I have lived in Vietnam for many years. Like any country in the world, there are things that you should be concerned about when you are traveling to a foreign country like Vietnam.
Vietnam is generally a safe place for tourists to travel. But like any country in the world, there are precautions that you need to take to ensure your safety. Most of the Vietnam crimes are considered crimes of opportunity; this means that someone will see that your handbag is not secure so that they will grab it. Or they may see your wallet is hanging out of your pocket, so you get pickpocketed. The best thing you can do to ensure your safety is to remain vigilant and use your common sense.
Vietnam Travel and Safety
Vietnam is generally a safe place for tourists to travel. When you travel to Vietnam, you should exercise normal precautions like any other country or place where you may live or travel.
Even though Vietnam is relatively safe to travel to, there are certain precautions that you should take when you are traveling to Vietnam; here are some of our tips or precautions that you should take.
Crime in Vietnam
Most of the crimes in Vietnam are non-violent. But robberies do happen just like they would in any other major city in the world. This is why when you travel to Vietnam, you will see houses that have fences; many of them wil have barbwire or other types of security on their doors and windows.
In fact, in a city like Ho Chi Minh, the crime level is comparable to other cities of a similar size throughout Asia. Foreigners traveling to Vietnam usually fall victim to non-violent property crimes, usually confrontational crimes of opportunity.
Some types of Vietnam’s major crimes of opportunity include:
- Pickpockets – Perhaps one of the most common crimes of opportunity is pickpockets. You may leave a bag unattended, or they may see that they can grab your bag and run, or you may have a wallet hanging out of your pocket, so the thieves see it as an opportunity to be able to grab it. Most pickpocketing in Vietnam is a crime of opportunity and someone not being cautious with their personal belongings.
- Armed Robbery is Rare – Violent crimes such as robbery are still relatively rare in Vietnam. This is in part because Vietnam has a stringent gun law, and people do not own guns. So when an armed robbery does happen, it might happen with an instrument such as a pipe, a knife, or a razor.
- Sex as a Determent – A new and interesting tactic that has been happening in some places in Vietnam is when a female will approach a male victim on the street and start to grab and rub him sexually while propositioning him with sexual favors. The female has no intention to really give any sexual favors but wants to distract the male victim while they rob him. If someone approaches you this way, run away.
- Motorbike’s Belonging Theft – Motorbikes robberies of your belongings are prevalent in Vietnam. One popular way this happens is the criminals will grab your bags and purses while speeding past. This is why you will see almost always see Vietnamese securing their bags on their motorbike. This kind of attack can be hazardous as accidents can happen on the motorbike. The best way to deter this is to have your bags be secure and hidden, so they can not grab them from you while you are on a motorbike.
- Snatch and Grab While Walking– Another popular theft is a snatch and grab of handbags and other things while someone is walking down the street. This is why even when you are walking down the street, make sure to keep your belongings safe, especially items such as a backpack or a handbag. A popular item to grab is a smartphone, especially if you have the newest model. The thief may snatch it from your hand while you are walking. Any phone, camera, or other types of electrical equipment should be hidden or secure.
- Motorbike or Bicycle Theft – If you decide to rent a motorbike or bicycle while traveling to Vietnam, you need to make sure that every time you park your vehicle, it is in a secure location. You will see that most Vietnamese will double lock their motorbikes, bicycles, or even cars if they park them on the street.
- Home and Hotel Safety – Secure your home or hotel. Do not leave the door open, and make sure all gates are secure. If your hotel has a safe, then use the safe. If your hotel does not have a safe consider locking your valuables up in your suitcase with a travel lock.
- ATM Theft – There have been increased cases of thefts from an ATM. Sometimes the thieves will put skimming devices onto the ATM. If at all possible, use an ATM attached to a bank or in a location, you see many other people using it. Also, a good practice is whatever you are withdrawing money from an ATM is to look around and make sure no one is watching you or checking what you are doing. Once you get your cash secured, it immediately and did not walk around with a load of cash in your hand.
- Taxi Scams – A lot of scams can happen if you use an unauthorized taxi service. I had had this issue happened to me a few times when we took a taxi that was not an authorized service. We either ended up paying exorbitant amounts of money for our ride or had problems with the taxi driver. Personally, I do most of my rides through the Grab app. Grab is like the Uber ride app in other parts of the world. The Grab taxies are a secure and safe way to get around parts of Vietnam. You can easily track them if you leave something in their taxi. The other day, I used a Grab Taxi, and the driver showed me a woman’s purse she had called when I was in the car. He was going to deliver the purse to her with the contents intact. If you are getting a taxi from a hotel, many hotels will note down the taxi number for the same reason.
Safety Tips for Staying Safe When Traveling Vietnam
Even though Vietnam is relatively safe and the police work hard to deter crime and keep public safety, there are still things that you can do to ensure that your travels in Vietnam are safe and without incident. Most of the crimes here in Vietnam are considered crimes of opportunity; the main thing you can do is ensure there is no opportunity for anyone to do a criminal act against you.
Here are some tips of things that we suggest to ensure that you do not have a crime incident.
- Keep Your Belongings Secure – Keep your belongings secure. Be responsible for your own personal belongings and do not leave them around or do not have them hanging in such a way that they are easy for someone to take from you. First and foremost, this is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your Vietnam safety.
- Do Not Fight A Robbery – If someone is robbing you, you should not try to fight it. For example, if someone tries to grab your bag and you try to hang on to it, they may drag you down the street from their motorbike. You could end up seriously hurt. It would be best to get the license number and description to report it immediately to the police.
- Use Common Sense – Use your common sense to stay safe. If somebody comes up and offers you sexual favors, you will probably be pickpocketed. If you don’t lock your door or lock your motorbike or bicycle, there’s a good chance that it could be stolen. This is why you will find Vietnam packing lots where you put your motorbike into a parking area, and they hand you a ticket with a number on it. Most of these places will not let you get out of the parking garage until you show the correct ticket.
- Be Alert – Just like you travel in any other major city in the world, be alert of your surroundings and who is around you. If you see someone who looks suspicious or is watching you walk away, go in another direction, or call the police.
- Don’ Flash Your Cash or Wealth – A good rule for any time you travel, especially in a country like Vietnam, is not to flash your cash around or your wealth. This is one reason why I always have two wallets. One for my small change to buying something small and another with my credit cards and larger cash in it. When people are looking for someone to pickpocket, they want to make sure it is worth their time and effort. If you don’t show them your money, they won’t know whether or not pickpocketing you is worth their time and effort.
Vietnam is a safe place to travel to. But like any other country in the world, you must take appropriate precautions. Be vigilant, check your surroundings, and make sure all of your belongings are secure. If you follow the steps, and you should have a safe trip to Vietnam.
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