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What Should I Avoid in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a continuously growing tourist destination in Southeast Asia. As the tourist exchange is on the rise, so are various related concerns and problems. Learn what these are and how you should avoid them when touring Vietnam.

Food safety in Vietnam

Many visitors consider eating in the Vietnam safe, in general. They also rate Vietnamese cuisine as quite delicious and affordable, whether or not they could identify the type of meal. So, don't worry if you can't put a name to the mouth-watering specialty on offer, there's no doubt that it is edible.

When browsing street food stalls and other eateries in Vietnam, you should be aware of something else. And these are hygiene, freshness, and thermal treatment of food.

Hygiene is the first indicator that something is wrong. So, if you have the slightest doubt, better move on. The safest bet is to follow the locals' example - eateries they visit are proven, for sure. And this leads to the following points.

Vietnam street food
Vietnam street food

Since Vietnam features a warm or hot climate most of the time, ingredients tend to spoil quickly. Therefore, eat only at reputable restaurants and establishments with a quick turnaround to stay on the safe side. When ordering from a street-food stall, make sure they prepare what you ordered in front of you.

Also, a thermal treatment is of utmost importance since cold food is likely to contain bacteria. So, you should be cautious when eating salads, rice, and other dishes requiring fresh ingredients or upfront preparation. If you are unsure about the quality, check how food smells.

Also, you shouldn't order coffee just anywhere. Instead, go to renowned places since more "ordinary" cafeterias might add components that aren't healthy to maximize their profit.

Some other Vietnamese foods you should approach with caution are milk, toads, and inexpensive (by local standards) meat. You should avoid cold soups, thermally-untreated vegetables, and raw-blood specialties. Finally, always drink bottled water while visiting Vietnam.

Impact of a natural environment in Vietnam

Since the Socialist Republic of Vietnam extends from north to south, the environmental impact on health varies depending on where you are. However, some general rules apply wherever you happen to be.

For example, the sun tends to cause sunburns everywhere, even on a cloudy day. Hence, apply sunscreen frequently and wear a wide-brimmed hat and appropriate clothing. Also, you should avoid exposure to the sun from around mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Snake attacks on hikers are quite rare since these reptiles avoid humans. Usually, wearing sturdy, tall boots and loose-fitting trousers and avoiding dead logs is more than enough a precaution. If you got bitten by a poisonous snake, though, hurry to the nearest major city to receive antivenom.

Mosquitos tend to cause various safety concerns in Vietnam, including malaria and dengue fever. The wet season, typically lasting during summer and autumn, is particularly risky in this regard. To avoid mosquito bites, use repellents regularly, sleep under mosquito nets outside, wear light clothing that covers you, and take other common precautions.

Typhoons could hit Vietnam during the monsoon (wet) season. Sometimes these grow especially violent, causing floods, landslides, and else. So, follow the weather forecast and recommendations from the authorities to stay on top of the events.

Vietnam sunscreen
Vietnam sunscreen

At the seaside, you may cross paths with jellyfish, stonefish, scorpionfish, and other potentially threatening aquatic inhabitants, although this isn't likely. Jellyfish stings may irritate you, but that's all they usually do. If you get stung by scorpionfish or step on a stonefish, seek medical aid immediately.

Last but not least, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are something you must count on while visiting tropical regions, Vietnam included. To avoid these potentially dangerous issues, hydrate yourself regularly, and don't expose yourself to the sun too much.

Property security and tourist scams in the socialist republic

As in most countries visited by travelers, crimes against tourists are a reality in this Southeast Asian country, too. Still, we could say that most acts aimed against foreign visitors are petty crimes and, thus, easily avoidable.


Stealing is a criminal act that is on the rise in the republic. So, you should be cautious and not wear expensive jewelry and other stuff attracting attention. Keeping your valuables secured and away from someone else's reach is the best precaution against thievery.

Keep this in mind when taking photos outside. Make sure that no one is next to you since you may stay without your camera or smartphone in no time.

Furthermore, keep your bag on the other side of you from traffic, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, to discourage bag snatchers. If a motorized criminal snatches your bag, better let it go than to risk serious injuries since the thief isn't likely to let go.

Petty crimes

Allowing someone you don't know to convince you of something is another thing you should avoid in Vietnam. Touts and other people that might approach you may sound convincing, but pay them no mind since they get a provision from whoever pays them. Therefore, adhere to your plan, no matter how they try to sway you.

Also, the Vietnamese street vendors tend to inflate their prices when dealing with travelers. Bargaining is OK, though, so long as a vendor doesn't try to sell you his wares too aggressively. If things get out of hand, simply go away without arguing.

Taxis and motorbikes

If you need to take a cab or motorbike to get you to the hotel, resort to marked and metered taxis whenever possible. Various safety concerns relate to unmarked vehicles, especially at night. Exorbitant rates and problems arising from your reluctance to pay them and driving in circles are just a few.

Vietnam motorbike
Vietnam motorbike

Furthermore, motorbike drivers like to drink, so you would like to stay away from them. Also, they are very adept at money switching. There were numerous reports about clients giving them a large bill, which they switched to a smaller one in a blink of an eye.

Vinasun and Mai Linh are some reputable providers of taxi services in Vietnam. Also, you can resort to Uber or Grab when in need of transport.


When shopping for souvenirs and other attractive items, ask the vendor whether they quote prices in Vietnamese dong or USD. Also, some sellers might try to swap items after you pay, handing you a lower-quality product. Always pay attention to authenticity since markets abound with goods that aren't genuine.

Next, purchase bus tickets with a reputable provider or travel agent in Vietnam. Otherwise, you may book a bus and get a minivan or end up at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Also, bus drivers might leave you near the destination with only expensive cabs on offer for a transfer.

Another common scam, especially in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a coconut photo shot. If you agree to balance two baskets of coconuts at the end of a bamboo stick, the vendor may start opening coconuts "for you." The result is paying an exorbitant price for each coconut open, whether or not you asked for a drink.

Finally, never be so sure that the price you paid yesterday is the same today. Whether it is the same shop, eatery, or something else, always ask what the price is. Asking whether the price for a cyclo ride is for one or more people may save you a substantial amount of money.


While traffic regulations are all very well, in Vietnam, you should avoid sticking to them too closely. That's because the Vietnamese are quite flexible when it comes to adhering to those.

For example, you should look at each side of the road when crossing the street, even if the green light is on. Be especially careful if a motorbike is nearby. Furthermore, many drivers don't follow basic security rules, such as giving the right of the way.


Staying safe in Vietnam isn't a big deal if you pay attention to your environment, don’t take unnecessary chances, and stick to common sense. The vast majority of the Vietnamese surprise foreign travelers how friendly they are. Still, you should note that many residents of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam live in poverty, which may lead to most situations we have mentioned.

Another thing you should have in mind is that medical assistance isn't free for foreign nationals. Therefore, purchase health insurance before your trip to Vietnam to avoid high healthcare costs.

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