As sometimes happens, I am writing with limited time. I will type really fast, so if you read really fast, maybe the blog will look normal???? ? As usual, a few random photo’s for those who just read the pictures……
I stayed out a little past 10 pm for the first time. Amazingly, I did not get the normal 9:15 phone call reminding me what time it was. It gave me the opportunity to see some of the night life begin to happen. There was a lot of activity everywhere. NhaTrang really does have a lot of nightlife. It always happens when time to go home, the people I should be meeting and getting to know for business also show up…. I will have to work on that. I see very little evidence of the aggressive money hunters at this time, perhaps things are changing in this respect also? Personal security only 5-10 years ago was a big concern after 10 pm. But now???? Yesterday, I just sat on a sidewalk in the tourist area for a while relaxing. What I saw sort of surprised me and gave me a bit of a flash back. Women had purses tucked and pinched under their arms, some of the men had backpacks worn on their bellies instead of the back. Almost all of them reacted suspiciously when approached by a local. Oh my god!! I was exactly the same in the past. 10 years ago, I was exactly like that. Probable even worse because there was very little tourism then. In 2006, I was still the same as them. Maybe not as obvious, but nervous just the same. It seems that all the tour guides and the in the know books always give the worst case scenario on what to watch for, or their so called security tips. The tourist then takes the advice as gospel and travels with paranoia. I think the guides unintentionally gives a worst case scenario. (sort of like getting an inspection for a house sale) I have been here many times over many years and will now tell you exactly of what I think about the security of the tourist here.
Vietnam has to be one of the safest places on the planet Earth for a foreigner to travel. Odds are you could fall down drunk in the street, and find yourself waking up in some local’s home in a rattan mat with all of your money in your wallet. People here are very protective towards foreigners. There are bad seeds out there, but the majority follow the rules. You see….The government in the last few years has recognized that every dollar, yen, euro or any other currency that enters the country is good for both the government and the people. What they say goes……. The government wants tourism to flourish, and therefore is doing everything it can to attract tourists and keep them secure. It is widely known by everybody here that that is the case. To mess with a foreigner can be BIG trouble for a local, therefore, almost all your dealings with people can be taken at face value. They do not want to end up on the wrong side of the law. (it can be harsh here) The government even has people who’s job is specifically to protect the tourist. There is petty theft and pickpockets here, but not any more than your home town/city. There is also security set up everywhere for your ( and their ) protection. Watching eyes are everywhere. If a crime happens, you can be sure that there will be an army of witnesses to report to the police. There are individuals at most tourist areas that are charged with looking after your security. When I was on a tour of Chau Doc, I noticed a couple of rough looking individuals following our group. When I would look at them, they would mull around sort of cartoon like. I learned later that they were military police, (not the criminals that they looked like) watching out for any possible trouble directed our way, and to also make sure we did not wander into any secure military area that was located close by.
The only time a person needs to watch for the snatch and grab crimes is at night when passing little dark alleys and the like. A motorbike can come from nowhere and the passenger can adeptly slice off a fanny pack and be off before you even know what is going on. I have seen this happen twice, and only in Saigon. Both times it was a knapsack or fanny pack being carried by a man. I think a wallet is a better idea, harder to slice that!! You can leave your passports, cash, and valuables in the lobby safes in most hotels. That way there is no need for the bulky tempting packs.
In conclusion; Vietnam is a very safe place for the tourist to visit. The country is rip roaring, full steam ahead to be the ultimate destination for a person to travel to. Your currency goes a long way here, and the locals have a better life because of your willingness to spend in such an inexpensive place. A win-win situation for everybody. Using the same common sense in as you would at home is all you really need to worry about…. Maybe less… Just my two cents.