8 Common Travel Scams In Vietnam And How To Advoid

No one want to encounter travel scams during their vacation, but it happens around all tourists when they visit a foreign country. Instead of worrying about the bad situations, you can actually prepare yourself for the frauds on the go.

If Vietnam is the next destination on your bucket list, the following information about common travel scams in Vietnam will help your excursion much more pleasant.

Frauded Currency Exchange

The Scenario

As most of the services in Vietnam accept Vietnam dong only, money switcheroo can prey on tourists who are not aware of the local exchange rate. They can be in the airport, at the popular destination, boasting that they do not take a commission.

In fact, a commission for their work is not that matter. But I have to warn you about 2 things: how much commision they take from you, it should be reasonable (that means you have to check with trusted source about the currency like this), 2nd is the currency they give back to you. The currency can be counterfeit or an older version of the notes, which is no longer used in Vietnam (Typical Features of Vietnam banknotes).

How To Avoid It

The safest choice to exchange money to head to your bank. Although the rate is not the best, you can be certain about the quality of the cash.

The price of buying and selling foreign currencies at banks in Vietnam is often competitive and different between each other. Some banks have services to exchange foreign currency for your reference such as: Agribank, Vietcombank, Techcombank, BIDV, Maritime Bank, Vietinbank, VIB, VP Bank, MB Bank, ABC … Before trading, you should access the website of each bank to study and consider the exchange rate.

However, exchanging money at banks may require lots of papers and many different procedures.

If you have international debit or credit cards, you can use them in Vietnam too. It will save you from currency exchanging.

Travel Scams in Vietnam Currency

Always aware of the local exchange rate

Transporting Swindle

Frauds in transportation are the most to blame for no return tourists in Vietnam. They are so common that you may not know if you are swindled or not.

Scenario #1

The first case is with the cabs. Some of them are not metered even though their appearance looks like they are. A more sophisticated trick is the driver tells you the counting device is broken (while it is just turned off). Even when you get on a metered taxi, the driver can still trick you by going a longer route to increase the fee.

How To Avoid It

You had better not to enter a cab by waving hand on the street. Some drivers may offer discounts for your ride but just ignore them. If you know some Vietnamese, you can make a direct phone call to the prestigious taxi groups to get a cab. Some popular names such as Vinasun, Mai Linh can be found on TripAdvisor. If you want to know the rate in advance, you can book a taxi via mobile phone apps, for example: Grab, Be, Go-Viet.

Scenario #2

In big destinations for tourism like Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An, Saigon, you may see a lot of cyclos and motorcycle-taxis (also known as Xe Om). It’s is such an authentic way to explore narrow alleys on these vehicles. But, the thing is, you are likely to be ripped off once you take a city tour with those of transports.

How To Avoid It

If you really want to experience a ride on a motorcycle or get the feeling on a cyclo, you should negotiate the rate in advance. A customized day tour from an excellent travel company is also a great option as you will receive the price quote beforehand.

Travel Scams in Vietnam Transport

Overcharging Street Vendors

The Scenario

Vietnam is the paradise of delicious foods. So it’s not easy to resist the temptation from the street food. Even the fruit stalls can make your mouth-watering with a variety of tropical picks. Unfortunately, many of them are overcharged. As they know you are new to Vietnamese culture, they can double or even triple the price for foreigners.

How To Avoid It

First, you should look for famous restaurants with excellent reviews. It’s always the best to hang out in places where the locals usually go to. You can know if a food provider is great by looking at the number of customers. It will take a little observation to avoid overcharging. If you can notice how much native residents pay for the same meal as you, you will never be ripped off.

Accommodation Scams

The Scenario

You find a great hotel on Google, but when you arrive, it turns out to be a slump in a remote area. If you have transferred the renting fee, they say they will not return or compensate because images are just for advertisement. Another scam is in the bill when you check out, the hotel manager adds up a lot of things you don’t use. While they insist you do it, you have no evidence to prove the opposite.

How To Avoid It

You should go to several travel forums to collect the authentic reviews before your trip and remember to double check the information. Once you select a hotel, try to contact them to ask for the terms and conditions. You will know it is a good place to stay when all the policies are clear and public.

Pickpocketing In Crowded Places

The Scenario

Not only in Vietnam but everywhere on Earth can you meet petty thieves. They often appear in crowded areas like in a festival, on public transport, in a bus station. The pickpocketer may ask for your help to withdraw your attention and take your wallet away.

How To Avoid It

Always keep an eye on your belongings. Also, you shouldn’t put all the money in one place. If you just have a day tour, consider leaving your ID card, passport and other valuable things in the hotel.

Illegal Ticket Fee

The Scenario

In the entertainment complex like The Sun World Ba Na Hill in Danang, Vinpearl Land Nha Trang, you need to buy a ticket to be able to get inside. During peak season, it can be super populous in front of the ticket box, so bad guys often hold a bunch of tickets, saying that they have other things to do and want to pass the tickets for you. But, chances are that you may get the counterfeit stuff at a higher price. It ends up spending money for a quack doctor.

How To Avoid It

In the 4.0 age, you can find almost everything on the internet. The ticket price is not an exception. The official website of some recreational centers also allow you to make a purchase in advance, so you don’t have to wait in a long queue for buying tickets.

Travel Scams in Vietnam Ticket

Unofficial Tour Guides

The Scenario

This often happens when you travel on your own to historical and cultural sites such as The Temple Of Literature in Hanoi, The Royal Palace in Hue. As these places require much local understanding to comprehend the utmost beauty, there are many locals waiting there, pretending to be knowledgeable and helpful, trying to be your personal guide. And then, they ask for an exorbitant price.

How To Avoid It

In some places, the authority offer tour guides for large groups of travelers at a super affordable price. You should look for the information center once you reach the destination. If you want a more personalized experience, you can book a day tour with a reliable travel agent to explore the rich history and culture of Vietnam.

Fake Beggars

The Scenario

When you are leisurely walking down the street, you can come across a poor man or even handicapped. His face is smudgy, the clothes are torn away. So weak and vulnerable. He will use an old conical hat to collect the money, and you already put your hand in the pocket. But, NO. He may not be as penniless as you think. In Vietnam, there are some groups of professional beggars.

Wait, what? Professional beggars?

Yup, it is. In popular tourist attraction, jobless people dress like impoverished or even disabled to ask for money. They even use children in this dirty business. So be careful when you are about to giving money to a stranger.

How To Avoid It

First, avoid eye contacting with them. They are great actors, so their teary eyes may make you relent on handing them some pennies. Just ignore them and enjoy your trip. When they spot other preys, they will give up on you.

If you really want to help the people in need, you can make a donation for trustworthy organizations like the Red Cross Association.

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