Accessible Tourism in Vietnam

As most Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is not the easiest of places for travellers with accessibilities (physical disability or handicap). Despite being amongst the countries with the highest rate of disabled people, infrastructures and facilities for disabled people are rather limited in Vietnam. Other tactical problems such as chaotic traffic and sidewalks blocked by motorbikes and food stalls are major challenges for disabled people to get around. Yet it is not impossible for accessible travellers to visit Vietnam, with some careful planning, your trip to Vietnam would still be as exciting and memorable as it should be.

The easiest way to arrange your Vietnam trip is contacting a reliable travel company, especially those who include accessible tours in their profile. Not only have they known best about things you might need during the trip (hotels, transportation and places to visit). Also, it is very likely that they can offer different alternatives and tailor-made tours that are crafted to your need and ability, so you can travel with ease and comfort.

At big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the chaotic traffic might be terrifying for you at first (for most travellers actually). When crossing the street, just stay calm and go with the flow, it’s in their nature that people will go around you. It might take a couple of trials, but you will eventually get used to it. Also, you might find shops or stores that have steps but do not afraid to ask because people are willing to lend you a hand, or they will bring you the items that you want to look or buy. A smile will do the job!

Shops in Hoi An

If you get tired of the cities, an escape to Ha Long Bay will heal your spirit. There’s nothing stopping you from witnessing the marvellous beauty of Ha Long Bay because there is a five-star cruise equipped with a lift and accessible room amenities, which allows you to relax and have a good time.  Besides, accessible rooms are available at some midrange and top-end hotels. Do not afraid to double-check and send requests for additional support for extra convenience!

Sunset in Ha Long Bay

Here are some extra travel tips for you:

- Manual chair is needed for easiest travel

- Have a travel buddy

- Know key words for your condition or disability in Vietnamese (e.g. “I can’t walk”). You can also carry a paper with you where these words are written down as you may find the pronunciation difficult. This will help people realise what kind of help you may need.

- At some occasions, you might find people staring at you. In most cases, it is due to curiosity, and not due to insult. 

- Train travel is not really geared for travellers with wheelchairs, but open tour buses are doable. If you can afford to rent a private vehicle with a driver, almost anywhere becomes instantly accessible.

- If you plan to rely on taxis a lot of the time, it is better to ask your hotel to organise a 7 seater. Get your driver’s name and number so you can call him as and when you need - you can ask anyone in shops or restaurants, hotels, etc to call him on your behalf - you'll never be charged for the call.

- Please be noted that bathroom doorways can be very narrow at some hotels; if the width of your wheelchair is more than 60cm you may struggle to get inside.

- When planning your vacation, make sure you know the policy and procedures for bringing equipment onboard of all the transport vehicles.

Nothing is impossible! That’s the last thing and the spirit you shall pack in your suitcase to enjoy the most of your vacation in Vietnam!

*Read more: check out an inspiring travel story in Vietnam of Federico Villa – a 29 years old disabled traveller and Paralympic hand bike athletic.

Reference: Lonelyplanet.com


Author: Andy

Having been to over 20 countries, travelling is no longer a hobby but a passion for Andy, in which each journey is a process of self-exploration and integration of a human being into nature, culture and history.