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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Scams to Avoid in Vietnam - Get your Detective Mode On!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Scams to Avoid in Vietnam - Get your Detective Mode On!

Let's take a look at how to avoid scam artists in Vietnam, to make sure you won't run into any unfavourable situations during an adventure into this magnificent nation.


Entrance Fees to Attractions that are Free

Vietnam is host to a whole range of beautiful colonial structures, Buddhist shrines and geological marvels like the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne or Ha Long Bay. There seems to be a prevalent scam in which tourists are being asked to pay an entrance fee to visit the whole or certain parts of these attractions. Generally speaking, always do your research before visiting certain places however, most temples in Vietnam are free to enter but donations are welcomed.


Train Ticket Scams

If you're a backpacker or an avid traveler who likes to engage and explore the country like the locals, you may choose to embark on an adventure on the train, especially the overnight ones. While the trains offer an efficient or cheap way of travelling across the country you'll be surprised by the number of fake train ticket websites that supposedly offer attractive discounts only to find that you'll be charged extra at the station. You'll also find many people hanging around the station who offer to buy your tickets for you at a discounted rate. The best possible way to avoid this scenario is to book your train tickets through your hotel as most of them offer this service, and if not so, directly make the purchase at the station yourself.


Taxis without Meters

A taxi is a comfortable and fast way of travelling around Vietnam as they offer you the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle over crowded public transport. The biggest taxi scam that seems to be operating is where these taxis don't turn on their meters and take longer routes to get to an otherwise shorter location. This is an easy scam to fall into and thus you must be wary. The easiest way to avoid such an experience is to simply ask the driver to turn on the meter at the beginning of the trip and do not accept flat rates that some may offer. Another hassle free way to avoid this is to have your hotel book your taxi for you as they generally work with reputed taxi companies.


Hotel Booking Scam

It's generally best to avoid most small independent guesthouses that have advertised incredibly attractive prices for their rooms, only to find that you've fallen prey to a whole slew of the other hidden costs and terms that could wreck your wallet. Some of these guest houses go as far as even to withhold your passport until certain payments are made. While it may seem unavoidable the best option to keep away from scenarios like this is to book in advance with a reliable hotel directly through their website and to always have the confirmation email on you. You'll find a great many trusted places in Hoi An. Hotels here are known to be generally safe and luxurious, with examples like Anantara Hoi An Resort.


Fake Silk or Pearls

One of the biggest things to look out for however is when you go shopping, especially within the local market. While the local markets are an amazing place to find trinkets and authentic Vietnamese food, you should best avoid a certain type of goods. These are designer goods such as wallets, watches and bags that look great but are mostly knockoffs. You'll also have certain vendors claiming to have authentic silk, pearls and war relics for cheap prices, while you might be lucky in snagging a great deal on an authentic product; the chance of being fooled for a knock-off is much higher. It's always best to inspect your goods before purchasing.