Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia and the country welcomed about 15.5 million tourists from all over the world in 2018. As more people become interested in visiting Vietnam, the question of safety arises. Is it safe to travel in Vietnam?
As a whole, it’s a safe place to visit, with little crime and friendly locals who wants Vietnam to have a good reputation so tourism continues to flourish. Nevertheless, as with every country, you need to take precautions and be aware of your environment. It’s also good to know that the crime that does exist usually comes in the form of prostitution, illicit drug use and pick-pocketing. To get a better understanding of your surroundings, read on to get a few helpful hints to make your vacation more safe.
Pick Pocketing and Petty Crimes
Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Ho Chi Minh’s District 1 are the two main spots where most tourists get pick pocketed. It can be everything from stealing your phone, camera, purse, usually from individuals on a motorbike. Therefore, it’s especially important to be aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings close to you, and if you’re snapping away with your phone or camera, make sure that you hold on to it tight.
If you do get robbed, the result might be losing a few hundred dollars, but for some, it can even be worse. The thieves might try to rip at cameras or purses which are strapped around the neck, which can cause some serious damage. You can also be injured if the person is on a bike and tries to take your belongings.
When it comes to drugs and prostitution, it’s also more centered in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, especially in the famous party street Bui Vien. There’s nearly 200,000 prostitutes(!) across the country so be careful when you’re out drinking, as it’s usually the young, single men who are the main targets for the drug and sex trades.
Remember to always keep your valuables locked in your hostel/hotel as well. Buy a little lock which you can bring with you to every new place you go to, so you can safely lock in your valuables and don’t have to worry about it during the day.
Everyone traveling to Vietnam has probably heard of the insane and chaotic traffic. It’s especially crazy in the bigger cities such as Hanoi, where you’ll almost feel overwhelmed by the amount of motorbikes on the roads. The majority of Vietnam’s annual traffic fatalities occur n a motorbike and it’s estimated that there’s 14,000 accidents per year. The leading cause of death for those aged between the ages of 15 and 29 in Vietnam is by traffic accident. So for those who are looking to buy or rent a motorbike and drive cross country, it’s important to keep in mind that traffic isn’t like it is at home. The roads might not be as well developed in some places either and you’ll have to be prepared to be in all kinds of situations. There’s been people who’s been in accidents because an animal ran out of the street all of a sudden and they weren’t prepared for it.
Driving through Vietnam by motorbike will enable you much more freedom and you can go wherever you want to, whenever. Just make sure that you’re feeling comfortable behind a bike and that you are properly insured. It’s not uncommon to see travelers with big bandages and wounds, limping from one place to the next.
Female Solo Travelers
Vietnam is definitely one of the safer countries to travel in, especially for female solo travelers. However, it’s always better to take precautions. If you’re coming home late after a night out, try to call Uber or Grab bikes instead of walking down that dark and shady lane by yourself. If you’re not feeling comfortable, try to find a friend to travel around with.
It’s very rare that violent crimes occur in Vietnam, especially towards tourists. The locals are generally curious, friendly and welcoming towards foreigners and you’ll most likely be invited to a few people’s homes during your trip in Vietnam.
Before you travel to Vietnam, remember that you need to apply for a Vietnam visa. If you’re on the visa exempt list and only wishes to stay for less than 15 days, you can travel in Vietnam visa free. Otherwise, you’re obligated to have a valid visa during your stay in Vietnam. Depending on which country you’re from, you can apply in three ways: Visa on Arrival, E-Visa or go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and get your visa with them.