COMMON TRAVEL SCAMS IN VIETNAM
Vietnam is relatively safe for any traveler. Like any tourist destinations, scams are reported in different places in Vietnam from time to time. If you can know before you go to Vietnam, your trip will be stress free.
STREET VENDOR SCAMS
One of the typical scams of Vietnam cities are the local street vendors. At first, you can be quite impressed with these street vendors as there are no such things in Western culture. Vendors will try to approach tourists with friendly smile and offer chances of taking photo with their bamboo carrying pole and baskets. After that, they will ask or even force tourists to buy something at exorbitant prices.
How to avoid: Say a firm but polite “No, thank you” will help push the vendors away. In some cases, you can pretend that you’re not listening and walk away. If you would like to buy something from the vendors, check the price carefully and prepare small bills, do not give them big bills as they may not give back change.
Just like many places in the world, you may encounter a tricky taxi driver looking to overcharge you during yourVietnam visit. The common trick is using a modified meter that runs faster than the normal ones or they ignore to turn on the meter to rip off tourists. They may drive a longer route, circle around to maximize the fare and pretend that they do not have change.
How to avoid: The best way to avoid the taxi scams is trying to use the reputable taxi companies such as Mai Linh, Taxi Group or Vinasun. Remember to ask the driver to turn on the meter. You can ask the hotel staff to help arrange a taxi for you. Now, applications on smart phone such as Uber or Grab are also great solutions to avoid taxi scams because the price is indicated clearly with the driver’s numbers and car’s plate numbers.
Cyclo rides are one of the best experiences of anyVietnam custom tour, they’re very popular in destinations like Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. However, it is possible to meet a tricky cyclo drivers, especially when you try to manage the ride on your own. They might overcharge tourists and shorten the agreed tour in order to ask for more money.
How to avoid: Remember to bargain the price before taking a cyclo ride, the reasonable price for 1 hour is around 100,000 VND or 3,5 USD. Travelers should have the agreed price, traveling time and perhaps destinations with the driver. Book the cyclo ride through your hotel or tour operator who can help you negotiate everything before the ride.
Vietnamese food is so well-known and every traveler wants to try the local dishes. Many good restaurants can satisfy even the most demanding customers, but Vietnam still has bad restaurants. Watch for restaurants that do not list the prices on the menu. If prices are not listed, they will try and raise the cost of the food, ripping tourists off. How to avoid: Ask for recommendations from your hotel, travel agents or private tour guide when traveling.
Some people might have done a research and book a hotel based on the good reviews. However, there are a lot of bad hotels that copy names of reputable hotels and create “fake” reviews on the internet. Sometimes, they give a really good nightly rate but when you check-in, travelers must pay the extra fees. In some cases, the hotels may put travelers in a room with already broken equipment and when you check out, they will add fees for “damage”. How to avoid: Book the hotels in advance through a trusted local tour operator or a reputable hotel company.
The local tour companies know about the hotels in Vietnam and can identify the bad ones easily.
If such scams happened to you or you are concerned about a scam, you can report to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) at address: 80 Quan Su st, Hoan Kiem dist, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: 84243 942 2760.