The Vietnamese expression for “Help me!” is Cứu tôi với. The expression literally means:
- cứu – help
- tôi – me
- với – with/to
To pronounce the phrase correctly, you must pay attention to the two up-tones on cứu and với (as indicated by the up-ticks on ứ/ớ):
- cứu – rhymes with clue, with an up-tone like you are asking a question.
- tôi – pronounced like toy
- với – pronounced like voy with an up-tone
Vietnamese Expressions To Ask For Help
Here are some other useful expressions in Vietnamese request help:
- I need your help (for non-emergencies) – Tôi cần sự giúp đỡ của bạn
- Can you help me? – Anh/Em/Bạn có thể giúp tôi được không? (see notes on you)
- Giúp tôi với! – Help me (for non-emergencies, less serious than Cứu tôi với)
- I am sick – Tôi bị ốm
- I am injured – Tôi bị thương
- Call the police! – Gọi cảnh sát đi!
- Call an ambulance! – Gọi xe cấp cứu đi!
- I must to go to a hospital – Tôi phải đến bệnh viện
- Police – cảnh sát
- Ambulance – xe cấp
How to Call the Police or Ambulance in Vietnam?
Vietnam has three 911-like phone numbers for contacting public emergency services:
- 113 – police
- 114 – fire-fighting
- 115 – public emergency ambulance
Be aware that public ambulances are notorious for being late and/or getting stuck in traffic — there is no cultural-norm of drivers yielding to ambulances. Private ambulances are a must: make sure you know the contact info of a few private ambulances.
If you buy re-issurance as your travel insurance, check ahead of time that the insurance company actually has a history of assisting people in your travel region — we had a frustrating experience of paying for emergency insurance and being the company’s first-ever experience in SE-Asia, resulting in long delays and ambiguous procedures during an emergency.
Is Vietnam Safe For Travel?
The kind of physical street-level crime that frightens most people is, in our experience, very rare the cities of Northern Vietnam, like Hanoi. Petty crimes like pick-pocketing or drive-by phone-snatchers happen more often in southern cities Ho Chi Minh City. Even residents of Ho Chi Minh City have been known to look around suspiciously before pulling-out their valuables on the street (Read more about the differences between North and South Vietnam).
Compared to the mass-homelessness of progressive American cities, or the immigrant ghettos of Europe, the blight of “no-go zones” doesn’t really exist in large urban cities of Vietnam, aside from a few places where tourists are unlikely to go.
Most of the crime in Vietnam isn’t the kind of scary physical altercation like in America. Instead, tourists need to concerned about scams, fraud, and dubious business transactions, such as being tricked into paying for free parking, buying fake whiskey, or getting a fake visa extension. See our guide to Common Scams that Target Tourists in Vietnam.