Safety and Security
The Government of Vietnam may not allow or authorize you to travel to certain areas of Vietnam deemed sensitive. These travel limitations may also hinder the ability of the U.S. Government to provide assistance to you in those areas. U.S. citizens have been detained after traveling in areas close to the Vietnamese borders with China, Cambodia, and Laos. These areas are not always marked, and there are no warnings about prohibited travel. You should avoid such areas unless you obtain written permission in advance from local authorities. You should check with travel agencies before going to border areas to see if you need to obtain a travel permit issued by local authorities.
Tourists who visit Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh and want to spend the night on a boat should take caution. A boat sinking accident in Feb 2011 resulted in the deaths of 12 people, including 2 U.S. citizens, and revealed weaknesses in the management of some boat companies. You should consider taking overnight tours only with large, reputable companies. Smaller companies operating poorly equipped and managed boats may offer cheap prices, but can lead to unsafe tours.
At any time, you should avoid large gatherings, such as those forming at the scene of traffic accidents, which can become violent with little or no warning.