How safe is traveling in Southeast Asia?

By Ha Phuong   April 25, 2017 | 12:52 am PT
How safe is traveling in Southeast Asia?
My Khe Beach in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Cao Anh Tuan
And how does Vietnam compare to its regional peers?

Safety is something travelers often try to push to the back of their minds even though they should not. The world may be our oyster, but in some places the shell can be a little too tough.

In Southeast Asia, most destinations are believed to be safe for foreign visitors. However, a trip to Singapore is very different to a trip to the Philippines.

What about Vietnam?

According to the biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report produced by the World Economic Forum, the country is now the third safest place to travel to in the region.

Recent analysis by and Priceonomics also singled out Thailand and the Philippines among the destinations travelers should watch out for.

The report, focusing on American travelers, found that while Mexico, Mali and Israel have been the subject of the most travel warnings in recent years, Americans are more likely to be killed in Thailand and the Philippines.

Between late 2009 and mid-2016, 11 Americans were killed in Thailand and 74 in the Philippines, according to the report, which only covered deaths by homicide, execution or terrorism.

No such cases have been reported in Vietnam in recent years, and the number of American visitors to Vietnam is steadily increasing.

In a travel advice post last updated in October last year, the U.S. government noted that violent crimes such as armed robbery are relatively rare in Vietnam. However, it also warned that pick-pocketing and other petty crimes occur regularly, and that safety standards in Vietnam vary greatly from company to company and province to province.

Vietnam is hoping to receive 11.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up 15 percent from 2016. Like many Asian neighbors, the country has been promoting itself as a safe and peaceful destination.

Earlier this year, the country introduced a code of conduct for the tourism industry, urging service providers to keep visitors happy but safe.

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