Vietnam Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Vietnam
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for Vietnam is to remain cautious due to the crime rate in some busy areas. When visiting Vietnam the majority of trips should be relatively free of risk. It is advised that you check the weather forecasts in the region, as Vietnam is known for tropical storms.
Recent Security Risk Events
Be aware that there has been a reported increase in incidents of personal belongings and handbags being grabbed, usually by pairs and teams travelling on mopeds in big cities and around tourist attractions.
Most places in Vietnam are relatively safe however there are a few areas with particularly high crime rates such as in Saihon and Ho Chi Min where there have been a number of cases of attempted kidnapping. This is often carried out by fake taxi drivers who have demanded extortionate fees to release their victims. Travellers should be aware of their surroundings and only book taxis through reputable countries.
There are some isolated incidents of thieves resorting to physical violence and murder however this is very uncommon. It is recommended that money is kept in a hidden area on the body such as a neck wallet, and not in a handbag that’s on display.
The political situation in Vietnam is now stable, with no known threats to Americans or other western tourists. Visitors should respect local laws and customs and avoid unauthorized gatherings or uncontrolled crowds. Exercise care in taking photographs; photographing things such as the military and law enforcement officers or other government facilities should be avoided as they may result in being detained and questioned by the authorities and this can possibly lead to the confiscation of personal possessions.
The international relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Vietnam has been shaky, however they do share a common socialist background. Vietnam also has historical connections with bordering countries such as Laos and Cambodia which relate to the Vietnam War.
Ensure that you always travel in licensed taxis and avoid using them late at night if and when possible. Companies such as Mai Linh and Vina Sun are reputable cab companies in Saigon, but there still are fake Mai Linh and Vina Sun taxis in the city.
If you want to drive yourself in Vietnam, you must hold a Vietnamese driving licence as International Driving Permits are not accepted (including motorcycles). There have been multiple fatal road side accidents in rural areas and in a number of Vietnam's national parks. It is highly advised not to stray off main roads onto country tracks when travelling and be aware that much of the off track terrain can be extremely hazardous and most of the time unsuitable for automobile bearing. You should follow safety guidelines and procedures and keep up to date will local news. Where appropriate take a licensed guide if you are travelling to none tourist areas that you are unfamiliar with.
Unexploded explosive ordnance such as land mines are a continuing hazard as former remnants of the Vietnam War, mines are particularly dense in the central Vietnam region and along the Laos/Vietnam Border, formerly traversed by the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Mined areas are often unmarked to this day.
Religion: Buddhism, Islam & Christianity
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
Time now in Port of Hanoi:
Visa requirements for entry into Vietnam vary depending on nationality. In a bid to attract more visitors to the country, its entry requirements were softened for many foreign visitors including French, British, Italian, German and other EU nationals. These visitors are permitted to stay in the country for up to 15 days visa free, stays longer than this will require a full Vietnamese visa for which you can apply online or via the embassy.
Other foreign travellers will have to arrange a visa prior to arrival in the country and this can be arranged through your closest Viatnamese Embassy. You may have to send off your passport which should have at least 6 months of validity. Contact your Embassy if you are unsure, or more information can be found here: Visa Information Vietnam
It is advised that visitors to Vietnam are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, which are usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in Vietnam, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
There is a a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission in the country and a low risk of Malaria in the Southern part of Vietnam. Dengue, which is another viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes is also present in the country. So, take your precautions against mosquito bites to avoid contracting the diseases.
Medical facilities are adequate for minor illnesses or injuries if you are based in a major city, however anywhere beyond these and anything more serious may require evacuation to a better equipped country. You should therefore ensure that you have comprehensive medical insurance that will cover you for this.
The doctor or nurse may demand you pay for treatment before it can occur, and this can sometimes prove costly. You should make sure you have enough funds to cover the cost of this.
U.S. Embassy Hanoi
7 Láng Hạ,
Telephone: +84 04 3850 5000
British Embassy Hanoi
Central Building, 4th floor,
31 Hai Ba Trung,
Telephone: +84 04 3936 0500
Other useful info
Police emergency: 113
Fire emergency: 114
Medical emergency: 115