Is It Safe to Visit Vietnam in 2023?

Vietnam has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Violent crime in Vietnam is rare, and as a tourist, if you respect Vietnamese culture and show common courtesy and kindness towards the people there, any arguments or misunderstandings can be easily avoided and your trip should go smoothly.

Vietnam is a friendly and safe place to travel. However you need to pay attention to the following aspects below:

1. There may be petty thefts in big cities in Vietnam.

Petty theft is a legitimate concern, especially in the big cities. Refrain from extending cameras and cellphones on busy streets and corners: most robberies are drive-by snatchings. When you take pictures on sidewalks, keep your camera close to your body and away from the flow of traffic.

Women in particular should be warned to keep a tight grip on their bags and purses when walking in Ho Chi Minh City. When riding a motorcycle, place your bags in the seat compartment or hook them in the front of the bike. Bags carried around the shoulder or in bike baskets can easily be snatched.

When staying in hotel, place your valuables in the safe or lock them in your bags before leaving your room. It is a good idea in general to be mindful of your valuables, keep a close eye on your bags and not to flaunt large amounts of cash or expensive gadgets in rural areas.

Vietnam is now fully open to tourism
Vietnam is now fully open to tourism.

2. Crowded places are a happy hunting ground for pickpockets.

Pickpocketing and bag snatching is a very common issue in Vietnam, especially on the side of the roads where motorbike snatching may occur. Keep your belongings by your side at all times and try to leave all your valuables in a security deposit box of your hotel.

3. Natural disasters are occasional in Vietnam

Natural threats include rare earthquakes and occasional typhoons (from May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta nearly every year. Vietnam is occasionally also devastated by storms and typhoons that can cause millions of dollars of damage. In case of a natural disaster, please follow the instructions of local authorities.

4. Mugging is rare in Vietnam

There are some areas where cases of mugging have been reported, it is generally rare, and foreigners are rarely targeted.

Ha-Long Bay luxury cruise tour
Ha-Long Bay luxury cruise tour

5. Terrorism hardly exists in Vietnam

There is a low probability of a terrorist attack, however, they should never be ruled out so be vigilant and watch out for suspicious activities.

6. There are different kinds of scams that visitors should watch out.

There is a number of scams performed on tourists in Vietnam, such as gambling scams where, if you do venture in gambling, there is a great risk you will be scammed or ripped off or karaoke scams: since prostitution is forbidden, you can find prostitutes in various karaoke bars, which are actually one big scam and their clients often get ripped off, drink spiked and robbed.

Apart from these scams, you can get overcharged by everyone: street vendors, taxi and bus drivers, hotel owners and worst of all - the police. Double-check every information and pay, or negotiate everything in advance.

The traffic of Saigon
The traffic of Saigon

(1) Taxi scams

Taxi scams in Vietnam take the form of rigged meters, overcharging, confusing currency and fixed prices. Two trusted companies you can rely on are Mai Linh and Vinasun. Both of these taxi companies have new vehicles and sealed meters, they also have a pick-up service that works in most Vietnamese towns and cities. You can look for them as soon as you land in Vietnam's international airports.

(2) Tourist Scams

Vietnam is constantly improving its tourism services. However there are still some agents and independent operators who flout the rules. When booking cruises on Ha Long Bay, always go with reputed companies. When you travel in Vietnam, you should book with vetted travel agents as opposed to hole-in-the-wall establishments to avoid being scammed.

November to March is the best time to visit Vietnam
November to March is the best time to visit Vietnam

7. Female Travelers in Vietnam

Vietnam is generally a safe country to travel for female travelers. Females will find themselves welcome. The Vietnamese are still quite conservative, so it's best to respect the local culture by not baring too much skin.

However, sexual assaults do exist in Vietnam, especially in the following cities: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Sapa and Cat Ba Island. Female travelers should avoid overnight trains and buses and avoid walking alone at night and in poorly lit or secluded areas.

Crime against women is uncommon in Vietnam. Nonetheless it's wise to not be alone on the streets late at night, and to take a taxi if you're heading back late.

8. How to have a Safe Journey in Vietnam?

There are several things tourists should know when traveling in Vietnam so as to make your trips smooth and trouble free.

DOS

1. Greetings are no different to western countries, there are no cultural formalities that as a foreigner you would be expected to know or practice.

2. Vietnamese dress conservatively. Despite the heat, it’s best not to show off too much skin. If you do, especially girls, you’ll only draw stares from the locals.

3. Dress well when visiting pagodas. No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts. Shoes are fine, and rarely will you have to remove them. If unsure, just follow what the locals do.

4. Drink plenty of bottled water, especially when walking around sightseeing. No need to carry huge bottles around with you, a vendor is never far away and no doubt they will find you before you find them.

5. Keep your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place.

6. Travel with recommended tour agencies. Even if you plan to buy tickets when in country, research your journey a little first on the Internet. A good resource is Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum, where fellow tourists discuss travel in Vietnam. This way you avoid unreliable tour agencies and badly run hotels.

DONTS

1. Don’t wear a lot of jewellery or take a bag with you. Violent crime is highly unusual in Vietnam, but petty crime is more apparent. If you have a bag, or tout a digital camera around your neck, you are a potential target.

2. When taking a ride by motorbike taxi make sure your bag, if any, is not on display or easy to grab. Bag snatches, although still rare, are probably the most likely crime a tourist would encounter.

3. Don’t wear singlets, shorts, skirts or dresses, or revealing clothes to temples or pagodas.

4. Physical displays of affection between lovers in public are frowned upon by locals. That’s why you may come across couples holding hands but not hugging or kissing.

5. Losing your temper in Vietnam means a loss of face. Keep a cool head and remain polite, you’ll have a greater chance of getting what you want.

6. Remember, this is Vietnam, a developing country, and things don’t quite work as you are maybe used to. Don’t be paranoid about your safety and just be aware of your surroundings.

9. Conclusion

Generally speaking, Vietnam is a relatively safe country to travel to. Its main source of income is tourism, so the tourists' safety is their number one concern. The capital city, Hanoi has 6 million inhabitants, so street crime is more common there. However, with a cool head and sensible planning, one can avoid many problems.

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