Vietnamese couple on bike in flood

How do you say Boyfriend/Girlfriend in Vietnamese?

Photo credit OttoOo

Bạn gái (ba khai; short-down tone + up-tone) – Girl friend
Bạn trai (ba chai; short-down tone + flat-tone) – Boy friend

There are many terms that signify “romantic partners” in Vietnamese. Bạn gái is “girl friend” (pronounced ba khai, up-tone), while Bạn trai is boyfriend (pronounced ba chai, flat-tone). Like their English translations, these terms signify two young persons in the early dating stage of a relationship.

Listen now:

Bạn gái
Bạn trai

More serious romantic partners are called người yêu, which means “lovers” in English (or, more literally, “love persons”). It signifies two people in a long-term committed relationship, and who are not just dating.

Finally, there are financee and fiances:

  • Wife/bride to be – chồng sắp cưới
  • Fiancée (female) – vị hôn thê
  • Husband/groom to be – vợ sắp cưới
  • Fiance (male) – vị hôn phu

RELATED: How to say beautiful woman in Vietnamese?

Slang for Boyfriend/Girlfriend in Vietnamese – Gấu

One cute Vietnamese slang for boyfriend and/or girfriend is gấu which means “bear”. For example:

  • gấu chưa? – Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?
  • Hôm nay dẫn gấu đi ăn – Take the bear out to dinner today

· Gấu – Pronounced like gow? with an up-tone.

Dating Culture in Vietnam

Some people interested in traveling to Vietnam ask us “what is it like to date a Vietnamese _?”, or, more obliquely, “what is the dating culture like in Vietnam?

The answer is: not that different from any Western liberal country. Vietnam is not conservative like India or China, where parents play a prominent-role in finding partners for their children. Instead, all the ways and manners of courtship are similar between USA/UK and Vietnam. This includes modern norms like Tinder, awkward couples courting each other at cafes, hormone-drenched night-clubs full of short-skirts, cocktails and raunchy eardrum-bursting beats.

Interested in reading more about the dating in Vietnam?

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