Travel tips and safety in Vietnam

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Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are subject to change (see COVID-19 section above).

Travel is also limited:

  • in parts of the central highlands
  • around certain border areas
  • near military installations

Long Tan Cross Site

The Vietnamese government will not allow official Long Tan commemorations at the Long Tan Cross site in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

Access to the site will remain open to small groups of people for private visits without media coverage. This may change in the short term.

Site visitors may not:

  • wear medals or uniforms
  • carry banners or flags

You should conduct yourself solemnly, respecting the wishes of local communities.

More information:

Landmines and Remnants of War

Unexploded weapons and landmines are a danger in former battlefields, especially in central Vietnam and along the border with Laos.

Cleared roads and paths are well marked.

If you are visiting former battlefields, stay on marked trails.

Driver’s license

You must have a valid Vietnamese driver’s license to drive or ride in Vietnam. This includes motorcycles of 50cc or more.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) issued in Australia is not recognized in Vietnam.

The authorities can fine you if you drive without a valid licence.

More information:

Road trips

You are more likely to die in a car accident in Vietnam than in Australia.

Hazards include:

  • crowded streets in big cities
  • drivers ignoring the rules of the road
  • poor maintenance of vehicles and roads

Traffic accidents happen often and attract large crowds.

If you are involved in an accident, you could face criminal charges. It is regardless of who is at fault. You may have to pay a large sum to the injured person or their family.

If you are unfamiliar with local conditions, avoid driving or riding a motorcycle.

Whether you are driving, riding or walking, be extra careful when crossing busy streets. Traffic can appear from any direction.

More information:

motorcycles

The number of travelers involved in serious motorcycle accidents is increasing.

Check that your travel insurance policy covers you when traveling by motorcycle.

Always wear a helmet that meets international safety standards.

Only ride motorcycles if you are:

  • duly licensed (Australian driver’s licenses or international driver’s licenses issued in Australia are not accepted in Vietnam; you must hold a Vietnamese driver’s license to drive a 50cc or larger motorcycle); and
  • familiar and comfortable with local driving conditions

Taxis

Be careful using taxis hailed on the street.

Always choose a reputable and reliable taxi company. Make sure the taxi driver knows how to get to your destination before getting in.

Verify that the counter is in use. Leave the taxi if the driver tries to pick up other passengers.

If you book a taxi online or via an app, make sure the vehicle and driver details match those provided to you by the company.

Beware of taxi scams. See Security

Public transport

Intercity buses have a high accident rate.

Minor thefts often occur on buses. See Security.

Consider taking the train if possible. Train travel is generally safe, but petty thefts can occur.

Thefts have been reported from sleeper trains between Hanoi and Lao Cai, Sapa.

When traveling by train, keep the ticket stub as you will need it when leaving the station.

More information:

Sea trip

Boats, hydrofoils and ferries may not meet Australian safety standards.

Waterway accidents happen. Ships sank and people died. This includes in Ha Long Bay.

Whenever you plan to travel by boat:

  • ask tour operators about safety record and emergency procedures
  • make sure there is enough safety equipment such as life jackets on board
  • if the appropriate equipment is not available, use another supplier

Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Vietnam.

More information:

Flight

You must show your baggage tags when leaving a Vietnamese airport. Keep your airline receipt with you at all times.

By law, children under 14 traveling alone on domestic flights must:

  • bring a birth certificate
  • have a letter of authorization between the legal guardian of the child and the airline confirming that the child can travel alone

Contact the airline in advance to check what is needed for unaccompanied minors.

DFAT does not provide safety information on individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Vietnam’s aviation safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.

More information:

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