Vietnam is a beautiful country that is safe for tourists, but like any other country, it has its share of scammers, who target innocent tourists. Visiting any country for the first time definitely comes with a learning experience, be it good or bad. Not knowing the local customs and language makes you susceptible to unscrupulous individuals who might take advantage of your situation.
Some of these frauds are old and quite obvious and can avoid by being aware of your surroundings while some others are hard to detect. The best way is to stay away from fraudsters while visiting Vietnam, and be sensible about what is happening around and keeping an eye on suspicious situations.
We have compiled some of the most common scams and fraudulent activities in Vietnam right from booking your tickets to Vietnam and return to your hometown.
Fake tour operators
When a travel agency gets popular, bogus companies open businesses with the same name by impersonating to keep the name and identity something similar to a reputed company. The look-alike name, logo, etc., will trick travelers who are visiting Vietnam for the first time. It is recommended to do your research online to ensurethat you are engaging with real company with bonafide credentials.
Ticket booking frauds
Beware of any operators who waits at the busstation or railwaystationto target tourists. Such people claim to offer bus or traintickets for you. Do not fall for this scam as you might end up getting train tickets of low class as opposed to theirclaims of offeringsoft-sleeper class berth. Train tickets in Vietnam don’t have the class name printed on it. Hence, it is better to book your tickets yourself and politely refuse if anyone approaches offering their services.
Creating emergency Plots
This one is quite popular and happens in almost all countries. Many people would get seduced into this trap when these unscrupulous people form an emergency situation where you would be urged to help them. While you leave your bags and personal belongings in the place where you are sitting (if it is a restaurant or any other site), others who are part of the gang might steal your things and flee. To avoid this kind of situation, never leave your luggage or phone isolated while moving from your place.
Overcharging by hotels
There are hotels, which gives you doubled up rates upon checkoutby telling that the price quoted was per head instead of per night. To avoid this, make sure that you choose reputed hotels offering excellent customer service. Ifyou are booking a touring program via any reputed travel operator in Vietnam, you can assure the reputation of the hotel by various means, and that is the mostpreferred way to book hotels. If you have shortlisted some hotels already, make sure to confirm the address withyour taxi driverinstead of justtelling the name. There would be many small hotels in the same name hoping to stealthe business of famous hotels.
Confusion regarding currency
Due to the large denomination numbers, in many countries service providers or vendors won't tell or use the full denomination value, instead, they will say in short figures, such as 5 for 50 or 500. It has become a customary practice because of the large currency denomination. Some tourist places might quote the price in USD instead of Vietnam Dong, so that overpricing is easy. Therefore, when a vendor tells you the rate is 5, make it clear whether he is talking about US$ 5 or VND 5,000. Also, make sure whether the price is for a group or an individual when visiting any tourist spots.
There are plenty of spa and wellness centers in several cities in Vietnam including Hanoi offering massage services. Some massage centers advertise a low price for services but once you becomes their customer and when it is time to pay, they will charge for a ton of ridiculous things such as music, towels or water, etc. Another common fraud actions are targeting amorous men. Beautiful women might approach men and convinces him to come for a massage. Once the person makes the payment, the gorgeous woman will disappear, and somebody else would come in. To avoid this, check for reputable parlous by asking your tour organizer or research online and talk about the price beforehand.
Snatching and theft
Like in any other country, bag snatching and thefts do occur in Vietnam too. But with a bit of caution and alertness, you can easily overcome such embarrassing situations. First of all, never flaunt expensive jewelry or accessories while going out. It would be better to leave your valuables at thehotel in private lockers. In case of any situations where you face bag snatches, it is better to abandon your bag if no valuables are inside to ensure your safety.
Tips to deal with frauds and traps
Some tourist frauds and traps are apparent-like anything that is advertised on billboards asking you to be aware. However, others are a little more subtle.
Here are some tips on how to avoid falling for common tourist traps in Vietnam.
• Before booking a tour package through any travel operator or booking hotels, look for star rating and user reviews to be sure of their credibility.
• Before entering a taxi, check for the driver’s license to make sure that he is professional and offers metered services.
• While booking a motorbike tour, even though it is a great idea, before tempted by the idea, talk to your hotel reception to schedule a visit with a licensed travel operator.
• If you are traveling in an overnight train or arrived at the airport, keep an eye on your bags and never get the help of luggage handler to avoid theft or get pressurizedto pay high tips.
• You may find many local vendors who might try to sell you a photo shoot with them or offering a helping hand in taking your photo. Avoid this as they might charge you after taking the picture.
• Don't draw attention by wearing expensive jewelry or clothes. Do avoid wearing heavy jewelry when you are out for sightseeing. Make sure that you don’t carry expensive accessories and jewelry if you are on a casual trip.
• Lock up your luggage and other valuable things including money in your hotel room while you leave the room for an outing.
• During shopping, always inspect goods especially electronics after buying. Switching items for cheaper version once you have purchased is a common trap you might find in Vietnam.
• Do keep the emergency number of the hotel you stay, tour operator, police, fire,and ambulance in case of any unexpected situations.
Vietnam is generally a safe country with a low crime rate, but it is good to be alert whenever traveling around Vietnam. However, never have a feeling that everyone would be trying to scam you. While these tips and tricks are for you to be aware of the situations, this should never spoil the fun and enjoyment of your trip. Becoming too cynical might spoil your trip. Be mindful of these things while visiting this picturesque country.