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vietnam safety issues

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11. Posted by kevandshan (Full Member 142 posts) 7y

I agree with Vegasmike.

The people there are fantastic, friendly, and it is very safe. Like anywhere you just have to be aware of your surroundings, so if you are swinging a $5000 camera around like a fool....don't be suprised if you lose it....but you would probably lose it just as quick at home!

...and yeah, we all get ripped...it's part of the fun. When you do get ripped it's for like $2...who cares, it makes their day. When I leave I usually divy up the leftover currency I have among the friendliest and most helpful/ needy. It's not much but $20 goes a long way here to a local.

12. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 7y

Vegasmike re Jenny: you cynic you! Previous posters have covered all the options. My preference (as I only visit Asia for 1 month each year is to take cash. I don't use ATMs. I take my credit card but that is for emergency purposes only. Last year I visited Cambodia and took US $s to cover my 3 weeks. Vietnam and Laos is on my to do list. Both countries I will rely on exchanging US $s. In regard to protecting my hard earned I usually stay at places with safety deposit boxes of some description. When I get to Halong Bay my passport wallet and cash will go where I go and sleep where I sleep. Unless I make an arrangement with the hotel (anything can be arranged at the right price) to continue use of their deposit box whilst I'm away for 2 nights on Halong Bay. Whenever I'm out and about, day and/or night, anywhere in Asia I never take more than I need to spend. To date I've never had a problem anyway but that's probably more to do with using commonsense and don't go walking around isolated areas, particularly at night. Better to be sure than sorry.

13. Posted by Jennyyore (Budding Member 66 posts) 7y

Vegas Mike

How do you know the true price of anything when nothing has a marked price?
As soon as they saw I was a westerner they made up a high price - I did not know it was high!

Plus we have National Health Care system here, so it is hard to see disabled people suffering and begging for money!

Any tips for me if I manage to get to Malaysia - how much things cost, how much to tip etc etc?:

14. Posted by moonlight1 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Vietnam is pretty safe and of course you hear bad stories but try not to assume the worst.
Its not recommended to carry a large amount of cash on yourself so if you can pay by card while you are in Vietnam for the hotels or in advance then do so. Things aren`t that expensive in Vietnam unless of course you want to buy something like art, etc that cost a fair amount so you shouldn`t need to carry a huge amount of cash anyway. Carry enough with you to last a week and then top up at the atm`s. Its annoying paying a lot of charges but if you are worried that much about safety then those charges are worth your peace of mind. I have a group on facebook called `Loving Vietnam` where i talk about my time in Vietnam and the tour i did, maybe check it out if you want some info up front about your trip. :)
Anyway relax and have fun, Vietnam is a great country to visit, i loved it and can`t wait to go back again.

15. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Quoting Jennyyore

Vegas Mike
How do you know the true price of anything when nothing has a marked price?
As soon as they saw I was a westerner they made up a high price - I did not know it was high!
Plus we have National Health Care system here, so it is hard to see disabled people suffering and begging for money!
Any tips for me if I manage to get to Malaysia - how much things cost, how much to tip etc etc?:

Jenny,
I am no Malaysia expert, I will let others advise you on prices there. But I doubt there is as much haggling in Malaysia as VN. When prices are not marked, you do need to find out at what price they will refuse and let you walk out the door. Offer half of their first price, if they let you leave the store, then you have good information. You can always offer more if you really want that item. Good luck with the haggling!

16. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1596 posts) 7y

Quoting Jennyyore

Vegas Mike

How do you know the true price of anything when nothing has a marked price?
As soon as they saw I was a westerner they made up a high price - I did not know it was high!

Plus we have National Health Care system here, so it is hard to see disabled people suffering and begging for money!

Any tips for me if I manage to get to Malaysia - how much things cost, how much to tip etc etc?:

Yes, they do raise the price of some things or at least try to get more from foreigners than their own kind. Like VM said start low and raise your price accordingly if you are not sure you have a good price smile a lot and tell them you will think about it. Many tourists are afraid to offend the street vendor by offering a price at 1/3 or 1/4 the price they ask - don't worry about it, after all they are not afraid to ask you 2 or 3 times the going price! They may offer you a lower price walking away or not. It is good to sample the prices for the same things at different shops and vendors to see where the price is first. Don't flash big bills, have coins and smaller bills available so you don't advertise where your wallet is located. I keep small money separate from big bills in a different pocket.

Street vendors are pretty smart, they can see a tourist with expensive brand name clothing, fancy jewelry on and they may up their asking price even more than normal! Dress down when you are bargaining and your starting price may be a little better. Also, if the street vendor asks what hotel you are staying at tell them it is real cheap place or even a hostel. If you tell them it is an expensive 4 or 5 star place your price will be higher since you are really rich!

I never worry about tipping at all! If I am going to return to a place where I will eat or drink again I will leave something but it won't be much, perhaps the equivalent of a quarter or half of a US dollar at most. Asians rarely tip at all it is mostly a Western practice. I guess I am immune to the needs of most beggars, I usually pass them by or at the most perhaps drop in the equivalent of maybe 1/10th of a US dollar. What I don't give to a beggar some foreign tourist will more than make up for by giving the beggar more than an able bodied worker gets working 10 hours at hard labor! A lot of the beggars make more than people working real jobs.

I am slightly partial to blind musicians and singers because they at least are working for their money and not just with a hand out. When you overtip a maid in a hotel they say thanks and when you are not looking just laugh at how silly foreigners are. You don't tip in grocery stores, shops where you purchase an item for a price and leave, don't tip street vendors, don't tip in department stores, don't tip in food courts, don't tip when you purchase plane, train or bus tickets. I don't tip tour guides but I do notice some tourists dropping big bills in the pot - tour guides get paid to take you on tours and they get a cut of what you buy at various stops.

I was in Malaysia quite a few years ago and for one day last November. It is easier to bargain and make purchases there than Vietnam or other countries nearby. Don't lose a lot of sleep worrying about tipping because the locals don't lose any sleep not tipping their own countrymen! Even if you pay too much for something convert that price to what you would pay for the same item back in your country if it is still a good price then you really didn't lose anything! Also, if you buy a lot of stuff you have to carry that junk back home with you. T-shirts are good, they don't break and you can wrap more delicate stuff with them.

Good luck.

17. Posted by Jennyyore (Budding Member 66 posts) 7y

Gosh I must have overdone it.........I was giving beggars 100 dong a go!

I did always start at below half price when haggling but they always let me walk away, i thought I had gone too low, oh well I know now!

Mind you we did not spend much, If I am in America i spend it like water.

I do take precautions with jewelery, I only ever wear a wedding ring, dont want to be robbed.

I have been watching a programme on discovery on tourist scams so hopefully I will be wiser next trip.

LOL

18. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Quoting Jennyyore

Gosh I must have overdone it.........I was giving beggars 100 dong a go!
I did always start at below half price when haggling but they always let me walk away, i thought I had gone too low, oh well I know now! Mind you we did not spend much, If I am in America i spend it like water.I do take precautions with jewelery, I only ever wear a wedding ring, dont want to be robbed.
I have been watching a programme on discovery on tourist scams so hopefully I will be wiser next trip.LOL

Jenny,
100 VND a beggar was not overdoing it. Takes 16,000VND per $1. At least you were making friends everywhere you went in VN! Good thing you do not understand VN. They must have been saying: 'that rich foreign woman throws her money around like a fool!"

I see you like Vegas. Did you know we were in a bit of a downturn? My suggestion is to come back to Vegas, spend like there is no tomorrow and help pull us out of the current recession!! We can use all the 'rich' Brits we can find!

19. Posted by Jennyyore (Budding Member 66 posts) 7y

Vegas mike

Sorry must have been 10,000 dong then, can't remeber but I know I thought it was only roughly 50p! I am sure even you could strech to that.

God you must be used to giving away money the way the tipping culture is in America, they want $s for pouring out a drink or to bring your meal to the table, opening the door!
I would much rather give to the needy than those expecting tips in America.

So its ok to gamble all your dollars but not help the Vietnamise that have had their limbs blown off or have skin damage through agent orange etc etc - where is your heart? After all you live in luxury compared to them - Sharing is Caring

Jenny

20. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Jenny,
I think you need to re-read post #10. I did buy overpriced postcards, maps, hats from the 'little guy'. Read my blog on DaLat. I buy from locals when possible.

Now, are you coming to Las Vegas or not. We need your Brit pounds to boost our economy. By, the by, if you read my posts on the North America forum, you will know I am a 'cheap charlie' and do not gamble or tip very often. I get free shows at the hotels, free movie previews. Hardly throwing my hard earned money around.