Foreign tourists say Vietnam is safer than their hometowns, even though phone snatching and dishonest taxis are still here.
"I felt safe in all Vietnamese cities I visited," Karena Edgecombe from New Zealand told.
Edgecombe said that it was "extremely safe to walk alone" in major cities like Hanoi, where gun violence and street assaults are uncommon.
Indian tourist Pritesh Mehta in front of a hostel in Hanoi, January 2023.
She said she had walked around Hanoi by herself at 5 a.m. when she couldn't sleep, and she had to walk through many small alleyways at 10 p.m. to get to a pharmacy in Hoi An.
"In Vietnam I feel safer than in my hometown in Auckland," she said.
Cass Raison, a tourist from the U.K. who left Vietnam on Wednesday after staying here a month, also rated Vietnam's safety highly.
"I haven't really worried about anything while in Vietnam," Raison said. "Vietnamese people are in general very helpful and helped us find our hostels if we were lost. Most are very friendly and smiley."
During the long trip in Vietnam, Raison visited the Ha Giang Loop in the northern highlands and went on a cruise through Ha Long Bay to Cat Ba Island in northern Vietnam.
"The only thing we didn't like was the men spit a lot on streets, and we found that very gross," said Raison.
American Chris Douglas also felt Vietnam was safer than his hometown in the U.S., where gun violence has become a major threat.
"I feel very safe in Vietnam," Douglas said. "I only worry about having my phone snatched while walking around in Saigon or getting cheated by dishonest taxi drivers."
He added that Da Nang and Vung Tau were safe places, as he felt that street thieves and violence targeting foreign tourists in these cities were uncommon.
Douglas said it's quite safe to walk at night in Vietnam, and that he sometimes saw armed police officers on patrol while he hung out with his friends and enjoyed street food.
Pritesh Mehta from India said he and his friend rode motorbikes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City from late December until mid-January, and "I felt safe everywhere."
"Language was a problem in many places out of big cities, but we mostly managed as the people were so friendly and welcoming," Mehta said, calling Hanoi a "fabulous" city.
Hanoi recently ranked fifth and Ho Chi Minh City 14th out of 20 tourist cities in Southeast Asia in terms of safety according to Numbeo, which claims to be the world's largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.
HCMC welcomed 3.4 million international arrivals last year, around 30% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. This year, the southern metropolis targets 5 million arrivals. Hanoi received 1.5 million foreign tourists last year, just more than a quarter of 2019. The capital strives to attract three million foreign tourists this year.
Some foreign tourists also said the safety experience depends on one being careful.
Rami from Canada, who is touring Hanoi, said one needs to choose the right place to walk and avoid small or narrow streets, especially at night.
"I've never felt scary. People here are not bad."
Foreign tourists walk on a street in Hanoi at night.
Jade Tornquist from Australia said she had traveled through Vietnam from south to north and never felt unsafe anywhere.
"I traveled as a solo traveler and never felt threatened," she said.
"In heavy tourist areas like Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, I'm mindful of my bag and phone and I don't walk too close to the street due to bag snatching," Tornquist said.
"I've never feared violent crimes in Vietnam. I feel thefts are more a seized opportunity rather than pre-meditated."
John from the U.K. said he has never had any scary experiences walking around at night Hanoi, one he described as "a city of peace" where people can feel relaxed.
He rankes Vietnam one of the best places in the world and its safety 9.5 out of 10, "because there are some holes on the road."