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Crime & Security in Vietnam

Most visits to Vietnam are trouble free but you should remain alert. Petty crime is not confined to the backpacker districts but also occurs in the main tourist shopping areas. Do not walk in secluded locations alone, or with people you do not know. There is low reporting of sexual assaults but tourists should travel with friends and take the normal precautions.

Violent attacks against tourists have been reported in urban areas, as well as popular tourist areas, including Cat Ba and Nha Trang in the early morning or late at night. Some reports involve tourists being attacked while on a xe om (motorcycle taxi) or during disputes about being overcharged.

There has been a recent increase in reports of handbags being stolen in Ho Chi Minh City. To minimise risk, be on your guard against pickpockets and avoid carrying handbags or wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches. Use hotel safety deposit boxes to store valuables, money or passports and carry a photocopy of the data page of your passport.

There have been reports of scams targeting tourists, involving fake charities, gambling and taxis.

There have also been reports of arguments over hotel, restaurant or taxi bills turning violent or abusive. To ensure you have a trouble free stay in Vietnam it is worth researching places to stay before you arrive. To avoid potential disputes you should make sure you are clear about the level of service you can expect to receive and any associated charges. Foreign visitors to Vietnam are generally not permitted to invite Vietnamese nationals into their hotel rooms.

Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs can be severe and Vietnam maintains the death penalty. In Vietnamese law, anyone found in possession of even a small amount of drugs can face the death sentence.

Illegal drugs are increasingly available in major cities. Be aware that drugs are likely to have been tampered with/spiked. Drugs are much stronger and of a higher potency in Asia than in Europe and British tourists have suffered fatal overdoses in the past from very small amounts.





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