Traveling brings you great experience in wonderful new destinations. However, sometimes you may have to face some typical scams just because you are foreigners. By learning more about the place you are coming to, you can avoid some unexpected situations. Being a true local, I would like to share you some common scams in Hoi An and how to avoid them.
“Xe om”(motorbike with a driver) is a really good vehicle when you are in a hurry because it’s small enough to easily bypass the traffic. It’s also a nice choice for you to enjoy the air and sceneries along streets in the most authentic way. Moreover, it’s cheap. Yet, you should notice that it’s cheap only when you meet honest drivers; otherwise, you will be three times or even ten times overcharged just because you are foreigners. The more glamorous you look, the more money you have to pay.
Photo by Ahmed M
Therefore, if you want to travel by ‘”xe om”, or any other means of vehicles, such as cyclo or bus, you should ask for recommendations from your hotels. If not, ask the drivers how much you need to pay for a specific distance before you get on the motorbike.
2. Parking scams
Motorcycles are popular in every corner of Vietnam so overcharged parking fee is also a potential scam in Hoi an. There is nothing to mention if the parking fee isn't dependent on custodian stood, your face and even your accent, too. It’s nonsense, right? But it’s true. My foreigner friends and I were in that situation once last week. The custodian told us to pay him 15,000 dong/each, three times higher than the right fee, just because my friends spoke another language.
Photo by hoian.net
However, I only paid him the normal fee. If you experience that kind of scam, never pay more. Don’t worry, they won’t shout at you or let you leave. Many parking places let you pay at the end, don’t forget to ask for the price first.
3. Commission scams.
Arriving in Hoi An, which surprises you most is that tailors here are as many as lanterns. You must be careful with the ones who introduce themselves as a tailor shop’s friends or relatives”. Most of these relationships are actual between the shop’s owners and the broker. Therefore, obviously, when you buy something in one shop, the total cost becomes more expensive because of the added commission for the broker, which sometimes made up to 40%.
In short, the best way to go shopping is to ask someone whom you find most trustworthy. You can search for the reviews on the Internet, then come alone to that shop and try to bargain if you've already got the things you want.
4. Local currency confusion
One more important thing is that you need to distinguish between 20,000 dong and 500,000 dong because their colors look so similar. When you exchange money into Vietnam dong or receive change you should just check carefully because if you realize the problem when you already go away, you can never get your money back.
Photo by Christian