Not me personally, I'm just a redditor, just thought I'd pass it on I don't know if this place has a reputation or not, hopefully some others can chime in.
#1 dageshi has been a member since 1/3/2008. Posts: 56
I also have experienced difficulty with hostel owners in Hanoi . I didnt stay at the same place as above but i would still recommend avoiding City Gate Hotel in the Old Quarter. The owner seemed very kind and helpful but after a night of staying there we asked if the price of a ticket from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. We thought the price he gave was a little high so we thanked him for letting us know his price and then walked into town to look for a cheaper option. On returning, with our tickets booked, he informed us that he had booked a ticket for us. We said that we had just booked one and asked him to cancel, he said it was not possible and after some persistant nagging he rang up the company and said that he could not cancel, though it was obvious he did not really try. We then said we were not going pay as we never asked him to book the tickets in the first place, he then got aggressive very quickly getting a wrench form somewhere and laying on the table and saying that we would never leave Vietnam unless we payed (he requested that we give our passports as a deposit upon checking in). We continually refused, and he then stated pushing and shoving us saying that he would call the police. He then attempted to hit one of us with the wrench, though the others managed to get in the way. We then went to the other travel agent where we had booked the tickets and they cancelled the ticket (with a small fee) though it proved it was possible and that he was point blank lying. He then tried to charge us on things from the mini-bar in our room, though we hadnt opened it since we had been there. In the end we payed just so we could continue with our travels and get our passports back.
It has caused me to view Hanoi very negatively and i would advise you not to stay here.
The address is: 10 Thanh Ha Street, Hanoi,
#2 flather5121 has been a member since 9/3/2011. Posts: 3
I stayed at Hanoi Hostel at 91C Hang Ma in the Old Quarter. Small and quiet, but the staff are so so lovely. Apart from this hostel I didn't have a very good time in Hanoi and the place really helped to keep me sane. I met several nice people there too, they have free fresh beer between 6 and 7pm up in their roof cafe, which is a godsend for a solo traveller like me!
They booked me train tickets, called me taxis, helped me get a sim card on my first bewildered day in Vietnam and let me come and go as I pleased, provided late checkout as requested too.
#3 emily01 has been a member since 13/2/2011. Posts: 14
Flather's story about having difficulty in getting your passport back is why I fight tooth and nail to NOT hand my passport over.
In Vietnam, hotel/guesthouses are required by law to register all guests with the police each night. (Haven't a clue why!) And to do this, they need your passport and visa details.
I always carry a laminated copy of my passport (the page with photo) - and write the visa number/date down on sticky note on the back. (Actually I carry two copies - one as backup). When the hotel asks for my passport details, I give them the laminated copy. Out of approx 15 different places I stayed in Vietnam, only one ever insisted on the actual passport. My fear was leaving my passport behind when I checked out more so than being worried about having the hotel owner hold it as ransom.
My passport remains firmly hidden away except when crossing borders. Other than that, I use the laminated copy for everything, everywhere else. (The exception to this is when trying to rent a jeep in Koh Pangan, and I had to cave in to get the jeep.)
Ive done similar to you busylizzy. Travelling alone, I am trying to take all precautions. I've been carrying a few copies of my passport with me, and 4/5 situations, they've either accepted the copy (and returned it to me when I checked out!!) or just borrowed my passport to take a copy. The one exception was Sapa, apparently becaues it is so close to the border, but the hotel was lovely so I let them keep it (and funnily, I nearly forgot it!!). My copies include the photo page plus the visa page next to it. Perhaps I've been lucky but most places have been pretty ok about it.
#5 emily01 has been a member since 13/2/2011. Posts: 14
OMG, so sorry to see this forum. The Vietnamese can get nasty in money issue because they really working hard to make money. And some don't mean to be nasty, is only their culture. Bear in mind, Tourists are well protected by Viet authorities, lodge a complain and the Vietnamese will suffer. I had encounter a few bad incidents in Hanoi too, but after arguing and nearly a street fight, he vanished!!!! Check out my recent travel in Vietnam http://sunnyhor.travellerspoint.com/