Vietnam is one of the countries which opened up a lot in the last years, allowing the tourism to blossom. The country is now part of all backpacker plans and managed to attract even luxury clients. Because is one of the safest countries in SouthEast Asia, Vietnam also attracts many solo travelers, women included. The fact Vietnam is a cheap destination also attracts tourists.
But even if it is a safe place to visit, you still have to consider a couple of things.
Dress code is conservative
For women who visit Vietnam, there are some rules on their outfit. The place is conservative, so you should follow the lead of the locals and cover yourself. Long, straight pants and a loose blouse are perfect for a day in the city. If you are traveling on your own, you might want to wear a wedding ring, as many women complain about Vietnamese men being very curious regarding single women’s marital status.
Stay away from pick-pocketing
As the country can’t be considered a rich one, the most frequent crime against travelers is theft. Laptops, phones and cameras make for perfect targets in Vietnam, so you should be hiding them or, at least, avoid flaunting them often. It’s best to wear special clothes, which have hidden, inside pockets, where you can carry your valuables. As for the laptop, make sure you keep it in a bag close to your body. The most common method used to steal things is picking them from a bike, so keep your hands on your bag at all times. I only had one large bag, strapped to my back with big, wide straps and a smaller one, on my chest and they worked perfectly.
Photography might be forbidden
Vietnam still carries traces of its bloody past and you will see lots of military forces in some areas. Around them it’s wise not to use your camera – if they consider you were taking pictures of something forbidden, they might confiscate your memory card. If you want to take a picture of the locals, just ask before you do it. This is the polite and normal way of taking pictures of strangers, not only in Vietnam but everywhere you go.
Look out for the exchange rate
Among the common scams used in Vietnam is inflating the exchange rate. Taxi drivers might also pull a wide range of scams on tourists. To avoid these scams, get information about the real exchange rate and the cost of a ride from one place to another before you need these services.
Another problem you can have in Vietnam comes from tour companies. If you buy a tour, you might receive a completely different thing from what was advertised. My own solution to this problem was to talk to locals and avoid companies. I was lucky enough to have an amazing experience in Sapa.
Avoid taking taxis from the tourist areas
There are many tourist hot spots in every city of Vietnam, where hoards of taxi drivers and other transportation entrepreneurs gather to pick up their customers. But they will charge you a lot more than the ride’s worth. To avoid this, just walk a couple of meters away and pick a driver outside the “red zone”.
Make sure you keep your travel papers in a safe place, near your body. Never keep all your important things, like money, passport and keys in the same place. If you do, losing them together will lead to huge problems. And always have copies of your travel papers.