Petty crime On the whole, Vietnam is a safe country, although pickpocketing does occasionally occur, especially in urban areas where it is mostly foreigners. Vietnam is a friendly and safe place to travel. With a little common sense, your trip should go smoothly and without problems. Tourists usually complain about over-aggressive street vendors, bad-tempered tour operators and dangerous car rides.
However, with a cool head and sensible planning, you can avoid these problems. Vietnam is a relatively safe country to travel to. The country’s main source of income is tourism, so the safety of tourists is paramount. Street crime is more common in the capital Hanoi with its 6 million inhabitants.
In the end, Vietnam is still a safe place to travel. Like everywhere else in the world, if you are sensible and travel smart, you will have a lot of fun in Vietnam. If you follow tried and tested habits like these, you will stay safe and be able to keep your valuables. All in all, Vietnam is an extremely safe country to visit.
Most visits to Vietnam are trouble-free, but in the big cities and tourist areas you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Vietnam is a relatively safe country for visitors, including women travelling alone. Given the country’s recent history, many tourists, especially Americans, are pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome foreign travellers receive. However, petty crime is on the rise – though it is still relatively low and should not be a problem if you take the usual precautions.
Generally, the problems you face are of a milder nature: you have to deal with pushy vendors, overzealous touts and beggars. I have heard many cases of foreigners being asked to do too much, but to be honest, you are not the only ones, because Vietnamese can also get into the same situation. Road safety is not such a big problem in Vietnam, but small crimes like pickpocketing and petty theft are more common. Hanoi has an extensive history that gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the Vietnam War, colonial rule and the ancient history of the region.
Have fun in Vietnam, but believe us, medical care abroad and cancelled flights can be very expensive – so insurance can be a lifesaver. Not surprisingly, Vietnamese authorities are very cautious about military installations and strategic areas – including border regions, military camps (of which there are many), bridges, airports, naval dockyards and even railway stations. This may have to do with the fact that Malaysia has a stronger economy than Vietnam, so people are not as desperate. Given the many disabled, war wounded and unemployed in Vietnam, there are surprisingly few beggars.
I suggest you try Couchsurfing, or even if you walk around, you may be greeted by a Vietnamese who want to talk to you. Vietnamese women are particularly nice and in most cases will help any woman who is visiting alone. You should stock up on nappies or medical supplies for your children before leaving for Vietnam. The ten bad things about Vietnam I have listed below may sound cynical, but don’t let them discourage you from visiting or returning to my country.
Violent crimes are rare in Vietnam, and as a tourist, you should mainly be concerned about petty crimes such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching or mobile phone theft. If you respect Vietnamese culture and treat the people there with courtesy and friendliness, disputes or misunderstandings can be easily avoided and your trip should go smoothly. While cities, cultivated areas and well-travelled rural roads and tracks are safe, you may put yourself in danger if you stray from these areas. Da Lat is a good example of the colonial influence on Vietnam – with French-style buildings and star-shaped streets running through the city.