Is Hanoi A Safe City To Visit
Although significant crimes against visitors are exceedingly rare in Hanoi, travellers should proceed with caution.
In general, the Old Quarter streets are safe to wander at night, however it is recommended to avoid the darker passages after 10pm when the area is more likely to be targeted by criminals. When traversing the city late at night, female solitary travellers should hire a metered taxi from a trustworthy provider.
If you’re boarding a train late at night, be on the lookout for pickpockets in busy stations and for “helpers” who want to take your luggage.
Scams In Hanoi To Look Out For
However, Hanoi is rife with frauds and many of them are related but there is no reason to be anxious while visiting the city as the majority of issues arise with low-cost lodgings and excursions, although things can turn unpleasant on occasion. In the past, we’ve had accounts of tourists who refused to book a hotel stay or tour being harassed verbally and physically.
Keep your cool and carefully retreat from the situation if you don’t want it to flare up.
The airport’s taxi and minibus mafia transports travellers to the wrong hotel without their knowledge. Invariably, the hotel will try to extort as much money from you as possible by using the name of another prominent hotel.
Taxi scams are getting more popular as well so avoid the taxis parked outside Hanoi’s bus stations, as many of them have rigged meters.
Don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and pay the agreed-upon payment for the services of shoe shine boys and cyclo (pedicab or bicycle rickshaw) drivers.
Around Hoan Kiem Lake, be on the lookout for chatty strangers who may try to con you into something. Sometimes these con artists pose as students and offer a drink or a meal but there are many different ways to do this. The same is true for gay males.
As a result, you may find yourself with an unexpected bill for hundreds of dollars if your new friend suggests a trip to a karaoke club or a snake-meat restaurant. As these criminals can appear to be nice, be careful and follow your senses.
Also, we’ve heard instances of male tourists being accosted by ladies in the Old Quarter late at night and then being forced at gunpoint by the women’s male accomplices to empty their bank accounts. If you’re returning from a pub late at night, keep your wits about you and attempt to stay in a group.
Scams By The Hanoi Airport Taxis
Unfortunately, many of the drivers who linger out at Noi Bai International Airport are working with hotels and travel companies in Hanoi: they know all the tricks and generally carry the cards of all popular budget hotels.
‘It’s full today,’ as well as ‘They have a new space, much nicer, number two,’ are frequent utterances. Your first night’s lodging should be booked in advance and your hostel/hotel should organise an arrival transfer for you.
You’ll save money over taking a taxi and you won’t have to worry about getting lost in Hanoi’s organised chaos as a name board will greet you as you exit the airport and you can wave goodbye to the taxi fraudsters as you leave.
Alternatively, you can take the inexpensive and efficient express airport bus 86 but if you’ve just landed after a long flight, you may not have the energy to deal with further transportation stress.
Crazy Traffic And High Pollution
There are also the problems of congestion and pollution so even crossing a busy street can be a challenge and navigating a two-million-strong flow of motorcyclists may be nerve-wracking at the best of times. Let motorcyclists see where you are at all times by walking slowly and steadily. You’ll just confuse them if you try to move swiftly.
Despite recent police efforts to clear the streets of parked motorbikes and cooking kiosks, Hanoi’s roads and pavements remain a dangerous place to wander around on foot. It can also be hard to breathe here because of the high levels of pollution and poor air quality with some toxins are even more concentrated than in Bangkok.