Safety and security in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the safest countries to travel to in the world. Anyway, to ensure a hassle-free and really enjoyable trip, some flowing information should come in handy for you.

Transport

Transport in Vietnam is varied except without subway and sky train and the standard of public transport are not very high. For Vietnamese people, the main transportation method is the motorbike. In big cities like Hanoi and Saigon, the number of motorbikes is huge and the scene of a traffic jam is commonly seen during rush hours. Tourists normally use a private car or private tourist bus and for short moves, you can use a taxi that available anywhere. Motorbike taxi (xe om) is common for both locals and tourists. Cyclos (three-wheel pedicab) are used for city tours and are a rather relaxing type though. Anyway, local governments are now trying to ban cyclo since, as said, they make traffic jam worse and also looks not very human. For a long-distance, you can use train or air services. Public trains are rather basic except some certain trains to tourist sites like Hanoi-Sapa or Saigon-Nha Trang. Most aircraft are new and big enough with Boeing and Airbus are the most common.

Travel Authentic Asia strictly request our service providing partners to provide safety equipment on all type of transport and service but elsewhere you take your own pace, please remember to check for that equipment. Seat belt is available on all of our cars and buses and life jacket is the must on the waterway as the same norm for other services according to national and international safety regulation. Our group leaders or tour guides are responsible to check these and give you instructions but anywhere it does not go properly, please tell him or call directly to our Customer Care Center.

If you take a taxi, the price here is pretty cheap around 11-15,000VND/km (0.5-0.7USD) depends on the size of the car. There are sometimes fake taxis whose meter increases very quickly or driver tries to take you around though you do not need a city tour. Recommended taxi operator all over Vietnam is Mailinh taxi. In Hanoi you can use also Hanoitourist taxi, Taxi Group, and in Saigon are Vinasun, Happy Taxi. Try to remember the taxi number that attached to the front and back glasses in case you have anything to deal with them after the trip. Grab taxi and motorbike ride (like Uber) are available in most of the city of Vietnam if you are familiar with that.

If you happen to take a motorbike taxi (xe om) or cyclo, please remember to ask for the price first. Try to make it clear between you and the driver about how much the price is and in Vietnam dong or US dollar. Do not use body language or fingers since it is very obscure and might cause misunderstanding at the end. The price for a motorbike taxi or cyclo is around 20,000VND for a ride of less than 1km and 10,000VND for every next km.
Never get on a motorbike taxi or cyclo with another strange person at your back nor accept offers of free transfers to hotels at night, as these are likely to be bogus.

Driving yourself in cities is quite difficult if you are not used to a similar traffic system. Riding a motorbike on your own is not recommended but you can let someone take you around. Double-check your travel insurance policy to make sure it covers a motorbike if you want to ride it.

Hanoi nightlife

Walking and crossing the streets

When you wander around on foot, take a side walk and pay attention to the traffic if you have to walk on the road. Walking at night should be in pair and do not show off your jewelry and properties.

Crossing the streets here in cities is something bizarre for those who the first time comes to the country like Vietnam. Just learn how the locals do. Do not panic, do not try to run or jump off the path nor standstill. If you just stand you never make it and will be hit by vehicles. Stay calm, just walk slowly and steadily. People need to know how fast and where you are heading to weave off from you. Look toward the direction where the current of traffic coming and move your feet appropriately.

If you cross the street with the group, stay in a horizontal line or stick together and walk along. Do not lag behind as the risk of getting hit is higher since drivers just pay attention to the big group.

Cyclo in Vietnam

Properties

For your big bag or suitcase, a padlock is the best to keep it safe when traveling around. When you check in the hotel, the first thing to do is to leave your valuables in the safety box with your own password or to deposit them at the hotel reception. If you leave your valuables at the hotel’s reception box, please remember to put them into a paper envelope and use adhesive tape to cover all the sides then put your signature across the paper and the tape as a seal. This is to make sure you get back what you leave with them and avoid confusion. Remember to get a receipt for your deposit and keep it with you.

Do not bring more than you need when you wander around. Passport, important papers, spare money, and valuables should be in the safety box. Just bring enough for day use. Depends on your need but around 100USD and a credit card is enough for you to party around.

Do not put your wallet in the back pocket since it is not safe when you come to a crowded place. The money belt is the best option to keep your money safe. Prepare some small changes both in USD and VND ready for a petty deal when you around. The bag should be worn in the front and do not put the whole junk shop in it. The camera should be held in hand with the strap worn around your wrist.

Activities

During your trip, when you join in group activities, you are cared for by our group leader or tour guide but it is a must you have to inform us of your health status or pre-existing medical condition to help you to deal with the situation when it happens. The group leader or tour guide shall have the right to refuse the participation of any group member who he thinks unsuitable for an activity on the trip since it is for the safety of themselves, the rest of the group, and the tour guide.
Protect yourself and get away from any danger before you call for help from others.

As it is the regulation, you have to follow the group leader or tour guide’s advice and instructions on the matter of safety during the trip and before you take any activity.
You have to determine well before you book for any tour that demands a high physical fitting such as trekking, climbing, motorbiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking…

It is your responsibility to prepare proper gear for that activities. Please read your trip dossier for more instruction on what is needed.
During the activity, if the wrong thing happens or if local conditions become an issue then the ultimate decision on whether to continue is made by your group leader or tour guide.

For any high-risk activity that is not included in our itinerary but you want to take part when you have free time, please understand that you do so of your own choice and at your own risk and your group leader will require passengers opting to partake in high-risk optional activities to sign an ‘Optional activity form’ or a ‘Passenger release form.’

Nightlife in Saigon

Troubles and annoyances

Noise: In some cities like Hanoi and Saigon, noise is a problem. These cities are busy from early morning until midnight with currents and currents of people moving on their motorbikes or cars. Vietnamese drivers tend to use horns more than normal. Honking here is not a type of expressing anger or fretty but just simple to inform their coming though it is not the very gentle way. Traffic noise normally subsides around 10 or 11 pm but if your hotel is located near the main road you might sometimes be woken up by a single motorbike passing by. If you find it difficult to sleep with noise then take the room at the back and earplugs come in handy.

Street annoyances: you might sometimes confront the problem with street vendors while walking around. Some street vendors are rather persistent and will follow you for a while if they find that you seem to be interested in their stuff. If you can, bargain well and get a good deal but if not, just use this incantation: Khong, cam on (No, thank you) and walk away without looking back.

Bargaining: This is something bizarre for someone who not use to it but it is a must when you do shopping here except in the supermarket. It is not only applied to tourists but locals also. The better and harder you bargain, the better the deal is. Just take it as the art of interaction. Remember that the price for local stuff here normally cheaper than you get at home. Get fun bargaining and nice shopping around. If you find it difficult to do so, just find a supermarket around.

Do not change money on street. Go to banks or change your money at the hotel reception. And do not show your money or let someone help you to get the right note out from your wallet since Vietnamese denominations are very confusing with lots of zero. Check the note before giving it to people to avoid misunderstanding and unexpected argument.
For anything you do not well, it really knows better to consult your group leader or tour guide for advice.

Flower market in Hanoi

Local law and custom

While you are traveling in Vietnam, you are subject to the laws of Vietnam. The Vietnamese legal system and some Vietnamese laws can be vastly different from your own and if you do anything against local law then your foreign passport will not help.

We strongly recommend you not to get involved in prostitution or drug-using since it is against local law and our responsible travel code. Penalties for possession, distribution, or manufacture of drugs can be severe and Vietnam maintains the death penalty. According to Vietnamese law, if anyone takes any small amount of drug, it is considered illegal and he/she can face the highest penalty as the death sentence.

Traveling with children

Traveling with your children here in Vietnam is a great experience for both parents and children. Anyway, you have to take care of your own children and attend to them when they are around on the road with you. You should also prepare for your children and tell them the different things they might find strange here.

Vietnamese people love to see and play with Western children since, for them, blonde hair, blue eyes children are something like little angels. People normally very friendly and they might try to talk, touch or kiss your child. In that case, you should be very calm and do not try to make a fuss that will make them lose face. That might be a chance for your children to build up self-confidence and skill of interaction.

In general, to put aside some minor problems, Vietnam is one of the safest countries for travelers. Furthermore, the Vietnamese authority applies strong protections for foreign tourists as a solution to promote the tourism industry. So, traveling in Vietnam is relaxing. Open your mind, open your heart and enjoy every single minute.


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