I lived in HCMC for 4 years. It is NOT very safe by Singaporean standard. There's a lot of snatch thieves on motorbikes.
They will snatch any thing whenever they chance upon, cameras, sling bags, gold chain, hand phone, etc. Even in District 1.
Never venture by yourself into District 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. District 5 is still ok.
Just practice vigilance. Sling your strap a few rounds around your wrist. Keep your wallet in your hotel. Bring enough cash and atm card will do. Separate your big notes from the small ones. It is really confusing for 10k and 100k, 20k and 500k.
There's no use reporting to the police. They don't speak much English. The paper work takes 2~4 hours depending on the mood of the police and the queue. And the statement is in Vietnamese which will most likely be irrelevant to what actually happened. And after you leave, they will throw it into the bin.
If you really want to report to police while in HCM, the nearest and 'English speaking' police station is located two streets west of Benh Thanh Market, along the street call Le Anh Xuan.
Other useful tips:
- There's a taxi stand right at the end of the departure hall
- Taxi from airport to District 1 should cost no more than 120k
- Take only Vinasun and Mai Linh Taxis.
- Beware of the Comfort Delgro and Saigon Tourist Taxis. They are the gangsters. Even the local avoid them
- Don't give taxi driver 100k, they will short change you most of the time. Instead give smaller or exact amount.
- Watch ALL directions when crossing the road
- Motorcycles do not need to obey red light when turning right
- Beating red light is very common in Vietnam
- Don't walk and talk/sms on the street (people will snatch)
- Don't carry your wallet in your hand (people will snatch)
- When in taxi, after paying, keep your wallet and money in your pocket before alighting. Do not hold wallet in your hand upon alighting (people will snatch)
- Don't wear 'chop-hand' watches, even if they are fakes.
Things to remember:
- Remember to say Thank You
- Don't complain too much! It's not Singapore
- Remember to tip after meal
- Remember to tip after going massage/spa/manicure
- Remember to tip at bar
- Remember to tip if any service is rendered
- Remember to tip... Singaporean tourist has a bad reputation here when it comes to tipping.
If you rent a motorcycle:
- Read the T&C, if you lose a crap Honda Cup the compensation can be as high as USD2,000
- Never leave your bike unattended.
- Park you bike and remember to get a tag from the attendant
- Remember where is the petrol station
- Hire a taxi so you can follow behind if you are lost haha
- Don't use any GPS not even your phone (because it will be snatched)