Hey everyone just wanted to give a warning about Vietnam. I just spent a month and a half there and had quite a few terrible encounters. Literally everywhere we went someone was trying to rip us off. The biggest one coming in Ha Long Bay where they tried to charge us 3 times the price of the trip. If you plan on going there make your reservations in Hanoi. Also dont ever accept anything from a hotel (ex. bottle of water) or napkins at a restaurant without asking if you have to pay for it. I got really tired of people trying to rip us off and it had a very negative impact on my feelings towards the country. Overall there are some beautiful parts of the country but I thought a warning would be necessary. I have been all around the world and this is the first time I have ever had a problem. Good luck and safe travels
#1 rsawyer5 has been a member since 15/6/2008. Posts: 7
I had a very similar experience: people quoting us prices in US dollars and then trying to tell us that $1 = 30,000 dong, taxi drivers taking the very long way to our destination (i.e. the walk back to our hotel from HCM's mausoleum was faster than the drive), the bill always being incorrect in restaurants, having items rung up twice at grocery shops, and just general unpleasantness.
Stunning physical geography though.
It's true that there is somewhat of a problem in Viet with tourist ripoffs, but, if you keep your wits and keep your eyes open, it was not a big deal for me. The good in Vietnam far outweigh these few problems, and I'm planning my return visit for next March. I would tell potential tourists to chose wisely, and not to accept offers made on the street. Ask for references from other travelers and the wonderful Vietnamese people themselves. It's a great place!
#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,091
I had no problems the times I have been... in fact I love the place
The occasions that we were being asked to buy stuff we smiled and said "no thanks" - the first time it may not have worked, but stand your ground at it will.
As for being overcharged in Halong - did you pay it?
I have just returned from my second trip to Vietnam, though I did enjoy my holiday, I totally agree with rsawyer5.
Lovely country but the endless rip offs do get you down.It does spoil your holiday having to be continuosly on guard to the endless scams and rip offs that is so rife in this country.Everywhere you turn there is someone waiting to part you from your money I will give it a miss next year!
#5 goldilocks has been a member since 10/4/2008. Posts: 44
If you learn to recognize the touts right away and remember to always, always agree on the price in advance it's easy enough to avoid most scams when you travel.
However, I found it very, very frustrating that so many people were making an effort to rip me off in Vietnam. It doesn't feel good to go to a new country with an open mind and feel like the locals instantly label you as an easy target. No one likes being taken advantage of.
For example, I went into a small restaurant in Hanoi with my boyfriend and ordered 2 bottles of Coke. There was a giant sign on the wall with the drink prices written in marker as 6,000 Dong for a coke. When we finished our drinks and gave the staff 12,000 Dong they said that our bill was 30,000 Dong.
We had been in Vietnam for a few weeks already and were well aware that the standard price for a small Coke is 6,000 D, definitely not 15,000D. We pointed at the signs stating the price (there were more than 1) and the staff member simply shook his head no and asked for 30,000D.
What is one to do in that situation? Arguing rarely accomplishes anything other than making all parties involved angrier.
I can't think of any option that would leave me feeling good about this experience. You could pay the full amount knowing that you're being ripped off or pay the 12,000D that the bill should be and feel like a jerk - after all, the "extra" amount is less than $1 US.
I'm a seasoned traveler and this has happened to me before (the price has been agreed on, when it's time to pay more is demanded), and my strategy is generally to meet them in the middle and leave. I seem to recall we paid 20,000D and left.
I know there are some wonderful Vietnamese people out there (I have met plenty!), but my travels in Vietnam really gave me bad feelings about the country.
when you arrive in vietnam you cannot help but see that every window has a steel grille over it.ask yourself why?for me its a bit like this;when buying/paying in vietnam always count your change/fingers.in laos count your blessings.
#7 thomasx has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 3
they know each other as thieves,is my point
#9 thomasx has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 3
I would agree with everyone's comments here. I've travelled round a lot of Asia and although I agree that Vietnam itself is fascinating and well worth a visit, the persistent manipulation of situations (short changing, over charging, last minute price alterations) by the Vietnamese in order to relieve the tourist of extra cash is shameful. If only this could be addressed and toned down a bit; I'm all for people making money but their approach can be quite exhausting!
To balance this a bit, I should point out that I am going back to Vietnam this winter as the positives far outweigh the negatives... just be prepared!
#11 ibizanne has been a member since 27/9/2008. Posts: 2