I’m in Vietnam right now, as it happens, on a month-long extended break. I’ve been staying down on the island of Phu Quoc in the far south. It’s the first time I’ve been to Vietnam. In answer to the question, I’ve found Vietnam very safe - certainly compared to my time in Thailand. Obviously, if you’re going to hang around shady bars in Saigon then your mileage may vary, but I’ve found that down here life is very slow and quiet - even for a popular tourist beach resort like Phu Quoc.
Vietnamese people, in my experience, are very shy. As a white Englishman, I find that I get accorded an almost unsettling amount of respect from the people here. There is practically nowhere I can’t go and absolutely nobody has given me the kind of passive-aggressive attitude I came to recognize (and resent) from some Thais. I’d say the biggest problem is just getting to make any connection at all with real Vietnamese people - they seem so reserved, so shy, it’s a bit of a problem. Of course, if I spoke Vietnamese I’m sure my experience would be immeasurably different (in other words, it’s not their fault; it’s mine).
It’s a beautiful country - an imperfect paradise (aren’t they all?), but still a paradise, with 2000 miles of some of the world’s best coastlines. Nobody here has tried to scam me, nobody’s been rude or had a bad attitude. If you want a quieter, much less vulgar experience of a SE Asian country, Vietnam comes very highly recommended (and it’s good value, too). It can still be a full-on culture shock at first, but once you calm down you notice how easy it is to just quietly fit in with the day-to-day all around you.