I’ve traveled to Vietnam many times already, but most of the times were with my family when we were visiting our relatives in the north. It wasn’t until last year when I decided to travel by myself, for the first time in Vietnam, that I really got to know the country, and also experience it from a solo travelers point of view.
First of all, I know that looking like a local and speaking the language gives me many advantages, but it also gives me a lot of disadvantages. I don’t speak the language clearly, so it’s obvious from the start that I’m foreign born. My look doesn’t always make it obvious that I’m Vietnamese either. In fact, more locals speak English with me in the beginning. So it still feels like I’m traveling in the country as any other tourist, but with the big advantage that I do speak the language (at least semi well).
With that said, do I think it’s safe to travel in Vietnam? Yes, I really do. With a booming tourism, the country has been developing rapidly in the last years. Each year, Vietnam welcomes millions of visitors, people from every continent and country. Gone are the days when it was weird to see that tall, white guy walking around in the small alleys. These days, it’s rare to not see Westerners. It’s almost even more strange if you don’t come across any Westerner when you get to a new city.
After traveling for a month from north to south, there wasn’t one place in Vietnam that felt unsafe to me. Vietnam is a very developed tourist country so you’ll most likely find a hostel wherever you go, and those occasional Western restaurants. But don’t be scared to get to know the locals though! They’ve become very open-minded to foreigners and are always curious about you. I’ve traveled with people from different ethnicities and I’ve noticed how the locals are very keen to speak to us, mostly to practice their English. If you’re looking for help, they’ll do their best to help you out, and even if they can’t explain it to you, they’ll most likely try to show it to you. There were times when I was completely lost and I had to rely on the help of strangers who went above and beyond to help me get to my destination.
Always be cautious of your environment
I do have to say that what you need to be careful of is people trying to rip you off. But this doesn’t make a country “dangerous”, it just means you might lose a penny or two when you’re negotiating about a price. You should also always be aware that there’s pick pockets everywhere. I’ve never been experienced it before, but even the locals tell me to be careful of it and you should always listen to what the locals say. Just keep an eye on your belongings and hold on to your bag.
Another thing I learnt from a local is that you should be careful when you’re walking around with your phone in your hand. There’s been times when people on motorbikes have snatched the phone from people’s hands. So that’s another thing to be aware of. If you’re going to walk around with your phone in your hand, hold it tight and close to you.
It’s one of the safest countries in Asia
There has been many other countries I’ve traveled around in that felt much more unsafe. For example, I thought Indonesia could be a bit shady, especially in Java. It also didn’t help that I got robbed there, but just walking around Jakarta feels so much more different than walking around in Ho Chi Minh City, for example. Although they’re both two huge cities, the latter feels much more safe to walk around in, even at night. Although I wouldn’t encourage anyone to walk around alone in the middle of the night in an area with little to no people, I still think it’s much safer in Vietnam than in many other places in Asia. It also helps that it’s one of the most beautiful countries in Asia.
If you’re wondering whether or not you should travel to Vietnam, don’t think, just do it! It’s the perfect destination for solo travelers, friends, couples, families, etc. Come enjoy the sun in one of Southeast Asia’s pearls!
Remember to apply for a Vietnam Visa before you enter the country. You can either get a Visa on Arrival or E-Visa, depending if you’re eligible to apply for the latter. These two are the online options, and the most preferred ones. The third option is to get your visa at the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.
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