I'm leaving for Vietnam next week and I'm a bit worried about how I'm going to travel within Vietnam.
Riding on the bikes is very dangerous because of the traffic, bad roads, and pretty much no rules.
Same deal with buses apparently.
But it's also dangerous to walk, because of the traffic and also thieves, pick-pockets, criminals, etc.
So is there ANY safe way to travel in Vietnam? And how likely is it that I could get injured or killed while I'm there?
Is it likely enough that I should cancel my trip altogether?
Highway 1 is most definitely beyond most westerner's idea of a safe road! Despite this, most backpackers happily get on the cheap buses for their north/south adventures... whether or not it's a good way to travel depends on how important money VS life is to you.
For me, I chose to take the train for nearly the entire coastal travel trip. I booked sleeper beds and was cautious with my belongings, keeping passports and cash on my body at all times. I also found that most of the sleeper beds were booked by tourists who could afford them. What seemed relatively expensive whilst I was in Vietnam (especially after talking to tight-ass backpackers) really was not much money and I never felt anxious about the train trips.
In the big cities, I found walking safe enough, and often took cyclos to get a better feel for a place. Always hold onto your bag closely in a cyclo so it cannot be snatched. I also took a few motorbike trips, hanging onto the back to get to the station or some special sight. Truthfully, a moto trip without a helmet is a bad idea that somehow seems to be more acceptable when you're in a country where no one wears them. Don't forget there are also Taxis (metered) and private cars with drivers.
You sound awfully nervous, but don't stress it. VietNam is an amazing place to travel, the people, food and scenery totally unique. Book your first 2 nights accom in advance and give yourself some leeway for the first 24 hours to get used to the pace, environment and money. It all gets easier after that ! about 10 years ago
Just go. A wonderful country and people. You'll get used to it ... just take it easy until you do! We've travelled there several times, the last two trips with young kids in tow, so it can't be * that * bad. They loved it.
I'm not sure I'd go as far as ride a motorbike in the country though. Nor would I travel there without travel insurance (just in case). But do go. It's wonderful. about 10 years ago
If you feel nervous with the traffic flow and safety of your personal belongings i think you should purchase travel insurance to make sure that everything will go on the right track during the stay. Don't worry about the security and safety too much just take it easy and let everything goes on...you will love the country and the people. Cheers :)
Links some the insurers:
http://www.globalhealthasia.com/inter/ about 8 years ago
Hi there... Well, the country is pretty safe really.
If you are a bit of an adventurer and want to see the real Vietnam I strongly advice to rent a motorbike and a guide and go for a 4 days trip from Hue to HoiAn... Incredible places! I did it with a Agency from Hue which I strongly recommend www.hueadventures.com
Ask for Top to be your guide... He is brilliant and will take care of everything for you. Very safe and an incredible experience.
Have a great stay in Vienam!!!
Tony about 8 years ago