Top 5 Tips for Traveling Vietnam

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Last Updated on June 23, 2019 by Christine Kaaloa

Top 5 Tips for Traveling Vietnam (Southeast Asia travel)..

 Mekong Delta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City , Sapa… Vietnam is a bustling place with lots to explore in food, culture and activities. But of Southeast Asia, traveling Vietnam happens to be the trickiest and I will tell you why.

Top 5 tips for traveling Vietnam

1. Theft

Theft.  It happens there a lot. Even your guesthouses will warn you.  Focus. Know where you’re going when traveling Vietnam.  Know what’s around you.  In the course of two weeks  I met four travelers that were robbed in different ways:

– Bag snatching.
– Taking out a wad of cash, when paying a motorbike taxi.
– Leaving backpacks at a hotel storage space or luggage space because you’re going to take a trekking tour.
–  Leaving valuables unattended while you’re searching for money to buy a drink.

I’m going to leave a link right here to my view on travel safety tips for solo travelers.

  2. Counterfeit agencies

 Counterfeit agencies are companies that have a logo of reputable company on their store front but  they are in no way affiliated with that company. They’re just trying to misdirect customers. You can tell because they are so many of them and they are not subtle.

Listen to your intuition.  If something sounds wrong or weird, then trust your gut that it is.  Go to the places that feel like they’re professional and trustworthy. You can’t always go by the company logo. Signs mean nothing in Vietnam.

3.  Getting around

There are many ways to get around Vietnam :


The number one most popular vehicle in Vietnam happens to be motorbikes.  In fact,  people in Vietnam are very skilled in the fine art of balancing things on their motorbike. You see them transporting anything from entire families to their living room. I’ve seen dresser drawers, refrigerators, a huge stack of chicken cages…

Unlike other countries in South East Asia I recommend motorbike newbies not attempt to learn how to ride a motorbike in Vietnam.

Hop on hop off buses

You’ll see signs at tour agencies advertising ‘open tickets’ or ‘open tours’ on buses.  It’s an inexpensive way to travel from city to city.

Shared vans

 The rule of thumb is that shared vans, do not leave until they’re full-  not only seat wise,…aisles too. If a tour operator is trying to squeeze as many people as they can, they will pull out little plastic stools and place them in the aisles.

Others types of transportation in Vietnam

There are VIP buses, overnight sleeper buses, and ferries. You can even travel by air.

Getting around the city, there are motorbike taxis called Xe Oms (pronounced she-ohmz).

You can rent a motorbike or take a group tour.

 Xelo‘s (pronounced: shay-lows)  are rickshaws.   They move very slowly and are mostly for tourists.

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4. How to cross a Vietnamese Street

Many travelers are always freaked out by the idea of crossing the streets Vietnam. I felt like that at first too, until I figured out how it was done. The key is to walk slowly and let the traffic weave around you.

Watch my video clip and check out how I crossed a Vietnamese Street.

4. Budget tours in Vietnam

There are many reasons for solo travelers to book tours vs plan it independently. Vietnam has the best budget tours and you’ll be spoiled by the prices. Often, these tours can be all-inclusive covering accommodations, tour guides, transportation and activities. It can actually be cheaper taking a budget tour vs. doing it on your own.  However, if you’re booking tours from within Vietnam, there is one thing you have to beware of .. counterfeit tour agencies.

 5. Street food

There sidewalk cafes with plastic tables and plastic chairs lined up facing the street, as if the street were one giant television set. Food is inexpensive and delicious, as its prepared mostly for locals.  A little on the greasy side.

Read : 14 Safety Tips on street food

Always make sure the food is prepared in front of you or come to you piping hot. Also, visit places that are well-populated with locals or tourists. This usually means the food is good and it’s relatively safe.

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What are your tips for traveling Vietnam?

Related Posts:

15 things to know about Vietnam
Budget tours in Vietnam
Things to Know When Traveling to Sapa

Best Travel Insurance for Traveling Vietnam

American travelers often pay a premium on travel insurance.  World Nomads offers economic solutions for travelers who seek security and peace of mind.  It covers 150 countries.

Watch Travel Tips for your Vietnam trip

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  • I’m wondering what your thoughts are on a solo female wandering around Hanoi at night… I have one or two evenings to myself but I don’t want to just hole up in my hostel.

    • I read somewhere that all respectable Vietnamese stay in after 7p. I stay out at night at most places (until around midnight) just to explore/ photograph things but I’m always hyper cautious and pretty much use all the tips in my safety video x5-10. Hanoi – I went to the water puppet show and walked around the lake. I’d stick to the crowded areas.

    • Thank you! I’ll go watch your safety videos. I’ve never traveled alone before, so Vietnam will be my first. But I lived in Ecuador for a year and feel that it’s considered an unsafe country if you aren’t smart, so hopefully I have good instincts. I wouldn’t want to waste an evening simply because I’m alone.

    • @meaghan If it’s your first time solo then I’ll stress being aware of your surroundings, stick to well lit crowded places and def mind your belongings. Lots of theft. Also be aware hostels have curfews. Usually around those times the streets are pretty quiet and dead anyways.

    • Fantastic! Thanks for the tips.

  • Going to Vietnam in August. 🙂

  • Thanks for the post traveling to North Vietnam in July for 8 days-any other info would be great ☺

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