Police and Post Office

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Police — Yes, you may call them if you have something stolen, and they can fill out a report for insurance purposes, but the Hanoi police are best avoided; in fact, the only reason to see them is if you’re bribing your way out of something (a traffic violation, for example). In Vietnam’s rapidly changing economic and social climate, laws are mutable and, in fact, the rule of law is still uncertain. Traffic police crack down on motorbike drivers without helmets, but in general, foreign visitors have no contact with the grim lads in khaki.

Post Office — The General Post Office is located at 6 Dinh Le St., Hoan Kiem District (tel. 04/3825-7036). It’s open daily from 6:30am to 10pm. You can also send faxes and make international phone calls there. FedEx (tel. 04/3719-8787; daily 8am-6pm) is located in the same building as the post office but has its own storefront just around the corner. You can also find a UPS storefront on the same block at 10 Le Thach St. (tel. 04/3824-6483; daily 7:30am-6pm) and a branch of EMS at 12 Le Thach St. (tel. 04/3824-1271; daily 7am-9pm). Expect to pay anywhere from $29 to $74 per kilo, depending on expediency of service.

Safety — Hanoi, like the rest of Vietnam, is safe. The only concerns for visitors are pickpockets and minor local scams. Keep an eye on your valuables; store traveler’s checks and money in your hotel safe or, if you must bring them with you, keep cash and important documents safe in a travel wallet under clothing and out of sight of the clever hands of thieves. Take care if out clubbing late in Hanoi, and avoid dark streets and walking alone, as you might in any place in the world. But in general, you’re free from violence in the Vietnamese capital.