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Current smart traveller advice
Australians are advised to exercise the same level of caution as they would in their own country. This includes reporting suspicious behaviour, monitoring the news and avoiding dangerous areas.
Safety tips and advice
- Confusing currency: It’s no lie that when a traveller has just arrived to a new destination, handling a different currency can get confusing. Local business owners have used this factor to their advantage by scamming naive tourists. They may overcharge on goods, insist on a tip being given, change the agreed fare once the service has been completed or round up or down to suit them. Visitors must also be aware of the currency in question. If a vendor says ’20’, they could mean US dollars, Vietnamese Dong or something else altogether. Always be sure to check before agreeing.
- Unauthorised tour companies: A common occurrence in tourist populated areas, such as Vietnam, is that of unauthorised tour companies. They may charge more for less than adequate trips, which may end earlier than agreed. They may also overbook on trips and exploit tourists with high return prices. It’s wise to read reviews of tour companies in the area and only use the service of reputable businesses.
- Shopping: Vietnam has many excellent shopping opportunities, but travellers need to be aware of scams surrounding this fun pastime. Goods which may have been agreed on have been known to be switched out for something else, but when wrapped in packaging, the buyer is none the wiser. Store owners and vendors alike may also claim that something is free of charge. However, once the service has been used or food consumed, they will demand payment.
Crime in Vietnam, as a whole, is relatively kept to a level of petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Don’t make yourself a potential target for thieves, instead, keep valuables securely on your person at all times and do not leave belongings unattended.
Bag snatching by moped drivers is also common. Motorcyclists are known to grab bags from unsuspecting tourists who may be waiting at crossings.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of Vietnam’s most crime-filled cities, where petty crime can be fairly common. Tourists must be wary in crowded places as to avoid falling victim.
Information current as of March 18, 2018. Check smartraveller.gov.au for the latest updates.