Last updated on July 23rd, 2021 at 06:08 am
I heard about countless stories of people being robbed abroad (especially in Vietnam) and somehow I was still caught off guard.
What I’ve learned is anyone can get robbed anywhere and in any circumstance.
Thieves don’t care if you’re foreign, local, rich, middle class, or even barely making it. People have gotten robbed when they left their door unlocked, or even after being cautious.
All thieves care about is the opportunity to take something they can profit from.
I met up with a woman from a Facebook group. We got some tea, then hit up a rooftop bar for some drinks. The conversation was flowing, and I felt a little buzzed.
She kindly invited me to her apartment to meet her boyfriend and cat. Although I was enjoying myself, I knew it was time to get back to my hostel because it was about 1:20 am and I had a flight to catch the next day.
I’m not gonna lie, at this point I was turnt.
So I said my goodbyes, ordered a Grab bike (it’s like Uber but on a motorbike) and headed downstairs because my ride was around the corner. At this point, I was ready to crash because the drinks were catching up to me.
Catching an Uber
When I got outside, the app showed the driver moving farther and farther from me. What the “F”?
“I’m tired, it’s getting late, and my driver is playing games,” I thought.
I wanted to cancel with the quickness, but he seemed to be the only driver in the area, so I messaged him “where are you?”. Finally he came, but had the biggest attitude ever.
I was thoroughly confused, because I was the one waiting for him and it was late as heck. Did you know this man started yelling at me in Vietnamese (like I know what he’s saying), then laughed.
My guess was he didn’t want to take me because it was “far” (he pointed at the map.)
I tried to request another ride, but he was still the only one close by. Everysinglefreakingtime it would match me with him. Then this man had the nerve to be lurking around the area, maybe 300 ft away from me.
A knot formed in my throat, and my stomach started hurting. Ughhhh.
Feeling unsafe and still intoxicated, my nerves were unsettled.
On top of that, my signal kept going in and out, so I could not message the girl I hung out with.
Bad thoughts entered my mind since it was now 1:40 am. I knew better and normally, I wouldn’t be out and about this late solo. I don’t know what sparked a difference this night.
Ruminating stories of robberies played in my head, but I just knew I was taking the proper precautions. People warned me of thieves on motorbikes driving up and snatch belongings. Or more commonly, pickpocketing.
I clutched my purse so tight and carefully looked at my phone every few minutes for a new driver.
Finally, after 30 minutes of nervously waiting, I got another one. As soon as he arrived, I hopped on the back of his bike and we took off.
The ride home
Still feeling a little uneasy, I huddled over my phone, texting my best friend about being stranded earlier.
Literally, as soon as I sent the text, a man with a mask on—which is common to wear—rode up to the motorbike.
WHATTTTTTT IN THE WORLD!
He strategically yanked my phone out of my hand and I tried to yank it back, but he was obviously stronger than me. Then he drove off so fast.
The fact he could get his bike to match my driver’s speed, then do all of this in a matter of seconds, blew my mind. I shut my eyes and let out a tremendous scream, begging for my phone. But as soon as I opened my eyes, he was gone.
The plot thickens, though.
My driver tried to drop me off in the middle of nowhere. I was panicking! But I had to put on my big girl pants and figure out how to get back. He knew zero English, but I motioned for him not to drop me off yet.
Whimpering, I showed him my cash, and I pointed to his phone to use google. I typed in my hostel name, which allowed my driver to see where to take me. Then he navigated me.
The rest of the ride was filled with an unsettling pain that consumed my entire body for what felt like forever.
Finally, I made it safely to my room. Then I did my best to calm my nerves and prepare for my trip to Malaysia, which was in a few hours.
Looking back, I’m thankful for my safety, but this was definitely nerve wracking.
I share my story with you all, because no one is exempt; this could happen to anyone. You don’t have to be afraid, just ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings; follow your intuition.
Even taking the right precaution isn’t always enough, but this is life. Sh*t happens. Material things can be replaced.
This is what I learned from traveling solo for the first time:
We’re too dependent on our phones.
When my phone was stolen, I was at a lost for words because I was unsure how I was going to get back.
Know valuable information
Write numbers and addresses down especially if you are solo.
Have an accountability buddy
…..who you can check in with to ensure you are safe!
I shouldn’t have been waiting alone at night in a city I’ve NEVER been to before.
Never have ALL your important items together.
Something I already practiced. Keep your passport and valuables in a safe (or locked in a luggage). Do not bring a lot of cash and do not bring all your cards.
Be aware of your surroundings
This doesn’t mean be fearful. If you are in an unfamiliar area, be vigilant.
PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Although this situation sucked, I had insurance and was fully compensated for my stolen phone.
If you made it to the end comment, “🤯” below.
Jazzie Más says
😱 whew! Thanks for this reminder to never let my guard down no matter where I am. I’ve been living in Vietnam for 2 years now so honestly, I get laxed in DA Nẵng at times. When I’m in Hanoi or HCMc I literally have no footage because I’m so scared of getting my phone snatched. Happy to hear you were able to get your phone replaced.
Cultured Kam says
I believe it! HCMC was where this happened, but I was the same way in Central Vietnam too. I’m happy that you’ve been safe and continue to take the right precautions 💛