Safety is a major concern for American travelers country-hopping in Southeast Asia, and understandably so. Overall, the rates of petty crimes tend to be higher than those in the U.S. or Europe, and cultural and language barriers make it more difficult for foreigners to feel truly at ease, but there is one destination in particular where crime rates are far lower.
According to Global Guardian, an American security company, this country’s stable political situation, absence of civil unrest, nationwide violent protests, and lack of terrorist threats makes it only ‘moderately’ risky, in contrast with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia, that have been deemed ‘not fully secure’.
Interestingly, prior to reaching a state of peace, it provided the stage for one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century:
Vietnam Is Safer Than Malaysia And The Philippines
In publishing their yearly Risk Assessment Map, which categorizes different countries based on their safety levels and that may, or may not, overlap with the U.S. Department of State’s own travel alerts, the Global Guardian classified risks in Vietnam as ‘Moderate’, making it one of the safest destinations in Southeast Asia.
As the map shows, a majority of states in the region has been listed under the ‘Medium Risk’ category, one level higher, where the presence of ‘political instability’ is noted alongside an inability to enforce laws. Editors at the Global Guardian add that ‘Medium’ countries are highly susceptible to significant criminality and ‘sporadic unrest’.
In a sense, the map corroborates our earlier findings on the unstable situation in Colombia, over in South America, where murder rates and violent crimes affecting tourists have been rising steadily. Colombia has been enlisted under the ‘Medium’ group, similarly to Brazil, one of the least tourist-friendly destinations in the Global South.
Back to Southeast Asia, only Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam were awarded a ‘Low’ or ‘Moderate Risk’ badge, with the luxurious city-state of Singapore being the only green, or low-risk destination out of those. In other words, roughly 36% of members in the geopolitical group are well-equipped to manage security crises.
The U.S. Considers Vietnam a Level 1 Destination
Vietnam has come a long way since the 1970s conflict, having reintegrated into local economy and politics, in spite of its unitary socialist government. Violent crime and weapon-facilitated assaults are also rare, and due to the widespread social well-being, U.S. citizens should exercise ‘normal precautions’ traveling to Vietnam.
When it comes to the U.S. Department of State’s classification, it diverges slightly from Global South in the sense that the latter still does not consider Vietnam extremely safe. The official entity has included Vietnam in its Level 1 category, the lowest any country could aim for, while the private company stopped short of adding it to its green-colored ‘Low’ category.
Nevertheless, they judge Vietnam to be at a par with the United States, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, and numerous other countries of the Western World in terms of safety. In any of these, authorities are perfectly able to manage ‘most crises and threats to personal security’ despite some level of criminal activity, terrorism and/or natural disasters.
Vietnam Is Packed With Natural And Man-Made Wonders
Vietnam is a small country rich in culture, home to breathtaking landscapes and with fast-developing urban centers. Among some of the most iconic sights, tourists will find Buddhist pagodas, monumental Communist-era buildings, a bucolic countryside where rice terraces and meandering rivers can be spotted, and of course, War History museums.
The city of Ho Chi Minh, previously known as Saigon, is famous for its French colonial heritage and distinct Western feel, making it a sought-after attraction. On the other hand, Hanoi, the country’s capital and busiest hub, is a cultural melting pot full of centuries-old Buddhist shrines, Gothic cathedrals and other European-inspired buildings, and flea-markets.
Luckily, all of these natural and man-made wonders are once again open to the public. Earlier this year, Vietnam became one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to scrap all of its pandemic-related entry requirements and reinstate normal tourism. Effectively, Americans are not subject to health checks prior to, or arriving in Vietnam.
They can visit without presenting a vaccine certificate, undergoing testing, or observing quarantine, making Vietnam one of the easiest to enter in a restrictive Asia. On top of that, flying there has never been easier, after the first-ever direct flights from the United States, specifically San Francisco, to Ho Chi Minh launched in late 2021.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com