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How to Stay Safe While Traveling in Vietnam?

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Is it safe to travel to Vietnam? This is one of the top concerns for people to visit Vietnam. The truth is that Vietnam is a safe travel destination with profound history and culture, beautiful landscapes, and welcoming people. Your trip to Vietnam will be surely a safe and enjoyable experience.

In any case, traveling to some unknown countries is always daunting, and you must be vigilant to protect yourself from any potential troubles and mishaps. In this article, we collected some of the most essential health and safety tips in Vietnam and things you should be aware of to help you stay safe.

Reunification Palace
Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh

How Safe is Vietnam?

There is a rare violent crime against foreign tourists in Vietnam. Every year, millions of people from worldwide travel to this country, including backpackers, couples, families with kids, and many other sorts of people.

For American and European travelers, violent crime against foreigners is rare, and most visits are trouble-free. Vietnam’s tourism infrastructure, including accommodations, transportation, and international hospitals, is very well-developed to ensure safe trips.

But just like most poorer countries, some endemics do occur in Vietnam. Petty theft, scam, and road traffic accidents are the top issues you should be aware of, our following tips will help you out on these issues.

Know Before You Go

Insurance, Vaccination, and Medication

The three most important things in terms of safety to consider before you travel to Vietnam, are insurance, vaccination, medication.

  • Make sure you purchase travel insurance covering medical expenses, trip cancellations, and personal belongings.
  • For those traveling to Vietnam, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, and rabies.
  • Consult with your doctor before you take off if you’re on medication or have allergies. Bring enough medication with you because some can be hard to find in Vietnam.

Food-Related Illnesses

Vietnamese cuisine is one of the things many people visit Vietnam for, but be cautious about food safety to avoid illnesses such as traveler’s diarrhea. To minimize risks:

  • Eat at reputable restaurants and street vendors.
  • Make sure the food is cooked thoroughly, especially meats and seafood.
  • Drink bottled water instead of tap water.
  • Keep an eye out for allergic foods. Ask the owner before eating.
  • Carry medications with you like loperamide in case of diarrhea. For severe symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

Natural Disasters

Vietnam is susceptible to natural disasters including typhoons, floods, and landslides, especially during the rainy season from May to October. Before you travel, monitor weather forecasts and warnings.

International Hospitals

Vietnam has several international hospitals, especially in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll find high standard medical care and English-speaking staff at hospitals including

  • Hanoi: Hanoi French Hospital (Phone: +84 24 3577 1100)
  • Ho Chi Minh City: FV Hospital (Phone: +84 28 5411 3333), Vinmec Central Park International Hospital (Phone: +84 28 3622 1166)

Vietnam Emergency Numbers

In case of emergencies, dial these numbers:

  • Police: 113
  • Fire Department: 114
  • Ambulance: 115

These numbers are accessible nationwide. It’s also helpful to have the contact information of your country’s embassy or consulate in Vietnam for certain cases.

Is Vietnam Safe to Visit Alone?

Vietnam is generally considered a safe place for solo travelers, including women. The locals are very friendly. Here are some tips especially important for solo travelers to keep in mind during your Vietnam tour.

  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid displaying valuables
  • Choose secure accommodation in safe areas
  • Stay connected with friends or family and update your whereabouts
  • Learn basic Vietnamese phrases for seeking help

Tips for Female Travelers

Though Vietnam is generally safe for female travelers, it is still a relatively conservative country. Here are some important things to keep in mind especially if you’re traveling alone.

  • Dress modestly helps avoiding unwanted attention, particularly in rural areas. It is a must if you’re visiting religious sites.
  • Avoid wearing flashy jewelry to reduce the chance of getting robbed.
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Major cities in Vietnam have bustling nightlives, but it’s still best to avoid walking alone after dark or getting back too late by yourself, especially in less populated areas.
  • Avoid using overnight buses or trains.

Theft and Scams

Tips to Avoid Petty Theft

Petty theft can be an issue in Vietnam, especially in some big cities like Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Avoid taking out your cameras or cellphones to take pictures on busy streets and corners so as not to be snatched by a scooter-riding thief. If need to take pictures on sidewalks, grab your device tightly and close to you, and keep a distance from the traffic flow.
  • Female travelers are highly adviced to put their bags in front of the body and grip the bag tightly.
  • Lock your valuable belongings in the hotel before leaving your room, don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewelry in rural regions.

Tips to Avoid Tourist Scams

Tourism services have been constantly improved in Vietnam, yet there are still some travel agents who disregard the rules. To avoid being scammed, we recommend booking a tour with authorized travel agents or operators and choosing the well-known cruise companies to book your Halong Bay cruise. Don’t be lured by the super cheap tours.

Safety for Getting Around in Vietnam

Different Modes of Transportation

To travel across major cities in Vietnam, like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, flying domestically is a fast option. Airlines like Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways have frequent flights with generally good safety records.

Buses and trains are also available for longer distances. Buses are cheaper while trains are more comfortable. Both are pretty safe, though remember to keep an eye on your personal belongings.

Within cities or an area, the most popular way of getting around is the motorbike. They are fast in the congested city streets and rural paths. As convenient as they are, motorbiking can be dangerous in chaotic traffic. Wearing a helmet and driving cautiously is essential.

Taxis are safer comparatively. Make sure you travel with reputable companies like Mai Linh and Vinasun with reliable services. Grab is the primary ride-hailing app in Vietnam. Booking a taxi through the app is safer.

Tips to Avoid Taxi scams

In Vietnam, the common taxi scam includes fake extra charges, rigged meters, fixed prices, etc. We recommend Mai Linh and Vinasun, two trust-worthy taxi companies in Vietnam with good vehicles and sealed meters. Or you can use Grab Taxi (the commonly used taxi app in Vietnam) to book a ride from which you can see how long and how much it will take to your destination.

Road Accidents

Road accidents are a great safety concern in Vietnam. There is a high volume of motorbikes which result in chaotic traffic. Vietnam has one of the highest rates of traffic-related fatalities in Southeast Asia.

Motorbike riders are especially vulnerable. It’s crucial to wear a helmet. Pedestrians should be careful when crossing the streets because traffic can be very unpredictable.

Dos and Don’ts to Help You Stay Safe and Healthy in Vietnam

Don’ts

  • Don’t ride motorbikes.
  • Don’t wear bags with single/thin straps.
  • Don’t wear a lot of jewelry.
  • Don’t buy drugs.
  • Don’t take motorbike taxis at night.
  • Don’t sit in the front seat of a taxi.
  • Don’t dress too revealing if you want to blend in with locals.
  • Don’t drink the tap water.
  • Don’t be too anxious about your safety, just be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t be lured by the super cheap tours (usually with high-risk potential to suffer tourism scam)
  • Don’t wear revealing clothes, shorts, skirts when visiting religious sites.

Dos

  • Be very wary of when take your camera or smartphone out.
  • Cross the street slowly and steadily, look left and right and then left again
  • Have travel medical insurance and go to international hospitals.
  • Always agree on a price beforehand
  • Always ask permission when you take pictures.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water.
  • Keep your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and valuable belongings in a safe place.
  • Call 113 for the police, 115 for an ambulance.

See our Vietnam travel tips for guides and inspiration for preparing your Vietnam trip

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