In Northern Vietnam, you will find Hanoi, the second-largest city and the capital of Vietnam. Known for its bustling city life, natural beauty, and dark history; Hanoi is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination.
But safety in Hanoi can be a concern – the risk of thieves, scammers, and traffic incidents can present a real danger. If you also add the possibility of a natural disaster into the mix, you will probably be asking, “is Hanoi safe?”.
Which is precisely why we have created this guide – to arm you with all the information needed for staying safe in Hanoi.
In this guide, we are going to be discussing a variety of subjects from the risks of being scammed or deceived, to whether it’s safe for a solo-traveller to visit Hanoi – and just about everything in-between. We’ll be covering Hanoi in its entirety.
Maybe you’re a solo female traveller who is concerned about your safety and the idea of travelling alone, or perhaps you’re just curious to find out whether Hanoi is a family-friendly place. No matter your concern, we have created this travel guide to help.
Is Hanoi Safe? (Our Take)
In most cases, Hanoi is very safe. There is undoubtedly an element of risk (just like with every place in the world) – but on the whole, Hanoi is a perfectly safe place to travel.
Hanoi is situated in Northern Vietnam, most known for its various rivers, lakes, and ancient architecture. If you’re planning a visit to Vietnam, Hanoi certainly needs to be on your itinerary list.
Hanoi is home to more scams than anywhere else in Southeast Asia. There is also incidents of petty crime such as pickpocketing, bag-theft, and cell phone robbery.
Most of the scams are related to transport – especially taxis that wait outside popular tourist destinations such as shopping malls and airports. They scam you by trying to charge a fixed amount instead of using the meter – which will always be an extortionate amount.
There are also occasions where taxi drivers will purposely take a longer route, or deliberately go to the wrong hotel. We’ve even heard of cases where the Taxi meters have been tampered with, leading to increasingly faster rates than they usually should.
Combine these tourist scams with other dangers: e.g. theft, natural disaster, and traffic incidents, then you can see why safety in Hanoi may be a concern.
That said, even after taking into account the dangers that Hanoi presents, with a little common sense, you can avoid most of these situations – which is why we have no issue in saying that Hanoi is very safe.
How safe is Hanoi to Travel? (The Facts)
Hanoi is undoubtedly safe to travel. The capital welcomes over 10 million visitors a year – and this number is rising.
One of the most significant risks in Hanoi, yet highly unlikely, is destructive storms and flooding. In 2017, 386 people died following a natural disaster. Hurricanes and floods are the most widespread and disastrous, causing destructiveness and wreaking havoc on homes and livelihoods. Vietnam faces roughly 6-8 typhoons each year.
A natural disaster can certainly disrupt travel to Hanoi, but nothing so far has stopped tourists from visiting. Tens of thousands of people still visit Hanoi each day, and the country is equipt for when incidents do occur.
It’s safe to visit Hanoi right now, but be vigilant of current geologic events, and what to do in the case of an emergency.
Hanoi Travel Insurance
Enjoy Hanoi, but always make sure to get travel insurance! Even if you’re only going for a short time, you should always take out travel insurance. Trust us when we say that travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds – so make sure to get it before you leave.
We highly recommend using World Nomads, but there are many insurance companies to choose from, so make sure to shop around to find the best deal.
Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Hanoi
Although Hanoi is reasonably safe, it is still essential to have a few smart travel tips in mind for keeping safe in Hanoi.
- Do not drink the tap water. – the tap water in Hanoi (or anywhere in Vietnam) is not safe to drink. Make sure to only drink bottled water or boiled water.
- Use ‘Grab’ taxi service – Grab is similar to Uber and is the most common way to travel in Hanoi. You can download the app for free via their website.
- Avoid riding a motorbike – avoid riding a motorcycle in Hanoi and other cities at all costs. Traffic accidents are a severe threat here as the traffic laws are widely ignored.
- Invest in a money belt – since the rate for petty crimes is so high, we would recommend investing in a money belt which you can wear underneath your clothing.
- Avoid suspicious money exchange stalls – when exchanging currencies, only use services from reputable companies such as a bank or other trusted providers.
- Take caution when crossing the road – make sure to look left and right before crossing the streets in Hanoi. It’s not uncommon for bikes to ride on the pavements if the traffic is heavy, so be alert at all times.
- Bargain at market stalls – most of the stall prices in Vietnam are not fixed. Don’t be afraid to bargain for a more desirable price. As a rule of thumb, we usually ask for half of the original asking price.
- Make sure your food is well cooked – this is especially true for street food. Although Vietnam is known for its delicious cuisine, sometimes the hygiene standards fall short.
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