SAFE JOUR­NEY

COM­MON TRAVEL SCAMS IN VIET­NAM

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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.

TAXI SCAMS

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 SCAMS

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.

RESTAU­RANT SCAMS

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.

HO­TEL SCAMS

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.

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