In general, Vietnam is very safe for travelers (even for women travellers alone). Violent attacks are rare, although theft is a problem. When possible, secure your valuables in the hotel safe. Remember to record your traveler’s cheque numbers and credit card info—just in case.
Do not leave your wallet or mobile phone in the back pocket of your pants or anywhere else that’s easily reached (like an outer zip-up compartment on a backpack). Be especially vigilant in markets and other crowded places like ports and train stations.
Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching are more of a problem in Ho Chi Minh City then smaller towns or cities. Some thieves approach on motorcycles, grab your belongings and race off before you’ve realized what’s happened. If you ride in a cyclo (pedicab) do not hold your bag in your lap. Sit on it! Wearing valuable jewellery (especially necklaces that can be easily grabbed) is not advisable.
Use common sense and don’t walk alone after dark. If confronted by a mugger, do not resist. You’re always better off skipping cyclos or motorbike taxis at night; ask your hotel or restaurant to call a reputable taxi firm.
Traffic is chaotic, especially in Vietnam. If you choose to ride a motorcycle or bike, wear a helmet. A recently-passed law in Vietnam has made it illegal to ride a motorcycle without wearing one. When crossing the street on foot, move at a slow and steady pace. Fight the urge to weave and run! Walk slowly, looking up and meeting driver’s eyes, and the traffic will flow around you.
Wearing a seatbelt in Vietnam is still not common practice – be aware that the vehicles in which you travel won’t be fitted with seatbelts in accordance with current convention.
You may have to travel in local vehicles lacking in luxuries such as air conditioning, but just think of it as part and parcel of exploring these untouched exotic destinations!