Most Common Scams in Vietnam and How To Avoid
Scams are everywhere on the world and anyone could experience while traveling. Knowing about Most Common Scams in Vietnam that you may encounter will help you much to make your trip to this city great and memorable.
1. Snatch Theft
What could be snatched in Vietnam? The answer is anything including a camera, telephone, purse and bag with passport and money… Thefts in Vietnam are very intelligent, they can follow you for hours and snatch your stuff in one second. You can save your camera by using camera straps, secure it around your neck or wrist. Don’t use your phone on the street but in buildings, cafe, hotels where there are security cameras and security guards. Instead of using purse or handbag, just use a backpack to keep your valuable things. In case your bag and passport are stolen on the street, you can find your passport thereafter a few hours or one day. Some “good” Vietnamese thefts will return your passport.
You should be careful when you go out of the airport where it’s very crowded there and lots of pickpockets wait for their opportunities to make a few bucks from an uncareful passenger. When you’re in a crowd, be careful with your watch on hand, purse and telephone in your pocket. Local markets and buses are places where pickpockets love to work. It’s recommended to keep your stuff in a backpack and stay away from the crowd.
3. Cyclo Scam
While you are walking or sitting and enjoying some drinks on the street, you may encounter a cyclo driver offering you a ride to a destination or around the city to see some attractions. You and he will discuss the price and you agree with a final price which is a good price. You hop on and he rides you, what happens then? There are 2 common circumstances could possibly occur:
- The cyclo driver doesn’t ride you to your wanted destination but to an unknown place from where you don’t know how to go back. He will ask you to pay any more or he will leave you there.
- The cyclo driver rides you around and stop at some attractions, then offers to wait for you at these attractions. At the end of the riding, he asks you to pay 500,000 VND for “waiting time”
Tips: Do not deal with cyclo drivers to sightsee Saigon. It’s better to book a cyclo or sightseeing tour by cyclo at a tour desk.
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4. The Coconut Scam
This kind of street hawker usually carries his coconut baskets around on their shoulder. He may target you and friends/family by offering you an opportunity to take a nice photo with his baskets. While your group is busy with taking photos and posing, he uses a knife to open as many coconuts as he can. He will ask you to pay for the opened coconuts with price 150,000 VND ($7) although one coconut usually costs about 10,000 VND. Just refuse the attractive offer from any coconut seller.
5. Taxi Scam
Taxi scam is one of the most common scams in Vietnam and has been written in many blogs. My tips for you are choosing good taxis such as Vinasun, Mai Linh, Saigontourist. You can also book a drive through GrabCar and Uber.
6. Motorbike Scam
Motorbike might be a good choice to drive around because it’s cheaper and more effective than a taxi in crowded cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. You can deal with a motorbike taxi driver a good price from the hotel to an attraction, for example, 50,000 VND. But when you arrive, he asks you to pay 500,000 VND because you heard the price wrong. You can download GrabBike and Uber-Moto to your smartphone and book a drive easy and safe.
7. Restaurants/Street Food Stalls that do not display prices
Some restaurants or street food stalls, especially those do not display prices can charge tourists 5 times in comparison to the price locals have to pay. It’s better to not eat at places with menu and price or ask before ordering. If you love street food, going with a local or booking a food tour is a good choice. Another scam is asking you to enter your pin code many times because the credit card paying hasn’t been successful. And they really charge you double or three times. Be careful about this new scam!
8. Paying More for Tickets
You may buy train tickets, bus tickets from travel agencies in Vietnam. But these tickets usually do not show which class of your seat. You only know you have paid for a sleeping bunker but get a sitting one when the train/bus is about to depart. You couldn’t go back to the agency to ask for a refund because it’s too late. Tip for you is only buying tickets from a reliable travel company.
Above are the most common scams in Vietnam and how to avoid them. Traveling is enjoying and having fun. Do not let these scams affect your trip to the beautiful and friendly Vietnam.