A friend and I are going to Vietnam for 2 weeks and I wanted to know how safe it is for 2 women to travel around the country. Is there something we should look out for? Also I wanted to know about payment and ATMs in Vietnam. I have a MasterCard form Tuxedo prepaid, will I be able to use it at ATMs etc.?
#1 LoudFish has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 5
Vietnam is fairly safe as long as you know the ropes. No problem at all with your cr card - just use an ATM at a good bank, and not one at a bar or store.
Personally I think the most dangerous thing in VN are it's roads and drivers - really the worst I've ever seen, so avoid long haul buses and fly between cities. You should also be aware of the usual scams in VN with taxis and cyclos. Use common sense here and you will be fine, but you should know that there are many poor people in VN who think that all tourists are wealthy, and a source of income for them!
2 weeks is very little time since VN is not as small as it looks on a small map, and transport (even air) between cities takes considerable time. In other words, don't crowd your trip with too many stops. Don't go with the cheapest cruise, hotel, whatever - pick midrange and you will be fine. Best thing about this country are it's wonderful people - try to meet them by getting away from the tourist trail. I strongly suggest you use the free student guide services such as Hanoikids, Danangkids and Saigonhotpot - wonderful people who love to show off their country in exchange for English practice.
thank you for your answer and your advice! I'm relieved that the tuxedo card will work out, I just topped it up.Yes 2 weeks might seem short but I didn't get more free time. I'm really looking forward to the trip. Thanks again!
#3 LoudFish has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 5
Vietnam is safe for everyone provide that you won't wander at night alone. It's dangerous in everywhere. ;) ATM is available but you should exchange in banks. About places to go in Hanoi there is Hoan Kiem lake, Ngoc Son temple, museums, West lake and you must try Hanoi cuisine. Be friendly with students there, they may help you if they can speak English :) 2 weeks is enough for travelling in Hanoi and Halong. Book a tour then enjoy your trip :)
#5 AnneVu has been a member since 10/10/2012. Posts: 6
Dude, Vietnam is safe and peaceful, i think so. But i totally agree that the dangerous thing is about traffic. So many motorbikes and it's a challenge to cross the road in a circus for example. But anyway, Vietnamese are friendly and if you smile with them first they may willing to help you. Or else you need a guide. That's what i think when i travel in Hanoi with Vietnam tour booking. If you plan to travel in a group then it's okay. But if not, just book a private tour and order a local guide. And if you take care about your budget and stuff then Vietnam is a really good place to visit. Don't miss out Vietnamese cuisine ;)
#6 Lila_Kue has been a member since 16/10/2012. Posts: 13
Vietnam was great btw! The prepaid card worked perfectly at all ATMs!
#7 LoudFish has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 5
Want to vitsit Vietnam ? Read these tips !
Around the towns there are cyclos, motor bikes and taxis. They are all inexpensive by Western standards, but before you go with any of them you have to negotiate the price. Most taxis have meters but sometimes they will try to get more. Be polite but firm.
I like to walk when I can, it's the best way to see the people
and their everyday routine. The only problem with walking is the street people, vendors and cyclo drivers. They will often follow you everywhere you go. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid this is to ignore them. Even saying, "No thanks." is an invitation for them to follow you. This can be very annoying. I've had them follow me for hours.
Cyclos and Motorbikes
Cyclo drivers are notorious for asking one price and wanting more after the ride, but it is still worth the experience to try it out. Make sure you negotiate a price before getting on one, and don't pay more, except for maybe a small tip.
Motorbikes are everywhere and are my choice in the cities. Every corner, every hotel everywhere you go there are motorcycle taxis available. They are inexpensive, but as usual, still negotiate a price before you get on.
With the exception of tour company busses, they are pretty miserable, slow and unreliable. You might want to take one just for the experience, it's another way to mingle with the locals. Make sure to watch your belongings.
They are relatively inexpensive, also a great way to get around, especially if the weather is bad. Just make sure you get a metered cab and only pay what's on the meter, and maybe a small tip.
A train runs from Hanoi to Saigon, making several stops at coastal towns. It's fun to take at least one or two train trips. It's a good way to see the countryside if you have the time. Make sure you get a "Soft Sleeper" or at least a cushioned seat. I would also bring my own food and drink.
In some areas it is necessary to take boats. A recommended ride is to take the hydrofoil from Saigon to Vung Tau. In most cases the prices are set but in cases where it is a privateer, make sure you negotiate the price prior to getting on the boat.
If you are traveling any distance and time is a consideration, planes are not expensive by Western standards and allow you more time at your destination.
Never surrender your suitcase or backpack to a taxi driver at the airport before you see his vehicle, or you may find yourself chasing him wherever he wants you to go. Instead, look for a metered taxi. You still may want to verify a price before getting in. In Saigon there is a taxi stand inside the airport where you pay there and they give you a voucher. I still had my cab driver try to get more money from me. So, just make sure at the stand that your payment is in full or ask if you will need to pay more.
It's a sad reality that in Vietnam, as in many places in the world, there are beggars on the streets and there are young street kids who sometimes work for begging syndicates. They can be relentless. If you are seen giving money to a beggar, you may find yourself surrounded by them and if you buy something from a street kid, flowers, gum, etc., they have a tendency to follow you everywhere you go trying to sell you more. Unfortunately the best way to deal with the situation is to totally ignore these people from the start. I know this sounds cold but it's just the way it is. I've actually had to jump on motorcycles and taxi cabs just to get away from them.
Bartering is expected in Vietnam, except for in some of the bigger stores. Usually the vendors on the street will start with double or triple the price that they are willing to take. It is expected that you try to negotiate a lower price, and you want to get a good deal, but you also want to be fair. If you can't reach a fair price walking away will let you know if they are willing to take less. Keep in mind that these people are trying to make a meager living, so don't try to get the absolute lowest price.
People don't normally tip in Vietnam, but giving a small amount is very much appreciated. Remember they have very little. On the other hand, do not over tip as it could be insulting and it drives prices up for the next person. In some establishments the owner doesn't even let the employee keep the tip, it's yet one more thing that makes it hard to help people in Vietnam.
Enjoy your journey.
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#8 DennisTran has been a member since 17/10/2012. Posts: 1
It will take you more than 2 week to travel around Vietnam as there are a lot of tourist attractions from the North to the South , The best time to visit Vietnam is autumn as the weather is really cool and not much rain as summer . some destinations you should not miss like Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh city....
Wish that you will have nice time in Vietnam and enjoy it
Jane - Sunway Hotel Hanoi
#9 janev has been a member since 2/10/2012. Posts: 4