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Archive for the ‘Destinations’ Category

In Vietnam, when the summer comes it’s time for companies to have holiday or company trip. Every year, companies have planned and searched for great locations/destinations for employees’ summer vacation.This is a great opportunity for whole team to know more each other and strengthen the bonds of friendship from different teams and departments, and also to charge energy, because happy workers can contribute more for the company.

The objectives for company annual trip are our executives can escape for a while from busy and stressful environment at the office. In this trip someone can relax their  body and mind and in the same time can spend a good quality time with their family. It’s also can strengthening a good relationship between executives and their family. Other benefit of this trip is our executive can work more focus and keep motivated to do they daily works. That mean happy worker can contribute more for the company.

Hai Hoa beach has white sand and blue water

This year, Indochina Voyages Team has planned an annual trip for our company in May. This trip involves the company executives with the spouse and children. We decided to visit Hai Hoa beach, is a well-known beach in the North of Vietnam. With the literal meaning of its name, Hai Hoa (means “Peaceful” ) beach in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa boasts the serenity that only beautiful natural scenery can provide (It is located  at Hai Hoa Commune, Tinh Gia District, Thanh Hoa Province, around 200 km from Hanoi). Its tiny white-capped summer waves attract thousands of local tourists in peak season.

Bai Dong

Bai Dong

The reason why we choose this destination because unlike other noisy and commercialized tourist hubs, visitors to Hai Hoa Beach enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of its stunning landscape and the fresh taste of its seafood. As it is quieter than some other beaches in the central region such as Sam Son beach, Hai Hoa is a boom for local people, the beach still possesses white sandy dunes and green, forested ranges near crystal clear blue waters.

On the first two days, we went to Bai Dong, a new beach in Thanh Hoa province, 30km from Hai Hoa. This place is not as crowded as other popular beaches. With peaceful scenery and  blue sea and white sand, the beach is still wild and naturally beautiful.

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

The second day was a fun-filled time for Hai Hoa beach. We swam, played football, and climbed up to the mountain. Apart from sunbathing or relaxing on the beach, drinking coconut juice, and chatting with friends over a glass of beer and savory snacks of seafood. Before dawn there is a flurry of activity that involves everyone, both young and old, after fishing boats return to their shores. Nets are gathered and washed as conversations continue, women weigh and sell fresh fish and children play cheerfully around.

Seafood market in the morning

Seafood market in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

At dawn, the beach is seemingly lit by a ball of fire that bounces off the ocean’s surface. Small fishing boats dock at the beach to sell fish, crab, and shrimp from their overnight catch. You can also surf the waves that surround the pristine island of Hon Me, not far away from the beach or  you can try to fish for cuttlefish at night.

In the summer morning, we did not miss the chance to catch the sunrise over the sea. Just at 5am, many people noisily call each other to wake up and run to the sea. The dawn is “dyed” a reddish purple in the horizon. It is a great feeling when you inhale the salty taste of sea and walking on the flat sand, seeing the fishing boats returning to the wharf in the early shimmering sunbeam.

Coming to Hai Hoa, you can also find Hon Me island offshore, and Soi mountain and Chay mountain in the South of the beach. Not far away from Hai Hoa, there are many other beaches, such as Hai Thuong beach, Nghi Son beach or Bai Dong beach…

blule water on Bai Da

We had great time together there. When leaving Hai Hoa, it is sure that we will eagerly wish for coming here again to return to the nature, and to immerse ourselves in the wild and poetic sea.

If you want to get more information about Hai Hoa beach, please view: Indochina tours Vietnam

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You may ask me why, and I can tell you a hundred of reasons why I love this city so much, especially its summer. To me, Hanoi in summer is like a teenager girl, independent, emotional, rebellious, energetic, adventurous and risk-taking. But she is also very girlish, romantic, cute, funny and sensitive. Therefore, I think it is reasonable and understandable if she is changing her mind often. It is quite exciting in deed. Let’s explore Hanoi with Indochina tours

However, it is also true that sometimes following her mind is exhausting job. Fortunately, I have a wonderful woman who is always by my side, my beautiful Mama. My mother has a habit to watch weather forecast in the morning news to inform all of my family members. When I was in high school, she even woke up early just to make sure that there was a raincoat in my bag so I would not get wet. Even until now, when I have become a grown up woman, having my own daughter; she still reminds me to bring an umbrella every morning in this season. As a result, whenever I think of the rain in May, I always have taken a walk down the memory lane, and it is so sweet. It is fabulous to know that there is someone there who loves you, cares for you; and…you love them.

 Sudden rains in summer

Sudden rains in summer- source: internet

To me, the early summer is also the season of high school. In Hanoi at this time, you can see the mixture of violet, red, yellow and green covering almost every corner of the city. This wonderful palette is made of 3 kinds of typical flowers in summer, Phuong, Bang Lang and Diep. Unfortunately, I do not know their English names but I will attach their photos in this article. I hope you will identify them.

Phượng flower

Phượng flower- source: internet

I remember on my last day at school, I and my friend biked all around West Lake, watched some Phuong petals falling, took many photos in Vietnamese traditional dress. It was bitter-sweet as it marked the milestone in our lives. I also remembered that day, under the early rain of summer, we laughed and cried, we sang from the bottom of our hearts, gave many wishes to each other and wrote some last lines on each other’ shirt. Since that day, it has been very hard to meet all of my friends at the same time. Nowadays, some stay permanently overseas, some have got married and move to other parts of the country, some still live in Hanoi but they are too busy to go to the united meeting. And now, after entering the hard life, I cherish more those times, when we were so young and innocent, when we were used to our best friends. Therefore, to me, early summer is my youth, which makes me smile whenever I think of.

Bằng lăng flower

Bằng lăng flower- source: internet

May and June are also very special to me, as it is the season of corn. Red River has blessed Hanoi amazingly wonderful soil, which is suitable to many kinds of crops. At the middle of the River, there is a land made of Red River alluviums. From Long Bien Bridge, you can take a close look at this land. The farmers there grow a lot of banana, corn and many kinds of vegetables. In this season, you can go there, discover the way Vietnamese people plant and look after their trees, pick the fruits and corns by yourself.

Green crops

Green field next to Long Bien brigde- source: internet

And maybe, you can enjoy a hot corn right after ward. I bet this experience is wonderful. If you are looking for someone who is reliable and friendly to take you there, you can contact my friend. I bet It will add some special tastes to your trip in Hanoi.

I love Vietnam

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Located in a remote and beautiful are dominated by Red Dao minority, Nam Cang village is part of the Nam Cang commune, Lao Cai Province. The Village is 35 km from Sapa Town and 60 km from the Lao Cai Station.There are about 267 households (1,578 persons) are living together in the region. Before the year 2000, nearly 80% of households were in hunger and poverty and over 70% of the population were illiterate, but due to a local development plan and investments in education and farming the population is now living under much better conditions. The Red Dao minority in Nam Cang nowadays living mainly on cultivation. The most famous plant of Nam Cang is the Amomum Tsaoko, one of many ingredients that made the special broth of Pho and it also used as a traditional Chinese medicine.

For more innformation about Nam Cang homestay, you can see: Indochina travel Vietnam

Lovely Homestay by the river

Lovely Homestay by the river

The drive on the way to Nam Cang is on mountain road running aside of the scenery Muong Hoa valley, with picturesque views of peaky mountains, endless rice terraces, waterfalls and Hill-tribes’ villages. Take a short walk up to the hill, the Nam Cang Riverside Homestay appears next to a fresh stream, with own suspended bridge and the jungle close by.

Children in Nam Cang Village

Children in Nam Cang Village

The Homestay is made by local ingredients: bamboo, wood, and leaves. Beds are set up nicely with high-quality linen. There are sharing bathrooms with hot water available. On the first floor is the dining station with some simple wooden tables. Meals are served by friendly staffs in Red Dao traditional dress. Foods are fresh and tasty.

Guests can go for a short trek to the village, visit some houses to see how the local people make the special papers by tree barks, a jewel workshop operated by an old man and his very simple tools. On the way, naive children are playing fun games and women wear colorful and diverse costumes are sewing or searing herbs. The Red Dao women are very skilled at the herbal bath, local medicine, and embroidery. And as far as you go, the locals always look with big eyes and followed by happy smiles. There are no hawker or vendor disturbing on the way.

Dinner made by fresh local food

Dinner made by fresh local food

Back to the homestay, guests can take a swim in the crystal stream. Local people said the stream is running through the Amomum forest, thus it has some special treatments and good for health. The homestay also offers herbal bathing service prepared meticulously of hundred types of different herbs mixing, which helps to discard stress, detox, eliminate a headache, backache, good for cold treatments, etc.

The Red bridge near Topas Ecolodge

The Red bridge near Topas Ecolodge

The whispering from the stream as a soft lullaby takes people into a beautiful sleep and waken up by the bird’s singing, enjoy a cup of coffee in the open lounge with breakfast and a book in the middle of the jungle, the homestay is an ideally place for nature lovers.

Some tips for Nam Cang

Traveling from Hanoi:

By night train from Hanoi Statin to Lao Cai. The night trains departure 21:00-22:00 from Hanoi train station to Lao Cai. Trains arrive at 5.30 at the Lao Cai train station. Guests then can drive to Nam Cang.

By private car: from Hanoi via the Hanoi- Lao Cai highway and reach to Nam Cang directly in about 6 hours.

There are some options for traveling to Nam Cang available: Day trip to Nam Cang, 2 days Sapa-Nam Cang trekking tour, 2 days Sapa- Nam Cang mountain bike tour or combine a stay in Topas Ecolodge & Nam Cang to experience both local and luxury services.

What to take along: backpack, good walking shoes, hat, sun cream, insect repellent, shorts & T-shirt for hot season and long trouser & light windbreaker jacket for the cold season. Giving money for children is not recommended but buying local souvenirs and giving sweets or chocolate are welcomed.

 

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KEP or SIHANOUKVILLE? Which is better? Which is more peaceful? Which is more dynamic and has various nightlife activities? Which would be more suitable for me? This seems to be a frequent question of many people when they arrange their beach vacation in Cambodia.I have also found that this is also a question that I have received from many clients when assisting them making their traveling plan to Cambodia recently. Hence, I decide to write this post to give you some ideas regarding both beaches. Hope you guys would have the best answer and the best decision for yourself.

Back in the 1960s, when Sihanoukville was just a fishing village, KEP, 25km from Kampot, was already an affluent seaside resort. Subsequent events were unkind to the town and Kep has been fallen to oblivion. Traces of the town’s sombre past remain. The region is dotted with the gutted shells of colonial villas – tragic evidence of the Khmer Rouge’s destruction. Until recently, most were smothered by prolific tropical vegetation and home to squatters; now some have been restored, with more likely to follow, although the difficulty of establishing ownership means this will be a slow process.

You can see more information at: Indochina tours Cambodia

slide-pic1

Sihanoukville also known as Kompong is a coastal city in Cambodia and the capital city of Sihanoukville Province, located at the tip of an elevated peninsula in the country’s south-west at the Gulf of Thailand.

general-information-sihanoukville

In reality, the beach of Kep is quiet narrow and the sand is thin. Though the condition of the beach has been better recently when the local Government imports sand from nearby Kampot, which has the sand but no beach every two weeks and have somewhat changed all that, time and tide wait for no beach, so at the end of the fortnight the gritty black stuff makes a re-appearance.

Sihanoukville is totally different. With a surrounding coastline of white-sand beaches and sun-drenched islands would be Cambodia’s most happening sun-sloth destination for people.

About the restaurant, there are only some small restaurants opposite to the beach of Kep.  The most famous food of Kep is the crab – particularly the offerings at the crab market which attracts Cambodians a lot but I’m sure this is not a really attractive thing to travelers.

In the evening, if you have already stayed in Kep and you would look for more dinner options, you should travel back to Kampot – a small town which is 25kms away from Kep to have more choice.

Things are better when you are in Sihanoukville because there are wide range choices for your meals.

For the best place to stay and best things to do in Sihanoukville, if you are young traveler and you love parties, The Serendipity Beach area would be the perfect place for you.

If you love quiet place, further away from the hustle, in the far south of town, is relaxed Otres Beach, where cheap bungalow joints and bohemian-flavoured guesthouses are now neighbours with rather swish boutique resorts.

Otres-05

Otres Beach

If you are type of the adventurous can find sandy strips rimmed by casuarina trees and coconut palms to have all to themselves at Beyond Otres.

Sihanoukville is also the jumping-off point to Cambodia’s southern islands, where castaway-cool beckons.

Back to Kep, there is not much adventurous activities in this area. You can choose to visit some pepper plantation in Kampot, check out the crab market, hanging out at the beach or pay a short visit to Rabbit island – known as Koh Tonsay – a lovely little island about 25 minutes away from Kep. It is also one of the least-developed island, with no motor vehicles, no mains electricity and few residents, making it an ideal getaway from the grind.

rabbit island

Rabbit Island

You can also head out to Koh Svay (Mango Island) or Koh Pos (Snake Islan) to escape the crowds on Koh Tonsay. They are, like many Cambodian beaches, quite litter-strewn however. You can hire snorkelling gear on Koh Tonsay to bring along.

To compare about the two beaches, the beach of Kep itself is not that much but quainter and (usually) much less crowded than Sihanoukville. If you’re looking for lazy days of sunbathing or night time bar hopping, Sihanoukville should be ticked in your box.

In general, if you would look for a real beach escape, my recommendation would be: Just go ahead to Sihanoukville.

If you would look for a quiet place for yourself to chill in a short of time(may be a day or 2), then Kep would be for you.

Happy traveling!

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Located at the foot of Thung Khe Pass, between the green Da river and the majestic cliffs, Ba Khan appears as a beautiful watercolor painting. Ba Khan’s wild, dreamlike nature will fascinate travellers who love adventuring at their first sight. Close to nature with blue sky and fresh green water is surely a memorable experience.

For more information about Mai Chau, you can view: Tours Indochina

  1. Ba Khan – new land for travellers to discover

Ba Khan commune is in Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province, located at the foot of Thung Khe Pass. Ba Khan is composed of three hamlets: Khan Ha, Khan Ho and Khan Thuong, along the Da river. With charming scenery and hilly mountains, Ba Khan is regarded as “Halong Bay on land” of Mai Chau.

Ba-Khan-is-located-at-the-foot-of-Thung-Khe-Pass

Ba Khan is located at the foot of Thung Khe Pass – source: internet

You can go to Ba Khan in two ways: by car or by motorbike. Located between two famous tourism destinations – Mai Chau and Moc Chau, Ba Khan is described as a “sleeping fairy” by the combination of three small hamlets which is not well – known for tourists. Therefore, the scene of Ba Khan seems to be unaffected by tourism. If you departure from Hanoi, when arriving at the foot of Thung Khe pass, you can see the small board “Ba Khan 10km” on the right hand, then you go straight up this road. If you start from Mai Chau, you do not need to go back to Thung Khe Pass, you can go along 6 high way to Son La. Then, turn right at Dong Bang T – junction. Take this road to Phuc San clinics and then turn right and go along the side road. Passing 30km of this road, you will reach Ba Khan.

Stunning-road-to-Ba-Khan

Stunning road to Ba Khan – source: internet

In the past, when the road in Ba Khan is old and muddy, which makes transportation here difficult, Ba Khan was forgotten in a long time. Now the trails were concreted, it is easier to come here to admire the wild and wonderful land.

  1. Peaceful nature in the simple villages.

Standing at Thung Khe Pass, you can easily recognize Ba Khan valley standing out with a beautiful green forest stretching for miles.

Travelling to Ba Khan, you will meet a small road running into the value. On the way transfer, the peaceful Thai stilts beside rugger rocks remind us of Ha Giang stone plateau. In the rugger rock fields, there are many small ponds filled with water lily. Next to the fascinating ponds, you will experience the paths through the sloping cliffs which look like two walls. Passing the road along the beautiful Da river, you will reach the center of Ba Khan.

Passing-the-tunning-road-along-Da-river- you-reach-the-center-of-Ba-Khan

Passing the tunning road along Da river, you reach the center of Ba Khan – Source: internet

Ba Khan is a colorful picture from the morning to the evening. Early in the morning, this place has the fanciful beauty with clouds covering the valley and the mountains. You will easily find many images which are different from bustling city such as flower fields in the rock, cattle farmers or the children playing together happily. At noon, when the sun shines brightly, the majestic nature appears wonderfully with flowing waterfall and the pleasant sounds of singing bird and flowing water.

In the heart of Ba Khan, you will admire a large plateau along Da river with rock islets like Halong Bay in miniature, Ba Khan has a circumference around 20km. Although it is not large, this 20 – km place is worth to experience and overnight camping.

Continue the next 10km through the bamboo forest, you will meet Tan Mai waterfall, also called as Go Lao or Go Mu. The white waterfall located in the area of Phuc San, at the end of Ba Khan flows from the top of mountain as a pillar of the sky. If you like, you can take a bath in cool, clean and fresh water.

Tan-Mai-waterfall-is-far-from-the-center-of-Ba-Khan-10-km-to-the-North

Tan Mai waterfall is far from the center of Ba Khan 10 km to the North – source: internet

  1. Cuisine and activities at Ba Khan

In your journey to find the hidden beauty of Ba Khan, do not forget to enjoy some special food here because each Thai people are talent chefs. One of the most delicious ones is Da River roasted fish. It is caught from the lake, marinated with the spices of Thai People (including wild herbs, lotus seeds, lemongrass, peppers, etc.). After cleaning the scales, people dispose its bile and intestines then clamped by 2 fresh bamboo sticks, then roasted on hot charcoal. Eating this fish with three – color sticky rice and a unique “sauce” is surely an unforgotten experience. And it is so warmest when gathering around the fire with friends, roasting fish and singing together when the night falls.

Da-river-roasted-fish

Da river roasted fish – source: internet

You should travel to Ba Khan in March, April, November and December. At that time, Da river is so blue and fresh that you can see the bottom. It is high time when the bamboo trees start pouring out leaves.

Not far from Hanoi capital, Ba Khan valley is an ideal destination to explore the hidden nature. After walking along the path between the small houses of ethnic people, travellers can be relaxing with going fishing or taking photos. Those who are interested in the river can try the feeling of a boat man with services to visit Da river by floating rafts at reasonable prices.

Ba Khan owns the mixed beauty of many elements such as countryside – plains – ponds – waterfalls but the most special thing here is peace. I am surely that a weekend short trip to Ba Khan will bring you many unforgotten memories of a lost paradise.

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I have arrived in Myanmar on a very auspicious date, the Burmese new year, or Thingyan, the most celebrated festival in the country. Thingyan, Myanmar Water Festival, takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia. Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the Buddhist festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day.

Commonly referred to as the Water Festival, Maha Thingyan allows people to celebrate the Burmese New Year. Despite this, Maha Thingyan is observed in mid-April on the Gregorian calendar. While the Water Festival is a Buddhist event, the Burmese government has made it a legal public holiday. This ensures that many Burmese citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the Water Festival. Maha Thingyan is a time for happiness and friendly attitudes.

Thinngyan is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. The people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

Thingyan Celebrations:
Thingyan Eve: The first Thingyan celebrations begin on the day before the Water Festival. Thingyan Eve, or A-Kyo Nei, is a time for observing Buddhist beliefs.

Fasting: Many Buddhists observe Thingyan Eve through fasting. People who decide to fast for Thingyan Eve usually eat a single basic meal prior to noon. This meal is often very bland.

Observing the Eight Precepts: During Thingyan Eve, Buddhists are expected to observe the Eight Precepts of Buddhism. These Eight Precepts are similar to the Five Precepts. While observing the Eight Precepts, Buddhists must do the following: Refrain from killing living creatures, Refrain from stealing, Refrain from sexual activity, Refrain from lying or using incorrect speech, Refrain from using alcohol or drugs, Refrain from seeking entertainment, Refrain from eating during fasting periods, Refrain from sleeping on high places

Offerings to Monks: Many people in Myanmar celebrate Thingyan Eve by visiting a Buddhist temple. When visiting these temples, it is considered proper to leave an offering of green coconuts and bananas. These kinds of offerings usually consist of a single green coconut surrounded by a circle of bananas.

Washing the Buddha: Burmese people will also wash Buddha statues with sacred water that has been scented with flower extract. When washing Buddha statues, people start at the top by drizzling water over the head.

Night Celebrations: After the religious formalities of Thingyan Eve have been observed, Burmese people begin to relax and enjoy themselves. There are many lively celebrations that occur during the night of Thingyan Eve.

Music, Song, and Dance: While the Eight Precepts prohibit Buddhists from enjoying entertainment of any kind during the daytime, people are allowed to party to their hearts’ content as soon as night arrives. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. These stages are made of wood and elaborately decorated with papier-mache and paint. Woman will dance to classical and contemporary music while wearing flower skirts. In addition to these flower skirts, Burmese women often wear padauck blossoms in their hair. The padauck blossom is also commonly referred to as the Thingyan flower due to its rarity and use during Maha Thingyan.

Parade of Locals: After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parade the streets of their town or city while enjoying alcohol and the company of their friends and family members. These parades often consist of vehicles and decorated floats. Gyat, a form of Burmese rap, is commonly performed during these parades. Gyat is fairly controversial because it is a popular way of expressing distaste for social and political issues through music.

Water Festival Celebrations
Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe.
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. This huge event is meant to celebrate the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground. This is followed by a short prayer. Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. Water throwing with toy guns, balloons, and hoses takes place in many areas of Myanmar.

If you are planning to travel Myanmar, Thingyan is undoubtedly the best time of the year to visit. Besides the fun-filled activities and the festive atmosphere, you’ll be sure to meet lots of Burmese, who are always friendly saying “Mingalabar”

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Part 2: Others scams


2.1 Street Vendors of All Kind

Say it again: Overall, Travel to Vietnam is a relatively safe in however like most countries, it has its share of traveller annoyances such as books sellers, ladies with fruit baskets, shoeshine boys…

They are some vendors who sell books in boxes at cheap prices but those books are photocopies. You would not know as these “books” are wrapped up. Some of those are also of low quality – errors in pages, etc.

They are ladies with fruit baskets: Walking in the Old quarter in Hanoi, meet a lady with her fruit basket? There are other vendors who will invite you to take a photo with them. Once taken, they will demand a fee, a tip, or a purchase of their products. Want a photo? being handed the baskets for you to try putting onto your shoulder to have a photo taken? Hey, a few dollars will be asked or they going to keep yelling at you. What a nuisance! It is a set scenario made by a group of women. They are of course a fake fruit basket women. Real ones will never have that light loads. Action: Ignore, and you will be hounded until you pay. Get away from them. If they approach, you stay back. If they put the baskets on your shoulder, just say NO, detour them and keep on ( this is popular in Hanoi old quarter).

They are shoe repairer. Some guy approaches you out of nowhere and applies glue to your shoes. Next, he would take out a thread and tell you that your shoes are about to fall apart, which he can repair for $1. If you didn’t realize, that glue is actually a solvent that dissolves stitches. Should you say yes, he would then proceed. However, the trouble does not end when the job is completed, as he will be demanding $10 or more.

⇒ How to avoid:

– A firm but polite “No” to the vendors. In certain circumstances, just pretend you do not listen and walk away.

– Do not open your purse or wallet in public. If you want to buy something, keep your wallet close, know exactly how much you need so you can take it out quickly, and put your money straight away afterwards.

2.2 Overcharging and Confusing Currency

This is common around the world, but it is much more easily implemented here due to the large note denomination.

Confusing Currency: There are so many damn denominations in Vietnam, notes range from the virtually worthless 200 VND up to the 500,000VD note. There are 10 denominations in total.  At the current rate of exchange, 1 US dollar is worth 22,500VND.  So imagine your surprise when you exchange $1000. It makes you feel as though you are one of the wealthiest people on earth. As a newcomer to the country you must be very careful to check the money you are handling as some of the bill colours are quite similar.  For example, you’re in a dark club and you hand a blue note thinking you’ve paid for your 110,000VND cocktail only to be embarrassed that you’ve given the waitress a 20,000vnd bill instead of a 500,000. A very valuable tip is  try to keep your money in different places on your persons when out and about.  You make yourself an appealing target to thieves and pick pockets if you pull out a wad of cash.

Overcharging can occur in many different forms, such as over conversion of currency, giving less change by rounding up/down, not giving any change by insisting on a tip, or even changing the fare once the service is completed. After choosing goods in the shop, you need to make sure the price before taking it. There are many cases fake prices higher than the real value of goods, especially in markets, some shops. The solution for this situation is bargain lower cost many reduce a haft of a price they said. Maybe you conflict others currency between USD and “dong”, let’s check carefully. Some restaurants in Vietnam have the scam list their price doesn’t appear on the menu. If guests ask about the price, they usually avoid the answer or answer vaguely. When meals end, the staff in the restaurant will give bills for customers, the price is usually unacceptable, which is so much expensive compared to the quality of food and the market price. Tourists cannot declare to them as they ate the food already and must pay the bills to leave.

Many places also quote in USD to make overcharging easier for them – either by rounding up to USD (which is higher than the value in Vietnamese Dong) or by demanding payment in Dong while using an unacceptable exchange rate. Also beware when a vendor tells you 10, it could mean 10 USD, 10,000 Dong or even something else! Besides this, always ensure that the fee is for everyone in the group and not for each individual.

Finally, be extremely careful with the cash in your wallet, keep them out of sight from the public and from the shopkeepers.

⇒ How to avoid:

– Always exchange you money in legal money exchange rate counter rather than with individuals on the street. Be ridiculously meticulous with counting (and holding on) to currency you’re not familiar with.

– Before you enter Vietnam it’s very important to know exchange rates and a rough estimate of how much things should cost. Double check how much money you’ve had exchanged and don’t just pay for things without already knowing about how much it should be. Carrying a small calculator or using the calculator on your mobile phone is a good choice.

– Always carry a range of bills, the smaller the better, so that they have no chance to short change you.

– Always confirm what currency a price is in and pay in the currency they’ve quoted. If a price is quoted in dollars and you choose to pay in Vietnamese dong, always double check the exchange rate used to make the conversion.

– Be meticulous with counting any time money change hands and never accept torn or damaged bills which are usually difficult to spend later.

– Get familiar with Vietnamese dong. Even though all the denominations are different sizes and colors, it can still be hard to differentiate the similar ones. For instance, the 200,000 and 50,000 denominations are slightly varied shades of red.

Do not let list of scam scare you. Vietnam is an extremely safe place to travel and its people are overwhelmingly hospitable, friendly and honest. Please remember that tourist scams occurs in tourist areas, even though it seems like there are a lot to be afraid of, these will just ensure you enjoy your time in Vietnam to the fullest. So go visit, just with these tips in mind.

You can see more: How to avoid scams during your holiday in Vietnam? Part I

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