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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) safety / pickpockets /bag snatchers

  • sashanyc28

    Joined Travelfish
    20th December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    I will be in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)for the first time for a few nights in eary January 2010..

    Of course I have read all over the place to be careful.. Take only taxis at night, beware of pickpockets, bag snatchers on motorbikes, etc..

    and Of course I will only take taxis at night, use a money belt, not carry any valuables, and try to avoid carrying a day pack or bag around the city with me..

    From my travel experiences I have always found the media and most of the warnings all to be a bit exaggerated, but of course I still have common sense and take the usual precautions.. Usually by the second day in a new city, I have a better sense of my surroundings and my comfort levels go up..

    With that said.. as a first time visitor to Saigon..

    *Can anyone share any negative experiences?

    *Are there any particular streets/areas to avoid?

    *Can anyone give a security report of their recent trip?

    To be more specific..
    I am obsessed with taking photos and the camera is always with me whenever I travel! For this southeast asia trip I will be using two small point and shoot digital cameras; the really good/expensive model which I plan on using during the day while sightseeing and one cheaper model I may take out at night time (which at worst case scenerio if I was robbed, it wouldn't be such a big deal) but I would be completely devastated if something happened to the better camera!

    Both cameras are small enough to fit slightly concealed in my pocket btw.. or could even be concealed on the inside of my jeans in waist/money belt type pouch..though that could get really uncomfortable fast in the Cambodian heat!!

    So what I am really trying to ask here is..

    * Will I be safe walking around the city by day with my good camera?

    * Should I carry my camera in my pocket? or should I keep it in my bag and take that with me during the day? or maybe invest in one of those pacsafe travel bags or security shoulder straps?

    and finally.. Should I even bother taking the second (not so good) camera out at night? It's always nice to photograph temples lit up at night, or the food you ordered in a nice restaurant or new friends that you met at a bar/disco, etc..

    Don't want to sound too paranoid here..

    Just need some honest advice if anyone can relate... Thanks!!

    PS.. I have also posted this same post in the CAMBODIA forum as well as I will be in Phnom Penh for a few days as well.. Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 22/12/2009 - 09:07

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  • sashanyc28

    Joined Travelfish
    20th December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    sorry... I meant to say the hot weather in Vietnam not "the Cambodian heat"..

    : )

    #2 Posted: 22/12/2009 - 09:09

  • lexkssnbrg

    Joined Travelfish
    5th May, 2009
    Posts: 53

    sashanyc28,

    Myself and my partner spent one month in Vietnam and would say, as usual, it's a lovely country with friendly people. In my opinion, precautions should be taken against touts and scams whenever you're out the streets for sightseeing and/or local markets for shopping.

    I also believe you would be fine taking your expensive camera out the street in daytime, just more careful in crowded areas and in the nighttime.

    Hope this helps

    Lex

    #3 Posted: 22/12/2009 - 09:41

  • 69bertie

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 90

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Security in HCMC isn't that much of an issue, provided you take the usual precautions that one normally takes. Certainly in the last 3 years that I have been coming here (been here 6 times previously and am now living here)all I have ever done is carried a small rucksack around with me that I tend to keep stuff in, like cameras etc. I usually put my camera away when not in use and put the strap around my neck or wrist when using it.

    But it's generally a safe country with lots of friendly people. Not saying there aren't any undesirables around but the chances of you meeting one is remote. Take care though when in the markets for pickpockets etc when the crowds can make you a more tempting target.

    Mobile phone thefts can be a problem even when it is very busy. My g/f was using hers when someone on a motobike went by and snatched it out of her hand...gone! Just be careful where you use it.

    #4 Posted: 22/12/2009 - 21:12

  • morgybaby

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 1
    Total reviews: 3

    After a night out in "Apocolypse Now!", we were at the end of Bui Vien by the Crazy Buffalo bar (can't miss it). About four women pulled up next to us on two motorbikes. One got of each bike and went for the classic "Hello, hansome man", "you want fun" etc etc and went for the standard crotch grope. The three of us, persistantly refused, "no, go away..." etc. I then put my hand on my pocket to find one of the women's hands in my pocket, and on my wallet, we then told them to "**** off" and they did. Two nights later the same happened again to my two friends, at which point they simply raised there hands with phones and wallets in and told the women to grope away, at which point they got angry and rode off. There is a ridiculous amount of security in and around bars in HCM and it generally feels very safe. However, if you happen to be travelling with a "hansome man" as most westerners are in SEA, don't let him be fooled!

    #5 Posted: 23/12/2009 - 22:30

  • neilfox007

    Joined Travelfish
    15th December, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Hi I live in TPHCM and agree with the above posts. Most vietnamese put their stuff in their front pockets and are careful with cell phones and cameras. Phone and purse snatching along with the Handsome man scam are about all you need to worry about. use the wrist strap on your cam and keep your stuff on you and you will be fine. violent crime just doesn't happen in Vietnam from my experience.

    #6 Posted: 24/12/2009 - 02:52

  • bristol

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 13

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi sas, it's no prob with taking photos and the camera whenever you travel by day. But if you still stay here through Xmas and New Year, just be careful if you take ur camera out at night, the streets at that time will be full of peoples ...no one can be sure what will happen...

    #7 Posted: 24/12/2009 - 09:31

  • nobbystylus

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 7

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Just spent 3 days in hcmc over Xmas eve/day and despite thousands of exuberant and very friendly people spraying foam and throwing glitter at you it never felt anything other than fun. I had my dslr out the whole time. In fact teenagers seemed determined to have their picture taken. I would imagine most danger comes late at night after hours, like most cities in the world. During the daytime / evening it felt incredibly safe, apart from the traffic of course!!

    #8 Posted: 28/12/2009 - 12:33

  • theCATALYST

    Joined Travelfish
    16th December, 2009
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    It's good to be careful all the time.
    During my first day in Saigon, a new Vietnamese friend who manages the hotel where I stayed warned me not to put my wallet in the back as a precaution. So I did and became a habit for me now here in Hanoi, although I haven't seen anyone yet being robbed of their belongings. Vietnam is definitely a safe place for travellers. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't bring your expensive camera with you. Every foreigner I see in the streets of Old Quarter carry with them their cameras and can freely take every possible angle on their subjects. Just don't forget to recharge your batteries. Enjoy!!

    #9 Posted: 29/12/2009 - 14:36

  • theCATALYST

    Joined Travelfish
    16th December, 2009
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    It's good to be careful all the time.
    During my first day in Saigon, a new Vietnamese friend who manages the hotel where I stayed warned me not to put my wallet in the back as a precaution. So I did and became a habit for me now here in Hanoi, although I haven't seen anyone yet being robbed of their belongings. Vietnam is definitely a safe place for travellers. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't bring your expensive camera with you. Every foreigner I see in the streets of Old Quarter carry with them their cameras and can freely take every possible angle on their subjects. Just don't forget to recharge your batteries. Enjoy!!

    #10 Posted: 29/12/2009 - 14:42

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