Vietnam Country Guide

Stay Safe

 
 
Wildlife
Much of Vietnam's ecology has been severely damaged and very little wildlife remains, let alone anything dangerous to humans. Venomous snakes (such as Cobras) may still be common in the rural areas but virtually everything else has either gone extinct or exist in such small numbers that the chances of even seeing them are remote. Tigers may exist in very small numbers in remote areas, but this is yet to be proven. Saltwater crocodiles once thrived in southern Vietnam but have been locally extinct for at least 20 years. 

 
 
 
 
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Corruption
Corruption is a big problem in Vietnam and locals are convinced that the police are not to be trusted.

The international monitoring group Transparency International has rated Vietnam as one of the most corrupt nations in Asia. Immigration officers are known to take bribes. During the early Doi Moi (the reform in 90s), bribes could be a few U.S. dollars, a few packs of 555 cigarettes. Today although officers still seem to feel okay at taking it, it is absolutely risk-free and acceptable if you don't bribe.

For motorcycle driver, police officer may stop you for any reasons including missing insurance papers or driving license, fine you around USD20 for each offense (the average traffic fine should only be about USD5-10). Remember to stand your ground and all officers are required to write all traffic violations in their notebook and give your a receipt and pay to the station (not the officer). If you have a cell phone, threaten to call your embassy and he may back down. You might though just find it easier to pay the fine and get on your way.

Namphao Checkpoint (Vietnam-Laos) by Pho Nhay

Nightlife
Petty crime in night clubs can happen. Avoid quarrelling with local people because drunken Vietnamese can be violent. Clubs are full of prostitutes looking for their admirers but be aware that they may also steal your wallet and mobile phone, etc. Walking very late by yourself on the streets in the tourist area is often unsafe.

Avoid asking the cab drivers for recommended nightspots. Most cab drivers are paid by KTVs and lounges to bring in foreign tourists. Usually when you walk in they will tell you a set of pricing which seems reasonable but when you check out, the bill will include a number of extravagant charges. Do your homework beforehand and tell the cab drivers where you want to go. Insist on going to where you want to go despite their persuasion.

Nguyen Hue roundabout in Ho Chi Minh City by Smuconlaw

Prostitution
Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam and the age of consent is 18. Vietnam has laws on the books with penalties of up to 20-40 years in prison for sexually exploiting women and children, and several other countries have laws that allow them to prosecute their own citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex with children.

 
Vietnam
Country Guide
 
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