Safety Tips in Ho Chi Minh City

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Ho Chi Minh City

  • JonnyVN's Profile Photo

    Ice and water

    by JonnyVN Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    I still see a lot of people refusing ice here, don't worry, expect for a few dodgey street vendors, everywhere does sell clean ice. I've seen some postings saying they saw ice in big blocks sitting under tarps of the street or being carried on the back of a bike, this is cooling ice. The drinking ice is transported alot more safely.
    Tap water on the other hand is very much to be avoided, ok for brushing teeth, but if there is a heavy down pour avoid this aswell (especially in Hanoi or smaller cities). The fresh water and sewer systems have a tendency to mix if it floods.

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  • NitNoy's Profile Photo

    Airport Taxi

    by NitNoy Updated Mar 26, 2008

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    When getting a taxi from Tan Son Nhut, ignore the touts that will immediately ask you if you need a taxi when exiting the terminal. They will charge you 150,000 VND to get downtown (it's only 60-75,000). Instead, walk straight to the curb where you'll see a row of taxis. Tell them your location and ask them to use the meter. If they refuse, take a different one. You now have to pay a 5000 VND toll fee when leaving the airport (used to be when you came to the airport).

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  • Audia's Profile Photo

    On street Manicure/Pedicure

    by Audia Updated Mar 23, 2008

    Just don't do it.

    Uncomfortable seating. Dissappointed result. Lack of communication. Unworthy price.

    Ben Thanh market also has manicure/pedicure service, but again, just don't do it. If you use to have a professional manicurist/pedicurist doing your nails then skip this one. Seems quite interesting at first but you will end up dissappointed.

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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Bikes, Bikes & More Motor Bikes

    by Mikebb Updated Mar 11, 2008

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    HCMC must be the home of the motor bike, you cannot go anywhere without seeing them and when inside you cannot escape them as you will always hear the traffic noise and continual horn blowing.

    However the real concern is that they regularly drive onto the footpath to avoid a red light or traffic snarl, they weave between pedestrians. You must be aware that this will happen.

    In the middle of this photo you will see a lady on a push bike riding sideways through the traffic.

    See The Lady On Push Bike Going Sideways
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  • mcgruff75044's Profile Photo

    Keep your wits about you

    by mcgruff75044 Written Oct 26, 2006

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    Just that. The town is full of people who will see you coming and be long gone before you realize you are missing anything. Hotels do not allow prostitutes into their facilities because of this, even the small ones.

    There are a lot of people who have to steal to make ends meet, and they do.

    Just keep your eyes peeled and stay within earshot of other tourists.

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  • judz's Profile Photo

    Taxi drivers

    by judz Written Sep 6, 2006

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    Beware of taxi drivers who don't turn their meter on..we went to the War Museum after asking how much but to return with a different driver it was twice as much...no choice but to go or else stand in the heat and wait for another one.

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  • perseushermes's Profile Photo

    Someone is Watching!

    by perseushermes Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    I understand from a Vietnamese local that there are "intelligence officers" in most of the tourist areas. Rumour has it, the short message services ("sms") which we frequently used to communicate by handphones (cell phones) are monitored. Ahh! the "funny feeling" esp being this country.

    Just be careful what you send or say. Someone may be hearing and watching you!!!
    :)

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  • JonnyVN's Profile Photo

    Wildlife at Risk

    by JonnyVN Updated Sep 2, 2006

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    This is one of the charities I strongly support, The illegal trading in animals is something that has to be dealt with, these guys are doing a great job. Pictured here are two Orangutans that were captured in a raid on a private zoo here, that's about 4,000km away from their natural home, both have now been repatriated to Borneo by W.A.R and the Vietnam Forestry Protection Department.
    Please think carefully when in local "game" restaurants, often you can be offered "exotic" dishes, these are wild animals and often are on the danger list. Bear bile is still farmed here, with the bears in horriffic conditions, please don't encourage this by buying it.

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  • JonnyVN's Profile Photo

    Fights

    by JonnyVN Written Aug 10, 2006

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    Writing this one as I saw it happen yet again. If, for some reason, you get into an arguement with a Vietnamese guy in a bar or nightclub, over prehaps the pool table cue, just because you are bigger than him and can easily beat the hell out of him DON'T. What will probably happen, as did last night, is: Big foreigner gets into arguement with smaller Vietnamese guy, it gets heated, swearing starts, foreigner pushes Vietnamese, Vietnamese goes for the foreigner, foreigner smacks him one, Vietnamese retreats with bloody nose. Then about ten minutes later he comes back with his friends (or sometimes waits outside) and they all set on him.
    It is down to the loss of face, so best thing to do is back of, it's their country and we are guests.

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  • caren293's Profile Photo

    Spend USD in Vietnam

    by caren293 Written Jun 6, 2006

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    You can spend US dollar in every merchants in vietnam, but beware that it is not recommended to have the change back in US dollar note. My friend bought a bag in Ben Thanh market by spending US dollar, she expected the get the change back in US dollar. The trader gave her 3 pieces of very old US$ 10 note, and we were convienced that the note is acceptable to every merchants. When she tried to spend the U$ 30 (the old note), no merchant want to accept it even money changer. We were given the reason of rejecting the note was it's old. She had begged the front desk of the hotel to change for her as the lobby assistant initially refused to accept the notes due to same reason. Suggest if you want to spend USD, better take the change in local currency in order to avoid fake note or any inconvenience like our case.

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  • thedouglas's Profile Photo

    If you are thinking about visiting the HCM Zoo....

    by thedouglas Written Jan 25, 2006

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    Don't do it! We took the kids to the zoo - as you do - and we were all a bit mortified by the quality of the environment and the state of many of the animals. We saw the saddest, skinniest lion you could ever hope to see - and the monkeys were all a bit tragic - the general care and condition of the place and the animals was a bit upsetting in places - especially the lion.

    The elephants were doing OK - lots of visitors up close and feeding them - so it wasn't all bad. But, in general, not a highly recommended spot.

    I just wanted to come home to Australia and contact our intrepid animal loving protector and crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, and get him onto the cause!

    Poor old fella Closed for ? Not palatial by any means
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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Police.. Just like in Cuba, you are not welcome !

    by cochinjew Written Jun 23, 2005

    My friend had forgotten her drivers licence at home, so her motorbike was impounded and i had to ride the policeman/s bike to the station while she went home to get the licence. there are very strict if you break a rule! while waiting for her, i was not spoken to, not offered the least of the civilities and I realized that while shopping centres are springing up, these guys are the old communist types.. just like in Cuba. not helpful or pleasant ..but eager to exercise their power

    police station in saigon

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  • jolou's Profile Photo

    Night time curfew?

    by jolou Written Apr 24, 2005

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    Something that became apparent after a couple of nights in saigon is that a lot of the hotels around the backpacker area shut up shop (literally) at around midnight. When you inevitably lose any sense of time in one of the many bars, don't be surprised to step outside and not be able to see your hotel anywhere!

    A knock on the shutters always woke up whoever was on night duty, it always felt quite rude though!

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  • Dodgy Camera Film

    by Anarae Written Apr 16, 2005

    I'd been warned before I left to always be careful of buying film in Vietnam. It's a lot cheaper buying film (Kodak seems to be the most widely available) than at home, but it often sits in stalls where it is exposed to heat and sunlight. It might cost a little bit more, but I'd recommend buying your film from a camera shop (it's still cheap) and always check the expiry date before paying. There are plenty of good camera shops around Dong Khoi in HCMC and Hoam Kiem Lake in Hanoi.

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  • Don't even THINK about drinking the water!

    by Anarae Written Apr 16, 2005

    This is probably a pretty obvious thing to say - don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is cheap and most travellers know the water isn't safe. We thought we were being really good when we went to a restaurant on the first night - we didn't get ice in our drinks or anything. What we didn't think of, however, is that the fresh mango juice we ordered had water added. The next morning I was more violently ill than I've ever been in my life.

    I'd also recommend keeping away from fresh salad washed in the water and similar, at least until you've had a bit of time to get used to the food.

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Comments (1)

  • Mar 31, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Gang wielding Machetes, with their rusty .22 hanging off their belt, generally roam through the quieter farther Neighborhoods of Saigon at night. They slash, hack, pillage, rob, their victims with no remorse, and are not so much different from the Vietnamese in the u.s.a.

    During the day, they would hide in more secluded areas, waiting for a tourist, with a thirsty looking watch or ring, and they go in and hack the poor guys arm off, just for a 30 dollar lick of a item.

    Their barely working guns are generally saved for other gangs
    (usually cock-fghting vendettas over the female vietnamese), but in which it seems the gun would probably jam in 3 shots, if not the first shot.

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