Vietnam’s stunning natural beauty and distinctive cuisine attract tourists, but safety in Vietnam remains a concern. Travelling to Vietnam can be a mesmerizing experience, but it’s important to take precautions to stay safe. In this guide, we’ll outline common safety concerns when visiting the country and provide tips for how to protect yourself from potential risks.
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1. Security and safety in Vietnam
If you are wondering “Is Vietnam safe for tourists?”, the answer is Yes.
Safety in Vietnam is a strong point of the country’s tourism industry, as Vietnam is considered a generally safe tourist destination. Violent crime is rare, but there have been robberies and assaults involving weapons. The most common risks for tourists are petty crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and valuables theft.
1.1 Crime risk
One of the highest risks reducing Vietnam’s safety is petty crimes. Petty theft is a concern in many big cities. This usually involves criminals on motorcycles snatching pedestrians’ bags, mobile phones, cameras, and jewellery.
Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Nha Trang pose an elevated risk of theft for foreigners. These crimes are so common that even local Vietnamese are often the targets of pickpockets. Unfortunately, if you find yourself the victim of theft in Vietnam, law enforcement can do little to recover stolen goods. To ensure your safety in Vietnam while travelling, take note of the following:
- You should remain alert to the danger of pickpockets and bag snatchers, particularly in crowded locations and tourist destinations. If you have multiple items to carry, keep them separate in bags.
- Do not take photos with large, expensive equipment in busy streets and corners: most robberies are drive-by snatchings. When taking pictures on the sidewalk, keep your camera close to you and out of the way of passersby.
- When travelling to Ho Chi Minh City, you must be aware that when riding a motorcycle, bags carried on one’s shoulder or in the bike basket can easily be snatched by thieves. Women should keep a tight grip on their handbags to avoid these attacks.
- Remember to lock your belongings in the safe or your baggage before leaving your hotel or room. In rural places, it is prudent to be cautious with your possessions and not flaunt big amounts of cash or fancy electronics.
1.2 Transport risk
Travelling by motorbike in Vietnam carries significant risk. According to World Health Organisation statistics, you are over 8 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident in Vietnam than in the UK (an estimated 26.4 deaths per 100,000 people in Vietnam compared to 3.1 per 100,000 people in the UK). Before choosing to drive a motorbike in Vietnam, it is essential that you’re an experienced motorbike rider, understand the Vietnam traffic laws, check your motorbike thoroughly and rent from a reputable organisation, have a good quality helmet, understand the roads on which you plan to travel and that your travel insurance covers your planned activity.
If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you could face criminal charges and need to pay compensation to the injured person even if the injuries are minor. If you’re investigated or subject to an accident, offer your full cooperation to law enforcement officers and inform the British Embassy in Hanoi or Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.
1.3 Natural disasters risk
One of the factors that help increase safety in Vietnam is the country’s modest frequency of natural disasters. Natural disasters, such as rare earthquakes and occasional typhoons (from May to January), can cause extensive flooding in the Mekong River delta nearly yearly. Vietnam is occasionally devastated by storms and typhoons that can cause millions of dollars of damage. In the event of a natural disaster, follow instructions from local officials.
1.4 Scams risk
In Vietnam, taxi scams take the form of rigged meters, overcharging, confusing currency, and fixed prices. Several taxi companies in Saigon and Hanoi have rigged meters that charge up to 2 to 8 times more than what is considered a fair price. You should take a taxi from reputable companies such as Mai Linh and Vinasun in Ho Chi Minh City. You may also consult some guidebooks and travel forums before travelling to Vietnam so you will be prepared for petty scams that are particularly common in the country. A common scam involves buses breaking down and tour operators forcing passengers to pay considerable amounts for crummy hotels “while the bus is repaired”.
Although Vietnam continues to improve its tourism services, there are still some agents and independent operators who flout the rules. When booking cruises on Halong Bay, always go with a reputable company. For tours around Vietnam, book with vetted travel agents instead of hole-in-the-wall establishments to avoid being scammed.
1.5 Political situations
Vietnam is a politically stable country. People are not allowed to possess or use weapons such as guns. The chance of a terrorist attack is low, however, suspicious activities should be reported immediately to the police.
1.6 Women traveller risk
Female tourists often feel unsafe when travelling, and wonder “Is Vietnam safe for female tourists?” before booking tickets to come here. Vietnam is generally a safe country in which to travel. Female travellers will find themselves welcome, but should respect local culture by not bearing too much skin; although not conservative, the Vietnamese are still curious about foreign visitors. Solo female travellers may be approached with questions about why they are travelling alone. Enquiries are usually harmless and borne out of curiosity. Crime against women is uncommon in Vietnam; nonetheless, it’s wise to not be alone on the streets late at night and to take a taxi if you’re heading back late.
So how safe is Vietnam to visit? In general, Vietnam is a safe country. Violent crime is rare, but in recent years, there have been isolated incidents involving weapons in tourist areas. However, the most common risk for tourists remains petty crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and valuables theft.
2. Useful information to travel to Vietnam
The following information will help you increase safety in Vietnam when travelling to this country.
2.1 Vietnam visas
Almost travellers have required a Vietnam tourist visa with at least 6 months of validity before their departure. Besides, the government has issued the Vietnam exemption visa for certain countries. To learn more about these countries, please click here.
The Vietnamese Dong is the official currency in Vietnam. The best places to exchange foreign currency are post offices, banks and large hotels. Travellers are also aware that cash is still very popular in Vietnam, so you need to carry large amounts of cash on them. This exposes them to an increased risk of theft or robbery. It is therefore recommended that they divide their money into small amounts and only carry a certain amount of cash with them at one time.
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Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, are quite rare in Vietnam. It increases safety in Vietnam and attracts many tourists. However, the weather in Vietnam is very diverse, depending on the region. In Hanoi, summer lasts from May to October while winter is mostly dry and mild, which last from November to April with average temperatures from 17-22°C. In central Vietnam the weather is hot and dry from January to August, reaching temperatures as high as 30°C. The rainy season occurs in September, October. Southern Vietnam is hot and dry from November to April, with rainfalls common from June to August.
2.4 Vietnam airports
The busiest airport in Vietnam is Tan Son Nhat International Airport, located in Ho Chi Minh City. It handles more than 35 million passengers a year and has now become one of the most important hubs for travellers going to Asia or Europe. The second busiest is the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, the capital city. Don’t go to the airport at peak hours to increase your Vietnam safety when at the airport.
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2.5 Travel insurance
Travel insurance is one way to increase safety in Vietnam. Tourism authorities recommend that travellers purchase travel insurance when visiting the country, as it covers not only medical costs but also theft and loss of valuables.
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3. Do’s & Dont when visiting Vietnam
After getting the answer to the question “Is Vietnam a safe place to visit?” don’t skip grasping our notes about Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Vietnam:
- In Vietnam, the greeting customs are not unlike those of western countries. Cultural formalities are not forced on tourists.
- Before departing, scan copies of your travel documents and email them to yourself. Take a picture of your passport and email it to yourself. Keep electronic backups of your plane tickets, visas, travel insurance, and immunization records.
- When visiting pagodas or temples, dress respectfully and avoid T-shirts and shorts However, it is not required for visitors to remove their shoes. If you are not sure how to behave at a Buddhist temple, follow the instructors around you.
- Always carry your passport. Carrying identification is mandatory for both locals and foreigners.
- During your trip, drink bottled water rather than tap water. Local vendors will find you before you even know that you need something, but make sure to purchase only bottles with sealed caps.
- Keep valuables and personal items secure. Do not draw attention to yourself with large sums of money or expensive jewellery.
- Before travelling, negotiate the price for transportation and accommodation. Ask about the full cost of items before ordering or buying.
- Seek out reliable companies (tour agencies, hotels, taxi services, etc.)
- It is a good idea to have a business card from your hotel on hand, in case you need to find your way back.
- Before taking a photo of people, ask for their permission.
- When travelling in rural areas, it is a good idea to carry toilet paper with you.
- While crossing roads in Vietnam, keep your eyes peeled for oncoming traffic and maintain a steady pace.
- Do not carry bags with thin straps or open pockets. Do not stand on the street with your cell phone held at arm’s length. Violent crime is rare in Vietnam, but petty crime is more common, especially in big cities.
- Visitors to pagodas should avoid wearing old T-shirts, singlets, dresses and skirts; shorts or revealing clothes.
- Do not take photographs of military installations or equipment as this constitutes a breach of national security.
- To avoid being the victim of theft while riding a motorbike or travelling in a motorbike taxi, keep your bag firmly in front of you or between your feet.
- Do not express physical affection in public between lovers. Find an appropriate hotel, hostel, or other location. Beyond hand-holding, public shows of affection are frowned upon.
- You should avoid humiliating others. Do not behave in a manner that will embarrass others, and avoid creating uncomfortable circumstances for others.
- Do not stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl to eat or place them upright in the cooked rice, which is considered unlucky.
Safety in Vietnam is regarded as fairly high, with the exception of a few minor dangers, such as petty crimes and taxi scams, for which certain measures are advised. Hopefully, the above knowledge will help you to quickly have a safe trip to Vietnam. If you need assistance, please contact us for help.
Wolo International Travel Service and Commercial Investment Joint Stock Company:
- Headquarter: 2nd floor – No 02, Alley 232, Yen Hoa street, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
- Website: https://vietnamvisatourist.com
- Hotline: (+84) 918 21 2468
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