Generally speaking, Vietnam is a safe country to visit whether it is a solo female traveler or a family holiday with children. However, in order to have a hassle-free trip to Vietnam, there are some Vietnam travel risks which tourists should be aware of. In this article, we will provide you with several essential health and safety guides for your stay in our country. Also, there is a list of prestigious public and private hospitals at the end of the article.

More essential tips when traveling to Vietnam

Health Hazards when Traveling to Vietnam

Preparation before Your Trip

When planning a family holiday in Vietnam, it is advisable that you take all family members, especially your kids, to visit a doctor at least 2 months before your trip. No vaccinations are required to enter Vietnam, but some recommended vaccines you should take are typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cholera, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, and influenza.

Bring your prescribed medicines since they may be hard to find them in our country. Make sure that you carry a copy of your prescription to confirm that the medicines are for personal use.

Tell us all your health issues and we can schedule appropriate itineraries and activities for you, especially when you travel with elders. We can contact the restaurant if any of your family members have dietary restrictions or food allergy. We have a list of local hospitals and clinics in hand and we can contact them immediately when you request.

For packing checklist, visit this article for recommendations: Essential Travel Guides for Family Trips with Kids to Vietnam

Tropical Diseases/Seasonal Illness – Most Common Vietnam Travel Risks

Vietnam Travel Risks
Halong Bay

Due to tropical weather, poor healthcare system and poverty, it is not surprising to find a number of infectious diseases in Southeast Asia. This situation is now improving, however, be careful of malaria and dengue fever when you plan to travel to some rural areas on a Vietnam discovery tour. Malaria can be found in the central highlands and some provinces in the south such as Bac Lieu and Ca Mau. There is no vaccine for this disease, thus, you should avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes usually live in humid, bushy, and dark places, so wear long pants in the evening and use mosquito spray during the daytime. Try not to open the window when you sleep in your hotel or homestay in rural areas. Check if your guesthouse has a mosquito net or meshing on windows.

Thermal Shock

There are several Vietnam travel risks related to the weather in Vietnam. As an elongated country, the temperature changes significantly from the north to the south. Therefore, sunburn and sunstroke will affect your health unless you wear sunscreen and other sun-protection items such as hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeve shirts. Do not participate in any outdoor activity at a sweltering noon. Carry a bottle of water with you to avoid dehydration. Take yourselves time to rest if you travel to different regions in our country.

  • The North possesses hot and humid summers (May – August) and cold winters (December – February) when the temperature may drop to 10 degrees Celsius. There may be snow in some northernmost points. Make sure you pack warm clothes if you plan a Northern Vietnam tour during winters.
  • Central Vietnam is affected by storms between September and November, so make sure you plan your trip to this region during the period between January and August.
  • The South experiences hot weather throughout the year and high rainfall from May to August.

Allergy

Banh mi - one of the most famous street foods in Vietnam - Vietnam Travel Risks
Banh mi – one of the most famous street foods in Vietnam

Vietnam is a threat to tourists with food allergies since many foods contain peanut and gluten. If you are allergic to a specific kind of foods (peanut, seafood, etc.), research the food in every destination. Inform your travel agent, tour guide and restaurant so that we can arrange appropriate dishes for you. Pack some medicines and carry your clinical record in case of emergency. There are many Western restaurants in major tourist destinations in Vietnam; and you can find fast food, pizza, and steakhouse on the way.

For those who travel to Vietnam in spring, pollen allergy is also a problem. The symptoms are sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. Moreover, to avoid allergic reactions, skip a Hanoi tour during autumn (October – November) since the milk flowers (hoa sua) may irritate your nose.

Pollution

Due to the hectic traffic, air pollutant is a pressing issue in some major cities in Vietnam such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you have respiratory issues, purchase a medical mask while traveling around the cities during rush hour. In case you want to stay away from metropolitan areas and seek for the bucolic countryside and natural landscapes, we have Mai Chau biking tours and Halong Bay Cruise for you.

Bites and Sting

You may be bitten by bed bugs, fleas, lice or scabies on dirty beds. If you stay in a local homestay, do not hesitate to tell the owner to change new bedclothes. Contact us for prestigious accommodations in Vietnam.

When visiting a rural area, avoid rabies caused by both wild and domestic animals. Don’t let your children play with dogs or cats. Stay away from the monkeys in Cat Ba Island on your Halong Bay day tour. Leeches are common in rice paddles, and you may find them on your farming tours to Vietnam’s countryside. The best way to get rid of them is burning them with matches. Wear boots when trekking to jungles to avoid being bitten by poisonous snakes.

Phu Quoc - Vietnam Travel Risks
Phu Quoc

If you plan some activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving on a beach holiday in Vietnam, jellyfish, stingrays, scorpionfish, stonefish, and sea snakes are not your pleasant friends. Get out of the water immediately and ask the locals for vinegar to stop the stinging. Sharks do not like shallow and crowded beaches, so the probability that you see sharks in Vietnam is low.

Food Poisoning

Remember it is not safe to drink tap water in Vietnam. Buy bottled water or boil water using electric kettles at your hotels. Avoid using ice in case the water is not clean.

It will be a big regret if coming to Vietnam without sampling local specialties. Street food in Vietnam is such a bet; you should use your instinct to find restaurants with a large number of customers and acceptable hygiene standards. Take some anti-diarrhea medicines with you. Look for some restaurants and skip every skeptical street stall or vendor.

Safety Guides when Traveling to Vietnam

Petty Crime

Prepare a money belt when traveling to Vietnam - Vietnam Travel Risks
Prepare a money belt when traveling to Vietnam

Do not flash your belongings, jewelry, and electronic devices. Refrain yourselves from taking a photo or using your smartphone while walking on the streets. Also, the easiest times for drive-by snatch-thieves are when tourist walking and riding in a cyclo.

Carry your passports, cash, cheques, and other valuables in a money belt. Spread your valuables in different bags – pickpockets can act in some crowded areas such as tourist attractions, markets, and public transportation. Do not leave any valuable thing at your hotel.

On the train and night bus, keep your valuables with you all the time. Pay special attention to your belongings at three most vulnerable times on the bus: before departure, at meal stops and on arrival at your destination.

Scams

At some tourist spots, you may be surrounded by beggars and touts who sell fruit, chewing gum or souvenirs. Sometimes ethnic children even ask you for money to take photos of them. Try to say “No” if you feel uncomfortable.

Some Vietnamese people think that foreign tourists are rich, so avoid being overcharged. Remember always negotiate the price when you buy anything, offer half or even one-third of the price the sellers tell you. When entering a restaurant, ask the waiters/waitresses to see their menu before ordering. There are plenty of convenience stores and supermarkets in big cities in Vietnam, head to these places if you want to buy a bottle of water or a quick snack.

One of the most popular Vietnam travel risks, when you arrive to our country, is taxi scam. Fake taxis can be found at the airport, train stations, tourist spots, etc. Never go for a taxi that does not have a meter. Two prestigious taxi brands in Vietnam are Vinasun (028 38 27 27 27) and Mai Linh (024 38 33 33 33). Grab can be used in many provinces and cities. You can rent a private car in Vietnam for flexibility.

Another common complaint is that group tours are disappointing, for example, the car is dirty, boats are small, the guide’s English is not fluent, there are too many shopping stops, etc. We recommend that you look for an experienced travel agent or tour operator to buy a tour and always check out online reviews first.

Hectic Traffic

Hectic traffic - One of the major Vietnam travel risks
Hectic traffic – One of the major Vietnam travel risks

As the second largest motorbike ownership in the world, traffic here should be on your list of Vietnam travel risks. Traffic is inexcusably horrible on working hours, on peak hours of the weekends and on public holidays as well. It is like an adventure game when crossing the street: just move slowly, never step backward, no one will crash into you. Don’t be panic; the locals are willing to help you.

Political Sensitivities

Political issues are not major Vietnam travel risks since there is no unrest or terrorist activity in our country at the moment. Anti-government propaganda and demonstrations are not allowed in our country and you should not discuss political opinion in public places. Avoid taking photos of the police and military.

Lists of Public and Private Hospitals in Vietnam

While public hospitals are usually overcrowded and lack of international standards, private hospitals are well-equipped with modern facilities and experienced doctors who can speak English or French. In case you have any health issue, do not hesitate to contact us before and during your trip so that we can assist you immediately.

Hanoi

L’Hopital Francais De Hanoi (Hanoi French Hospital)

  • Address: 1 Phuong Mai Street, Dong Da District
  • Telephone: +84 243 5771 100

Vinmec International Hospital

  • Address: 458 Minh Khai Street, Hai Ba Trung District
  • Telephone: +84 243 9743 556

Hong Ngoc General Hospital

  • Address: 55 Yen Ninh Street, Ba Dinh District
  • Telephone: +84 243 9275 568

Hanoi Family Medical Practice

  • Address: 298I, Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District
  • Telephone: +84 243 8430 748

Raffles Medical Hanoi

  • Address: 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District
  • Telephone: +84 24 3934 0666

Halong Bay

Vinmec International Hospital – Ha Long City

  • Address: 10A Le Thanh Tong Street
  • Telephone: +84 203 3828 188

Quang Ninh General Hospital

  • Address: Tue Tinh, Bach Dang Ward
  • Telephone: +84 203 3825 499/ +84 203 3825 489

Hoi An

Hoi An Medical Services

  • Address: 503 Hai Ba Trung Street, Cam Pho
  • Telephone: +84 235 3862 257 / +84 913 457 219

Thai Binh Duong – Pacific Hospital

  • Address: 6 Phan Dinh Phung, Cam Pho
  • Telephone: +84 235 3921 656

Ho Chi Minh City

Franco-Vietnamese Hospital

  • Address: 6 Nguyen Luong Bang Street, Phu My Hung, District 7
  • Telephone: +84 285 411 3333

Vinmec Saigon International Clinic

  • Address: No. 2 – 2 Bis Tran Cao Van Street, District 1
  • Telephone: +84 28 3520 3388

Ho Chi Minh City Family Medical Practice

  • Address: 34 Le Duan Street, District 1
  • Telephone: +84 283 8227 848

Columbia Asia International Hospital

  • Address: 08 Alexandre de Rhodes, District 1
  • Telephone: +84 28 3823 8888

Centre Medical International

  • Address: 30 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 3
  • Telephone: +84 28 3827 2366

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

A Hanoian lover of art, cuisine and culture, Chi Nguyen enjoys exploring all elegant aspects of this city as well as discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations in the beautiful S-shaped country.

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