This page provides some details about popular recreation activities in Vietnam.


Gambling has played an important role in the social and recreational habits of the Vietnamese. Children may be seen tossing coins, stones, or sticks along the streets playing different games. Gambling is included in many of them.


The national lottery is well-liked in Southern Vietnam and provides beneficial side results. Money derived from the sale of lottery tickets goes into reconstruction and industrial development funds in the national treasury. In addition, thousands of people are given some means of making a living by selling tickets. They receive a commission and often tips. Every Vietnamese seems to have a dream of winning a million piastres someday in the weekly drawings. There have been a few cases of corruption in the history of the national lottery.

Card Playing

Card playing and mahjong are especially popular with adults.


Another favourite pastime with children and adults alike is betting on cricket fights during the rainy season. Children catch crickets and sell them for this purpose.

Horse racing held on Saturday and Sunday in a Saigon suburb draws large crowds as thousands of Vietnamese, young and old, turn out to cheer the pint-sized Asiatic horses and jockeys on to victory. Betting is heavy, with profits going into the national treasury of Southern Vietnam. It is not uncommon to see a horse run the wrong way around the track.

Other popular sporting events include soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, hiking, ping pong, and tennis. Vietnam teams often compete with other countries in soccer, tennis, bicycling, basketball, and other sports.

There are few golf courses in Southern Vietnam. The one in Saigon is located near Tan Son Nhut Airport. It may well be the only golf course in the world fortified by pillbox installations on its perimeter, with soldiers and machine guns inside. There is an excellent golf course in Dalat. Caddies are usually women.

Offroad Vietnam Motorbike Adventures - Recreation Activities In Vietnam

Other Recreation Activities In Vietnam

Despite the popularity of television in Vietnam, the people are avid movie and theatregoers. Films from all over the world are available in theatres throughout the country.

Another favourite teenage and adult pastime is “bird watching” meaning people watching. They love to sit in cafes facing the street with doors wide open allowing a good view of the street and watch the world go by.

For those who can afford it, restaurant and nightclubs are popular. They especially like to go to those places offering rotating vocalists who go from one entertainment establishment to another on a schedule. A person may stay in one place all evening and hear a dozen or so different entertainers.

Country people often think up their own amusements. They are very resourceful and use whatever is available. Those along the seashore may have boat races with the small round bamboo boats that look as if they could tip over at any moment. In the areas where there are elephants, they may hold racing in competition with each other.

Children amuse themselves very well in Vietnam. Even though they seldom have fancy toys, they always seem to be able to find something to interest them. Due to a large number of children living in small areas, this is not hard to do.

Other Popular (Typical) Festivals, Holidays & Recreation In Vietnam

Vietnamese Tet Nguyen Dan
Hai Ba Trung Day
Thanh Minh, Holiday Of The Dead
Doan Ngu (Opening Ceremony Of Summer)
The Whale Festival
Trung Nguyen (Wandering Souls’ Day)
Trung Thu, Mid-Autumn Festival

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