Vietnam is a beautiful country, and the locals are friendly and hospitable. That said, just like in any country in the world, it is best to take care when you are travelling alone.
Fortunately, according to tourist reports, you can definitely have an enjoyable and safe visit to Vietnam if you’re travelling by yourself. Guidelines will apply; take note of any advice you may see or hear while you’re there, and act sensibly.
If you are a tourist, simply use your head and avoid the obvious tourist traps. Also, be aware of any petty crime – let us face it, this happens all over the globe. Tourist scams and pickpocketing are probably the most obvious things to be conscious of. On the bright side, by being sensible, you will easily avoid these.
In the following article, we tell you how to stay safe in Vietnam and what you should be aware of as a tourist in terms of your personal security. We look at safety in the country’s major cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, travel activities like visiting the street markets and hiking, and even whether to put Vietnamese ice in your drink!
Keep our tips handy and, while you’re there, soak up the culture, the fab food and enjoy!
- 1 Overall, Is Vietnam Safe?
- 2 Is It Safe to Travel Vietnam Alone?
- 3 Vietnam Travel Safety Tips
- 4 Is Vietnam Safe for American Tourists?
- 5 Is Vietnam Safe for Female Travellers?
- 6 Is Ho Chi Minh City Safe?
- 7 Is Hanoi Safe?
- 8 Can You Drink Tap Water in Vietnam?
- 9 Is It Safe to Eat Fish in Vietnam?
- 10 Is It Safe to Eat Street Food in Vietnam?
- 11 Is Ice Safe in Vietnam?
- 12 Is Vietnam Dangerous FAQs
Overall, Is Vietnam Safe?
Overall, yes. You may find that where you’re travelling from is actually less safe!
In the country, the police force responsible for the safety of tourists is ‘Vietnam People’s Public Security’, who do their best to keep visitors safe and sound and resolve any issues. Meanwhile, if you are staying in a hotel, you will generally find the staff very helpful, should you need to report something to the police.
You can see and do a huge amount in this country in, for example, a 2 or 3-week trip. That said, the longer you stay, the more relaxed you may become about your surroundings, so just remember to stay alert.
Vietnam is just as safe as most other countries. Most locals want to encourage you to enjoy their country, not deter you! After all, the number of visitors travelling to Vietnam every year is increasing, and the government wants to nurture the tourism industry. So, yes, it is safe to travel here – most visitors love it!
Is It Safe to Travel Vietnam Alone?
Generally, for sure. If you are used to being an intrepid traveller on your own overseas, you may already know what you must be vigilant about.
For example, potential language barriers can be a challenge. Fortunately, the majority of police stations here have an English-speaking officer and sometimes a translator, depending on the size of the station.
While travelling, remember always to:
- Keep your money secure, either on your person or if you leave it in your room. Likewise with your passport and any other documentation.
- Lock your room door.
- If your accommodation has a safe, then use it.
- Never take out more cash or credit cards than you need when travelling around.
- Watch out for traffic in the main city thoroughfares. It’s common for people in this country to drive quite fast!
- If you hire a motorcycle, you must exercise due diligence. Most of the road traffic accidents in Vietnam happen to people travelling on 2 wheels.
- If you are backpacking, be aware that lower-priced accommodation may not necessarily provide you with the same level of security as a pricier hotel. So you definitely should take greater care of your belongings in these circumstances.
Travelling to this country alone should be a fantastic experience! Just be cautious as you would anywhere else in the world.
Vietnam Travel Safety Tips
Common sense should always prevail, no matter what country you travel to, and particularly if you do not speak the language and are unfamiliar with the local customs of the country.
Here are some basic rules to follow, as well as those listed above in the ‘Is It Safe to Travel Vietnam Alone?‘ section:
- If you are travelling around the country, including around cities, just remember the main principles of keeping your money and passport secure.
- Never hand your passport over to a third party unless you are sure it is relevant to do so.
- Do not leave your passport or personal belongings unattended for any length of time for no reason.
- If the main purpose of your trip is adventure travel or to escape into the wilds, be vigilant and take note of the following:
- Always use a registered guide if you are travelling out of the main cities and into the countryside to avoid getting lost.
- The rainy season is from April to October, although there can be heavy rain at other times of year too.
- It can be very slippery under foot even after a quick downpour, while quite often streams and small rivers can break their banks in a short time.
- Travel is heavily restricted in certain areas, such as military installations. So never go too near them, or you may find yourself under arrest!
- Likewise, some small villages or communities are ‘out of bounds’ without permission from the local police authority.
- Finally, there may be unexploded land mines along the border with Laos and in Central Vietnam. So avoid these areas even if you have a guide!
As a tourist, travel safety is a concern if you go wandering off into unknown territory. Backpacking or hiking alone is not recommended in the dense forest or mountainous areas. So stick to guided tours or just enjoy yourself in the main areas.
Is Vietnam Safe for American Tourists?
The Vietnamese are extremely hospitable people and treat all tourists with respect. Americans are not treated differently to any other tourists, even though the United States has a history with the area.
If you are an American tourist, there is no reason to feel unsafe during your trip. Do remember as well that the Vietnamese consider the US dollar as their ‘second currency’ – they do like a ‘fistful of dollars’!
Is Vietnam Safe for Female Travellers?
Yes, female travellers to the country can feel confident about visiting here. Overall, Vietnam is a safe and respectful country. There are just a few things to be aware of:
- It’s best to wear modest clothing. You’ll draw attention to yourself if what you wear is too short or skimpy.
- Avoid expensive jewellery or flashy items as, again, these can attract petty thieves.
- Even if you are enjoying yourself, avoid any type of outlandish behaviour – it will only attract the wrong people. Vietnam is still quite a conservative country.
- Some females recommend wearing a ‘fake’ wedding ring when travelling alone to Vietnam. Local men are unlikely to bother you if they think you are married!
Is Ho Chi Minh City Safe?
Considering that most cities in the country rely on tourist traffic for income, yes, Ho Chi Minh City is safe. Ho Chi Minh City is considered to be a ‘low to medium’ risk area, according to the travel advisory bureaux and government advice of many other countries.
- Once again, while you’re out and about, just take care and keep your belongings strapped diagonally across one shoulder to prevent any petty crime happening. Bag snatching can occasionally happen, so this will protect you against that.
- Regarding transport, Ho Chi Minh City taxis are generally safe for tourists. Of course, make sure that you know the fare before you enter the taxi and whether it is in dollars or dong (Vietnam’s local currency). Also, only use registered transport. This will ensure that you feel secure and pay a reasonable fare.
- Be aware of the possibility that you may be overcharged in bars. To prevent this, consider asking for the price of your beverage in advance.
- One last word of advice! The streets and markets in Ho Chi Minh City are safe overall. That said, avoid wandering into quiet and dimly lit back streets, particularly at night.
So is Ho Chi Minh City Safe? Yes, adhere to our recommendations and you’ll be fine!
Is Hanoi Safe?
Is Hanoi safe? This is a frequently asked question, as many people want to visit this exciting city; it is busy, vibrant and bustling with activity. Fortunately, if you are alert when you are out and about, you will be safe in Hanoi. Here are some top tips to remember:
- Pay careful attention to any valuables you may have about your person, such as personal music systems, cameras, iPads, jewellery etc. These can be attractive to potential petty thieves.
- One area to avoid if possible is Phuc Tan, which is outside the Old Quarter. This is possibly the most notorious zone for any crimes that may occur.
- Stay in the busier tourist zones with lots of people around and avoid wandering off alone into other areas.
Just like anywhere else, Hanoi is safe if you pay attention!
Can You Drink Tap Water in Vietnam?
No, water purification in this country is not the best, so it is advisable not to drink tap water here. Even the locals tend to avoid tap water unless it has been boiled, and they generally stick to bottled water.
When buying bottled water, make sure the cap has not been opened and is tight on the bottle. It has been known for some unscrupulous sellers to fill up bottles with local tap water – although you can normally tell by the colour!
Make sure that your inoculations are up to date before you visit the area, particularly for cholera and typhoid. These diseases can be caught from drinking infected tap water.
Is It Safe to Eat Fish in Vietnam?
On the whole, yes, so long as the fish you eat are caught out to sea or in the country’s rivers. Regarding the fish caught off Vietnam’s coasts, there are reports that these fish may be contaminated. The fish most in question are those living near the bottom of the sea, such as crab, shrimp, prawns and squid.
To save yourself from this possibility, when you eat fish, ask where it’s been caught. In addition, make sure that the dishes you’re served are thoroughly cooked. There are definitely some beautiful Vietnamese fish dishes to savour.
Basa and pangasius fish are the fish most eaten by the locals, as these are fished from the Mekong River rather than the sea. Recent reports say that it is safe to eat these fish.
More broadly, be careful overall of what and where you eat in the country. The food is delicious, but make sure that the restaurants or venues you eat at adhere to high standards of hygiene.
To find this out, you can always check other diners’ experiences online before you go. Also, if the restaurant has a lot of customers, this usually bodes well.
Is It Safe to Eat Street Food in Vietnam?
As much of the street food in this country is cooked over burning hot coals, it is generally safe to eat street food in Vietnam. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Any food you eat should be piping hot when served (including soups) while raw food is best to avoid.
- Always look at the hygiene around the stalls and how busy they are – this is usually a good sign that the food is pretty safe.
- Watch before you order. If you see receptacles such as bowls or cutlery being washed in tap water and left wet, do avoid them and move on to another stall!
- Pick the larger street markets such as Ben Thanh in Hồ Chí Minh City where hygiene controls are much stricter. Here, there is a high volume of visitors to the food stalls.
Eating street food safely in Vietnam should be one of the highlights of your trip, so follow our tips and get stuck in! Also, you may consider trying one of the many street food tour companies. The guides are very ‘savvy’ and will certainly take you to the safest places to eat street food.
Is Ice Safe in Vietnam?
This depends how the ice was made:
- It’s best to avoid any drinks served with ice if you see the servers chopping it off of large blocks. This ice will probably have been made with local tap water.
- Ice served from labelled plastic bags should mean it has been made by an authorised supplier following high safety standards.
Of course, it’s up to you whether you consume ice in your drinks or not!
Is Vietnam Dangerous FAQs
You’ll have a safe trip in this country if you keep in mind all the advice that we’ve provided. Below we provide the answers to some other frequently asked questions about visiting here securely.
Is Uber Safe in Vietnam?
You can no longer use the Uber App in Vietnam, as they have merged with Grab for their Vietnamese taxi operation. Grab is available as a smartphone app and has good reports of being reliable and trustworthy.
Is Vietnam Safe to Live In?
Yes, generally it is safe to live in, so long as you’re respectful of others and use your common sense. You can feel confident that you’ll be secure living in Vietnam. Just apply the same principles of being careful in a new country until you get the lay of the land where you are residing.
Ingratiate yourself with the locals, make friends and reliable contacts, and you could end up living the dream!
Is It Safe to Travel to Vietnam When Pregnant?
This really is a decision for yourself when you consider your health and wellbeing. Check with your medical practitioner before travelling to Vietnam if you are pregnant. This is especially important, as not all vaccinations are acceptable for pregnant women before you travel.
- In particular, it’s important to avoid being bitten by mosquitos if you travel to this country with a bun in the oven, as there’s a risk of malaria.
- The tropical climate may not particularly suit you if you are in the late second trimester and onwards.