For Women Travelers
If you were to ask us what countries where women were to most enjoy traveling in on their own, Vietnam would be near top. However, incidents do and have happened – especially when bicycling the length of the country. Being a western cyclist means you will already be the focus of much, but mostly good, attention from the locals. In some rural areas, where there is higher unemployment (and drinking rice wine is a favorite past time), many young men take to the road on their bicycles and scooters while drunk. They may merely ride next to you wanting to talk. In some incidents, women (and even some men) have had their rears slapped or been grabbed.
If this happens while you are riding, make it plain that you are not amused (such as yelling, or whatever works for you) and for safety, pull over and stop. Stopping at a home, café, or store and calling the attention of locals is a very good strategy — they will likely drive the miscreants off. Also try to ride within sight of one of your male guides. You can also reach your guide by borrowing a mobile phone if they are not in sight.
Don’t let the chance of this happening overly worry you. You will have hundreds of very great interactions, but like anywhere there are a few bad seeds. But please be prepared if you do have an encounter.
On the lighter side, dressing informally is not a problem in Vietnam. Spending most of your day in bike shorts does not attract any unusual attention over what you will already receive being there. The few exceptions are some temples, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and of course dusk, when mosquitoes are swarming around under tables.
For more detailed travel advice, we would be happy to put you in touch with past travelers for their experiences and advice.
Can we provide you with more information? Send us a message, or call our office in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377.
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