Hotel business booming on surging demand

Travel Vietnam, things visitors need to know

Vietnam trafficVietnam enjoys very low crime rates and fairly high standards of sanitation compared to many developing Asian countries. However, it's still important to know how to take care of yourself while traveling in Vietnam, and the following are some key issues to look out for and keep in mind.

Eating and Drinking: Food poisoning is not common in Vietnam, and the best meals you may have in Vietnam are likely to come from the popular food stalls on the street. The street stalls may even sell fresher tasting food than the restaurants. Generally, since most Vietnamese don't enjoy the convenience of owning a refrigerator, they buy fresh ingredients daily to prepare their fare. That said, take precautions to only eat at stalls and restaurants that are busy and popular, as that is your best guarantee that the food is safe to consume and won't have you feeling ill after.

In terms of water however, you will be safer only drinking filtered, bottled or boiled water in Vietnam as the water delivered through the pipes are typically not safe to drink. The exception is in mountainous regions like Dalat that have access to clean spring water that has been treated. Ice, however, is safe to consume, because in Vietnam, ice is frozen centrally and then delivered to hotels, eateries, pubs and other venues. Wherever you are, you will know that the ice has been made with filtered water, so have no worries adding it into your drinks and juices.

Crime: Vietnam has incredibly low rates of violent crime, and you should not need to worry about robbery, mugging or such types of crimes in this society that prides itself on being welcoming and tolerant. However, that doesn't mean there is no crime. It is still a country with widespread poverty, and tourists are often a target for petty criminals, especially in terms of theft. Here, it is best to use your common sense. Make sure that your valuables are safely kept away and not flaunted about in public places. Lock your room every time you come out, and if your hotel or hostel has a security safe, leave your valuables there instead.

There have been incidents of handbag snatching from passing motorcyclists or bag slashing, so take precautions. Sling your bag on both shoulders if possible, or diagonally if not. If you are carrying a large bagpack and find it hard to check on the bag at all times, you can reinforce the interior of your bag with wire mesh to prevent losing any valuables if your bag is slashed.

Road Safety: Road safety should be your number one concern when traveling in Vietnam. Death tolls by road accidents are among the highest in the world, partly of road conditions and also because road safety rules are not strictly enforced.

The road system and Vietnamese style of driving is not familiar to foreigners, so tourists are advised not to drive or ride their own rented cars or motorbikes unless they have a guide to lead the way or sitting beside them to help navigate. If riding a motorbike, ensure that you wear a helmet and do up the straps properly. You never know when a helmet will save your life.

As a pedestrian, be careful when navigating streets, and pay attention to both sides of the roads before crossing. This is as motorcyclists can sometimes go against traffic or even ride on street pavements in order to avoid getting stuck in dense traffic.

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