Scams In Vietnam

Like when traveling to any country, tourists will have to face specific scams and ripoffs when visiting Vietnam. In this article, we will talk about the top tourist scams in Vietnam and suggest how you can avoid them.



Sightseeing and wandering around the streets on a cyclo - Vietnam’s unique three-wheel-bicycle is an exclusive Vietnamese experience that nowhere else has to offer.

Not only can you see many famous tourist attractions, but you can also authentically experience Vietnam’s chaotic traffic. Nonetheless, cyclo-ing has become a never-again experience for many tourists, mostly because they have lost a considerable amount of money to the cunning drivers.

The drivers will offer you a ride around the city at a low price or even for free. However, they end up dropping you at some unfamiliar destination and demand a crazy price. 

Solution: Make sure to bargain then agree on a fixed price and final destination before getting on a cyclo. Ask the driver clearly if the rate he offers applies for 1 or 2 persons (if you are not the only passenger). Always keep your map on so you will not lose track of where you are. 

Taxi & Xe om (Motorbike Taxi)

Taxis and xe om are the two most common ways to travel around the cities in Vietnam. As for taxis, although the taximeter calculates the price, you may notice that the number on the machine increases faster and faster after a while.

Besides, the taxi drivers may take a further road, pretend to be lost, or drive you around the city for “sightseeing” before reaching the final destination so they can charge you more. As for xe om, the drivers might as well pull the same tricks on you or may charge you a ridiculous price after dropping you off.


Solutions: Use reputable taxi brands such as Mai Linh (Hanoi) and Vinasun (Saigon), or applications such as Grab, Go-Viet, etc. which have a fixed price. Keep your map on to make sure the driver is not taking the wrong route. 

Contact Mai Linh Taxi

Hanoi: (024) 38 333333

Danang: (0236) 3565 656

Ho Chi Minh: (028) 3838 3838



Street vendors


Street vending has always been a unique part of Vietnam’s culture. However, tourists have not always had a pleasant experience with it. What some street vendors will do to get a few more dollars from tourists is stating the price without the specific unit of currency.

For example, when they say the price is 10, instead of 10.000vnd, it can be 10$ or even 10€. Furthermore, as you are not familiar with the Vietnamese bills, the street vendors may pay you back the smaller bills.

Street Vendors

Also, ladies selling doughnuts or fruit may offer you to try her food for free but end up charging an absurd amount of money.

Solutions: Make sure to ask the price clearly before trying any food or taking any goods that the street vendors give you. Don’t forget to check your money when the sellers pay back the changes. 

The photo & shoe-cleaning scam

As you walk around the old quarter area, a fruit seller may approach and happily offer you her fruit basket for photos. If you consider this a kind and friendly act, then you are wrong. They can even reach and forcingly put the fruit basket on your shoulder. Once even one photo is taken, you will lose your money. 

With the same script as the fruit sellers, the shoe cleaners will also offer to clean your shoes with a small price. Once they have taken your shoes away, they will demand more money to take them back.

Solutions: Avoid anyone who gives you anything out of the blue and offers to take photos. Walk away from the shoe-cleaners and do not let them take your shoes. 


Vietnam is undoubtedly famous for its exquisite cuisine, but to some tourists, the food is no longer delicious because of the price. Some restaurants or street food venues have a menu without prices and their staff also happen to speak very little to no English at all.

When you ask for the price, they will say whatever to make you think that it is cheap. However, in the end, the bill is nowhere near cheap, but you have no choice because you have already eaten the food.

One more thing you should note is the side dishes; they are NOT free. If you eat the peanuts, cucumbers or fruits that they bring you even if you didn’t order, they may cost you even more than your main dishes.

Solutions: Only dine at places with a clear menu. Don’t nod at everything the staff offers you. Ask them about the exact price of everything they give you. If you didn’t order something or consider the price unreasonable, friendly, say no and ask the staff to take it away. 

It’s much better to take a look at a trusted website as Trip Advisor or


The most common hotel scam in Vietnam is changing the price when customers check out. The hotel staff will claim that the price they agreed on at first was for one person rather than one night.

Don’t believe in the attractive price you see in advertisements. When you arrive at the hotel, the staff will claim that the room you booked is already full and you will have to pay more for the only room left.

Most rooms will have drinks and snacks, but they may not be free. Be careful because you may end up paying a significant extra amount for them. 

Solutions: Ask everything you need to know about the price and goods in the room to avoid losing money. It is best to book the rooms in advance on reputable websites.

At the end

Above are the top tourist scams in Vietnam and how to avoid them. We hope the list will help you have a safe and enjoyable trip to beautiful Vietnam. If you find our article helpful, please don’t hesitate to share with your friends or contact us for further help.

Contact Us:

Add: 16 Phung Hung Street, Hoan Kiem Dictrict, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: + 84. 868. 384.788

Email: [email protected]



Other travel guide

Hanoi Overview

The capital of Vietnam is a city of timeless grace with tree-lined boulevards, colonial buildings, many lakes and parks as well as temples and pagodas. 

Best time to travel to Hue

Located in the Central Coast of Vietnam, Hue province become one of key tourist regions included beautiful natural landscapes and hospitable people. This region belongs to humid tropical weather the temperature will be up to 39 degree in the dry season and could be 18 degree during the rainy season.

Top 8 best places for dining in Hanoi

If you are crazy about Hanoi cuisine, don't miss this article! Let us take you to the top 8 best places for dining in Hanoi from fine dining to local eateries.