VietNam: WTO Member With Fast-Rising Prices
5th March, 2007
WTO membership coupled with general world-wide price increases are felt here in VietNam as well as in your home country.
Visitors who have expectations of a low cost vacation are being met with sticker shock.
Hotels are not only increasing prices but also making breakfast an EXTRA. And watch those VAT (tax) and Service Charge surcharges - ensure they are INCLUDED. Credit card usage can attract surcharges ranging from 0% to 10% (four hotels in HCMC).
Restaurant menu prices are now often wrong and a waiter will, hopefully, advise you of increases of several thousand Dong. Even night market restaurants are tacking on a couple of thousand Dong here and there, a direct reflection of market prices. Kentucky Fried (KFC), that haven from pho, has just hit menu prices with a 2,000 to 5,000 increases.
Motorcycle taxi drivers are also feeling the pinch and have generally upped prices to cover rising gas / petrol prices.
OpenTour bus operators are consolidating travel to fill any buses on the road which means a ticket on one carrier often results in your travelling on an alternative carrier - usually not as good. Don't count on getting water, either. Blankets - even in 'sleepers' - go unwashed for weeks on end as an economy measure.
The demand for beef in China is reflected in prices here, with either the dish size downsized or increased prices.
So when you look for economies, such as one Canadian looking for a $3 bed in HCMC (one place in PNL area!), remember that hoteliers have to cover costs and make a little profit.
There are the 'hidden' costs such as water, taxes, and electricity. Electricity costs are significant - a 10-room hotel can, on average, face a bill of USD$500-800 each month.
All these price increases are exacerbated by the falling Dollar, which is affecting what you end up paying. Make sure you know your TOTAL COSTS before committing to any service, particularly tours and hotels.
A recent survey revealed that VietNam office space is the 5th most expensive country - in a region that includes Japan and HongKong!
#1 Posted: 5/3/2008 - 04:23
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