In general, Vietnam is safe for travelers. Violent attacks practically less heard of.

  • However, remember that Vietnam is still a developing country, and things don’t quite work as you are maybe used to. Don’t be paranoid about your safety, just be aware of your surroundings.

 

Antiques from the French time in Hanoi

 

 

  • When possible, secure your valuables in the hotel safety box. Remember to record your traveler cheque number (who still use this anyway?) credit card and personal information…just in case! Also you should have your itinerary and all the necessary information about the trip in soft copy in your phone on in the clouds. You never know if you just come to a new destination and your luggage is lost or missed and you have no phone number or any paper with contacts who can help. Then the information in your phone/ clouds/ email can save you a lot of time (and sweat!)
  • Use common sense and don’t walk alone in the dark, especially in city’s backstreets. You’d always better off avoiding cyclos or motorbike taxis after dark. If needed ask your hotels or restaurants to get you a taxi.

 

Rice fields and rivers in Tam Coc Ninh Binh

 

 

  • Traffic is chaotic, especially in major cities of Vietnam like Hanoi and Saigon. When crossing the streets on foot, move at a slow and steady pace. Fight the urge to weave and run! Walk slowly, make eye contact and indicate that you are trying to cross the street. The key to be safe is see and be seen. And remember! Vietnamese people don’t like to stop at red lights or for walkers!
  • Never carry cash more than you need when walking around the streets. Do not wear large amount of jewelries. Cities of Vietnam are safe in general, but sadly pickpocketing or snatching is more popular than you may think.

 

Military Museum in Hanoi

 

 

  • Again Vietnam is still a developing country, and so its people can be very persistent when trying to make money, especially around tourists whom they perceive as very wealthy. People will probably overcharge you. But rather than becoming irritated, join the game and bargain with a smile. It is also recommended to check prices of the same items in the neighborhood before reaching a deal, especially for more expensive items.
  • If you are being followed by street vendors and do not wish to make a purchase, often the best course of action is to say “No” firmly and nicely and continue your way. Do not hesitate or linger, as this will encourage the street vendors to try and engage you further.

 

One of the many beaches in Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba

 

 

IMPORTANT:

  • You should always be the one who take good care of your belongings! Do not rely 100% on your guides or drivers as their duty is not to take care of your belongings during the trip, but to help you go and well understand the destinations and culture.
  • Lost items are not always found by the local police and their report procedure is quite complicating and takes time (sometimes money!)

 

Hoi An anccient town

 

 

  • In case of any loss do not claim your local agents or tour operators as they are not involved in this matter. They may try to help as much as possible so that you can claim to your insurance company (if that is the case). But local operators are not responsible for any loss of personal belongings.
  • Travelling through developing countries like Vietnam can be unpredictable and frustrating at times, but losing your temper will not help. Whatever the situation, try to stay calm, firm and courteous and speak without raising your voice. Personal dignity is extremely important here. Becoming angry is considered a major weakness and local people will be embarrassed for you. If you do get into a stressful situation it is always better to ask for help than to finger blame. “Saving face” is a subtle but important aspect of personal dignity and smiles open doors. Criticism is not as easily accepted as it is in western countries and should only be made when also giving praise.

 

H'Mong village in Northen part of Vietnam

 

 

By Pham Tuyen