What are the most common travel scams in Vietnam?

If you do not like to be cheated, and someone has intentionally aroused you feel guilty and you have become a victim of a travel scam, read this article to learn about the most common travel scams in Vietnam.

There is no country in the world where travel scams do not exist. It occurs in various forms – from very primitive to more sophisticated, non-obvious and demanding cooperation of several people. The effect is always the same – the theft of our property, waste of time and money and negative emotions. Knowledge about various forms of travel scams and their recurrence is very useful because even when we find ourselves in a new place, not knowing the language, currency, and local customs, our internal alarm should be called in a suspicious situation, warning against committing nonsense. I encourage you to read the below article about most common travel scams in Vietnam.

Small but annoying scams

Generally, Vietnamese are nice and smiling people. However, you can not deny them a flair for business, sometimes bordering on cunning. Their scams are small, repetitive and with some precaution, they can be easily avoided in most cases. Usually, the newcomers to the country become victims. Most often, “as a result of a mistake,” the vendor will give you too little change, sometimes the price will go wrong for a white tourist and out of five thousand will be fifteen or instead of two ordered spring rolls they will serve four. These small travel scams in Vietnam are so frequent that they can become annoying and effectively disrupt your dream holiday. Even Vietnamese money is involved in the scam. On all, there is the gentle face of Ho Chi Minh, and the banknote of 10,000 and 100,000 are almost the same color, differing only by a dot between the zeros.

In the restaurant

Despite many good restaurants in Vietnam, which can satisfy the most demanding customers, with excellent service and excellent food, there are unfortunately those which care only for their profit. Such restaurants are a real nightmare for tourists, as they use a number of tricks to unfairly increase your bill:

  1. Special menu. Sometimes, there are two types of menus in the restaurant – for locals and tourists. Prices in the tourist menu used to be even several times higher than on the local one, for the same dishes. The tourist overpays only because he is a tourist. It’s quite easy to defend against this common scam. When the waiter gives us the menu, smile and accept, but then take the menu from the Vietnamese table next to you. Satisfaction is guaranteed when the waiter brings the bill. guaranteed.
  2. No prices on the menu. Sometimes there are no prices on the menu at all, and every attempt to ask the waiter about the prices of meals ends in failure and avoiding the answer. In the end, we get a bill with irrational prices, compared to the quality we have received. In this situation, it is difficult to argue, especially since the meal has already been eaten. Of course, you will not come to this restaurant for the second time, but next day new tourists and new victims will come. To defend against this type of scam, it is best to choose reputable restaurants or avoid those in which there are no prices.
  3. Additional charges. A common trick is that the restaurant charges you additionally for extra things, for example, wipes for hands at the price of the second dinner. Another time, there are small, almost imperceptible surpluses to prices on the menu.
  4. The menu currency Sometimes prices in the menu are expressed in one currency, for example in USD, and when you ask for the bill, it is in VND at a very unfavorable exchange rate.
  5. Expensive wine. You order wine in a restaurant. The waiter mistakenly brings wine twice as expensive, but he notices a mistake when you have already drunk wine – guess who will pay for this mistake? Always check five times whether you get what you ordered.


You are particularly exposed to scam in popular tourist markets, as Ben Thanh market or on the street by buying from street vendors. Always clarify clearly the price to be paid, in what currency and if it’s for the whole group. And always check your change.


  1. Overcharging and confusing currency. Overcharging is a frequent scam around the world, but it is much more easily implemented in Vietnam due to the large note denomination. It happens that prices are several times overstated in relation to local prices. If you are on the market and you do not know what the price should be, see how much the locals pay.
  2. A refusal to give change. Another type of shopping scam is the widespread refusal to give the change, rounding up or insisting on a tip.
  3. Confusing money. When giving the price, sellers constantly confuse 10 with 100 and a dozen with several dozen – fifteen, while paying turns out to be fifty. Because in this country Ho Chi Minh is on every banknote, it is distinguished mainly by color. Well, there is a problem – both 10,000 and 100,000 are green.
  4. A photo with a street vendor. An exotic street vendor with his hangers and bamboo hat walks past you and you came up with the great idea of taking a picture with him. It is very likely that he will want a tip from you or he will insist that you buy something from him at a very high price.

In the hotel

The hotel is another place where you can be cheated by cunning Vietnamese. It happens that when visiting the place we are looking for a hotel for the last moment, soaked or tired, not suspecting a fraud.
Unfortunately, inexperienced tourists can be quickly caught in a trap. The best way to avoid unpleasant surprises in a hotel is to book in advance and provide a confirmation email with a voucher. It’s a great place to hang out. If you did not have time to book in advance, remember to agree and save the price for the stay at the very beginning and specify whether the room will be air-conditioned or not. The most common scams in hotels:

  1. Double rates upon checkout. Hotels in Vietnam are known to double rates upon checkout. The price quoted was per night turns out to be the price per person. If you travel as a couple, the cost of accommodation increases twice.
  2. Confusing currency. Checking in at the hotel, you agree on a price per night for 100,000 VND, and the final bill is 10 USD per night.
  3. Only deluxe rooms available. They offer lower room fee, but when tourists come, they will say that the fee is just for standard rooms, which are full already; tourists must pay higher for deluxe rooms.
  4. Additional fees during check out. During check out, they add some unreasonable fees to bills or even double the price: “You stay alone in a double room. That’s why you must pay double”. They threaten to keep tourists’ passports if they do not pay the extra fee.

Motorbike rental

There is no better way to explore Vietnam, like renting a scooter and an epic journey on two wheels. It’s easy to get around and it’s super cheap. Remember, however, to rent a scooter only in a reputable place or throughout your hotel, due to the fact that motorbike rentals can get pretty tricky in Vietnam. You will probably have a better chance of getting a better motorcycle.

  1. Fee for a broken motorbike. “Motorbike doesn’t run after returning and you have to buy the whole bike” – There are stories of people renting motorbikes, then trying to return them and having the store owner tell them the motorbike doesn’t run anymore and they have to buy the whole bike.
  2. Dishonest damage claims. Check the bike carefully before renting, take pictures or record a movie to avoid false accusations that you have damaged the motorcycle and you have to pay for the damage.
  3. The owner steals the motorbike. A frequently described scam is the owner stealing a motorcycle in order to force money for a “stolen” vehicle. To avoid this, consider investing in your own lock and key.
  4. Driving Permit. In Vietnam, you also require a Vietnamese driving permit to ride the bike legally. If you are caught without one, the motorbike can be impounded for a month and you would have to continue paying for the bike.


If you travel a lot, you certainly compared your experience with the given examples while reading this post, but if you are just starting to travel maybe after reading you will feel that wherever you go you will be exposed to travel scams. It’s not true. It’s not that bad, but you have to remember that sometimes a few bad experiences can ruin your stay and make you feel reluctant to a place, country or people. That is why it’s worth getting ready before you go and learn how to avoid the most common travels scams in Vietnam.

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