In general, Indochina area is safe for travelers and tourists. Violent attacks rarely happen, but heist is a problem in Indochina area, just like what is happening in most part of this world. Don’t worry about it; here are some tips for you to take some precautions while traveling in Indochina area:
Secure your valuable possessions in the hotel safe, if there is not one in your hotel room, the hotel front desk can provide the same service.
If you use traveller’s cheque, the suggestion is to write down the cheque numbers on a piece of paper, cross out the one after you use it to make your own record. Take pictures of the information of the credit cards you are going to use while travelling, leave the ones that you don’t need at home; print the pictures and bring them in your luggage.
Use the same common sense traveling in Indochina area that you would at home, don’t use shortcuts and try not to walk alone at night. If you have to go out after dark, let somebody know when you are expected to come back to hotel.
Don’t put your wallet or mobile phone in the back pocket of your pants or anywhere else that is easily reached, thieves can reach them easily too. Be vigilant in markets and crowded places.
Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest, and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers. It is more of a problem in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Phen, but there are a few incidences in Vientiane too.
Don’t discuss your personal matters and travel plans with strangers while traveling in Indochina area. Traffic is chaotic in Indochina area, especially in Vietnam. It’s illegal to ride on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, it’s not only required according to the local law system, but also made for your personal safety. When crossing the street on foot, walk at a slow and steady pace, looking up and meeting the driver’s eyes, the traffic will flow around you.
Monitor the media for information about possible safety and security risks.
There are special tips at different countries and regions in Indochina area:
Vietnam. Tourists are sometimes not authorized to travel to certain areas of Vietnam in deemed sensitive by the Vietnam Government.
Cambodia. The landmines are no longer a concern to regular tourists, but pay attention to them because the remaining mines concentrated in the border areas (particularly the Thai Border), some mountain areas, and other war zones.
Laos. Landmines are the main concern to travelers; make sure where you cannot go to with your guide or the local people.
Thailand: Bangkok is the capital city. In this country, you cannot avoid the beautiful beaches, do wear a life jacket when you hire a water scooter or a jet ski, and keep away from areas people are swimming (see: Travel Guide to Thailand).
Southwest China. This region is a well-developed tourist destination, while traveling in this area, you need to make sure that your driver is licensed and experienced, because of the complex terrain and road conditions.