Security question from an American
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Dec 11, 2012 5:58 AM Last Post By: Herbie47
Dec 8, 2012 10:50 PM
Security question from an AmericanHi all,
I tried to look at thread 66, but couldn't figure out how to find it. And if it is more than 4-5 years old, it may be too dated anyway.
I am planning to take a bike tour of VietName in Jan. via PedalTours. But I was talking to a friend who told me that things have changed a lot in the last few years. Crime is becoming more rampant, thefts occur even in the 3-5 star hotels, bribes are apparently required on a regular basis, etc.
I am fully caucasian but my girlfriend was born in Vietnamese but is american. Neither of us have been to Vietnam before (or at least not since she left as a young girl.)
What should I be prepared for? And what options will I have if we do have problems?
We won't be riding bikes in the cities, just between them. Do you have any opinions on issues I might have (again, we will be with a group, riding together.) I just hate surprises or not knowing what to do, so I thought I would ask.
Dec 8, 2012 11:03 PM
Dec 8, 2012 11:04 PM
2Here is post 66 in that thread.
Travel safety and travel warnings for VN
Post at ESL Cafe
This site contains useful information and links to very informative sites, especially the US State Department.
The writer of this post begins, "This may come across as an extremely negative post ...".
I do believeVietnam is safe to travel in, but you should take due care as advised in the links the poster gives. Do note the comments in his links about the lack of road safety and petty theft.
Dec 8, 2012 11:05 PM
Dec 8, 2012 11:07 PM
Dec 8, 2012 11:41 PM
5On a light-hearted note. My biggest fear in 2 trips was trying to get across the road in Hanoi and HCMC when your gut is telling you not to step out in front of moving traffic.
Dec 9, 2012 7:04 AM
Dec 9, 2012 2:00 PM
7"Crime is becoming more rampant, thefts occur even in the 3-5 star hotels, bribes are apparently required on a regular basis, etc."
Here are chaskemp's** insightful, sensitive, hard-hitting and (as always) exhibiting high levels of "common sense" thoughts on the matter:
The places in Southeast Asia that seem to be generate the most frequent reports of large and small rip-offs are (in descending order) Hanoi and Saigon, Bangkok (especially Khao San Road area), and Phnom Penh. Purse, pack etc. snatchings most common in VN and Cambodia. Everything is a scam in Poipet.
Any ignorant person is a likely target – that includes most of us as we travel across cultures and systems.
- Carry your passport and money in a pouch under your pants (Eagle Creek makes a good one for ~$10). The pouches that hang around your neck get uncomfortable fast. Don't carry valuables in a handbag or backpack that (a) you might leave in a cafe and (b) might be snatched.
- Don't leave valuables in your GH room – good grief. If it's very valuable and you can't carry it nearly all the time, leave it at home.
- You are at increased risk in places where you are forced to spend one night (as on a river trip in Laos).
- Border crossings or other entry/transition points are high risk places. Travelers are transient, often a little confused, and usually ignorant. Best to know fees, requirements ahead of time and keep smiling and marching forward.
- It’s easy to scam or do bad things to a drunk or stoner.
- Gems – don’t be an idiot.
- There are no free or discount rides in a tuk-tuk or non-metered taxi. Always reach agreement with driver on where you are going, where you don’t want to go (like to factories, tailors, etc.) about how long it will take, and the price and currency. Don’t expect anything close to correct change being available when you pay.
- What a fabulous deal! Think twice, it might not be that good a deal.
- The bridge, temple, etc. is closed because blah blah – nearly always a lie and the introductory move.
- Notorious Tours, such from Khao San Road to Siem Reap.
- Other tours, it’s hard to say – most people who post in TT report good experiences and good value - be sure search posts or ask about companies on TT. Lots of complaints about Halong Bay tours. Cheap may not be cheap in the end.
- Be cautious when and after changing money - this is a vulnerable time when in a public place. We met a woman who lost it all in the Bogyoke Aung San Market after changing money.
- People who make contact with you in a public place. A few really do just want to practice their English, especially, it seems, in Burma and rural areas of other countries. On the other hand you have your off-duty police officer in Bangkok or your Filipina tourist in Saigon. Avoid.
- Electronics – best to buy before you leave home. Repairs may include switching expensive parts.
Edited by: Nature Boy
Dec 9, 2012 2:20 PM
8Vastly exaggerated by your friend. Vietnam is probably safer than most places in the "developed" world (apart form then traffic). Common sense, as usual, should prevail but I have spent on-and-off 15 years in Vietnam and have not been scammed or robbed. Is there crime in VN? Sure. but if you read posts like bun_cha and act accordingly, you will be fine. And actually quite a few things he mentioned apply to Thailand, not Vietnam.
Dec 9, 2012 4:59 PM
9I have a friend whose wife had two purse snatching attempts in one day in Saigon; and my wife and I traveled with a man (a muscular well-conditioned guy) who had a nice camera snatched in Hanoi. Both were carrying the goods over a shoulder. But I'm guessing another major factor in being selected as crime victims was some kind of vibe, some kind of other behavior, maybe a sign that said "Kick Me"
Dec 9, 2012 5:08 PM
10Of course I have plenty of friends that had mobile phones, necklaces, or purses snatched, and not just in Saigon. On the other hand I always told my staff that they are setting themselves up: taking out the mobile phone right by the side of the road, purse in the basket in front of the handlebars, etc.
I am not denying those things happen frequently, and there is no guarantee it won't happen to me one day; nevertheless some common sense and a little caution (without being paranoid) go a long way. I guess growing up in Africa has changed my perspective, robberies there are common and often violent, with guns and knives being used at the drop of a hat. Compared to that, SE Asia is paradise.
Dec 11, 2012 5:58 AM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$269.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night