking for a safe and secure dating platform​
  • Badoo: Another popular app in Vietnam, Badoo has a large user base and is known for its gamification features, making the dating experience fun and engaging. It’s a great choice for those looking to meet new people and enjoy a less formal dating experience​

Most romantic holidays in Vietnam

In Vietnam, Valentine’s Day is celebrated and is considered one of the most romantic holidays. It is a day when couples express their love through gifts, romantic outings, and special gestures, similar to the traditions followed in many Western countries​.

One of the most important romantic holidays in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen Dan, or the Lunar New Year. This is a time when families come together to celebrate the start of a new year, and it is also a time when many couples get engaged or married.

Latern festival dating in Vietnam

Another important romantic holiday in Vietnam is the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. This festival is traditionally a time for family reunions and celebrating the harvest, but it is also seen as a romantic holiday. It is common for couples to exchange gifts and enjoy mooncakes together during this festival.

In addition to these holidays, there are also several other festivals and events throughout the year that are associated with love and romance, such as the Lantern Festival and the Vietnamese Valentine’s Day, which falls on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. However, it’s worth noting that traditional festivals and holidays are generally celebrated with family and friends, and romantic gestures are typically kept private between couples.

Typical first date in Vietnam

First dates in Vietnam tend to be casual. It is true that many factors such as socioeconomic, location or personal beliefs will impact what two people decide to do on a first date, but in general, the focus should be on getting to know each other in an informal setting where you can chat openly.

It does not matter if you are talking over a cup of delicious Vietnamese coffee, walking out in nature or a park or another original idea, the goal should be to check the vibe, see if there is a connection or potential for continuing the relationship. Here are a few ideas for first dates in Vietnam:

  • Shopping: In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hai Phong or Da Nang and other cities, shopping malls or commercial centers can be great date spots. They are relatively safe, public and there is enough external stimulation to keep a good conversation going.
  • Coffee or drinks: Many first dates in Vietnam take place in a casual setting, such as a coffee shop or bar.
  • Outdoor activities: In some parts of Vietnam, there are many options for outdoor activities such as hiking/walking, picnic, biking or even a combination of activities while visiting a local park. Depending on the activity level of you and your date, these may be nice options for you.

Dating etiquette and social cues

Like social cues and other aspects of dating, dating etiquette or expectations of behavior when on a date can vary somewhat from individual to individual. That being said, if you are on a date in Vietnam, below are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Punctuality: Being on time for a date is generally seen as a sign of respect in most cultures. However, attitudes towards punctuality can vary, with some cultures placing a high importance on it, while others might have a more relaxed attitude.
  • Dress and appearance: Dressing appropriately for the occasion and taking care of personal hygiene are often seen as signs of respect towards the other Vietnamese. In Vietnamese, men are expected to dress in a neat and stylish manner, while women might be expected to wear more fashionable or elegant outfits. Of course, this will vary based off of socioeconomic factors.
  • Physical contact and public displays of affection: Physical contact and especially PDA is not as common by mainstream Vietnamese communities. Most physical contact is reserved for serious relationships, even marriages or private meetings.
  • Paying the bill: In many cultures, the person who initiated the date is expected to pay the bill, although this is not a universal rule. Offering to split the bill can be a polite gesture, although in some cultures it might be expected for the man to pay. As more young Vietnamese conform to global egalitarian values, we expect sharing the cost to be more common.
  • End of the date: How the date ends can also convey a lot. Walking the other person to their car or home, or arranging for their safe return, is often seen as a sign of care and respect. If both parties enjoyed the date, it is common to express interest in meeting again.

Vietnamese language and its importance for dating

The Vietnamese language is central to the cultural identity and social unity of Vietnam, acting as a symbol of national pride and resilience. It bridges regional and ethnic differences, playing a key role in literature, arts, and everyday communication. In education and governance, Vietnamese is crucial for accessibility and civic engagement.

For the global Vietnamese diaspora, the language maintains cultural connections and heritage. Additionally, as Vietnam integrates into the global economy, the Vietnamese language remains essential for local insights and cultural understanding, despite the growing importance of English and other foreign languages in international relations and business. This makes the Vietnamese language much more than just a means of communication; it’s a reflection of the nation’s history, culture, and identity.

Doi Ang Khang , Chiang Mai, Thailand.

As the modern need for multilingualism is strong, many Vietnamese are multilingual in some capacity. As Vietnam borders Cambodia, China, and Laos students will often study and/or have familiarity with Chinese or English since it is the most useful international language for them for practical reasons. This is especially true when Vietnamese live on bordering towns and cities since the need to use the language in everyday life is tangible.

If you are a foreigner or tourist, we do always recommend learning language and studying local culture. Language is incredibly important form of human connection and knowing some of the local language will greatly enhance your experience. It may not be possible to learn all languages, especially if backpacking through, but relying on your English is limiting and alienating. If you can learn to speak basic or intermediate level Vietnamese, a few phrases will go a long way. Nothing shows your date more respect than genuinely learning about his or her culture.

While some Vietnamese will also speak English or other languages, being able to communicate in any other local language can help to build stronger relationships with, facilitate communication in a variety of contexts and gain respect or trust with locals. It is a win-win situation for you and Vietnamese culture.

Is Vietnam gay friendly?

Vietnam’s stance towards the LGBTQ+ community has shown significant progress over recent years, marked by increasing openness and acceptance, especially when compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Legally, the country has taken positive steps by decriminalizing same-sex relationships and abolishing the ban on same-sex marriage in 2015. However, it’s important to note that same-sex marriages are not yet legally recognized in the same way as heterosexual marriages. This indicates a move towards tolerance, although there remains a gap in legal equality.

In terms of social attitudes, there is a notable contrast between urban and rural areas. Cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are more liberal and have a visible LGBTQ+ presence, with gay bars, events, and pride parades becoming increasingly common. These urban centers reflect a growing acceptance and openness towards LGBTQ+ individuals. In contrast, traditional and conservative attitudes persist in rural areas, where societal norms are deeply influenced by Confucian values emphasizing family and filial duties. This cultural backdrop can create challenges for LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly in terms of familial expectations and societal pressures.

gay dating in Vietnam

While Vietnam does not have specific anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ+ rights, there is a growing movement of visibility and advocacy. Various organizations and activists are actively working to raise awareness and promote the rights and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community. These efforts are gradually contributing to a more inclusive and accepting environment. Overall, Vietnam is on a path towards greater acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, but continued efforts in legal recognition, social acceptance, and cultural understanding are necessary to achieve full equality and inclusivity.

If you plan on using one of the gay dating apps in Vietnam, please exercise caution. Check the latest regulations from a reputable international organization like the ILGA and consider using apps like Grindr and Tinder, which help you to remain safe.

Best way to meet singles in Vietnam

The best place to meet singles in Vietnam depends a lot on where you might be. If you are in a rural area, then your options may be limited. However, if you find yourself in a large urban center like Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon city) or Hanoi, then you may have more options. Do some research on popular activities or events happening in your area and see what you find.

We believe that you can increase your chances of meeting Vietnamese singles by trying out some of these methods:

  • Social events: Attending social events like festivals or cultural events even parties are great ways to meet new people and potentially find a romantic partner. Though many of these are not specifically focused on dating, they may present opportunities to strike up a conversation with someone new.
  • Through friends: If you live in a place and have a friend network, it may be easy to meet potential partners through friends or mutual acquaintances. Ask your friends to introduce you to someone they think you may hit it off with, or attend social events with them to meet new people. It is important to use this sparingly though in case a new relationship does not work out.
  • Religious centers: Temples are a central part of community life for Vietnamese Buddhists. They serve not just as places of worship but also as gathering points where people can meet and socialize.
  • Joining groups or clubs: Joining a new club or group centered around a common interest such as a profession, skill, sport or even language exchange, can all be great ways to meet new people. By joining an organization based on mutual interests, conversations will be easy and it is easier to relax.
  • Go shopping at the market: In cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh shopping centers, malls and markets are great places to meet new Vietnamese singles. Markets and malls are often central to daily life and people visit them frequently either out of necessity or to pass time.
  • Volunteering: There should be plenty of volunteer opportunities in Vietnam. Volunteering for a local organization or charity is not only a great way to give back to the greater human society, but it can also be a great way to meet new people who share similar values, passions and worldviews.
  • Online dating: If all else fails, there is always online dating. As you will read in the section below, the online dating scene is evolving in Vietnam. Though the amount of Vietnamese singles on these platforms is still relatively small, the apps and sites can still be ways of meeting someone new who shares values and interests with you.

Is it safe to date people in Vietnam?

Here are 10 things to keep in mind when dating in Vietnam:

  • Be Aware of Local Laws and Customs: Learning about the local culture, like you are doing now, can help you navigate dating in Vietnam and avoid cultural misunderstandings or faux pas. Further, if Vietnam is a new place for you, take some time to review local laws and customs, particularly related to dating and public behavior. This is especially crucial as laws and protections are extremely weak and dangerous for LGBTQ+ individuals in Vietnam. Though some dating apps, such as Grindr or Tinder, have implemented security features into their apps it cannot defend you from the law of the land.
  • Choose a Reputable Dating Platform: Online dating app may be weak in Vietnam but at least use a website that requires identity verification. This can help weed out fake profiles and scammers.
  • Use the messaging service on the dating app: It is safer to use the messaging service provided by the dating app until you are comfortable sharing your contact details.
  • Keep Personal Information Private: Do not share sensitive information like your home address, financial details, or other private information with someone you have just met online. This is generally always a bad idea.
  • Research Your Date: Do a quick online search of the profile information of your date to verify their identity. Be cautious of profiles with limited friends, photos, and interactions as these could be signs of a fake profile.
  • Tell Someone About Your Plans: Always tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you expect to return.
  • Meet in Public: On your first few dates, meet in a public place like a café or a park where there are plenty of people around. In a places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, it should be somewhat easy to find a public space.
  • Stay Sober: Alcohol can impair your judgment. It is safer to drink less when you first get to know someone.
  • Trust Your Gut: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. You have instincts for a reason. Trust them and do not feel obliged to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Remove yourself from a bad situation when it feels right to do so.
  • Safe Sex: In Vietnam, if you decide and a date decide to become intimate, remember to practice safe sex. This includes using protection and getting regular check-ups for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Remember, safety first. It is important to take precautions and use common sense when dating in Vietnam, whether online or offline.

Dating scams in Vietnam

Dating scams can and do unfortunately happen across the world, even in Vietnam. South Asia is no stranger to scams or deceptive practices. Particularly in the digital world, wherever there are lonely or naive people, a nefarious person can take advantage of their kindness or emotions.

While we do not know of any dating scams unique to Vietnam, we do believe you should keep in mind these online dating scams which are common in other countries and the rest of the world. While we do not believe paranoia helps, it is always a good idea to be careful and approach online dating in Vietnam with caution. Until you build trust with someone, you should not provide too many personal details. Whether you are Vietnamese or a foreigner looking to date in Vietnam, please keep these common dating scams in mind when using apps and sites to meet new people:

  • Identity theft: Scammers may use dating apps or websites to steal personal information from their targets, such as credit card numbers or other personal details.
  • Romance Scams: In this scam, criminals create fake profiles on dating websites or apps. They build an online relationship with their victims and then ask for money for various reasons – a sick relative, a plane ticket to visit, or some other fabricated story. Once they receive the money, they disappear.
  • Advanced Fee Fraud: This is one of the most common types of fraud in West Africa, in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, but could also happen in Vietnam. The scammer forms a relationship with the victim and then asks for money to help them access a large amount of money or gold they have supposedly inherited but cannot access due to bureaucratic red tape.
  • Catfishing: This involves a scammer creating a fake profile with stolen photos and false information. The scammer entices the victim into a relationship with the goal of obtaining personal information or exploiting them emotionally.
  • Military Scams: In these scams, fraudsters pose as military personnel who are serving overseas or outside of Vietnam. They form a relationship with the victim and then ask for money, often claiming that it is for a leave application, medical expenses, or other fabricated reasons.
  • Gift Scams: Scammers, after forming a relationship, might ask for expensive gifts or money to buy such gifts. Once the gifts or money are received, they break off contact.
  • Kidnapping Scams: These are extreme and less common, but there have been reports of scammers luring victims to a location under the pretense of a date and then kidnapping them for ransom.
  • Other money scams: Scammers may create fake profiles on dating apps or websites and then ask their targets for money for any number of other reasons than previously mentioned. If money is involved, it is likely a dating scam. Use good judgement.

Online dating in Vietnam

The online dating industry in Vietnam has seen significant growth in recent years, driven by rapid technological advancements and changing social attitudes. With the proliferation of smartphones and increasing internet penetration, online dating platforms have become increasingly popular, especially among the younger generation. This surge in popularity is also a result of the shifting perspectives on dating and relationships, with more people seeking independence in their romantic lives, contrasting with traditional arranged marriages. Apps like Tinder, Badoo, and VietnamCupid are particularly popular, each offering different features and experiences to cater to the diverse needs of Vietnamese singles.

Online dating

Vietnam’s online dating scene is characterized by a blend of global and local apps. Global platforms like Tinder and Bumble have successfully penetrated the market, appealing to those who prefer a more casual dating experience. On the other hand, local apps like YmeetMe and VietSocial cater specifically to the Vietnamese audience, offering services more attuned to local culture and dating preferences. For instance, YmeetMe, which is used exclusively in Vietnam, provides a more localized dating experience, whereas VietSocial incorporates unique features like video-based interaction. These local apps often provide a more nuanced understanding of Vietnamese culture and social norms, which can be crucial for building meaningful relationships.

Despite its growing popularity, the online dating industry in Vietnam also faces challenges. Cultural barriers and traditional values still play a significant role in how dating and relationships are perceived. For many, especially in rural areas, traditional methods of matchmaking and parental involvement in partner selection remain important. Moreover, issues like user safety, data privacy, and the authenticity of profiles are concerns that users and platform providers need to navigate. As the industry continues to evolve, these challenges offer opportunities for innovation and improvement, potentially leading to more tailored and culturally sensitive dating solutions that resonate with the unique social fabric of Vietnam.