Vietnam remains a relatively safe country for tourists, but being aware of some typical scams and crimes will help you to enjoy your trip to its fullest. Here are some things to beware of:
Airport Arrival Scams
At the airport, taxi drivers somehow know the full name of the incoming tourists. They copy names of other tourists and pretend that they are responsible to pick up those tourists. When tourists follow them and get on the wrong car, they will likely be asked for a ridiculously-high fee or be taken to the wrong hotel.
Try to arrange for a pickup service from your own hotel where possible. You can also walk away from the airport, get on a cab on the street and call your hotel, let them talk to the driver to make sure you can get there safely.
Overcharging Taxi Scams
Vietnam taxis are known for taking the long way around. In addition, they tend to use a modified meter, which runs faster, thus allowing them to increase the fare. Sneaky drivers will take longer routes, which they claim to be shortcuts when in fact they are circling around to maximise the fare.
In order to avoid this scam, you should get a taxi of trustworthy companies, like Mai Linh, Vinasun or using Ride-Sharing apps like Uber and Grabtaxi.
Cyclo and Xe Om (Motorbike Taxis) Scams
When travellers don’t pre-agree a price, and after the trip, they will be asked for a very high fee, even higher than taxi.
To protect yourselves, you better get on a taxi, stay away from motorbike taxis, known as ‘xe om’, especially when you are by yourself or traveling late at night.
Tour Packages Scams
If your hotel feels unsafe, don’t trust them to handle your tours in Vietnam. There are plenty of reputable operators. Good hotels also tend to be dependable in booking these services.
You can also try Vietnam Tour Packages by the locals at Triip.
Late Night Crimes
Travellers frequently fall victim to bag-snatchers on motorbikes when crossing the road. Be very careful with your valuables. Cameras are especially prized by thieves.
Be especially vigilant at night when the streets are quieter and it’s easier for thieves to grab and run. If you’re planning a big night out, be sure you’re with other people and do have a plan for how you’re getting back to your hotel.
Do not seek prostitution service of any kind. It is illegal in Vietnam.
Many street vendors invite tourists to buy their goods or ask for some tips after giving some kind of weird performance. If tourists do not want to pay, they will follow and haggle you until they get the money.
Just say “No” or ignore them by avoiding eye contact and walk away.
Some restaurants do not state their prices on the menu. After the meal, the price would be exorbitant compared to the quality of food and the ‘normal prices’. Tourists can not deny this, and most of them are afraid of trouble, paying the amount and leave. You should check about the price first if you notice that prices are not stated anywhere.
Stay safe and have a good trip!