Vietnam is a beautiful country known for its richness in history and its awe-inspiring natural beauty. Packed with pagodas and Buddhist temples that are so beautiful, this southern Asia country is the perfect place for a sweet escape.
One may be very intimidated when they hear of a trip to Vietnam, mostly because of its history. However, nowadays, crime is very rare in Vietnam. If you are asking yourself "how safe is Vietnam for tourists," you'll be surprised that it poses almost no danger - at least nothing that should put your life in danger.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Traveling to Vietnam
Overall Risk in Vietnam: LOW
Vietnam is a country that is relatively safe to visit - and there is a good reason behind that. Nowadays, Vietnam is a fairly touristic spot - and the main income that it gets is from the tourists coming to visit this country. Having this in mind, you can figure out for yourself why they put so much effort into making sure the tourist us happy.
You do, however, need to be careful about the capital - Hanoi. This place has 6 million inhabitants - which is why you can realize why street crime is a bit more common there. This, however, can be avoided by reading a basic Vietnam safety guide.
The advantage in Vietnam is that nowadays, you can visit with or without a guide. Therefore, if you want to travel alone and visit the country without anyone telling you what to do, you may easily do that. You do, however, need to stick to some common sense rules.
Other than that, you may also want to pay attention to the season when you are visiting. Natural disasters are not that common in Vietnam, but you can still experience the occasional earthquake or typhoon. This is why you need to be careful about the season when you are visiting and check with the local authorities.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Vietnam: MEDIUM
As mentioned, Vietnam is now a place that is very friendly with its tourists. Granted, there have been reports of bag snatching and pickpocketing - but those generally happen on the side of the street, where thieves run along on their motorbikes.
Crowded areas are also the most targeted, mainly because thieves are easily lost when you are always bumping into other people. This, however, usually happen when the owner is not careful with their belongings and leave them in plain sight.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Vietnam?
As mentioned, pickpocketing is not such a grave issue in Vietnam; however, it can still happen if you are not careful enough. Make sure that you always keep your bag close to you and that you don't flash your most expensive belongings for every pickpocket to see. We now you want to show off your expensive camera, but all the pickpockets will see is "steal me, you'll make good money by selling me."
Similarly, you may want to leave the belongings that you do not necessarily need at home. If you don't necessarily need your passport, ID, or credit card, then you ought to leave it in your hotel's security room. Just take as much cash as you believe you will need on that particular day - and if the unfortunate were to happen, you will at least know that not everything were actually stolen from you.
Scam Risk in Vietnam: MEDIUM
Scams are generally performed on tourists, mainly because they are perceived as gullible. This is why you ought to be careful who you trust, because you might find yourself with your money taken away from you.
If you are into gambling, there is a high chance that you might get ripped off by people that know how to work the ropes. Karaoke scams have also been known to happen in karaoke bars, mainly after their victims have become inattentive or have had their drinks spiked.
Taxi scams are also a common occurrence, particularly with "shark drivers" overcharging for a ride. Generally, these taxi drivers do not turn on their meter - and upon reaching the destination, they ask for a fare that is way too high considering the distance.
Some people have been known to dress as policemen in order to scam tourists into paying imaginary fines. Some accommodations also overcharge their clients, particularly those that you cannot find on any official website. This is why you ought to be particularly careful of the information that you receive and double check everything for accuracy.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Vietnam?
One golden rule to avoid being scammed it to keep your eyes open and avoid being gullible. If something feels fishy to you, then it probably is. You may want to avoid venturing into gambling, because there is a high chance that it will not end well
Always be careful when you are getting into a taxi. If they have not turned the meter on, then there is a high chance that they are planning to scam you into giving them more money than you actually should.
You may also want to be very careful of the booking agencies that you trust. Read as many reviews as possible about your host - and make sure that they are legitimate. There are several booking agencies that you can trust, or you can book through an agency in your own town - just to be safe.
Before setting on every journey, reading some Vietnam safety travel tips is always recommended. This way, you will know how to tackle the unexpected.
Kidnapping Risk in Vietnam: LOW
Chances of being kidnapped in Vietnam are fairly low. Granted, there have been reports of crime, particularly in the Hanoi area - and the numbers just seem to be growing. However, compared to other countries, the numbers are significantly lower.
There has been a sharp increase in the kidnapping of foreigners - but as long as the necessary precautions are taken, there should not be any issues of concern. The police force is fairly active around Vietnam, so if you are following the basic rules of common sense, there is no reason why you should be in danger.
So, is Vietnam safe to visit? Yes, it is - at least as long as you are careful about your actions.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Vietnam?
Kidnappings generally happen at nighttime, on remote alleys where the chances of the perpetrator being caught are slim. For this reason, you may want to avoid traveling around at night, particularly if you are alone.
Similarly, places that are overcrowded are also easy to literally "lose yourself" into. When there are too many people around, it is hard to notice when a random person disappears - particularly one that you have no concerns with.
As a golden rule that applies to each and every country in the world, you should avoid exploring remote areas that you have no knowledge of. While solo traveling might seem like an exciting thing to do, it may also bring a certain unwanted baggage.
Terrorism Risk in Vietnam: LOW
There haven't been many recent reports of terrorist attacks in Vietnam - and technically speaking, there should be no reason why you should be afraid on the streets. Ever since the wars have ended, Vietnam has been very peaceful - although there was an attempt in the recent years. That attempt has, however, failed; the incendiary devices that the terrorists planned to activate at the Ho Chi Minh City airport did not activate.
- How to avoid terrorism in Vietnam?
However, while the risk of terrorism is relatively low, you should still be careful of any suspicious activity. Be careful when you are boarding a bus or a train; there have not been any incidents like these in Vietnam - but worldwide, these are generally the places where terrorists act. This is mainly because the victims have nowhere to run.
Risk for Women Traveling Alone in Vietnam: MEDIUM
While successful attempts at rape are not as common in Vietnam, the assaults are still a fairly common occurrence in certain cities. Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trag, Da Nang, Cat Ba and Sapa are the places that have the highest number of reports.
Most assaults occur at nighttime, particularly on the night train or in bars packed with intoxicated people. Poorly lit streets are also a dangerous for a woman traveling alone, because no one will see you if the unfortunate were to happen.
Some assailants also work by spiking a woman's drink - which will render them unconscious. Women that have very revealing clothing also draw unwanted attention to themselves - receiving the label that they are unlike the average women in Vietnam.
Generally speaking, though, Vietnam is very friendly with their women travelers - and travelers i9n general.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Vietnam?
In order to avoid an unwanted scenario, you might want to take some extra precaution steps. When going outside, refrain from wearing clothes that are too revealing. Women in Asia generally dress in a conservative manner, which is why low cuts and miniskirts might attract some attention that you do not want.
You might also want to refrain walking unaccompanied at night, particularly on alleys that are poorly lit or around bars. Even if you go accompanied to a bar, always pay close attention to your drink - and never, under any circumstances, accept drinks from someone you do not know.
Other than that, if you are asking yourself "is Vietnam safe for solo women travelers," here is your answer: generally speaking, as long as you follow some common sense rules and do not dress in an indecent manner, you should be completely safe.
Rape Risk in Vietnam: LOW
If you are a woman, here is some piece of good news for you: Vietnam is relatively safe for visiting. Granted, there have been the occasional sexual assaults - most of them occurring in Hanoi. These, however, happened to women that have ventured themselves in remote areas, with barely any people around to help them.
Most of the reported rapes have occurred in bars, where intoxicated men have sexually assaulted women - regardless of their state of mind. This is why you should avoid such bars yourself, if you can - or at least be careful around your drink.
- How to avoid getting raped in Vietnam?
To avoid an unwanted incident, you may want to be careful that you travel accompanied. If a woman is walking around alone, they will draw more attention to themselves compared to a woman that has a "date."
Be careful when you are hanging around in bars - and most importantly, make sure that you do not leave your drinks unattended. Someone could easily spike your drink - and this can easily lead towards an unwanted scenario.
Generally speaking, though, Vietnam is fairly safe for solo women travelers. As a result, if you have been dawdling around the question "is Vietnam safe for solo women travelers," then you should not worry: as long as you avoid poorly illuminated streets and avoid bars packed with intoxicated people, then there is no reason why you should feel unsafe.
Risk for People Traveling with Children in Vietnam: LOW
Children are not generally targeted in Vietnam - and as long as their parents are keeping a close eye on them, there should be no danger for the child.
The danger of losing your child is, however, there. This generally happens when the child is left to wander off in the crowds - causing the child to be separated from their parents.
Most of the locals in Vietnam, however, are very helpful when it comes to such circumstances - and will try to help the child find their mother. Kidnapping of children do not generally happen - and most of these incidents are generally solved.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
In order to be safe, you might want to hold your child's hand and do not let them wander off in crowded areas - such as malls or public plazas. "Tagging" your child with a cell phone number around their neck might seem like an odd thing to do, but it can prove helpful in the event that such incidents were to happen.
You should also teach your child never to wander off or to accept gifts from strangers (although this is common sense, regardless if you are traveling or not). People in Vietnam are not easily offended - and most children there are friendly and playful.
Generally speaking, Vietnam is a country that is safe for people traveling with their children. As long as you read some Vietnam safety travel tips about how to keep your child protected, you should be safe to go.
Natural Disaster Risks in Vietnam: LOW to MEDIUM
Natural disasters are not such a common occurrence in Vietnam. There is a risk of flooding during the rainy season (which is between June and December), but the situation is usually not that grave as to completely block everything off.
What are pretty frequent, however, are tsunamis and typhoons - which also occur during the rainy season. Ideally, you may want to consult with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System before you leave. This way, you can see a map of the disasters over the past few days - but also an estimate over how the weather might behave.
Earthquakes are also possible in Vietnam - although they are not as common as storms or typhoons. They are actually fairly rare - and they are not usually big enough to cause any real damage. You may, however, consult with the local authorities before setting on a trip to Vietnam. You should also read a Vietnam safety guide so that you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.
Transportation Risks in Vietnam: MEDIUM
In terms of transportation, tourists/ travelers should really pay attention to the routes they choose when they engage in adventurous tourism - a significant number of people have been either injured or even died while engaging in adventurous tourism in mountainous and rural areas.
Moreover, when choosing a guide, make sure that he/ she is a legal one and acting under the regulations in place - there have been reports of tourists that have followed the advice of these illegal guides and have end up in rather unfortunate situations.
Due to the many travel restrictions, you may need a permission issued by the provincial police department in order to visit a village, ward, or commune that is close to the border or to any other military installations.
Furthermore, statistics show that one is over 8 times more likely to be injured/ killed in a road accident in Vietnam when compared to UK, especially when it comes to motorbike driving. Naturally, the roads are in poor condition and, thus, you are advised to keep your speed at a minimum/ medium level and always keep an eye on the road.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Vietnam: LOW to MEDIUM
There are no significant reports that would indicate the fact that locals/ travelers or tourists experience unwanted scenarios while in a night-club, pub, or bar.
Most of the incidents occur, as you have noticed, in areas that are frequented by tourists - usually alleys, open areas, markets, places of interests and such. The same applies in the case of sexual harassment - most attackers tend to go for the tourists that are alone, unaccompanied.
Naturally, this does not mean that you should led your guard down while in a night-club, pub, or bar - you have to always keep an eye on your drink and, clearly, don't accept drinks from strangers.
Health Risks in Vietnam
When it comes to health risks, you should know that most, if not all hospitals in Vietnam are adequate for treating minor injuries only - in case something more serious happens, you may have to be evacuated to another country.
Moreover, in the case of rural areas, the healthcare is extremely basic - therefore, you should really be careful when traveling and avoid any sort of injury, even a minor bruise.
Also, if you plan on having a relaxing evening while enjoying a good wine, make sure that you choose one that comes from a fairly reputed brand - there have been reports of some rice wines with unrecognized brand names that contain very high to fatal levels of methanol.
Other diseases and afflictions you should pay attention to are the dengue fever, which is common in summer and the wetter months, mosquito borne viruses such as Japanese encephalitis and malaria, occurring particularly in the country's rainy season, and the possibility of Avian Influenza outbreaks.
List of Vaccines You Need When Visiting Vietnam
Aside from the routine vaccines, you might want to get the vaccines for Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Since these diseases are transmitted through food or water, you are exposed regardless of where you go.
Some travelers might also need certain vaccines for Vietnam, depending on your doctor's recommendation. You might want to consult with them one month prior to leaving, and ask them if you need the following vaccines:
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Some vaccines depend on your destination city, whereas other might depend on the time of the year when you are traveling. Bear in mind that some of these vaccines are limited, so you might want to schedule a visit to the doctor beforehand.
Most Dangerous Areas in Vietnam
- Ho Chi Minh
- Ha Long City
Concluding Remarks: Is Vietnam Safe to Visit?
So, how safe is Vietnam for tourists? Generally speaking, it is very safe. Crime is pretty rare, although the occasional theft might occur. This is why you will have to be careful with your belongings and make sure that they don’t stand out too much for thieves.
Streets are generally safe, but you might want to avoid dark alleys or places that look overall unsafe. And most importantly, you should learn to behave with respect towards the locals. After all, you are just a visitor in their country.