Hanoi is a socially safe city—there is little violent crime, and virtually none directed against Westerners. (Most violent crime is domestic abuse.) Theft is generally opportunistic, rather than premeditated, so don’t leave things unguarded in your yard or the hallway of your building, and watch your purse or wallet in crowds.

Traffic is inevitably cited as the greatest danger in Vietnam. Exercise caution in whatever mode of transportation you choose—especially if it involves motorcycles or bicycles. If you commute by car, hiring a driver or using taxis is recommended. See the Transportation Section for more information and warnings about Hanoi’s traffic.

Hanoi is a safe city for women; single local and foreign women can walk alone at night without fear. However, while violent crimes against women are extremely rare, unwanted gropings are not. Vietnam is traditionally conservative, and some roles projected by Hollywood and Western media give Vietnamese the wrong impression of what is acceptable to Western women. Having a companion (male or female) in public places, especially bars or other crowded entertainment areas, will lessen unwanted attention. Be conscious of those around you on public buses—often awareness is the best deterrent to anonymous sexual advances, since they can then no longer be anonymous.