Travel magazine lists popular tourist scams in Vietnam

By Hoang Phong   December 4, 2023 | 05:56 pm PT
Travel magazine lists popular tourist scams in Vietnam
Foreign tourists in Ben Thanh Market in downtown HCMC, September 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Indian travel magazine Outlook Traveller has recently shared a list of popular tourist swindles in Vietnam that foreigners regularly fall prey to, including taxi and coconut seller frauds.

The magazine advised tourists to be careful with motorbike scams, and only rent vehicles from reputable stores that have been well-rated by other tourists who have used the service.

Vietnam's scooter rental service sector has boomed in recent years as it only costs around VND100,000 – 150,000 ($4.50-$6) per day to rent a bike.

In addition, the magazine also pointed out that fake taxis and cyclo rides frequently overcharge, particularly during holidays.

Since Vietnam reopened after Covid in March last year, taxi scams have been reported frequently by foreign tourists, and authorities have pledged repeatedly to crack down on such issues.

Outlook Traveller also warned foreigners to stay vigilant with "friendly" coconut sellers who invite them to drink coconut water for free but then charge them an "exorbitant price."

Last month, a Taiwanese visitor complained she was ripped off by a coconut vendor on the sidewalk in front of Ho Chi Minh City Museum on Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1, prompting the authorities to step in to investigate.

The vendor approached her and showed her the entrance to the museum. Then, the man took out a coconut from his foam box and charged her VND150,000, 10 times the normal price.

Other tourist scams the Indian magazine mentioned included non-listed restaurant and bar services, fake leather products sold at tourist stores, and street robberies.

The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam so far this year has topped 11.2 million, far higher than the full-year target of eight million, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

The country has now set its sights on a figure of 13 million for the year.

Though Vietnam’s tourism has showed signs of strong rebound post reopening, many foreign tourists still complained that the industry has still not escaped the bad reputations of gouging taxi services, harassment and cheating.

Industry insiders blame weak law enforcement and meager fines for the pervasive fraud perpetrated on visitors, including tricking foreigners into buying things at unreasonable prices.

In Vietnam, those caught deceiving tourists can face fines of up to VND10 million.

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