The crime rate is relatively low in Viet Nam compared to Western countries. Tourists are rarely likely to be a victim of a violent crime while holidaying in the country.
Petty crime (snatch theft and pick-pocketing) can be an issue, but this is much like any popular tourist destination in the world. Unfortunately, tourists are targeted because they travel with money or valuable devices. Also, they seem to be less conscious of their surroundings. Pick-pocketing is an issue in crowded places, such as markets, buses and trains.
Snatch theft can be quite common on the road with two people on a motorbike driving by quickly to grab bags, cameras, phones, or other valuable items. In the event of an attempted bag snatch on the road, it is more practical to let the bag go to avoid the possibility of injury.
To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of theft it is more practical to leave values in the hotel safe and only travel with the essentials needed for the particular day's activities. A simple money belt can be used as an alternative to a full size bag.
Scams that target foreigners do happen in big cities (Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, etc.) and tourist destinations. A typical scam is likely to include the less than reputable taxi drivers that choose the long or alternative routes. Also, taxis may take tourists to a different hotel than requested because they have an arrangement in place with the owners.
Typhoons and storms are seasonal activities and more likely to impact the central regions of Viet Nam compared to the north and the south. The rainy season in the north and south runs from June until September with heavy rainfall, and in the in the middle of the country from October until December. In major cities like Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, the heavy rains can lead to flooding and slow the movement of traffic.
Traffic in Viet Nam's biggest cities can be a little dangerous. Bad street conditions, poor driving skills, inadequate law enforcement and traffic congestion are the major reasons for accidents on the roads. Read more: Viet Nam traffic.
For the first-time-to-Asia travellers, using and crossing the roads can be one of the quite daunting things to do in Viet Nam. Stay calm while crossing the street and avoid making sudden movements to make yourself more predictable to drivers on the road.
Operating a motorbike on the busy streets isn't advised for the first-time visitor because of the craziness on the roads. Using a local and a reliable taxi brand or public transportation is a lot more practical. Alternatively, a xe om or motorbike taxi is a traditional form of transport to experience on the Viet Nam customized tour, but will require bargaining skills to avoid paying over the top rates.