Had read so many forums of scams, rip off in Hanoi. Is it still safe to visit? Can anyone advise on how to react if tourists were to meet a con artist in Hanoi. Or it's best for someone who is helpful enough to name out some rate that the Vietnam items, I mean the local price like, a bowl of Pho, a packet of cigg, a bottle of drink.............as many as possible to let us tourist have a rough guide how much to pay if we visit Vietnam (Hanoi)
I've seen some of your other posts and questions.
While scamming, I prefer to call it overcharging, is common it's something you can quickly adjust to and prevent in some cases.
Con artists of the "give me $10 and I will give you $20 with this unbeatable gambling system" are much harder to find and aren't really that much of an issue. At least not much more than anywhere else in the world.
For those basic items it's pretty simple: there are plenty of small mini marts in Hanoi (and other bigger cities) that sell those items and they have a fixed price with a tag on the item. Visit one of those shops first and you'll have a good idea about prices.
Many food, even the smaller ones, places also have menus (english in the tourist areas) which also state the price of food items.
Pho at a roadside stall is usually around $1. Some more restaurant type Pho-shop will have a menu as well.
The big overcharging is when negotiating with moto drivers and cyclo drivers and anything exclusively tourist related. When you talk to them they will start at a high price. You should bargain a little but I you don't like the price, walk away. If they come after you you can continue negotiating/accept. If they don't come after you you just try the next one. There are many people in that business there, so you can try a few.
Nobody will force you. The only thing I never do is pay upfront in Vietnam.
Perhaps it's better if you just tell your budget and people can then say whether it's feasible or not.
thank you so much for the advise!! I somehow agree and I might post my questions otherwise.It's okay for an overcharge of 1-2 dollar. I'm planning to have a trip there and do lot's of research like I did before. And I happen to read so many "scary" Scam review from tourists who visited there. That is why I'm trying to be a little more caution.
As I said, a few dollars of overcharging the tourists is bearable BUT I'd read some forum from tourists saying they were threaten, beaten up, lock them in the car etc........ Thanks anyway!!!
Hanoi was one of my favourite cities, don't miss it! a Pho should not cost more than 20,000 dong (15,000 being a great price but not always possible, a great trick is to ask people who are eating how much they'll pay for it), a bottle of water 5,000 (great price) to 8,000. For the motorbikes you should know how much a taxi would cost (1km being from 8,500 to 10,000) and ask for the same price. If you are several people you can tell them that a taxi would be even cheaper as you'd split the bill, trying to get the price down this way. From my experience moto drivers are the one's who try to charge the highest but act as if you know the correct price and walk away if they'll ask too much. In the begining everyone pays a little more than the normal price, as time goes by you start to learn the prices and your confidence when bargaining also shows them you know what you're talking about, thus they won't try to rip you.
Anyway, if who told you people in Hanoi are "the bad one's" were from HCMC it's normal, many feel that rivalry with the north. My experience in Hanoi was great, I was even offered internet time in a cyber shop, for instance.
#4 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133
About scary scams, scary journeys, etc, you read in the internet (also in posts here in this site, sorry....), just forget them, I also read them before going but when I got there I understood that there is sooo much fantasy going on!! Relax, be aware as you'd normally be and enjoy, everything will be fine!
#5 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133
completely agree with indoluso
While those scary stories have happened it's not the norm.
Your research is excellent. My advise is to have a good map and know your distances and follow the guidelines from indoluso about price per km for moto. Most scams/issues are related to travel, when you are also most vulnerable.
It may happen that you agree on a price of $2 for a 100m trip that ends around the corner. That would be a scam, according to many, but I would just call it bad research from the tourist. If it happens to you, swallow your pride and just pay. In the end it's your mistake, learn from it and have a good laugh afterwards. It is mostly when tourists start to argue about such things that situations get out of hand. The threatening, beating etc. rarely occurs "out of the blue" and there's usually a story behind it that doesn't get mentioned by the writer.
20.000 dong is roughly $1. A few days ago I was in Vietnam and the exchange rate was 19.500 for a USD
A few tips:
- Don't say the name of temple/museum as the destination but a street that is closeby and walk the last bit.
- Dressing less as a tourist (long trousers, no flipflops) will help you since you could be an expat. Combined with knowledge of correct prices you'll put him in doubt
- Walking out of a tourist area before taking a moto makes you also a less obvious tourist
You'll have a great time!
In my opinion, the very worst place for scams in Hanoi is at the airport. BE VERY CAREFUL! I suggest that you have your hotel meet your flight so you can bypass all of the scamming cabs. It might cost a few dollars more ($15. is the average) but this service is worth every cent. I avoid most transport scams by simply walking - central Hanoi is pretty compact, and it's also an education and fun too. Just remember this, YOU ARE IN CHARGE! Once a cab tried to scam me downtown, but I simply put my head out the window and yelled for the police. Guess what, I won, and paid about 1/2 of the meter.
#10 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,114
Good approach! If we see a meter is going too fast, our approach is generally to tell the driver he's overcharging, ask him to pull over and get out. Either they let you go or they try to negotiate a fixed price at which point you're back in control. The getting out doesn't work so well at 4am in the morning when there are no other cars around though!
Hanoi is an awesome place and you should definitely go.
Dont be scared of being ripped off. Just remember, agree on a price before hand and everything is negotiable. General rule for negotiating; ask how much, offer 1/3 of their price and settle for 1/2 the original price. I have never used a taxi metre, always have agreed a price before i got in.
I recommend you ignore the cyclo guys unless you want to use them, show a little bit of curiosity and they will follow you for an hour.
In my opinion you can only get ripped off because you fail in negotiating.
Enjoy Hanoi, its a great city.
At the airport in Hanoi consider taking a mini bus into the city centre. As I recall if you leave the terminal building and turn right they depart at the end of the taxi rank lane (I stand to be corrected on this!). I paid something like 75,000 dong for a ride into town. The taxi drivers were making up fares as they went along $60 etc.
I wasnt 100% sure of my geography once we got into Hanoi central, so I jumped out at the Corninthia Towers Hotel (A rather large landmark which its hard to miss, especially if you google it before you leave and know what you are looking for) then I jumped on a moto and paid $3 for the driver to drop my at the door of my hostel.
#14 ms1892 has been a member since 23/12/2009. Posts: 38
Hanoi has a nice little salsa scene. Do sao Mai, who dances there, is just fantastic.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Robbiejuve -"In my opinion you can only get ripped off because you fail in negotiating."
Well, not exactly! I think what bothers people more than being ripped off is being delivered to some hotel they didn't ask for, and being lied to.
#16 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,114