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a VirtualTourist member asked on Sep 16, 2013

Sapa

safety in vietnam

Hi- I will be traveling by train to sapa with my 10 year old daughter in Novemeber, from Hanoi. If you read the government websites, and visit your "travel health specialist" you get the idea that horrible diseases and risks are everywhere! We both got our Hep A and TDP and are up to date on the regular vaccines, but Typhoid/JE/ maleria??? How many (relatively careful) tourists
actually suffer from these sicknesses after a week or 2 in Sapa- or 3 1/2 weeks (in our case) in the country, sticking mainly to the beach and large towns, cities ? I am also wondering about train travel down the coast in November- is that safe? Thank you- ( i want to say that before i started traveling with a kid- these kinds of things never crossed my mind- parenthood has made me more careful- maybe they should call it par(anoid)enthood!!!!



12 Answers


answered on 9/16/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

Hello and welcome to VT........d:o)

Sounds like having kids may have helped save your life........d:o)

First off, never, NEVER ask for medical advise from non-medical personnel, including us! Do the proper thing and go visit a travel medicine specialist. Not your regular doctor. Spend the money and see the proper doctor. After all would you go visit a proctologist for a heart murmur....?

I could of course tell you what to do, but all it takes is one response that does not agree, and both advises are null and void. I saw a thread on this recently in TripAdvisor, and the ignorance showing in the responses was alarmingly astounding.

Trust me when I tell you, Malaria can and will kill you, - and your daughter. All it takes is one mozzie. Once you get it and it does not kill you, you will be reminded of your stupidity every single day of the rest of your life, - ask me. I know. Here is a scary statistic: Half of the people who have ever lived on this planet, - died from Malaria.

So, the only advise you should get here from anyone, - go to a professional. Don't solicit life changing advise from strangers. And don't be cheep. Visiting a travel specialist is not cheap, and neither are the medications, - but how much is your daughter's life worth.

You may go and not get bit by any mosquitoes. Hey, saved a few bucks.......d:o)....... but what if you or her get bit? What will you do then? Do you have travel insurance. You should. Within said insurance should be EVAC insurance. If yopu get sick or break a leg, all the medical insurance is not going to do you any good, - if you cannot get to it. Trust me, EVAC out of pocket, is exorbitantly expensive, and it will be collected.

Do the proper thing, get proper medical advise from a proper medical personnel, and then follow their instructions, - no matter what the internet fools have to say and no matter what your friends who have never been there, have to say. Good luck and have fun.........d:o)




answered on 9/16/13 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

Train travel in Vietnam is the safest way to go, much safer than buses, and quite comfortable too!!!
Regarding your vaccinations, it does seem rather a lot but if you just happen to catch something that you failed to protect yourself from, you will regret it if things turn nasty. Most people travel the country without any mishaps but of course this is not guaranteed. I was unlucky enough to catch malaria in VN back in 1993......and by gawd i wished that i had protected myself.




answered on 9/16/13 by
a VT member from Hanoi

I've been to Vietnam 5 times and never caught anything but a good time. Like anywhere else, just use common sense and eat where it looks clean, and other people are lined up. I suggest a mix of train and air travel - don't do the entire coastline by train, just too long, boring and a waste of your time. Sapa is considerably more rustic than say Hoi An or Saigon, but it's also the most beautiful place in VN, and the food is good and safe there. Vietnam is not darkest Africa - rather a developing country with fairly high standards considering the corruption. One thing to look out for is boat travel - I just wouldn't risk it with children. Also avoid road travel as much as possible - wait till you see how badly they drive! Food and disease are really the least of your concerns, I kid you not.




answered on 9/17/13 by
a VT member from Hanoi

DO NOT listen to those who tell you about "horrible diseases" in Vietnam, which is not Tropical Africa. European doctors know nothing about the country and will tell you to get all kinds of vaccines and protective medecine to avoid a law suit if you catch something.In fact, it is years that the Viet Government has declares Sapa "free of malaria" and I have never heard about one who got it there ! A good mosquito repellent is all what you need.




answered on 9/17/13 by
a VT member from Lecce

It's been a good idea to choose the train to go from Hanoi to Sapa. It is the safest mean, much better than car or bus. About the vaccines...mah, when I went to Vietnam I still had the vaccines for Hepatite, Tiphoid I had made for India. For malaria vaccination it depends on the areas you aim to visit. If you go to Sapa town I think you can avoid it. Malarial prophylaxis is not without side effects, for the health of your daughter. I didn't find mosquitos in Sapa, and hotels and guesthouses are mostly clean. Use mosquito repellent and cover your skin. if you want to feel more quiet..




answered on 9/17/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

.....and therein lies my proof. All it takes is one response that disagrees, and both replies are rendered useless.

However, re-read the above post, - and one above that. both take a snipe at "....this is not Africa or even darkest Africa". On a sidenote, can you folks clarify what "darkest" Africa means.....you know, where you are.

The truth is that, although 70% of all Malaria victims are indeed in Africa, the East Asian countries have been plagued with new and stronger strains of Malaria, that the medications for African Malaria are useless against. Look at the Thai statistics.

I said it before and I will say it again, - do not take any medical advise from travelling know-it-alls. Get it from a travel medicine professional. The last place you should be looking for medical advise is from anonymous people on the web. My advise is not medical. It is crucial. Get medical advise from medical personnel. Discard every single hint at anything else.

Right now, at this very moment as I am writing this, I am painfully aware of my stupidity back in the day when I though I was immortal............




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Vung Tau

Hi,
For Sapa portion, if you just stay in town, no trekking, & home-stay -> no worries - just apply some anti-mosquitos cream when hanging out of hotel. But spending time in Sapa in November without trekking is not good choice as the rice crop has ended. Better to relax at one of beautiful beach in South Vietnam.




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Hanoi

There is NO such animal as a "vaccine for malaria", if not, it would not be endemic in some parts of the world ! There are preventive drugs such as malarone, but NO NEED in Sapa, declared "free of malaria" years ago by the Viet Govt. "Medical personnel" knows ZERO about the malaria situation in Vietnam,and will advise you to take all kinds of precautions just to "cover their ass" ! What do they know about Sapa ? Some mosquito repellent is all what you need. I am "anonymous" like all members of all forums, but I happen to live in Hanoi since 6 years and have been in Sapa 8 times already, each time for 5-7 days, so I know what I am talking about.

Rice terraces green or not green in Sapa makes little difference ; it is still a stunning site full of delightful dao and h'mong minority people and great trekking, so, GO !




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

..........and that is one of the worst things anyone "living" in the country can possibly advise. It is not even close to being the same. This is the typical and by far the worst advise possible. "I live here and if I don't get malaria, you the visitor don't either."

That is a dangerous statement, and incredibly ignorant.

Further, not all people on all forums are Anonymous. Like the members of VT. At least I am not anonymous. You can find me in my VT pages, live, and in livin' color.




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Hanoi

You are kindly invited to be POLITE on this forum, which, in that particular case, means not calling somebody "ignorant" !

"Anonymous" means that one uses a nickname, not one's REAL name ; so, unless your real name is Odinnthor, what the hell are you talking about ????




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

I did not call you ignorant. I said that the statement was ignorant. I stand by that. And the last paragraph above is also an ignorant statement. My name is on my page.




answered on 9/26/13 by
a VT member from Hanoi

Ignorant or not, one cannot say that your attitude is a pleasant one !!! Apparently, anybody who is not of your opinion writes ignorant things ; that's not called "ignorance", but "arrogance"

END OF THE DISCUSSION !!!!





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