Safety in Vietnam - 8 Tips for a Safe and Memorable Vacation
Vietnam is one of the safest countries in South East Asia. The people are friendly and welcoming, and it has some breathtaking tourist spots like beaches, treks and night markets. Vietnamese culture is vibrant, and they give their heritage extreme importance. The locals expect the same from outsiders. There are a few things every tourist should be aware of to ensure their safe stay and travel in Vietnam.
Crime and Safety Index of Vietnam
Vietnam is ranked 43rd in the list of safest countries in the world with a safety index of 51.87 out of 100. In 2018, 14 million tourists visited Vietnam that is more than 40% increase from 2015. The Crime Index of Vietnam at present is 48.13 out of 100 with the higher the value, the higher the rate of crime.
Areas of Concern
As a tourist, when you pick a place for your vacation, you consider a few things to ensure the safety of you and your family members. You won’t go for a trip to a war-torn area or getaway to a place dealing with flash floods. Here are some of the areas of concern that you should look for while picking a destination:
1. Terrorist Attack
While terrorism is a significant threat to the whole world, the probability of having a terrorist attack in Vietnam is low. However, you should be aware of your surroundings and if you find anything suspicious report the matter to the concerned authorities right away.
Vietnam Index: Low
2. Getting Robbed
While the crime rate is pretty low in Vietnam, there has been a rise in petty crimes like snatching, robbery, etc. Tourists generally tend to become easy targets, in this case, so make sure whatever you’re carrying, it’s held safely, especially in crowded areas.
Vietnam Index: 53.20 – Moderate
3. Road Accidents
Roads kill more people in Vietnam than any other thing, and it has the third-highest rate of road accidents in Asia. One of the main reasons for this is the percentage of people commuting through motorbikes, that is 59%! You’ll see a lot of rash and careless driving that proves to be fatal for some of the bikers.
Vietnam Index: High
3. Vandalism and Theft
Vandalism rate is low to moderate is Vietnam, with police doing heavy patrolling to protect its citizens and tourists from theft. There might be some cases of robbery in the big cities, but even such crimes are not very serious and not risky to tourists.
Vietnam Index: 55.57 – Moderate
4. Drug Dealing
Drugs are illegal in the country, but you’ll find locals selling cannabis here and there. Do not even try to possess any contraband item with you no matter the amount as it can get you in big trouble. Also, the drugs sold can be fake, synthetic and fatal, so stay away from as far as you can.
Vietnam Index: 49.52 – Moderate
5. Crime like Assault or Armed Robbery
Severe crimes in Vietnam has been low but has seen an increase in the last three years. The physical assault takes place but in the dingy areas of cheap bars and intoxicated people. Women especially should stay away from these areas at night and avoid roaming around the city alone as there might be a risk of harassment or assault.
Vietnam Index: 42.68 – Moderate
Vietnamese are amiable people and major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, have a cosmopolitan approach due to the influx of tourists coming from all parts of the world. People being subjected to physical attack due to skin colour, religion or ethnicity is a scarce possibility.
Vietnam Index: 20.91 – Low
7. Natural Disaster
During monsoon that is from June to December, floods and Typhoons are frequent in Vietnam. However, they usually don’t disrupt tourist facilities. Make sure to take proper information from the Disaster Management Centre before you plan your vacation to this incredible country.
Vietnam Index: Low
8. Scams and Bribery
One of the only major concerns for tourists regarding safety in Vietnam is getting fooled by the unfair individuals or companies who try to take advantage of tourists. Taxi and hotel scams are real and familiar, so make a note to do thorough research on bookings while planning your trip. Avoid gambling at all costs as it is illegal in Vietnam.
Vietnam Index: High
Safety of Women
Vietnam is a relatively safe country in South East Asia, and you will find many female travellers. Even if you’re travelling alone, Vietnam is welcoming. Due to its conservative culture, you might face some questions about your solo travelling, but that is harmless. Here are some facts and tips for female tourists:
Dress appropriately. Try to avoid skirts or shorts while visiting temples or other sacred places. Vietnamese attach importance to their cultural symbols and may feel hurt or disrespected if you don’t blend in.
Avoid wearing jewellery as there is a chance of getting robbed. The crime rate is meagre in Vietnam, but petty crime takes place on roads like snatchers on a motorbike.
The people of Vietnam are hot and welcoming, but if you feel uncomfortable in a taxi or any other public place, try to get out of there as soon as you can. If you feel threatened, then bring the issue to the police.
While there are chances to learn more about the city through its nightlife, night crimes and violence are prevalent in Vietnam. Such illicit activities occur mainly near cheap bars, and lonely roads are unsafe for women, even in Vietnam. If you feel like grabbing a drink at the late hour, take someone along or go with a group to ensure your safety.
While travelling through the country, avoid using overnight trains or buses.
113 – Police 114 – Fire 115 – Ambulance
Travel Insurance: As someone puts it correctly that if you cannot afford insurance, then you shouldn’t be travelling! Even if you’re visiting Vietnam for 3-4 days, make sure you have travel insurance. Before you go out for any adventure, to get your travellers insurance sorted from any leading company like World Nomads, Coverfox, etc.
Carry all necessary documents: Vietnamese law requires you to carry a photocopy of your identity at all times. You can keep the original in a safe place if you don’t want to take it everywhere.
Keep your money safe: Vietnamese currency value is meagre as compared to other international currencies. USD 1 = VND 23209 so you’ll have a lot of cash to carry around. If you’re fidgeting with your notes on the road or any other crowded place, then you become an easy target for snatchers. Keep your money safe in unique money belts or keep your wallet safe. Also, make sure to count your change as sometimes the shopkeepers tend to take advantage of tourists and return lesser cash.
Get a local sim card: This may seem far fetched but it a great way to help you navigate around and stay connected when you’re travelling alone. It helps you with maps, and you can search by an offline map as well to keep track of where you’re heading.
Use public transport: Vietnam faces taxi scams where you might book a taxi, and it doesn’t show up, or the drivers turn up intoxicated. If you want to travel from one part of the country to another, using public transport is the most viable option! The service and condition of buses and trains are excellent, and it is the safest option for solo travellers. Avoid travelling by bus or train for overnight journeys.
The country has so much to offer to every kind of tourist. You can explore its delicious local food, visit majestic temples or hike in lush green jungles. Before booking your next flight to this land of wonders, research and read about its culture to have a safe experience. Safety in Vietnam should be your priority while you take a trip along with this beautiful country!