Over the past few years, the number of visitors to Vietnam has been on the increase. With more western countries finding the appeal of the country, from everyone from Africa to Mexico.
It is becoming popular, yet many individuals wonder, is Vietnam safe to visit with all the past history?
As long as any traveler keeps their wits about them, the country does offer plenty in the way of safety, as long as you follow some simple rules, e.g., be wary of the road safety, or lack of it.
There are now millions of visitors every year heading to Ho Chi Minh City as a starting point for a vacation around the region.
While many think Ho Chi Minh City is the capital, it is actually Hanoi, and everyone knows that Hanoi Rocks. However, Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam and gives excellent access to visit Cambodia or if you are heading across to Thailand.
For anyone who wants to travel to Vietnam. Here is more to know before setting off toward a real gem in the east.
What Kind of Government Does Vietnam Have?
Currently, Vietnam is one of the remaining four countries that has a communist state. Any traveler to Vietnam should be aware because free speech is repressed, and there is lots of censorship.
If there is any situation regarding politics during travels, it is better to stay away for your safety.
What Should I Avoid in Vietnam?
There are plenty of things to avoid when traveling to Vietnam. While petty crime is rife, here are things to be cautious of, and what you shouldn’t do.
- Never wear shorts or old t-shirts if venturing into a pagoda. Both men and women need to dress accordingly.
- Make sure never to take pictures of anything that has a military subject. It can be seen as a breach of national security.
- Avoid using a video camera in a small village, although the Vietnamese villagers are polite, it is seen as intrusive.
- Never show affection in public; in Vietnam, it is frowned upon to do more than hold hands.
Avoid the offer of a massage. In tourist areas, pretty girls bait men traveling in Vietnam. Once in the massage parlor, these vanish, and another person delivers the massage.
- While marijuana is illegal, you see it smoked by many foreigners. To be safe, never buy it, especially from motorbike taxi drivers, they may switch it for a bag of tea.
Is it Safe for US Citizens to Travel to Vietnam?
It is safe for anyone from the United States, Canada, or any other country to visit Vietnam. There are a few things to be wary of before any Vietnam travel. Most of this applies to visas and passports.
All United States citizens need a visa to enter Vietnam. It is possible to collect these from a Vietnam airport upon entry. It does take a step or two beforehand.
- Head to www.vietnamvisa.govt.vn website
- Complete and submit the online application form to get your approval letter
- Get your passport stamped with the visa stamp when arriving at Hoi An, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh city, Nha Trang Vietnamese airports
Other things to note:
- Visa is for air travel only, such as to Ho Chi Minh City or other airports. Overland travels need an e-visa or visa, which should be obtained before travel to Vietnam.
- Passport Validity: Must have 6-months remaining before any Vietnam travel
- Blank Passport Pages: It takes one page for one stamp, be sure you have enough blank pages
- Vaccinations: None are required for entry, although it is advised to be up to date with immunization
- Currency Restrictions: No restrictions, but money over $5,000 must be declared, the same applies to exit Vietnam
Most countries require a visa before entry. One of the few who don’t need a visa for traveling to Vietnam is the United Kingdom for up to 15-days.
Is It Safe to Visit Vietnam Now?
Vietnam is much cheaper in comparison to South Korea, and it isn’t the only reason people are heading toward this country. Even when you compare it to China, travelers are more welcome. You can see this from the lonely planet website where the country continually ranks highly.
Travelers, however, do need to take precautions in certain areas and watch out for their valuables.
One of the main things for any traveler will be travel insurance. Visitors to the country need to keep this up to date for their trip. This can cover you for most eventualities, yet you don’t want your vacation to be spoiled because you don’t have it, or it doesn’t offer enough coverage.
Besides the things to avoid, there are a few things you ought to do as a standard. Here is a brief overview of what to do when in Vietnam.
- If riding motorbikes, always wear a helmet
- Carry copies of all your travel documents, never carry the originals, and be sure to keep this safe somewhere
- Make sure not to flash expensive tech gadgets while in the cities. Saigon a good example where phones are snatched while in use
- Use a money belt, and break large notes down to smaller bills. Often arguments ensue when the wrong change is purposely given
- Drink lots of bottled water to stay hydrated; it can get hot
- Dress accordingly, yet respect the places you visit
- Be careful when carrying bags, motorbike riders can snatch these
- Be cautious of the street food
You can spend hours checking information on visiting Vietnam or the islands off the coastline. While you can think of many questions about personal health and safety, there are not many reasons not to go to Vietnam.
If you rule out the chaotic driving, amount of traffic, and the condition of some roads, add this to the scams you can fall for, particularly in certain cities, you can experience safe and relatively risk-free travel, Vietnam is not much different to any other country in the region when you tour around to meet new people and other tourists.
Provide you follow the above tips, and are ready to alert the authorities if things do go wrong. You can travel from the south to the north, and make the best of the low-cost accommodation on your travels.