Topics include Dining Scene, Vietnam: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Although Vietnam has at times been labeled as a dangerous country to visit, today this is not the case. In fact, tourism in Vietnam and cities such as Hoi An has picked up in recent years and safety has not been of concern. With this being said, there are certain precautions that should be taken in order to ensure a smooth trip through Vietnam. Like always, common sense is the most valuable tool used for staying safe.
Although it should not deter people from visiting the area, petty theft and street crime does occur in Hoi An. However, most of these potential situations can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, carrying large amounts of cash, looking flashy, or causing a scene. Doing any of these is asking for trouble. Pickpockets thrive in crowded areas such as markets as well as bus and train stations. Women should keep purses or bags close to their sides and men should store wallets in front instead of rear pockets.
This is a general recommendation for any unfamiliar area, but should be followed in Hoi An as well: Avoid traveling alone at night. If staying with a group is not an option, make sure to remain in lighted areas and take safe modes of transportation, such as taxis.
Probably the worst crimes that are commited in Hoi An happen after dark and usually involve drunken backpackers and xe om drivers. If you are going it alone with a xe om after a few, make sure someone else knows, you have your hotels business card and you agree a price before getting on the bike. If you are staying at a cheap guest house it is likely that it will be locked up with just a night watchman sleeping on duty when you arrive back, if there is any trouble you won't have much help. Be courteous to your driver and do all the above - you'll not have any trouble. If one of your group is in a terrible state, don't let them do the journey alone, you can always accompany them back to the hotel and return to the bar once they are tucked up in bed.
There are a variety of beach activities offered in Hoi An, and with these come certain inherent dangers. Valuables should never be left unattended at the beach, as doing so is asking for trouble. When swimming, be aware of strong rip tides, the central coast can be quite dangerous and many locals lose their lives every year.
Motorbikes. Whatever you think, there is a helmet law in Vietnam (there is also a law that states you can't legally drive a motorbike here unless you have a Vietnamese licence). But if you do decide to hire a bike, be careful. Check the brakes, the lights and be aware that traffic comes from every and any direction. The speed limit in town is 30kmph, outside of town it's 40. If you have a crash ( a bad one) go straight to Da Nangs Hoan-my. This is an international standard hospital with plenty of western trained doctors and surgeons who are no stranger to severe injuries. You will not get that care in Hoi An's Pacific hospital - in fact the reason locals will happily take you there is for the commission.
If you are sick and need a western doctor it's Da Nang again - the Family Medical Practice. Hoi An's doctors are great (there is a good one on Hai Ba Trung next door to the AP Mart), but language difficulties will stand in the way of a proper diagnosis, no matter how good you think your hotel translator is.
For prescription medication - go to the main pharmacy on Ly Thuong Kiet Street.