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Vietnam Travel Advice: Staying Safe and Secure

Traveling to Vietnam can be an incredible experience, but it’s important to stay safe and secure during your trip. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common in larger cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially during major holidays like Tet (Lunar New Year). Criminals may work alone or in groups and employ various techniques to distract you and steal your belongings. Theft is prevalent in popular tourist areas, markets, shopping centers, and transportation hubs.

Tips to Stay Safe

  • Keep your belongings, including your passport and travel documents, secure at all times.
  • Carry a digital copy of your identity and travel documents.
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Refrain from carrying large sums of cash.
  • Stay away from isolated areas, especially at night.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings in crowded and tourist areas.
  • Exercise caution when using ATMs.

While violent crimes targeting foreigners are rarer, they can occur. If you find yourself involved in a dispute, contact the police immediately. If threatened by robbers, it’s best not to resist.

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Residential break-ins can also happen, particularly in large cities. Stay in accommodations with adequate security measures and ensure you lock doors and windows at night and when you’re away.

Protecting Yourself Against Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud are common in Vietnam. To protect yourself:

  • Avoid using your credit card in small establishments.
  • Consider using a card with a small credit limit.
  • Cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
  • Pay attention when others are handling your cards.
  • Be cautious when using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Only make purchases on encrypted websites.
  • Be vigilant when posting information on social media.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links asking for your credit card details.

Safety Precautions at the Airport

Criminals posing as taxi drivers have targeted foreign visitors at Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi, robbing them by forcing them to withdraw money from ATMs. Additionally, some travelers have been robbed by drivers who greet them with a placard showing their name.

To ensure your safety at the airport:

  • Arrange your pickup with your hotel before arrival or use authorized airport taxis.
  • Confirm the driver’s identity and the license plate before getting in the car.

Be Wary of Scams

Tourists have fallen victim to gambling scams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Scammers invite victims to their homes to meet a relative interested in visiting Canada. While waiting for the relative, they suggest playing cards for a small wager. Be cautious of unsolicited proposals from strangers and if you’ve been scammed, get to a safe location immediately, take note of the facility’s name and address, notify the police, and report the scam to your banking company if a bank card was involved.

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Health and Safety Tips

  • Be cautious of spiked food and drinks, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of assault and robbery. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers.
  • Exercise caution when consuming alcohol, as unregulated and adulterated rice wine can be dangerous.
  • Avoid participating in demonstrations, as they are usually unauthorized and can result in severe consequences.
  • Pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines and report any suspicious items to local authorities if traveling outside major tourist destinations.
  • Be prepared and take necessary safety measures for adventure tourism activities. Hire experienced guides, obtain detailed information about your activity, and ensure you have travel insurance that covers medical evacuation and rescue.
  • Take precautions when engaging in water activities. Watch out for hazardous currents and riptides, and choose reputable companies for swimming, diving, and boating.
  • Road safety is poor in Vietnam, and accidents are frequent. Consider hiring a driver and avoid driving at night or in adverse weather conditions.
  • Use official taxis and avoid motorcycle taxis. Negotiate fares in advance, confirm driver identity and license plate, and familiarize yourself with your hotel’s address and the neighborhood.
  • Be cautious when using buses, trains, and ferries. Bus and coach accidents are common, thefts have been reported on trains (including sleeper trains), and ferry accidents can occur due to overloading and poor maintenance.
  • We recommend checking the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards before flying.

FAQs

Q: Is Vietnam safe for solo travelers?
A: While Vietnam is generally safe for solo travelers, it’s important to take precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and paying attention to your surroundings.

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Q: Are the beaches in Vietnam safe for swimming?
A: Not all beaches in Vietnam are supervised, so it’s important to exercise caution. Watch for warning flags indicating dangerous conditions and be aware of coral, sea urchins, jellyfish, and other aquatic life that may be poisonous.

Q: Can I drive in Vietnam?
A: Driving in Vietnam can be dangerous, especially due to poorly maintained roads, heavy traffic, and drivers not respecting traffic laws. It’s recommended to hire a driver or use alternative transportation.

Conclusion

Vietnam offers a wealth of cultural experiences and natural beauty, but it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and security. By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can have a memorable and secure trip to this fascinating country.

For more information and resources on travel safety, visit iBlog.

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