Saigon is considered a safe city for expatriates. The crime rate is low and most cases are of the non-violent nature, such as pickpockets and purse snatching. It is possible to walk the streets at night with little fear of trouble. If you chose to take a Taxi, make sure to use well reputed firms and check that the meter is in good order.
Personal safety in Saigon means YOU being careful when you are out and about. In contrast to other western countries, personal safety is the concern of the individual.
Around the House
Burglary is the highest security risk that expatriates face, including pet theft. To local Vietnamese, all foreigners appear extremely wealthy. You should not flaunt money or valuables in public, simply because this will likely draw undue attention. With a pet in the yard, keep the gates locked at all times.
It is advisable to purchase a safe, many of which are available, to keep money, jewelry and other valuables away from housekeepers and maintenance personnel coming in and out of the house. It is further strongly suggested to hire a guard when living outside of a compound, or next to an empty lot. Consider hiring from a
security company or only with recommendation when hiring privately.
Should your residence be burglarized, we suggest the following procedures:
1. Call your Consulate to report theft and gain assistance in dealing with the authorities. They may have additional useful information to help you.
2. Report the incident to the local police and request a police report.
3. Should the police be slow in preparing a report, write one yourself to have translated and then brought to the station for their signature and stamp. A token of your appreciation will be helpful.
Should you encounter the thieves, do not defend yourself physically. In Vietnam you are responsible for the bodily harm of the other, even if that person is breaking the law.
The traffic in Vietnam consists mainly of motorbikes. The scene can be compared to ants on an ant hill, everyone zooming around in every which direction. Although, legally, drivers need to adhere to the traffic lights, many do not. Therefore when driving, or more importantly walking across the street, always look to all sides,
never trust the light.
Pedestrians should cross the road slowly and continuously. Never run or jump backwards, as this will confuse a motorbike driver who may then hit you. If you happen to encounter any traffic accident, you should move away and do not get involved.
Few expatriates choose to drive cars in Saigon. It is NOT recommended. Foreigners in the driver’s seat can encounter huge problems with the authorities and locals alike if an accident occurs. Hence, ALL car rentals come with drivers. This makes getting around very convenient and you arrive at your destination relaxed.
If you feel want to venture out behind the wheel, and have confidence in your defensive driving skill, it is possible to obtain a driving license. To get a driver’s license you need to have a current foreign license. It is recommended that you try to get an ‘International License’ in your own country before you move. The Vietnamese authorities keep your license on deposit. In many countries it is possible to obtain an international driver’s license from the local Automobile Association.
Some foreigners ride their own motorbikes. We are strongly recommended to wear a helmet while driving. Since late 2007 the new traffic law applies which to use of helmet once you are riding motorbike. The motorbike accident is the number 1 killer of all the traffic accidents in Vietnam.
If you yourself are driving and are involved in an accident, keep the following in mind:
1. Try to keep all involved parties present for a police report.
2. Depending on the situation, you may try to settle the situation on your own. Police can complicate things in an ‘easy’ situation.
3. Call the police- Keeping a ready number in your wallet with a Vietnamese phrase stating you’ve had an accident. Also keep ready numbers of the emergency line of your preferred clinic.
4. Note witnesses who can help describe to the police what happened, especially if the parties involved have already fled.
5. Call your Consulate for additional assistance.
6. If a local is injured, do not attempt to assist. If something goes wrong, you are liable.
7. Wait for the police report in case you declare to your insurance. However, it is worth considering paying for the damages yourself since they are quiet inexpensive in Vietnam and it prevents your insurance premium going up.
Please do not give money to beggars or street children. Most times it is a band working together and no one knows what the money is used for. If you are having difficulties, you can kindly say “Khong” (No).
Tipping is not necessary in Vietnam. However, small VND is appreciated in food and beverage venue and other services at your discretion.
If you buy DVD’s or CD’s, ask the vendor if it is good quality or not – most places will be honest if you ask the questions. If you don’t ask they are quite happy to sell you the bad quality one. DVD’s cost approximately 15.000 VND (around $1 USD).
SaigonStay – According to Saigonvan