Scams happen everywhere in any country when you travel on your own and this is a really unhappy experience that makes tourists disappointed, angry and feel unsafe or comfortable when travelling.
Vietnam is higly recommended destination for tourists in recent years and known as a beautiful, friendly country, blessed with spectacular landscape, rich culture, great food, etc. However, there are scams reported in many tourist attractions especially cities like Hanoi, Halong bay, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh city. So, what are the scams?
1. Street Vendors - In Hanoi, tourists can easily see many street venders who are women carrying the baskets of fruits. They try to approach tourists and offer photos with them, first with welcome and friendly smiles before asking or forcing tourists to buy something from them with bitter price. So avoid and say "No" to photos. If you would like to buy some fruits, check the price and prepare small money. Do not give them "big money" as they ignore to give you back the changes.
2. Taxi drivers - This kind of scam are common in anywhere. It is best to bargain and make things clear before you get in the Taxi. Actually, it is possible to pay by meter, but drivers may ask you to pay for US$50 in stead of 50.000 VND which is around US$3.
3. Cyclos - Cyclo tours are interesting and popular in Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh city. It is cheap way to see around. The normal price is US$3 per hour, but they might ask for more at the end of the trip or shorten the tour.
4. Shopping - It is abit confusing and uncomfortable for tourists to bargain when travelling in Vietnam, but it is a must. Vietnamese normally charge tourists a bit higher than the local from the small things like a bottle of water, can of beer or cigarette. When shopping for souvenirs, you must bargain hard and avoid tourist shopping centre. The price can be double as commission is cut for driver and tour guide.
5. Restaurants - Avoid restaurants without price displays, if you have no choice, check the menu and the price first. Seafood is expensive in Vietnam, and the price can make tourist shock.
6. Online scams - There are many illegal travel agents in Vietnam, having no international tour operator license. Again, they are inexperienced ones but they offer interesting tour itineraries with cheap price. However, cheap but not cheap. So check if the travel agent has international tour operator license? or highly recommended on Tripadvisor?
7. Tours - Avoid booking your trips with individuals who are not allowed to organize travel service in Vietnam, which means, your travel will be handled by a third party and it is a risky adventure. Backpackers may want to travel on their own and book short tours in each destination. However, our advice is to walk around, check for the itinerary, price. For family, coubles, honeymooners, a Vietnam private tour is advised. Booking with a local travel company online in advance will save time and money. During the tour, a local tour guide to be escorted. You worry nothing, but enjoy your time.
8. Snatch Theft - This is a big issue for both the locals and tourists in Ho Chi Minh city. So remember to keep valuables, passports at the hotel and be careful when walking alone.
9. Hotel - There are many mini hotels using fake reviews on Tripadvisors, this is quite difficult to know, but it is advised to check the website, the map and consult with a local travel agent.