One of the most asked questions from tourists all around the world before departing for Vietnam was: Is Vietnam safe? Come together with that question are many more that are related: how can I stay safe during my trip to Vietnam, what should I worry about, what can I do to ensure my safety, etc.
Indeed, safety is always that one issue tourists are most concerned about when traveling, especially folks who come from European and American countries. In this article, as insiders, we’ll answer all your questions about safety when traveling to Vietnam and give you the most useful Vietnam travel tips to stay safe throughout your trip.
- Handy Tips For Vietnam Safety Travel
- Ultimate Vietnam Travel Checklist – What To Pack For Vietnam Trip?
IS VIETNAM SAFE? YES, IT IS!
The question ‘Is Vietnam Safe’ is quite a subjective question and the answer depends on personal opinions and experiences. As many have shared their thoughts on this issue, it can be said confidently that Vietnam is generally a safe country to travel and to live.
That answer is given mostly by the fact that Vietnamese people are very welcoming and friendly towards foreign travelers. A characteristic to talk about Vietnamese people is how curious they are about the people around which makes it very hard to commit serious crimes and get away with it without leaving a trace. It also makes Vietnamese people quite attentive to others’ troubles, especially when they consider you as their guests.
Due to this characteristic, Vietnamese police could have a tight grip on social order and communities. It goes without saying that petty crimes like scams, hassles, pickpocketing still exist, particularly in touristy cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang. However, you can stay out of it if you take a little bit extra care and caution.
Dangers in Vietnam lie mostly in the traffic and tropical diseases tourist might catch when staying in the country. Tropical diseases that tourists are exposed the most to are dengue fever and yellow fever. There’s a vaccine that protects against yellow fever while the vaccine for dengue fever is still being researched.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING VIETNAM
VIETNAM WEATHER & TYPHOON SEASON
Vietnam is a tropical monsoon country with the weather is divided into three distinct climatic zones:
- North and North Central: Temperate and tropical climates, temperate climates of four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
- Central of Vietnam: Tropical Monsoon, known as a tropical wet climate or a tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate.
- South of Vietnam: The typical tropical climates with only two seasons: dry and rain.
North Vietnam and Central Vietnam are affected by typhoons from May and June, the South end of December. Overall, September, October and November are the three months that most often have typhoons. On average, every year, there are 4 to 6 typhoons and tropical depressions on the coasts of Vietnam.
To ensure your safety and enjoyment during your trip to Vietnam, it’s for the better that you should avoid traveling to the specific areas in specific months when the typhoons hit. Those who want to travel to northwest Vietnam and try driving a motorbike on mountainous roads must absolutely not do it when there’s heavy raining, being caught in a flood is fatal.
Tips for traveling in typhoon season in Vietnam:
- Update the weather forecast during your stay
- Gear up with some water-proofed clothing, bags, and footwear.
- Use transportation means which can ensure your safety even in stormy weather. If the condition worsens, stop moving and find shelter.
- At any given point in time, you should stay calm and positive. Vietnam has a lot of indoor places you can visit and enjoy your time.
TRAFFIC IN VIETNAM AND ROAD SAFETY
It’s an already given fact that Vietnam’s traffic is hectic and can be a real concern for your safety while staying in Vietnam. There are two activities that travelers should pay extra attention when engaging the traffic in Vietnam:
Crossing the road:
The video above is fun to watch but it wasn’t actually how people really cross the roads in Vietnam.
For first-time travelers to Vietnam, the traffic can appear to be so overwhelming and crossing roads seems like a mission impossible. The endless flow of motorbikes and cars in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City never ceases even if there’s a red light. It sure is intimidating, but don’t let it gets to you. Start slow and never stop in the middle of the road. The motorbikes will naturally avoid you like water. However, if you find it too nerve-wracking, then grab a local and just follow them to the other side.
According to the law, you must have an IDL (International Driving License) to drive a motorbike in Vietnam. However, due to the tourism boost, no license is required when you rent or purchase motorbikes in Vietnam. Traffic officers rarely stop foreigners and if they do, it’s quite easy to get away with small bribes.
To really stay safe when driving a motorbike in Vietnam, make sure your travel insurance covers you. Always wear helmets and obey the rules. Drive slow, stick to the right side of the road if you are not really confident. Get used to a much different style of driving when in Vietnam, and of course the honking, too.
PETTY CRIMES & VIOLENT CRIMES
Scams, Hassles, Pickpocketing
They are where it’s most crowded: Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh’s Dist. 1, Nha Trang…. It can be purse, phone, camera snatching, pickpocketing, taxi scams, etc.
Thieves are really a problem in Ho Chi Minh City. Group of two men ride on a motorbike and sneak up behind the back of unaware tourists and forcibly snatch away their belongings. Sometimes, it might cause injuries when the victims try to hold on or pull back. Don’t do it, just report to the local authority as soon as possible. But before that, you can prevent becoming their easy prey by doing the things below:
- Keep your belongings real close to your body
- Use waist bag to keep most important things like phone, documents and wallet.
- Watch your surrounding when you want to take a picture by phone or camera.
- Walk in groups, don’t make yourself stand alone on the streets.
When you use public transportation like buses or trains, your things can also be stolen, even to the point that your bags might be ripped. The tip is always keeping your values in front of you where you can keep an eye on them.
Taxi scam is also a concern to many travelers, especially those who are first-timers in Vietnam, unfamiliar with the language and the ways around. Taxi drivers have quite a few tricks up their sleeves to cheat you like running fake taxis, changing the meter counter to make it run faster, or driving in circle, etc.
What you can do to stay away from taxi scams in big cities like Hanoi and HCMC:
- Only use reliable taxi brands in Vietnam. From the front Passenger seat view, you can see taxi identification number, driver’s name, license plate number and meter, Map and GPS and credit card payment system
- Take picture of the car’s plate and the meter counter
- Search up you’re the path you want to travel and confirm it with the taxi driver
- Use services from Uber or Grab which let you and the driver know in advance the cost
Violent crime is rare in Vietnam, even rarer against foreigners. There’s no record of successful terrorist acts throughout the country in tourist crowds or tourist destinations. Criminal gangs in Vietnam are kept in check by the police. Crimes that are committed usually from drunk fights, robberies gone wrong.
HEALTH – FOOD SAFETY, TROPICAL DISEASES
Food Safety in Vietnam
Vietnamese food is famous for the tastes, flavors and healthy. In general, the food in Vietnam is safe.
However, with street food and vendors’ food, risks still exist and you probably know what and where to eat before making the choice. For noodle soups, the vegetables and herbs might or might not be cleansed thoroughly which can be a problem for those who have a weak stomach. For oily dishes, to reduce the cost, oil can be used over and over again until they turn dark. Grilled and roasted meat on the streets can be dirtied by the smoke and dust from the car and motorbikes. Some dishes which are based in raw meat or animal’s blood can cause stomach problems.
Fruits and drinks sold on the roads have the same risks as foods. Sellers can make fruits look fresher, shinier than they actually are. Cheap drinks are not always safe.
Tips for eating safely in Vietnam:
- Know your stomach, what can you eat and what you cannot, what you are allergic to and do some research if you’re going to go on a street food tour on your own.
- The first impression often is reliable – you should skip any stall, vendor that doesn’t look hygiene enough to your eyes.
- Restaurants and stalls that have many eaters or places that receive a lot of positive reviews are often where you can enjoy the foods. Or if you really want to stay safe, go to the high-end eateries only.
- Prepare some medicine just in case, you’ll never be too careful.
Summer is indeed a dangerous season in Vietnam – not only does it bring the danger of storms, floods but also the most dangerous mosquito-spread disease – dengue or malaria which until this day we still don’t have a vaccine or a specific treatment.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by four related viruses spread by the Aedes mosquito. The symptom includes high fever, rash, severe headache, muscle and joint pain. More-severe but much rarer forms of the disease — dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome — can additionally cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and even death (very rare).
The best way to avoid Dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos that carry the disease. Minimum your exposure to mosquitoes when in Vietnam by:
- Avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening, when more mosquitoes are buzzing about.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes.
- Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing.
- Apply permethrin-containing mosquito repellent to your bed netting. You can also buy clothing made with permethrin already in it.
- Use repellent with a 10 to 30 percent concentration of DEET on your skin.
List Of International Hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Hanoi French Hospital
Address: 1, Phuong Mai, Dong Da District
Telephone: +84 243 5771 100
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 14:00 to 20:00
Vinmec International Hospital
Address: 458 Minh Khai Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Vinh Tuy, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 243 9743 556
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday – 24 hours
Hong Ngoc General Hospital
Address: 55 Yen Ninh Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 243 9275 568
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday – 24 hours
Raffles Medical Clinic
Address: 51 Xuan Dieu Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 24 3676 222
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 20:00
Ho Chi Minh City
Address: 6, Nguyen Luong Bang Street, Saigon South (Phu My Hung), District 7
Telephone: +84 285 411 3333
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 14:00 to 20:00
Columbia Asia International Hospital – Private Hospital
Columbia Asia is a chain of hospitals in Asia, with 24 medical facilities across India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia
Address: 08 Alexandre de Rhodes, Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Telephone: +84 28 3823 8888
Company Website: www.columbiaasia.com
Centre Medical International
Address: 1, Han Thuyen, Ho Chi Minh
Telephone: +974 4466 6009
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 21:00
TRAVEL TIPS FOR WOMEN TRAVELING TO VIETNAM
Vietnam is a relatively safe country, safest country in Southeast Asia for women to travel. Crime rate against women is low, the common attitude towards foreign women is friendly and welcoming. It’s unlikely that you’ll suffer unfriendly or rude stares from local men. Vietnamese people do like to stare but it’s out of curiosity and they do it to everyone.
- Vietnam is a quite conservative country, so it’s best not to show so much skin. But of course you still can dress up with your girly clothes, just stay away from something too revealing.
- You can stay quite late in Vietnam, even when you’re alone. But you might find some friends to accompany you if you want to stay out overnight. There isn’t really any real risk, just the precaution.
- Be considerate and try to not display excessive wealth or expensive clothing and jewelry in areas where it’s not common
- Travel to remote areas can be quite risky to do alone.
- Driving motorbike is easy for gals who have had experiences. But it takes no time to learn and you can do it alone alright.
Vietnam is a great country to travel to and a safe country to spend your time. Like every developing country, Vietnam has its own problems and struggles. Due to the tourism boost, there will be a risk of petty crimes like pickpocketing, scams and hassles in cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang…. However, these are avoidable if you take precaution measures and have enough knowledge to handle the situation. Driving a motorbike can be dangerous but it’s a fun thing to do if you do it right. Vietnam also is a wonderful destination for female travelers.
Why not let Asianway make sure your Vietnam traveling experience to be safe, insightful and exciting? Booking with us will help your mind to feel at ease because we’ll minimize all the risks mentioned above. Our travel experts will listen and take your concerns into consideration, hence come up with a perfect personized tour plan to Vietnam. Let us know your thought!