Essential Information

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

The Vietnamese back country is beautiful, and joining a guided tour of the countryside is a safe and exciting way to take in the sights. HikingVietnam’s knowledgeable guides explore the history and myths of this fascinating country while helping mitigate cultural differences and any dangers associated with traveling in it.

As the tourism market continues to expand in Vietnam, the government is going to greater lengths to ensure the safety of its visitors. Violent crime against tourists is virtually unheard of. However, common sense is an important safety measure, and guests are advised to travel in groups when possible and avoid walking outside after dark except in well-lit, populated areas. Petty theft is rare, especially in rural areas, though it remains a good idea to travel light and avoid flashing your cash.

While Vietnam has fared much better than its neighbor, Cambodia, there are occasional reports of unexploded ordinance left over from the Vietnamese-American War. The local military has done an excellent job scouring for landmines and disarming them. The greatest concentration of unexploded ordinance is in central provinces such as Quang Tri, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.

The most popular tourist areas are essentially mine-free; in any event, guided tours through the back country are planned along routes known to have no problems. Guides are careful and knowledgeable, placing the safety of visitors above all else. Guests are advised not to wander off well-beaten paths and to refrain from setting out independently.

Vietnam is situated on an exceptionally long and narrow stretch of land, so cross-country transportation can be time-consuming. Most tourists opt for domestic travel by air, especially when crossing the 1,000-mile divide between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon). Alternatively, the Unification Express train operates a progressive, two-week journey with intermittent layovers between these two cities.