Vietnam is constantly increasing in popularity as a tourist destination. This is in part helped by the fact that it is one of the safest countries in the world. In a recent ranking by Safety Around it came 44th, just behind Greece and above Belgium.
The easiest way to travel there is with the Vietnam eVisa, an electronic visa that is available for nationals of many countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the US. After filling in the simple Vietnam eVisa application form you can print off your visa and thus avoid queueing at an embassy.
Despite being safe and easy to travel to Vietnam, like all countries, is not without its problems, and it is best to be aware of these before starting your journey. Read on to discover Vietnam travel advice.
Landmines and Unexploded Devices: Are They Really a Danger?
Vietnam is now a peaceful country, but sadly this has not always been the case. The Vietnam War, which lasted for more than 20 years, left the country scarred in various ways.
One of these is the number of landmines and other unexploded devices strewn across the country. This is one of the few real potential dangers in Vietnam. Major cities and roads are safe but you should be very cautious when exploring the countryside.
If you come across artillery or bomb craters during your travels then it is best to avoid them. Unexploded devices can remain active for decades after they were deployed.
Health Information When Traveling to Vietnam
Before traveling to Vietnam you should make sure that you have had all the recommended vaccinations. These currently include Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies.
It is also strongly recommended that you take out health insurance for your trip.
You should also be careful when using water in Vietnam. Only drink bottled water and never consume the tap water. In restaurants, be careful with salads that have been rinsed in tap water as this is a potential source of infection.
Scams: What to Look Out For
Vietnamese people are known for their friendliness. Many are poor, however, and sadly see tourists as an opportunity to boost their meager incomes. Here are some common scams to watch out for:
- The cobbler/shoe shiner: someone will approach you and comment on your shoes, offering to clean or repair them. Before you know it they will have convinced you to remove them and they will proceed to clean or “fix” them. You will then be charged a ridiculous bill for the privilege.
- The unlicensed taxi: Many people are ripped off by taxi drivers in Vietnam. It is best to only use reputable companies such as Uber. Another good practice is to find out how much your intended journey should cost before setting off and tell the taxi driver that this is all you have.
- The motorbike scam: Another very common scam involves overly friendly locals offering to rent you their motorbike to use during your stay, for a very reasonable price. All too often the catch is that the motorbike soon breaks down and you are charged a hefty fee to have the bike that “you broke” fixed.
Extreme Weather: Stay Safe in Cyclone Season
Vietnam’s weather is not particularly extreme as it is sufficiently far north of the Equator to avoid the worst effect of typhoons and cyclones.
The Vietnamese cyclone season lasts from approximately the beginning of November until the end of April. Normally by the time any cyclone reaches the coast, it has lost much of its force, but they can at times cause damage to buildings in coastal towns and even on occasion claim lives.
It is strongly advised you follow the government’s alerts and warnings so that you know if a cyclone is on the way.
Travel Alerts: the Easiest Way to Keep Up-to-Date
Given that the international media tends to sensationalize events and it is often hard to find out what is happening in a foreign country, we strongly recommend that you follow your government’s advice on traveling to Vietnam and theVietnam alerts. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States all have excellent websites dedicated to providing the latest information on most countries in the world.
This security information about Vietnam is provided in a non-sensationalist way and is tailored to the specific needs of its own nationals. For instance, US citizens can enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive safety messages and travel information.
If you follow the above advice then, like the vast majority of visitors to Vietnam, you should have an enjoyable stay in this wonderful country.
Remember to get your Vietnam eVisa before setting off.