'Foreigners are being asked to pay money for every free service'

January 7, 2023 | 03:28 am PT
'Foreigners are being asked to pay money for every free service'
Foreign tourists outside Ben Thanh Market in HCMC, November 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Loc
Following recent incidents of foreign tourists being overcharged by a taxi in Hanoi, a restaurant in Sa Pa, and allegedly being asked for tips at Noi Bai Airport, readers shared their stories.

"At Moc Bai border crossing from Vietnam into Cambodia back in April, [an] officer held me hostage for bribe. I had a plane to catch so couldn't fight back. Vietnam government really needs to clean up their act - esp. since their tourist revenue is doing horrible with their backward visa policy. Currently writing from Thailand."
Christopher W Chiu

"A nice Asian couple I had met in Singapore had looked me up in Hanoi. We were doing the rounds for food, including a meal in the Old Quarter, then one of ice cream places between the Post Office and Opera House. His wife, indignant about it too, was noticing that about every time they, this time us, had been presented the bill, the charges had been inflated. She was like my wife, who, having learned not to trust her own people, would always scrutinize the bills of a restaurant.

His wife had also picked up on the meter of our taxi running up the amount too much. I am not easy pickings (except for restaurant bills, not paying much attention to their bottom line), but the trip was too short for making an issue over, I easily decided, actually nothing to decide. I wondered whether the rip offs would mean never another trip to Hanoi."

"I paid 3 million 200 thousand [dong] to a taxi driver from Hanoi airport, for a VND320,000 bill, 10 years ago when I first came here, I put it down to me not understanding all the 0000s."

"Foreigners are being asked to pay money for every free service in the country. I am being asked to pay 1.1 million from the police department to get a stamp on a document that is required by my company."
Djameleddine Hocini

"There are always people in every countries who try to overcharge tourists. It is not exclusive to Vietnam, try to go to Cambodia or Egypt or Jordan and you will see."

"At almost any international airport or central train station, there are always dishonest taxi drivers there to take advantage. There are cases when it had got so bad, that they were being ran by organized crime groups, who threatened honest drivers to keep off their turf."

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