Is Vietnam a safe country for solo female travelers?

April 6, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
Darren Barnard Teacher
A recent article in popular global magazine Time Out ranked Vietnam sixth in an international list of the safest destinations for solo female travelers to visit in 2024.

Vietnam was the highest ranked Southeast Asian country and only Sri Lanka (1st) and Japan (4th) were listed above them from the entire continent.

The article highlights: "Whether you make the journey by train, sleeper bus or scooter, thousands of other solo travelers will be making the same trip."

The likelihood of solo female travelers meeting likeminded individuals in Vietnam is very high, especially while on a sleeper bus within a confined space, offering a chance to make friends during the journey. As you make the trip from north to south via sleeper bus or any other mode of transport it's convenient to strike up conversations with others and discover that you're on identical routes as you move between Da Nang and Hoi An or perhaps Nha Trang and Da Lat.

Despite the positives that come with meeting fellow travellers while on public transport in Vietnam, one of the clearest counterarguments regarding someone's safety in Vietnam is the high rate of traffic accidents. For example, in March this year six people died when a sleeper bus collided with a truck in Tuyen Quang Province and sadly this type of story, particularly involving these vehicles on a highway, reemerge throughout the year.

One of the paramount concerns for not only female travelers, but all travelers, is their safety. For the last decade, visitors in Vietnam have been able to use ride-hailing app cars and bikes to navigate, particularly in larger cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These apps are extremely beneficial for all travelers as having all the driver's information and much greater accountability creates a considerably safer option for individuals compared to getting into a random taxi or having to hitchhike, which can be common in other countries, particularly within South America.

A Russian tourist lands at Cam Ranh airport in Khanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam, Dec. 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc

A Russian tourist lands at Cam Ranh airport in Khanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam, Dec. 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc

Although female travelers have benefited from the improved safety of traveling via these apps, several women have identified the difficulty of having tattoos on show while in Vietnam. Previously, there was a stronger association between women who have tattoos with working in the sex industry. Therefore, this had led to some Vietnamese men assuming this also applies to the international traveler who is unaware of this connection. This could potentially jeopardize the women's safety and require a firm reassurance that the tattoos do not represent any kind of invitation.

Another factor that contributes towards the safety of solo female travelers in Vietnam is the country's low crime rate. There's minimal risk of pickpocketing and petty theft. Although, more importantly issues related to violent crimes such as armed attacks and robberies are much lower compared to many other countries across the globe.

Travelers in Vietnam also don't have to be concerned with unrest leading to dangerous situations arising. The country's political stability helps to maintain law and order, thus creating a safe environment with low risk of dangerous protests or demonstrations in the streets.

Lastly, many visitors to Vietnam recall the friendly and hospitable nature of Vietnamese people as one of the fondest memories of their time here. Locals are often keen to provide assistance and offer advice without any expectation of a monetary reward. Many will strive to help any individual in a time of need and won't let the language barrier deter them. This creates a very welcoming environment throughout the country and an overall increased level of safety.

*Darren Barnard is a British teacher working in Hanoi.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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