There’s no doubt Hanoi has developed a reputation over the years, but in the most part it’s a pretty unfair one. The city is a safe and fun place to visit. But naturally the question – “how safe is Hanoi?” – is one on the lips of many tourists.
However, the reality is that while Hanoi can sometimes be a bustling, colorful, attack on the senses – the chances of a tourist being attacked is very slim.
Therefore any worries shouldn’t stop you from visiting this exciting city, which has so much to offer visitors.
There are, of course, a few things to be aware of.
Below we have compiled some easy to follow Hanoi safety tips and information. However bear in mind that with common sense most tourists encounter no problems when visiting this vibrant city.
How safe is Hanoi
Violent crime is rare in Hanoi, especially compared to other big Vietnamese cities such as Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). However petty theft (low-level crime) certainly exists in the city.
The Hanoi Bus Company has armed guards on some bus lines, whether this is needed or not is up for debate, but it does provide another layer of security. However baggage thieves exist, so keep your luggage on you, beside you, or lock baggage to a railing and keep an eye on it.
The reality is, the biggest safety issue that people face in Hanoi is the often hectic driving, so be extra careful when crossing roads.
The popular must-visit Old Quarter of Hanoi has little to no traffic lights so you’re going to have to learn to cross with oncoming traffic – even if there is a marked pedestrian crossing. Drivers are used to dodging crossing pedestrians, so walk in a brisk but predictable manner when the chance occurs.
In fact a bit of local dark humor is that the lines of a pedestrian crossing are there to help drivers aim towards people! Of course that’s not true, but it does illustrate the point.
On that note – look both ways when crossing roads even on one-way streets. Motorbikes often go down them in the wrong direction.
Is Hanoi safe for tourists
But how safe is Hanoi for tourists?
Whilst Vietnamese people are very friendly and welcoming to foreigners, there are some things that tourists must be vigilant about.
Pickpocketing occurs, so keep your bags zipped up and on you. Make sure phones and wallets are in front pockets and can’t be easily snatched.
Thefts do sometimes happen by motorbike too, with a thief snatching a bag or purse as they drive by – so hold on to items tightly.
The most worrying thing about these thefts is that a razor blade is often used to open a bag or purse. So always keep a close eye on your possessions.
Pickpockets sometimes do similar to get into pockets. To avoid being a victim, keep moving and don’t linger in the same place for long.
Therefore in general, it’s best to leave extra cash, credit cards, and your passport at the hotel.
Don’t flash cash, phones and jewelry around. A tourist has a lot more money than the vast majority of locals here, and leaving the equivalent of a few months salary on a cafe table is tempting.
Hanoi has many street sellers, and as such you are bound to be approached. These interactions are almost always friendly – after all they want you as a customer. Politely decline if you don’t want something, but if you do, feel free to barter!
The one recurring theme in robberies in Hanoi seems to be that there is very little violence against victims. Robbers aren’t looking to harm someone physically – but many do carry a knife, or razor blade.
In essence crime here is crime of opportunity – give thieves a chance and they will take it.
Is Hanoi safe at night?
Hanoi is safe at night, and the city tends to shut down and get much quieter after 10pm.
The Old Quarter does remain lively at night although it’s unlikely you will encounter any problems here (except pickpockets), but it’s best to avoid streets that are unlit.
If you are out late and far from home, it’s better to get a taxi rather than walk. Use a registered taxi cab and if you’re at a restaurant or bar, ask the staff to phone for one.
However one thing to be aware of is night robberies. There’s been increased reports of tourists and expats being robbed at night when leaving windows open. So best to close and lock windows and doors at night for an extra layer of security. Robbers almost always carry a knife with them.
Are taxis in Hanoi safe?
While you probably will encounter no problems using the motorbike taxis that slalom Hanoi’s streets, it is safer to take a taxi cab. The cost isn’t going to be much different.
Not only are the cabs more likely to be registered, they are also safer than a motorbike if an accident occurs.
Like everywhere, taxi drivers may try and inflate fares when they realise you are a tourist. Agree on a price beforehand – write it down on a piece of paper to communicate if easier.
If you decide to stick with a taxi meter, make sure you keep your eye on it at all times – sometimes taxi drivers will manipulate it.
Is Hanoi safe for solo female travellers?
It’s understandable for solo female travellers to wonder whether Hanoi is safe. The good thing is that it is considered a safe city for women travelling alone.
The men in Hanoi, and Vietnam in general, tend to be respectful, and violent crime against women and tourists is very rare in the city.
The main issue that could be encountered is petty theft – so keep in mind the tips previously laid out.