Quang Nam Province
Lao Cai Province
Cat Ba Island
Ha Long Bay
Phu Quoc Island
This is a warning of a scam that we have just fallen victim to and i would like to bring it to the attention of future travellers. We are in
, Vietnam and have travelled up from Ho Chi Minh on the open bus ticket with An Phu. We had no problems with this and found the experience to be pleasant and affordable. At each destination of the journey the bus dropped us at an associate hotel where we were invited to look at the room options, but there was never any pressure to stay if we did not want to. That was until we got to Hanoi. We arrived at the Hanoi bus station at 8am after a 14 hour bus journey. We were greeted by people who said they were representatives of An Phu (the bus company) and that because the roads were in bad condition due to recent rain we were being taken by taxi to the old quarter. We were told that we had the option of looking at a hotel there. So myself, my boyfriend and 4 others got into a taxi and were taken to the jointly named and run Asia Queen…
for just 8 days and got ripped off almost every single day. The day tours are great but the vast difference in the prices offered and the claims made by the travel agents were so ridiculously different. We paid for a small group tour which was supposed to be no less than 13 turned out to be a bustling big group of over 30!
I went to
in mid-September this year and had a week there. There are some good, nice, and friendly people there but there are some bad, dishonest, and rude people in Hanoi. When I first arrived in Hanoi N.Bai Airport, no taxi pick-up at the airport even though I had prearranged with the hotel. After this and some other incidents, I had lost faith in this hotel and I decided to check out the next day. I learnt the rules of the game here. I went to the Old Quarter to search for a new accommodation. What I did is, I demanded to view the hotel's rooms first before I checked in. I did not want to trust the web page or statements made by the hotel's staff. Finally, I got a very good hotel. Regarding the daily tours I signed up for including Halong Bay, Perfume Pagoda, and city tour, you have to check the prices first and you may discover that in every tour agency there is variation in prices. The tourist guides I met were quite friendly and helpful except one tourist guide (Halong…
… A word of warning: if you have to do a boat trip from Hue (we heard the motorbike tour is better) then make sure you pay no more than 20,000 VND RETURN for a motorbike taxi. We were told by the girl on the boat that this is the price each way, but this turned out to be false. Also, don't pay the motorbike taxi driver; you pay the cashier at the end of the journey.
Someone needs to update the "scams to watch out for" in the travel media. They are privy to the warning of tourists that taking a bus from
to Vientiane is highly NOT recommended and have circumvented it with their own dialogue, saying - this is a new, airconditioned bus that is the only one that takes you all the way from Hanoi to Vientiane (laos) NON-STOP. It's just like the other buses. It drops you in the middle of nowhere from 1-4 am, where you change to a second bus which takes you to a man's house that wants to charge you $20USD per person to take you to the border in his pickup. The 11 of us travellers, never having met each other, except the 3 couples, were all stuck together and said, "no, we paid to go to vientiane, take us there". After about 30 minutes of them pretending to suddenly not understand English, they took us to some remote location after the border crossing, far from our destination in some remote, dusty area, refused to go any further and after a 2…
… I have spent four weeks in Vietnam and have enjoyed it lot. I firmly believe that it's the travelers awareness and smarts that determine how often and how much he or she gets scammed. I have used public transportation as much as the tourist buses and have had basically no problems. I have spent time outside of the tourist trail and find it less scam-filled. When you are in a foreign country you have to adopt some of the local attitude. It's not like home, it's not going to be like home, and don't expect things to happen like they would at home. Be firm and don't give in to scams unless your life depends on it. If you do, you set the stage for it to happen to the next tourist. When in Vietnam, do as the Vietnamese do and take everything with a keen awareness of where you are -- country, politics, society, culture, language, religion.
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