Avoiding Tourist Traps in Vietnam: Foreigners Share Experiences and Advice 

Welcome to Vietnam Untold. Today, we turn our attention to Vietnam, where foreign tourists share their experiences and offer advice on avoiding falling into tourist traps. Let’s take a closer look. 

Many foreign tourists have taken to social media to share their experiences of being scammed while visiting Vietnam and to warn others about the potential pitfalls.

One such incident involved Sanja Singh, an Indian tourist who fell victim to a local vendor near the Reunification Palace in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Singh and his friend were approached by a vendor offering them coconut water. The vendor repeatedly claimed it was free when they asked about the price. However, after consuming the coconut water, they were charged a staggering $12.75, almost ten times the average price. Unaware of the exchange rate, Singh paid without realizing the scam’s extent.

This wasn’t an isolated incident for Singh. On a recent trip, he approached a vendor for a photo opportunity next to a coconut drink push cart. The vendor quickly agreed but demanded $10.63 for the privilege. When Singh refused, the vendor became aggressive, forcing him to pay to avoid further confrontation.

Singh took to social media to share his story, advising fellow travelers to be cautious when dealing with strangers and continuously checking exchange rates to avoid cheating.

Similarly, Australian traveler Geoff Holland, who lived in Vietnam for three years, warned about taxi scams where drivers would charge double the meter fare. Holland recommended using the Grab app or choosing taxis from reputable companies like Vinasun and Mai Linh.

Another seasoned traveler, an American named Huff, emphasized memorizing the exchange rate between USD and VND. He advised tourists to be cautious when faced with inflated prices, noting that $10 should only equate to around VND230,000 and $20 to approximately VND500,000.

Miquel Angel, the founder of the MQL sustainable travel solutions company, acknowledged that tourist scams had been a longstanding issue in Vietnam, leading to many negative experiences shared among friends and relatives. Despite the tourism industry’s efforts to establish hotlines for feedback and complaints, foreigners have expressed dissatisfaction with their effectiveness.

Vietnam, which reopened its borders is striving to recover its tourism industry. However, it has fallen behind its neighboring countries, with only 3.7 million foreign tourists visiting in 2022, a significant shortfall from its target. Industry insiders attribute this to weak law enforcement and inadequate penalties for fraudulent practices, including selling items at exorbitant prices.

In Vietnam, individuals found deceiving tourists can face fines of up to $425. However, critics argue that stricter enforcement is needed to combat the deep-rooted problem of scams.

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