At VivuTravel, we have heard many tourists, and potential tourists ask us how safe Vietnam is and also for tips on how not to cross the rubicon in their host country, several times. Thus, we feel it is best to just put out a few answers in one comprehensive post, so you can access every time of the day.
If you are considering traveling to the ancient city of Vietnam, this is one article you should not gloss over, especially if you are spending more than a few days.
So, how safe really is Vietnam?
Having facilitated trips to this country for many years, at VivuTravel, we are in a position of authority to say that Vietnam is safer than most countries in the world.
However, while we can confirm that this country has little to no major national security threats, as a tourist, taking a few precautions here and there would do you a whole world of good and surely help ensure your safety.
Below, we have compiled a few tips on about how best to stay safe in Vietnam.
1. Don’t Do Drugs
This may sound like a no brainer; it may sound like what you would ordinarily not do even while in your country. However, it is more important to point this out here because the very few times that tourists and visitors have made the news for a bad reason in Vietnam, it was because they got involved in the dirty deal of selling and buying hard drugs.
Penalties for drug offences are severe in Vietnam. So severe that under the Vietnamese penal code, anyone found with even a small amount of heroin can be sentenced to death. According to a report, there are over twenty-four foreigners currently serving life sentences or facing the death penalty for drug trafficking offences.
Vietnamese intelligence units and law enforcement agents have ramped up on security measures to combat drug trafficking. Thus, it would be better to take heed to this advice. VivuTravel is saying “Party with caution, and always make efforts to know what you are taking and what gifts you are being given, especially when they are parceled.”
2. If you can, avoid riding bikes
Yes, we are aware that moving around towns with motorbikes is one of the ways of exploringVietnameconomically, however, we would not be doing justice if we also do not let you know that Vietnam, as a country, has a high rate of traffic fatalities.
In fact, the World Health Organization says that of all the road accidents in Vietnam, bike accidents constitute 59%. Although, these accidents rarely involve tourists and visitors, it would be hard to take away the risk.
VivuTravel is saying “if you ever have to ride a motorbike, or seat at the back of one, for your safety, ensure you put on a decent bike helmet.”
3. Employ Discretion While Taking Pictures
Like in many other countries of the world, taking still images of border crossings, military checkpoints and police gatherings is frowned again in Vietnam, and in extreme cases, may result in arrest. On lenient terms, offender may be asked to delete the pictures captured or have their storage device impounded.
Therefore, as you tour Vietnam whether with us at VivuTravel or on your own, endeavour to be respectful and use your best judgment of the moral sense of right or wrong when taking pictures.
Beyond avoiding snapping the military during demonstrations, you should also be careful while you use your phones especially in public spaces or in traffic. This is because there have been reports of ‘snatch and grab’ of mobile in Vietnam. However, it is fair to say that tourists have not necessarily been targeted, only unsuspecting people have fallen victims.
VivuTravel is saying “If you have to make that call, use your map or take a picture, try to do so when you are away from traffic or a crowd. That way, you are guaranteed to go back home, with your phone intact.”
4. Seek Permission Before Taking Artefacts
In Vietnam, VivuTravel can confirm that it is against the law to export artefacts and antiques from the country without a permit from the authorities.
If you have to be in possession at all, it is advisable to contact the Ministry of Culture so they can give you provide further advice and any permit you may need. If you are buying any, ensure that you keep your receipts so you don’t get into troubles with the police.
5. Fun, not Missionary
The Government of Vietnam frowns again tourists who come in and try to convert their natives to their own religion. Avoid making yourself the subject of unnecessary scrutiny by the agents or unwarranted attacks by people who do not share your views.
Visitors who have done this in the past have had their materials confiscated, and their tour cut short.
6. Keep away from Gambling
If you are an unrepentant bettor or punter, kindly note that you have to exercise extreme discipline while you are on tour. While gambling is generally illegal in Vietnam, except in government-licensed casinos, even access to licensed casinos is restricted to holders of foreign passports, in other words, tourists.
Going against this law could lead to incurring huge fines or even a long jail term.
7. Mind Your Posts
While you are in Vietnam, it is advised that you remain civil as you engage people in online chat rooms. Like it was mentioned earlier, there are government spies everywhere in Vietnam who ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order.
If they observe however, that any social media post on any microblogging website is capable of causing unrest, propagator of such posts could be interrogated for a possible charge of terrorism.
While usually, most people individuals are released after questioning and detention, it would have been better if time spent there were spent relaxing on the shores of a beach, especially as a tourist.
8. Leave the Tap Water
You would observe that even the locals drink bottled water. The reason is simple, they may not be able to guarantee its safety. Thus, it is best for you to just play it safe by taking bottled water too.
That said, there is no problem with brushing your teeth with tap water, as the locals do that also. Basically, just watch what the locals are doing, whatever conservative measure you see them take, it is advisable to follow suit. Most times, they know How to keep safe and guided during Vietnam Tour.
9. Know the Security Numbers
113 is for the police.
115 for an ambulance, however, we must let you know that hailing a taxi is usually faster.
On a final note, we would like to say this is not an exhaustive list of what you need to know to stay safe during your tour. If you have any further questions however, do not hesitate to contact us at VivuTravel.