If you want to know about the Vietnam drinking age, then this topic is for you. We will also be discussing the drinking culture and local liquor consumed in this Southeast Asian country, as well as what the Vietnamese government is doing in order to curb alcoholism in the country if it is indeed rampant. Does Vietnam have its own DUI and underage drinking laws as well? Can people drink liquor in public? What about kids? Here is what you need to know.
Vietnam is a country with a tropical climate, which means the weather can get humid on occasion. It also experiences the annual monsoon weather, much like other Southeast Asian countries. On cold and rainy nights, Vietnamese people are more than happy to drink their favorite beer paired with bun cha (grilled meatballs) or pho bo (beef noodle soup). But are Vietnamese people big on alcohol, and how much do they drink in one day?
What is the Legal Drinking Age in Vietnam?
Vietnam is perhaps one of the very rare countries where there is no legal drinking age implemented by the government. Yes, you read that right – Basically, if anyone can buy booze in the nearest store, then so be it. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult, a teenager, or even a kid as young as nine years old. However, this doesn’t mean that anyone can just enter the drinking establishment of their choice (more on this in a short while).
What is the Legal Drinking Age in Vietnam for Tourists and Foreigners?
Vietnam gets its share of tourists as well, like neighboring countries Indonesia and Thailand. In the case of foreign visitors, this is where the drinking age gets a bit stricter. For instance, tourists below 18 years old cannot enter any bar or nightclub and consume alcohol. They also cannot enter casinos or gamble openly if they are below 21. This is why when tourists come to Vietnam, they’re a bit surprised at the lack of a drinking age implemented in the country.
Do You Need an ID to Drink in Vietnam?
You won’t need an ID to buy or consume alcohol in Vietnam. No passport, no valid ID, no fake ID, no driver’s license, not a single legal document that proves you’re of age. Nothing. It doesn’t help that drinking is very rampant in the country, and practically every gathering in Vietnam calls for alcohol, no matter if it’s with friends or family. That is the culture here, and this can be quite shocking for foreign visitors.
Legal Drinking Age in Vietnam with Parents
Back in the day, parents didn’t mind their children chugging down any alcoholic beverage, especially with the very relaxed laws regarding alcohol consumption in Vietnam. However, things are now slowly starting to change, and recently the Vietnamese government has said that anyone below 18 can no longer drink any alcoholic beverage with or without their parents’ permission. This is a good step in curbing the growing alcoholism in the country.
Legal Drinking Age in Vietnam by Region
Anything goes when it comes to alcohol consumption in Vietnam. This means that basically anyone can purchase bottles of liquor in stores or drink it in bars without anyone being suspicious or reporting it to the authorities, no matter what age they are. This goes for every single area in Vietnam, including its capital, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). The most popular alcohol consumed in the country is beer, as well as other exotic native liquor, such as snake whiskey, which is also popular in Thailand.
Can Minors Drink in Vietnam with Their Parents?
In late 2020, a law was recently passed that states that minors below 18 years old are no longer allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. This is just one of the many new alcohol-related laws that were passed in the country during the pandemic. Meanwhile, some clubs around the country will allow minors as young as 16 to enter as long as their parents are there with them.
Consequences of Breaking the Drinking Age Law in Vietnam
Any adult person who allows underage drinking will be fined at least VND500,000 up to 1 million. But that doesn’t mean the children or teens themselves get away without a hitch – They themselves can also end up paying VND200,000 up to VND500,000 for alcohol consumption if they are below 18 years old.
A Roundup of the Vietnam Drinking Age
The Vietnam drinking age, or lack thereof, is very interesting, to say the least. Despite the fact that the government is slowly starting to take matters into its own hands, it’s pretty certain that there are still some individuals out there who are very traditional and will consume alcohol or let their kids consume alcohol, no matter how old. So, if you end up here, be sure to follow the rules as well.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.