Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is simply a gorgeous city, known for breathtaking natural beauty, a heavy load of, albeit dark, history, Buddhist temples and other monuments and cultural heritage.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s second largest city, a perfect mix of East and West, of traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs and French charm.
During the last couple of years, Vietnam slowly became widely popular, and each year there is more and more tourists coming to visit Hanoi from all over the world.
Violent crime in Hanoi is rare, and as a tourist, your main concern should be petty crime such as pickpocketing, bag snatching or cell phone theft.
It is important that you show respect to Vietnamese culture and show common courtesy and kindness towards the people there, and you’ll avoid any arguments or misunderstandings.
Warnings & Dangers in Hanoi
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Hanoi is a relatively safe city to travel to. Its main source of income is tourism, so the tourists' safety is their number one concern. Hanoi has 6 million inhabitants, so street crime is more common here.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Means of transport and taxis aren't very safe in Hanoi. Many taxis in Hanoi have previously installed rigged meters that charge up to 2 to 8 times more. You should consult some guidebooks and travel forums before you travel to Vietnam that will prepare you for petty scams. There is also a very popular scam where the buses break down and the tour operators force people to pay considerable amounts for crummy hotels "while the bus is repaired".
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocketing and bag snatching is a very common issue in Hanoi, especially on the side of the roads where motorbike snatching may occur. Keep your belongings by your side at all times and try to leave all your valuables in a security deposit box of your hotel.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Natural threats include rare earthquakes and occasional typhoons (from May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta nearly every year. Vietnam is occasionally also devastated by storms and typhoons that can cause millions of dollars of damage. In case of a natural disaster, follow the instructions of local authorities.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There are some areas where cases of mugging have been reported, it is generally rare, and foreigners are rarely targeted.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There is low probability of a terrorist attack, however they should never be ruled out so be vigilant and watch out for suspicious activities.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There is a number of scams performed on tourists in Hanoi, such as gambling scams where, if you do venture in gambling, there is a great risk you will be scammed or ripped off, or karaoke scams: since prostitution is forbidden, you can find prostitutes in various karaoke bars, which are actually one big scam and their clients often get ripped off, drink spiked and robbed. Apart from these scams, you can get overcharged by everyone: street vendors, taxi and bus drivers, hotel owners and worst of all - the police. Double check every information and pay or negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Sexual assaults are common in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi. Avoid overnight trains and buses, and parts of cities that are filled with bars and clubs, since there is a higher chance of running into intoxicated people. Follow basic common sense and avoid walking alone at night and in poorly lit and secluded areas.
So... How Safe Is Hanoi Really?
Hanoi is generally a safe city. Violent crime is rare, but lately robberies, assaults and harassments started occurring, often involving weapons.
However, the most common risk for tourists remains petty crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and valuables theft, usually not involving violence of any kind.
Tourists should avoid fights and shouting of any kind, because people of Hanoi think of shouting as an insult and in such situations one never knows what their reaction is going to be.
General rule of thumb is that if you respect this country’s culture and customs, you should have no problems or incidents in its capital.
One of the common issues in Hanoi is motorbike snatching. This usually involves thieves on motorbikes snatching pedestrians’ bags, mobile phones, cameras and jewelry.
They especially target foreigners and it happens mostly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and it is a crime committed so regularly that even local Vietnamese are commonly targeted.
In hotel rooms, including five star ones, there have been reports of stolen belongings including wallets, cameras, cell phones and jewelry, so put everything of value in a security deposit box.
As for streets, they are generally safe but there are areas that should be avoided, such as parts of Hanoi filled with clubs and bars that are usually filled with suspicious individuals.
Sexual assaults and robberies are more probable in these places, so be cautious and avoid these places late at night.
Also, petty crime is most common in Hanoi, so be aware of your surroundings at all times when you visit.
- Visas - All US citizens wishing to visit Vietnam will need to apply for a tourist visa, and no earlier than six months before their planned departure. Your passport should be valid for at least six months past your date of return.
- Currency - Vietnamese dong is the official currency in Hanoi. We recommend changing your money in post offices, banks or larger hotels. Airports also offer a convenient exchange rate.
- Weather - In Hanoi, its capital, summers last from May to October, and winters, mostly dry and mild, last from November to April with average temperatures from 17-22°C.
- Airports - Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the largest airport in Vietnam. It's also the second busiest airport in Vietnam. It is located in Phu Minh Commune in Sóc Sơn District, about 35 kilometres northeast of downtown Hanoi,
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Hanoi, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.