Travellers with Disabilities

Vietnam is not the easiest of places for travellers with disabilities, despite the fact that many locals are disabled as a result of war injuries. Tactical problems include the chaotic traffic and pavements that are routinely blocked by parked motorbikes and food stalls.

That said, with some careful planning it is possible to enjoy a trip to Vietnam. Find a reliable company to make the travel arrangements and don’t be afraid to double-check things with hotels and restaurants yourself.

Some budget and many midrange and top-end hotels have lifts. Note that bathroom doorways can be very narrow; if the width of your wheelchair is more than 60cm you may struggle to get inside.

Train travel is not really geared for travellers with wheelchairs, but open tour buses are doable. If you can afford to rent a private vehicle with a driver, almost anywhere becomes instantly accessible. As long as you are not too proud about how you get in and out of a boat or up some stairs, anything is possible, as the Vietnamese are always willing to help.

The hazards for blind travellers in Vietnam are acute, with traffic coming at you from all directions. Just getting across the road in cities such as Hanoi and HCMC is tough enough for those with 20:20 vision, so you’ll definitely need a sighted companion!

The Travellers With Disabilities forum on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree (www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/travellers-with-disabilities) is a good place to seek the advice of other travellers. Alternatively, you could try organisations such as Mobility International USA (www.miusa.org), the Royal Association for Disability Rights (www.disabilityrightsuk.org) or the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (www.sath.org).

Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.