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Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ 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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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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Travelling is meaningful journey, bringing new and valuable experiences to life. After each time, I feel more mature, I change in positive ways about my outlook on life as a whole. I want to share something interesting if you’re happy or sad, alone or even in a group. You can always take a trip to regain your balance in life.

One of the best excursions I highly recommend that you can take is to Mai Chau. In this heaven on earth, you can let yourself get away from these crowded backpacker hubs, and to immerse in authentic natural and cultural setting of Mai Chau. You will stay in very comfortable lodge next to rice paddies and close to authentic ethnic minority villages of the Thai people. You really feel like you’re stepping back into a simpler world and that’s what makes it truly special. I really enjoyed the quiet and peaceful space even if it can be touristy sometimes. Just take a bus from Hanoi, visit here and explore yourself

Valley Mai Chau, Hoa Binh

Valley Mai Chau, Hoa Binh – source: internet

From Hanoi- the capital city of Vietnam, it takes you more than 3 hours by car to Mai Chau. Maybe it is a long trip, but after that time, you will feel not disappointed in the magical landscape here. Mai Chau- a mountainous district is familiar to the travellers who have traveled the road to explore the Northwest. Located in Hoa Binh province, Mai Chau is the home of 6 ethnics such as Muong, Thai, Kinh, Tay, Dao, H’Mong but Thai ethnic is the majority because they have occupied the valley for hundreds of years. Mai Chau climate change year round not too big, so you can come here all the time of the year. April and November are two of best moments in the year for travelling.

Mai Chau valley is not only known as a beautiful natural place, but it is also famous for the beauty of rice field through the time. There are two crops in a year so that there are two periods of time which is good for photos hunters. If you come to Mai Chau in March or August, it will be green beautiful, and Vietnamese often compare it with the girl in the age of 17. The rice field will change from green to yellow in May or in October. The rice harvest time is coming soon. Coming to Mai Chau that time, you can see golden paddy-field stretch away to the horizon. The local farmers start harvesting on the fields. You can rent a bicycle or motorbike to explore the area. Biking through the villages and rice fields of Mai Chau, you can’t get over the beauty in all of this greenery. Checking out the amazing photos of valley view with golden rice fields from the beginning to the harvest time, you’ll understand how incredible view of Mai Chau. If you visit Mai Chau without a camera, I’m sure that it will be your missing because there are lots of things you want to take. Remember to travel Mai Chau in the right time to see its inconceivable beauty of rice paddies, water buffalo and people working in the field and take part in some farming activities. Let’s try once time to become the local farmer by growing or harvesting rice. That will be a unique and new experience you never forget in your life.

New experience with local farmers

New experience with local farmers – source: internet

You’re wondering where you will stay in Mai Chau? How about the hotel service or accommodation here? Don’t worry about it. There are a lot of choices for you. If you want to experience the local life, you should choose a stilt houses that are accommodated with bedding, fan, TV, etc. Most of Mai Chau’s stilts houses are located in Lac Village. Every house is high, dry and built with firm wooden pillars. From many years ago, the stilts houses were built in order to provide protection against rising water and dangerous animals. The floors are made of bamboo and the roofs are covered with rattan leaves. They all provide the same service at reasonable price so you don’t need to hesitate much to choose one. Staying here, you have chance to see all of daily activities of local people, find out more about the living style and customs as well. Stilt houses in Mai Chau usually have a private space for cooking service. Tourists can either select ready – made meals or order your favorite dishes. If you want to take a quiet place, hotels in Mai Chau are also a good choice for you. They are the same in appearance, except for Mai Chau Ecolodge which is more natural and good – looking. The services in those hotels are quite good, including massage and restaurant services…., you can find out more on tripadvisor.com. Team building is the most preferred outdoor activity if you are going in a big group. Some hotels in Mai Chau offer boating service in Hoa Binh Lake, which will bring interesting moments of discovering waterways to tourist. Besides, campaign is also an ideal option. Most of your hosts in Mai Chau can prepare campfire depend on your request. Your campfire is much more interesting and successful if you bring along some sweet potato, corns or sugar cane to grill on the fire.

One of the most favourite team building activities in Mai Chau

One of the most favourite team building activities in Mai Chau – source: internet

Besides joining some team building activities, you can visit some historical places to find out more about the history and the living style as well. The Thai ethnic museum is the best recommend to visit there. Opened every day from 8am to 9pm, Thai ethnic museum is considered as a living museum, attract a lot of visitors. Precious objects on display were collected by Thai people. All displayed objects mingle and supplement one another to create a colorful and diversified picture of cultural specific characteristics.

Travel to Mai Chau, you also have chance to try the traditional clothes of Thai and Muong ethnics. With only 1 dollar, you can hire many colorful clothes of different ethnic groups to wear and take some photos for memory. After that, let’s go to the local market, try some delicious foods with the specialties of the mountains including Muong porks, fish living in the stream, rice in the bamboo stick or colorful sticky rice…All of them are very tasty

Pretty girls in the traditional clothes of Thai ethnic

Pretty girls in the traditional clothes of Thai ethnic – source: internet

During the night, tourists can have short rest to enjoy some drinks or have a wonderful opportunity to join the dancing party of local villagers. Dancing is a part of life and festivals. Along with the rhythms of folk songs and folk dances which are performed by the local beautiful boys and girls, your excitement will peak with a festive atmosphere. The dances symbolize their daily dreams, health, happiness, prosperity and love. You don’t know how to dance. Don’t worry. The local dancers are willing to show you. You will have the best experience by enjoy traditional dance as well as drink Can wine- the local wine

Bamboo dancing show - the cultural features of Thai people

Bamboo dancing show – the cultural features of Thai people – source: internet

Are you interested in Mai Chau? I am sure you will have a memorable 2 – day holiday with this perfect choice of destination.

For more detail information, you can access: MAI CHAU ESCAPE 2D-1N

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I guess that after reading the title, many will feel so curious of this new world. Although this place is so close to the Old Quarter, the belated heart of Hanoi with various choices of food, it has its own features of food that no one will forget after a try.In order to enjoy this special food your, you are free for 3 options: a private car, a motorbike or a bike. These private vehicles let you stop at any places of your interest for photos hunting. There are two times of the day that are highly suggested for you to visit the lake, sunrise and sunset as those are great chances to take stunning photos of the sky and the water. If you start at any other time of the days, you will also find a lot other great moments along this largest lake of Hanoi.

To get more information about Hanoi, you can view: Hanoi Cycling Tour

West Lake in the afternoon

West Lake in the afternoon- source: internet

Now we may start with the most traditional drink of Vietnam: coffee with milk. It is not surprising that the Bloomberg once reviewed that this specialty will be fit in the top 10 coffee drink in the world. Also, the President Obama on his trip to Vietnam also listed this coffee is a must try beverage in our country. A bit deliciously sweet condensed milk with dark-roasted coffee whether hot or cold may wake you up for a new day ahead, especially when sitting in front of the spacious lake to enjoy the fresh and clean atmosphere. You may easily find any coffee shop around the lake, or simply, just stop next to the Quan Thanh Temple, along the Thanh Nien street to find the most favorite one.

Enjoy a cup of coffee in West lake

Enjoy a cup of coffee in West lake- source: internet

Shrimp cake in West lake

Shrimp cake in West lake- source: internet

After coffee time, we will be ready for our food tour as I promised, do not forget to you’re your stomach before going on. Take a short ride or drive to the Temple of Mother Godness, in Vietnamese it is called Phu Tay Ho, you will be impressed by a street full of food here. People who visit West Lake often stop here for worshiping activities for good luck and smooth work with abundant of money will flow into the pocket. They also do not forget to try the Shrimp Cake (Banh Tom) where seafood lover may never ignore.

Snail noodle

Snail noodle- source: internet

The dish is listed as an evitable dish in the menu of Hanoi snack food. You may love this  special cake with 2 big pink shrimp set on the mini “pan cake” after being deep fried in the boiling oil pan, the cake is served with sweet and sour fish sauce and fresh herbs.

At the same street, foodie should not miss the Snail noodle (Bun Oc) or Paddy Crab paste vermicelli (Bun Rieu). The dish is delicious for its featured soup of a bit sweet with pork ribs and a bit sour with tomatoes and vinegar. Tasting the soft noodle and enjoy a colorful bowl of soup in any time of the day may freshen up your body if you have had too much meat  the day before.

Departing on the trip of Food lover, you should stop at one roadside steamed snails to feel the soul of Hanoi cuisine in winter. The best snails should be medium well cooked and served with secret fish sauce of garlic, ginger, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, chopped lemongrass and chili. That is the dipping sauce which make the dish delicious or not. If you are served the bold taste with plenty of flavors: salty, sweet, sour and spicy, and also clean and fat snails boiled, you have the best steamed snail ever. As usual, I often drink just a sip of this sauce to add on the strong flavor of snail eating.  There are several nice roadside snails shop along the Trich Sai street that you may find it easier to drop by.

Boiled snail

Boiled snail – source: internet

I hope this short list of cuisine may somehow satisfy your stomach on the trip to West Lake, and agree with me that, there is the other food paradise outside the Old Quarter.

Happy Traveling!

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After visiting all of famous destinations inside/outside Hanoi and still having some free days, what will you do? Staying at your hotel or taking a walk around Old Quarter and seeing our local life. I think it is enough for you to see. Let’s go and have unique experiences on our local daily life!

You will see these activities in Hanoi every day and I make sure that real Hanoi people will have to do one of them at least one time during their lifetime. With these below activities, you can arrange a full day trip to enjoy a local life by yourself easily.

Waking up at 5:30 am, go to a local market in early morning

Normally, Hanoi starts its new day very early at 6:00am. You can see a road with some transportation from 6:00am. But the high time of traffic jam in morning is from 7:15 am to 8:30 am. Most of foreigner cannot understand why we have to start our days earlier than some other country. There are some reasons as below:

  • Most of working places will start at 8:00 am
  • All of primary student and secondary student will be transferred to their schools by parents. Parents will bring their kids to schools safely before moving to office. Because of this culture, all of primary and secondary school will start at 7:15 am. This will help parents can bring their kids to schools safely then going to workplaces on time.

When you wake-up at 5:30 am, you can take a walk around your Hotel and find some vendor at the local market to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, flower, and raw meat with very low price. Most of these vendors go to market at the early morning is farmer who just collect their agriculture products in the very early morning and bring from their garden to big cities like Hanoi to sell. However, if they just sell till around 6:30 am then come back home in countryside area. If you go to market late, you have to buy from retailers who just go to market earlier than you and buy with a good price then trying to earn some profit from people going to market late. A smart Vietnamese housewife will go to market very early to buy fresh foods with the best price.

Flower-Market-in-the-early-morning-in-Hanoi

Flower Market in the early morning in Hanoi- source: internet

In case you do not like local market, you can do some morning exercise around Great Lake, Sowrd Lake or any Park near your hotel. However, you will meet many older walking or running slowly in the early morning. As I said, most people at working age will have to go office very early, so they did not have time to do some morning exercise because it make them be late for working. The younger usually do their work-out in the afternoon after they finish their working day.

Having a breakfast with street Vendor Food and Drink (6:30 am – 7:00am)

In Vietnam, most of hotel will offer you buffet breakfast as a complimentary service. You may enjoy both of Western foods and Vietnamese foods in your breakfast at hotel but I have to say that the taste of Vietnamese foods at hotel sometimes is not traditional and is modified to be familiar with Western dishes. Please to forget one complimentary breakfast at hotel and wake-up then find some local places to enjoy “Pho”, “Bun” or “Banh mi”. They are top three the most popular foods for breakfast in Vietnam. What are they?

Have you tried Pho like this? This is a very local way to enjoy a Pho in early morning in  Hanoi

Have you tried Pho like this? This is a very local way to enjoy a Pho in early morning in  Hanoi- source: internet

  • Pho: a type of Vietnamese soup typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. This one is very famous in all over the world.
  • Bun: This is one is nearly the same with Pho but its fibers will be smaller than Pho. You can have use Bun with beef, chickens, snails, duck, pork. You will have more option than Pho which is used with beef and chicken only.
  • Banh mi: a Vietnamese snack consisting of a baguette (traditionally baked with both rice and wheat flour) filled with a variety of ingredients, typically including meat, pickled vegetables, and chili peppers.

Enjoy a Vietnamese black coffee and green tea after break-fast:

ice-milk-cafe

Ice mile cafe – source: internet

I guess that most of you will drink coffee right after wake up and use it during with your breakfast. However, in Vietnam, our breakfast will have a lot of smells and taste (I am talking about real local foods not about modified foods at hotels), so if you drink coffee and green tea, you can enjoy the taste of food fully. If you did not try any Vietnamese coffee before, please do not try to order a black coffee because it will be very strong and not easy for drinking at the first time. You can call a green tea or coffee with milk and ice. Most of coffee shop in Vietnam open early, so you can find some good places around Old Quarter and enjoy your cup of coffee or green tea. Vietnamese people usually have a strong coffee cup with condensed milk in the morning to start a new day.

For more detail information about Hanoi, you can access Hanoi walking tours

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Located in the heart of Mekong Delta region, Can Tho is a unique place which brings you many exciting travel experiences. It takes at least four hour to drive from Saigon city center to Can Tho then you are highly recommended to spend at least two days one night there. Here below are some must-see attractions:

Cai Rang Floating Market

Can Tho has long been well known as the home of the famous Cai Rang floating market. Each year, thousands of travellers do not mind spend hours travelling on coach from Saigon to Can Tho, just to attend this early morning activity – where you can see the daily life and local people selling their products on boats.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market- source: internet

The best time to visit Cai Rang Floating Market is early morning, around 5am to 8am when it is most bustling and crowded. Photo opportunities are endless, my camera memory card was full after just about 3 hours visit the market

Can Tho bridge

Can Tho bridge crossing Hau river, connects Can Tho city to Vinh Long province. It is a newly built cable-stayed bridge which was finished in 2010. If you have chance to visit Can Tho during weekend or some holidays, the bridge is lightened with thousands of colorful lights. Embark a boat at Ninh Kieu pier and sail down the river to view the whole bridge at night is also a lovely experience.

Can Tho bridge

Can Tho bridge- source: internet

Binh Thuy Ancient House

Binh Thuy ancient house in Can Tho attracts people with its ancient look and unique architecture. This old house was built in 1807 and owned and well preserved by Duong family. For those who are interested in architecture, this location is definitely worth to check out.

Binh Thuy Ancient House

Binh Thuy Ancient House- source: internet

Ninh Kieu Pier

If Hanoians are proud of their One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake with Turtle Tower; Hue has imperial tombs, Can Tho people must be happy as they have Ninh Kieu pier which is now called Ninh Kieu Park – a cultural tourist attraction. Recently, night market and restaurants are operated nearby the pier where you can discover the cuisine of Mekong Delta at night.

Ninh Kieu Pier

Ninh Kieu Pier- source: internet

My Khanh Orchard

With more than twenty trees are planted along the walkway including plum, rambutan, jackfruit, mango, strawberry, durian, etc, always lush, laden with fruits, the orchard is definitely a paradise for those who love tropical fruit.

My Khanh Orchard

My Khanh Orchard- source: internet

Follow above suggestions, trust that you will enjoy an interesting time in Can Tho and discover most highlights of Mekong Delta tours Vietnam.

If you interest this post,  you can access: private-3-days-cai-be-vinh-long-sadec-can-tho to get more useful information

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I believe that travellers will read a lot (both positive things and negative things) before travelling to Vietnam. Your research beforehand will help you identify the common scams and things to take note.

Part 1: Taxi Scam

Taxi scams are prevalent in Vietnam, especially in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. It’s easy to find the stories about tourists being overcharged or extorted for sky-high fares all over the internet. In Vietnam, illegal taxi drivers have so many tricks up their sleeve, especially when it comes to foreigners being the customers. The easiest way is to use a modified meter, which runs faster than normal ones; thus allows unscrupulous taxi drivers to rapidly increase the fare. The longer the trip is, the more money they can rip off travelers. In addition, they usually take longer paths, which they call “shortcuts” but in fact are circling around to maximize the fare. Sometimes, taxi drivers can offer tourists some good places to go, just to later on ask for tips. However most of this information can easily be found through post office, maps or from the internet.

Here are the ways of sophisticated scams which taxi driver often use:

– Get money by cheating charge per kilometer

– Use the cheating tricks to increase the counted number on the taxi meter

– Do not use the taxi meter

– Driving around on the multiple routes which are not right with roadmap to increase the distance between staring point and your destination.

– Demanding more your gratuities.

In order to avoid all the troubles with the taxi scams, I would like to provide you some advice:

1/ You should get a cab of trustworthy brands, like Mai Linh (the Green Taxi), Taxi Group, or Vinasun. They are usually in a good number and the price is reasonable which based on the kilometer clock.

2/ Ask a receptionist at your hotel to help. This is highly recommended! especially you use airport taxi without from the package tour with travel agency. Transportation is also an important part of the tour company, so you do not have to worry about the quality of car, driver and over-charge.

3/ If you use one of the local taxis, get agreement on the rate before you get in by pointing at the rates sign and getting a confirming nod. If the driver tries to charge you more upon arrival, do not pay. Also, so not pay any extras for the tolls/parking – that is all included.

4/ Please make sure you have the exact name and address of the hotel you are heading for, ideally written down in Vietnamese, and make it clear all share an address. If the driver takes you somewhere else you have two options: (1) get out and walk (2) refuse to pay until they take you where you want to go.

5/ Please make sure you have enough change on you. It’s a common trick for drivers to claim they don’t have any change. If they do this, pay less rather than more (if you have it) – no change, their problem, not yours.

When you finish your trip: Tipping for taxis is not expected in Vietnam. If a driver demands a tip, do not feel obliged to give him more money unless you feel that you want to reward him for his work. If you do give the driver a tip, 5-10% of the total bill is more than enough. Some instances have been reported where the taxi driver has withheld the customer’s luggage until receiving extra payment. It may be good practice to make sure the driver opens the trunk as soon as you arrive at your destination. Or if you travel in a group, let one person remove the luggage while other pays.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are victim of a scam, there are a few things you can do:

1/ The first is try to negotiate as much as you can – whatever their demand is, start with half and be as steadfast as you can.

2/ You can also try taking a photo of the taxi driver, car number or taxi number – that tends to intimidate them.

3/ In the event that you feel physically threatened, try to bluff and say you are calling the police or pay an amount that will also you to leave the situation. However, tourism is very important to the Vietnamese economy, Vietnamese people so it is highly unlike that drivers will hurt tourists.

Have a safe trip!

 

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