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Vietnam forum

Thankfully, I Got Scammed in Vietnam, Too.

Posted by somtam2000 on 14/12/2018 at 07:21 admin

“But what was there to be done? Storm out over the Kissinger comment? Refuse to pay? Cause a scene? Honestly, I was a bit curious about how it was all going to play out and just finished my beer. When I said it was time to get back to my hotel and get ready to catch my bus, my dining companion mysteriously did not return from his trip to the toilet. The bill came. It was probably around three times what the meal usually cost, but that only put me out an extra $30-$40. I was irritated, but didn’t see much of way out of it. I just moved on.”


A good read, real the full story here.

Interested in thoughts on this piece. The advice (I think) holds far beyond Vietnam’s shores, but interested to hear what other Travelfish readers think.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,015
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Posted by flijten on 20/12/2018 at 06:02

Hehe, I recognise the anxiety a little bit. The first few times I used too hate the idea that you could never know if you were meeting a friendly local or a scammer. Over the years I simply started to understand that a friendly person close to Bangkok's royal palace might not net the same outcome as meeting someone in Phayao for instance. And the one time you fall for it, as long as costs aren't outreagous, let it slide.

As a Dutchy, I always imagine people from abroad in the Amsterdam subway too. Clutching their bags because someone told them to take care or because they read the LP threaths and annoyances section :D

#2 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 78

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Posted by exacto on 22/12/2018 at 01:58

I read this story twice, and I think the takeaway is definitely not to let it ruin your trip, or even your day, if you fall victim to a scam. Sometimes the bear gets you.

At the same time, I think there was more than a little carelessness with this situation, and that is an important lesson too. I agree that we shouldn't automatically assume that every friendly face has an ulterior motive, but completely letting our guard down is equally reckless. Travelling through predominately Buddhist Asia, there must be a middle path that lets us explore without getting burned. Cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,780
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Posted by jimby on 11/1/2019 at 21:08

The "friendly local" is one of the most common scams in asia (not just southeast asia, it happens in China too). I fell for it in Bangkok. I guess it's pretty unfortunate but I ignore any and every local who approaches me about anything

#4 jimby has been a member since 6/11/2018. Posts: 5

Posted by evergreen_e on 25/1/2019 at 05:59

Befriend the hotel staff (the concierge, the cleaning crew, the security guard...etc.). They're locals whom you can count as your friends by default if you're new to the area. They will most likely look out for you. In fact, my Vietnamese is really not that good and I asked the security guard's help to explain to the cab driver about where I wanted to go. The guard gave me a rough estimate of what my fare would be.

#5 evergreen_e has been a member since 29/5/2015. Posts: 6

Posted by giblet on 28/1/2019 at 12:13

I guess it depends on what you consider a scam, but if the writer has lost less than $100 in two decades of living in Vietnam, my hat's off to him (although I have a hard time believing it). I'd guess I lose at least $100 a year in Cambodia (if you count dual pricing and difficult-to-avoid bribes), and have easily lost that amount in two weeks in Vietnam. I agree with the point, though, that it's not worth getting stressed out over, because losing $5 here and there doesn't feel nearly as bad as stewing over the $5 you lost, or being paranoid that you're going to lose. This took me a long time to learn. Living in fear of getting ripped off can really sour your experience abroad.

But I have to assume that this writer is a man, because most women don't just fear the "friendly local" because they are afraid of being scammed financially, they also worried about being drugged, attacked, etc. and are already assessing every interaction as a possible threat.

#6 giblet has been a member since 29/11/2010. Posts: 38


Posted by gatoguts on 1/7/2019 at 23:18

I always assume an overly friendly local is a scammer. And yet I have also had many pleasant interactions with locals. Maybe I am just fortunate to have good intuition. Also, I don't drink much. Alcohol definitely reduces your inhibitions as well as good judgment.

#7 gatoguts has been a member since 23/7/2012. Posts: 25


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