Safety is a primary concern for Americans traveling abroad, especially in the current climate, where conflicts seem to be breaking out everywhere, and security is decreasing across a number of destinations.
In the last few years, Asia has been no exception, with aggressive policies dictating the mood and a succession of different military coups on the Southeastern edge of the continent.
Still, one country in particular has proven to be remarkably stable and safe for tourists.
According to the latest Global Law and Order Index, Vietnam is not only the most peaceful state in Asia but also the seventh worldwide, and this is why it should be on your bucket list for 2024:
Vietnam Is The Safest Country In Asia
Now that unnecessary restrictions and strict social curbs are well behind us, it's safe to say 2024 will finally be the year tourism in Asia makes a full comeback.
Western travelers are back to the continent of friendly smiles in droves, and every single major Asian destination, whether it's Malaysia and its multicultural scene or Indonesia and its numerous paradisaical islands, is bound for historical growth in the months to come.
Still, all our eyes are on Vietnam, a Southeast Asian gem that for years had been shunned by Western media as a result of the infamous 1970s War, despite having come a long way since and boasting some of the most beautiful natural scenery and fascinating culture in the region.
According to the newest Global Law and Order ranking, published by Gallup in late 2023, Vietnam is the highest-charting country in Asia, with an enviable score of 92, out of a maximum of 100, in the top 10 dominated by European countries.
Though the list is led by Tajikistan, a country in Central Asia, the latter is not often perceived as being traditional Asia, or in other terms, East Asia due to its strong cultural and historical ties to Russia, and particularly its former status as a USSR republic.
In effect, Vietnam is the safest country in East Asia, but that in itself is a huge achievement, considering it was a literal war zone only four decades ago, and the West-led blockade against Vietnam was only lifted fully in the early nineties.
Where Do Perceptions About Unsafety In Vietnam Come From?
When thinking of Vietnam, the average American will naturally conjure up images of Viet Congs lurking in tunnels, flattened cities, and U.S. Embassy personnel being evacuated from rooftops in central Saigon, but this couldn't be farther from the reality on the ground right now.
The Vietnam War took place an entire generation ago, and modern-day Vietnam is prosperous and peaceful, enjoying low rates of crime and impressive political stability.
It is, in fact, safer and more stable than the United States.
The U.S. has a much lower score of 83 on the index, owing to its incendiary politics and soaring crime in big cities like San Francisco.
In Vietnam, the single-party political system has managed to ensure economic development and has guaranteed a war-torn nation came together under one flag following a half-century of conflict.
Being strongly rooted in communism, the Vietnamese Government is the polar opposite of a Western democracy.
Ideology and personal beliefs aside, there's no denying Vietnam is a lot safer than the United States and most European countries, where violence keeps increasing.
Other than food safety risks, which can easily be minimized if you take certain precautions, such as following local guidance and dining at reputable restaurants, Americans are not often worried about pickpocketing, violent assaults, or corruption on the part of law enforcers.
Vietnam Is One Of The Most Fascinating Destinations In Asia
In terms of tourist offers, Vietnam is ideal for slow travelers and backpackers looking to reconnect with nature and expose themselves to a culture that is almost entirely different than their own – that is, if they are coming from the Northern Hemisphere.
When traveling Vietnam from North to South, or vice-versa, you should definitely take your time in strolling the charming, yellow-washed streets of Hoi An, a river port and UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its numerous historical temples and French colonial architecture.
Also not to be missed is neighboring Hue, home to an imposing moated citadel; further down the coast, the sandy beaches and forested reserves of Da Nang are a mandatory stopover, as are the golden sand dunes and sleepy coastal towns lining the laid-back Mui Ne section of the coast.
From vibrant city breaks in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the busy coastal port of Nha Trang, or Hanoi, the stately capital, to escapes into nature in Ninh Binh, famous for its rice fields and monumental geological formations, you could truly never exhaust your ‘to-do' list while exploring the country.
In fact, it might grow larger the longer you stay, so it's a good thing local authorities are welcoming tourists with open arms, and have recently eased visa requirements for Americans, allowing them to remain in Vietnam for 90 full days.
Previously, U.S. passport holders could only stay for 30 days at a time before leaving the territory and applying for a new tourist visa.
Though the visa requirement has not been scrapped, they can now travel along the elongated Vietnamese coastal strip without skipping some of the main points of interest along the way due to overly strict short-stay rules.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.