If you ever heard of a Place that has got unique heritage and Natural aesthetics, a place where you need to explore the beauty and culture of the environment, a place where the French grand colonial mansion was built during the French colonial era, a place where you have the amazing cave system in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National park, then don’t think of any other place than Vietnam.

I am sure South Africans reading this article will start wondering if there would be scams in Vietnam despite the Aesthetics the city has got. Most South Africans that visit Vietnam usually fall victim of being scammed.

I promise at the end of this article, you will now understand how to avoid being scammed when you visit Vietnam.

1. Currency

The first Vietnam travel scam that should be avoided is the confusing currency and the overcharging of the currency in Vietnam. Generally, the issue of currency has been an issue for visitors when they visit any country around the world, but this is very rampant at Vietnam. The major reason why this occurs in Vietnam is because of their large note denomination.

Vietnamese dong is the official currency used in Vietnam but sometimes some restaurants or hotels may quote their price in dollars. When a vendor tells you will be paying 20, don’t just pay any amount, try to confirm if you will be paying 20USD or 20,000 dong or another different thing entirely. Consider the most reliable and convenient money-exchanging website here

Rule of thumb; be sure of the currency you are paying with.

Don’t confuse their currency; understand the exchange rate of the currency.

Rule of thumb; Always endeavor to be accurate with your calculations, if a price is quoted in dollars and you want to pay in Vietnamese dong, ensure you do your calculations well. Find out How much you should spend when traveling in Vietnam

Vietnam travel scams

2. Taxi and Cyclo Scams

Next to the issue of their currency, another Vietnam travel scam that tourists on Vietnam tours from South Africa should avoid is their Taxi drivers and Cyclos scam. Being a South African, you may be used to the normal way Taxi payment, but at Vietnam taxi payment can be either through meter or normal rate. As a visitor, confirm if the taxi driver will be using the meter. If the driver won’t be using a meter, agree on a fixed price. Confirm if the price for the Taxi will be for you alone or for everyone in the taxi.

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Rule of thumb; be sure of the price before you board the taxi, and the payment method. 

Also when you are in the taxi going to a hotel or restaurant, do not rely on any information given by the taxi driver because the taxi driver may give you false information and lure you to a friend’s hotel or restaurants where you can be scammed too.

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Another Vietnam travel scam that should be avoided is boarding Regular cars that are not Taxis. These situations usually arise when normal drivers pretend to be taxis. These drivers will drive people outside the city and then forcefully acquire your money and valuables. Rule of thumb; the way you can avoid Vietnam travel scam is by using the official taxis in Vietnam. Coupon system is another Vietnam scam travel method that should be avoided. When you board taxis, don’t allow the driver hold your luggage hostage in the trunk for extra charges. Rule of thumb;keep your bags and luggage on your seat to avoid additional cost. 

Vietnam travel scams 4The car with different taxi company names in Hanoi

3. Hotel Booking

After avoiding currency and transportation scam in Vietnam, Another Vietnam travel scam that should be avoided is Hotel booking scam. Most small hotels engage in this, they will advertise rooms at low cost  and when  you arrive, they will claim that the low cost  room you booked has been filled and you  have no option  than to pay extra charges to get the  higher end rooms. 

Rule of thumb; Endeavor you book rooms from reputable hotels. 

As a South African, going to Vietnam might be for holiday or tourism. So therefore, unscrupulous tour companies should be avoided. Vietnam has a lot of black sheep in their tourism industry. Some of them claim to provide island trips, snorkeling, diving which they do for just a very short period of time and will then allow overbooking. If you will be going on boat trips also, don’t take boats that won’t sell you the to and fro tickets, they exploit people when they find out that you have no alternative means to return.  

Rule of thumb; Be sure if  your ticket for the boat trip will be to and fro, also check online for reputable ones and  read through their customers review.

Vietnam travel scams 5

4. Don’t accept all you are offered in Vietnam restaurants.  

As a South African, you may be used to taking Appetizers like fruits before taking your meal. When you visit Vietnam restaurants, don’t accept fruits and nuts served in restaurants because this fruits and nuts cost exorbitant amount. If you are the type that stays long on restaurants after eating, ensure you have what you ordered on your table, be it empty bottles, empty plates and remains. This will serve as evidence and will prevent the restaurants from asking you to pay for what you didn’t take.

Rule of thumb; Go through your bills thoroughly to be sure you were charged for what you took alone. You can also research online for reputable restaurants you can patronize.

» For more experiences in cuisine in Vietnam, continue reading our post here  «

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5. Be conscious when shopping 

When shopping in Vietnam, be conscious with what you buy, some good (especially the wrapped goods) are usually swapped after you have paid for them for cheaper and fake goods.  Also avoid taking products that are free. What they do is to call a product free (Most especially consumable goods) and they allow you consume the good after which they demand you to pay for the good.

Rule of thumb; always ensure you verify both wrapped and unwrapped items you buy. Also ensure you buy goods from only reputable establishments.

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6. Vietnam Pickpockets

Pick pocket literally happens everywhere in the world, Vietnam is no exception. Although it is not so popular, we will provide you with everything you need to know about these local street thieves.

When wandering around big cities in Vietnam - Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, foreigners are the ones that pickpockets carefully focus to because of their low awareness and experiences. They can follow every step of yours and wait for your unconscious moments. So, what you should do to avoid pickpockets in Vietnam?

Rule of thumb; Do not show all of your luxurious and expensive jewelry such as golden rings, necklaces, silver wristlets etc. Hide or keep them privately and safely in your hotel room. Be careful with every suspicious local people around you, especially the ones trying to run into or come closer to you.

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7. Shoe Scams

Sounds funny but there are many bad locals trying to steal money by just repairing your shoes. This often happens in Hanoi, especially around Hoan Kiem Lake. These bad shoe shiners usually gather around the lake, sit on public stone chairs and search for their ‘Potential’ customers.

They often ask walk-by tourists if they wanted to clean/ shine their shoes or sandals. Without any permission, they will take off your shoes immediately and pretend to fix the shoes with his ‘special’ glues. Once done, they return the shoes and charge a lot of money, around $50 or even more. So, what should you do to prevent shoe scams?

Rule of thumb; Stay away from the suspicious shoe-shiners, always say ‘No’ and keep walking away fast; Wear shoes not sandals.

Vietnam travel scams 9

In general, as a visitor in Vietnam, be careful with what you spend on and how you spend and why you are spending. Finally, I will like to add this that you should not confide in a stranger.

I hope this article has been helpful on Vietnam travel scams that South African travelers should avoid. Continue reading our Vietnam travel tips for seniors to get ready for your future trip to Vietnam.

Related Post: Hoi An Scams and How to Avoid

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