During our time in Vietnam, we saw some beautiful places, and we created some unforgettable memories. It’s a beautiful country with a rich and sad history. Unfortunately, while we’ve been spending a wonderful month travelling around Vietnam, we realised that it isn’t as safe as many people claim. Here are a few things that you have to be careful for and things to look out for while travelling Vietnam:

Things to look out for while travelling Vietnam

1. Constantly stealing form tourists.

When we decided to travel to Vietnam, we knew we were heading into a damaged country, but we didn’t know how bad things will get. A value of almost $500 was stolen from us in only a short period of 4 weeks. We would recommend keeping your valuables close to your person and don’t trust people with your things. Double-check your change, make sure you are getting what you paid for, and keep an eye on your belongings the whole time. Also, watch out for pickpocketers in crowded places and on busses.

2. Locals will try to rip you off.

Vietnams currency is weak, so their money bills will be in thousands. Many locals will try to rip you off so be careful when you have to pay any locals. The 20,000 dong bill and the 500,000 dong bill is both a similar shade of blue. Many people can easily get confused between the two notes. This is an easy way for locals to trick you and rip you off. We had a taxi driver tell us that we gave him a 20,000 dong bill when we actually gave him a 500,000 dong bill. If I didn’t see him switch the 500,000 note with a 20,000 note, he probably would’ve got away with it, and we would’ve been out of a lot of money.

Vietnam lady with  money in hand

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3. Unfriendly locals.

This is something that shocked us when were arrived in Vietnam. The locals won’t greet you even if you greet them first. Most of them won’t even smile at you and would even be disrespectful when you try to be friendly. This doesn’t apply to all of them, but this is the majority. Only the locals from the hotels and the shops that you buy something from are the ones that will be friends and helpful, all the others expect money for their good deeds or their friendliness. One other thing that we couldn’t stand is the fact that they also spit everywhere. Whether you are walking next to the road, sitting at a restaurant or swimming in the sea, there will always be a person spiting right next to you.

a lady in Vietnam selling food in Vietnam

4. Unsafe and Unpredictable Roads.

This is something that will take a while to get used to. We don’t know if there are any road rules in the country, but it sure feels like there isn’t. The way they drive is extremely dangerous and very unsafe. At the traffic circle, it seems like everyone just has the right to drive. Whether it’s the left side or the right side, it doesn’t matter. If they can find a place to squeeze into, then they will drive. A zebra crossing is just some paint on the road, don’t let it fool you. The drives won’t stop and give you a chance to walk. The best way to cross the road will be to just walk when you see a gap, most people will just drive around you anyway. We aren’t encouraging anyone to be reckless.

two woman and a little girl riding a scooter in Vietnam

5. Untrust Worthy Police

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of patience from the police for any foreigners. When our Go Pro got stolen we tried to get a police report from the police just so we can put a claim in by the insurance and the police were very reluctant to help us. If we didn’t have our GoPro receipt with us, we wouldn’t have got the report, and they also told us to write down that we lost the GoPro and not that it got stolen. AND then don’t break the road rules. The locals can do whatever they want, but you as a foreigner go over the speed limit by 1km/h, and you have to pay a 1,500,000 dong fine which is 5 times the amount that you should pay according to their traffic laws.

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6. Dirt and Plastic Scattered Everywhere

Vietnam is one of the dirtiest countries that we have ever been to. There are plastic and dirt everywhere next to the road. We have seen people walk right past the dustbin and threw their garbage on the ground less than a meter from the dustbin. It’s just a very unpleasant sight to see. Driving around the town and seeing so much garbage next to the road is gross.

dustbin in dirty brown water

8. The hooting all the time

Vietnam is very guilty of noise pollution. They enjoy using their cars and scooter hooters, but we fully understand why they need to do this. There isn’t a lot of people that follow the road rules, and this is just their way of keeping themself safe by warning other drivers that they are there. But if you aren’t the one on the scooter, it will drive you crazy.

the busy streets of Vietnam

Overall, we will have to say that you will be fairly safe, but your belongings are not so much. Unfortunately, these are the reasons why Vietnam is our least favourite Southeast Asian country. Just remember, if you mix with bad people then bad things will happen to you, but it’s like that in many countries. So stay aware and stay alerted and you will be fine. Vietnam is a beautiful country with some of the most beautiful things you will ever see, so don’t let an unpleasant person ruin your experience. This list is some of the things we wish we knew before we went and we hope that by giving you this information we can make your visit to Vietnam even more amazing.

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