Health and Safety
Ho Chi Minh City is safe for the most part, but traffic safety and petty theft are both issues to bear in mind when out and about, especially in the weeks before Tet. Always look in every possible direction when crossing the street, and be aware that motorcycles and even cars frequently use the sidewalks. Keep valuables out of view where possible, make sure your camera strap is around your neck or wrist, and consider minimizing what you carry around and wear, especially if going out at night. Patience and a pleasant demeanor are usually enough to sort out disagreements, but visible anger may attract threats or even violence.
Foreigners are often subjected to inflated prices for goods or services in Vietnam. This business tactic, which many Vietnamese consider reasonable, is often the source of disagreements between Vietnamese and tourists. Simple commonsense precautions, such as reconfirming a price before agreeing to purchase an item or service, can help avoid misunderstandings or mysterious new fees.
If you find yourself in need of medical attention in Ho Chi Minh City, there are several international clinics with internationally trained staff and modern medical technology.
Ho Chi Minh City is always hot—daily highs rarely dip below 90°F—so drink plenty of water and keep the risk of dehydration and sunstroke in mind when heading out. Apply sunscreen liberally. Ho Chi Minh City is also quite humid—keep a close eye on small cuts and scrapes as they can easily get infected. Mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever can ruin a trip. Make sure to use mosquito repellent, especially at dawn and dusk.