Vietnam Country Guide

Stay Safe



Hotel owners may tell you that the room price is 200,000 dong. However, when checking out, they may insist that the price is USD20, charging you almost a double. Another trick is to tell customers that a "room" is a few dollars, but following day they'll say that price was for a fan room only and it's another price for an air-con room. These days, legitimate hotel owners seem to be aware of these scams and are usually willing to help by writing down how much the room is per persons per day (in U.S. dollars or dong), if it has air con or not.
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Taxis are abundant in Saigon and you can get a taxi at any time of the day or night. You can also call a taxi, and usually there will be somebody at the call center that will be able to converse in English.
Rule of thumb to detect scammers is if the taxi doesn't have the fare charges written, or drivers name and photo on the dashboard. Don't board the taxi or immediately ask the driver to stop and get out.

Many taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi install rigged meters, charging up to 2 to 8 times more. The best way to reduce your chances is by taking a taxi from reputable companies such as Mai Linh and Vinasun in Ho Chi Minh City and Mai Linh and Hanoi Tourist in Hanoi. Though the companies are reputable, there have been instances of cheating from their drivers.

Vinasun taxi by Ovidius

In other cities such as Dalat, Hoi An and Nha Trang, do not travel by meter. The airports are as far as 30-40 km from these places and meter will cost you 500,000-650,000 dongs. However, you can either take a bus from the airport to city center or negotiate rates with taxi for 200,000-300,000 dsong. Pay attention to sides of the taxi - usually a rate for an airport drop is written on the door itself.

Taxis from the Airport
When leaving the airport, the taxi driver may insist that you pay the airport toll. He may not be very forthcoming with the price, and if you give him cash, he will pay the toll and pocket the rest.
The airport toll fees is Saigon is 10,000 Dong (as of July 2012) - this is also quoted along with the fare written on the dashboard of the taxi. You can confidently say "airport toll only 10,000" and refuse to pay anything else unless there are more tolls roads. In Ho Chi Minh City, a trip to Backpackers street should not cost more than 250,000 Dong from the airport.

You meet an over friendly cyclo pedicab driver who says, "never mind how much you would pay" or "you can pay whatever you like at the end of the trip". He may even try to show you his book of comments from international tourists. This kind of driver has to be a scammer! If you still want to use his service you should make it clear about the agreed price and don't pay more than that. Just be clear what you are willing to pay, the cyclo drivers are just trying to make a living. 

Cyclos in Vietnam by ntt

Some restaurants are known to have two menus, one for local people and another one for foreigners. The only way to deal with it is to learn a few Vietnamese phrases and insist that you should be shown only the Vietnamese menu. If they hesitate to show you the local menu, you better walk away.

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