• [Infographics] Hanoi Scams and How to Avoid Them

    Le CongJanuary 5, 2024
    217 views

    Scams in holiday are more and more popular and if you are not careful, you may become one of the victims of these scams. It means that these scams will create disappointment and annoyance throughout your whole journey, especially in Hanoi, where this problem is alarming. These are some of the Hanoi scams you may encounter while traveling in Hanoi and some tips to avoid them.

    Exchange rates

    If you’re travelling to Vietnam, you’ll need to exchange money. Cash is the most popular way to pay for everyday things. You can learn more about the different ways to exchange money in Hanoi, such as cash, credit cards, and ATMs, in Cash, Credit Cards and ATMs in Vietnam.

    If you need to exchange money in Hanoi, you can do it at banks or jewellery stores. Banks are the better option as they provide secure exchange rates. Be careful when exchanging money at jewellery stores, as there is a risk of getting scammed.

    >>> The Best Places to Exchange Money in Hanoi

    Check exchange rates before exchanging money at hotels, gold and jewellery stores. Ask the price in the currency you’re going to pay before booking; and check the rate again upon arrival. If the rate is too high, ask for an explanation before giving any guarantee. Pay in the currency quoted, usually dollars.

    Hotel scams – “that” to avoid in Vietnam

    Hotels may say no room but suggest another of similar price & quality. Agree, as don’t want to waste time and tired from travel. Later, may find new hotel better than usual hostels/guesthouses.

    When checking out, be mindful of the room cost ($$$/night) and pay the bill to avoid conflict with staff.

    Don’t leave your passport as a deposit when renting. Pay in advance instead, to avoid issues with your passport and losing money.

    Take extra care when choosing accommodation in Hanoi; there are many fake hotels and guesthouses, so be sure to pick the right one.

    Make sure you double-check with Google Maps to be sure you get to the right hotel.

    Fake Tours – Tour Agencies

    You should double research to choose the best travel agency.

    Hanoi is a popular tourist destination with many tour agencies. Booking online can be risky. We suggest using TripAdvisor. It’s a reliable website for finding a tour agency in the Old Quarter without taking a risk.

    Beware of fake tour agencies, especially in large cities like Hanoi. An example is Sinh Tourist agency, which has 7 fake branches scattered around the city. Do not expect the best service from these fakes.

    Fake tour agencies are a problem in many cities, including Hanoi. To avoid scams, check Google Maps for the agency’s exact address.

    Our tour is trusted by TripAdvisor. Check Onetrip hanoi tours

    Hanoi Taxi Scams

    For getting around Hanoi, you might can’t avoid hailing a taxi to travel around. However, there are a couple of common problems that happen with the taxis in Hanoi and here are the ones to look out for.

    The first and main concern is the taxi ride from the airport. I must say that the airport is a haven for potential scammers. If you get outside Noi Bai airport after the arrival, you will mostly be invited a ride by some taxi drivers. Most will try to demand a fixed fare that’s much higher than the normal rate. Ensure you get in a taxi that will agree to go by the meter (it should end up costing about $10-15 USD).

    Only hop on a taxi if the driver agrees to turn on the meter.

    Hailing a taxi is one of the options you might choose to travel around Hanoi. However, there are a couple of common problems that happen with the taxis in Hanoi and here are the ones to look out for.

    To avoid taxi scams, there are several ways. You can book a Grab Car by using your smartphone. Or look for a reputable company such as: Mai Linh Taxi (the remarkably green cab with its name “Mai Linh” on both sides, Taxi Van Xuan (the grey cab with a blue and a red line along both sides), Taxi Airport (the half white and half dark pink cab with its phone number on the front door).

    If you have to use taxis, ask your hotel receptionist to help you. And make sure you are clear with the price first with the driver.

    Taxis from the airport

    Noi Bai airport is often referenced as a hotbed of scamming taxi drivers and has been well-covered in the Travelfish.org forum. In theory, all the licensed taxis are often set up a metered cab to measure the travelling distance and the payment .

    If you use one of these taxis, get agreement on the rate before you get in by pointing at the rates sign and getting a confirming nod. If the driver tries to charge you more upon arrival, don’t pay. Also, don’t pay any extras for the tolls/parking — that is all included.

    If you are arriving late, the safest option is to book in advance through your hotel or a company such as Hanoi Airport Transfer, this is also a high recommendation. For the budget-conscious ,take the Jetstar or Vietnam Airlines buses, instead of hailing a minivan, but you are likely to charge a little more than locals – maybe one dollar.

    Note that when you leave from the airport, do not get waylaid by the men who pounce because they may work for an unlicensed taxi company and will overcharge.

    Another note is that when you have picked a taxi from airport or station, maybe there is a mistake that the taxi driver take you to a wrong hotel, this risk can be objective or subjective, therefore I suggest that you should make sure the name of hotel or exact address and make it clear that you have a reservation. If the driver takes you somewhere else you have two options: (1) get out and walk (2) refuse to pay until they take you where you want to go.

    Taxis from the train station

    Tourists arriving at the train station are often tired and unfamiliar with Hanoi and they tend to get to their hotel. Hailing a taxi is the best way to their hotel. Mai Linh taxi is reliable taxi brand for tourists and the payment almost upon the figure on cash machine with the fixed rate (10000 to 12000 VND per one kilo meter). As a rough guide, it’s about two kilometres to the cathedral area, so 30,000-40,000 VND is a fare fixed price, depending upon the size of taxi. It’s a bit further to Ma May area, so you’ll likely need to pay 40,000-50,000 VND to get there.

    Note that the direction or way from station to Old Quarter is so complicated, therefore don’t be surprised if it’s not quite as direct as you may know before.

    Taxis around town

    As I recommended above, choosing a well known and reliable taxi brand is the number one priority such as Mai Linh because they also have a fixed rate for each traveling distance and besides that, some other brands like Phu Dong, Thanh Nga, Vic or Morning taxis also make me feel secure with prices, so you absolutely consider these

    Another tip is to always negotiate before you get into any taxi

    Agreeing a fixed rate is only advisable if you know how much you should be paying. Their first bid is likely to be high, especially late at night.

    Alternatively, take another mode of transport. Walking is a great way to see Hanoi, buses run reasonably frequently, or combine travel with sightseeing on a cyclo.

    My final tip regarding taxis, wherever you catch them, is to make sure you have enough change on you. It’s a common trick for drivers to claim they don’t have any change. If they do this, pay less rather than more (if you have it) — no change, their problem, not yours.

    Be careful with the Free Donuts

    Around the Old Quarter, it is not hard to see so many street vendors approaching the tourists and offering free donuts before they buy. Sounds pretty good, but in fact that is a kind of scam.

    These donuts are not really goods, they are a part of a scam. Therefore if any vendor goes towards you and invites some free donuts, say No to them

    Don’t get in this strap!

    Because after you accept it, the seller will demand that you pay her a large amount of money for the doughnut you just “bought”, meanwhile the real price of this donut in the market is so low. They can get aggressive and continue to follow you around until they get your money. This can create this an almighty and embarrassing scene.

    If you want to enjoy an exciting trip, and do not get trouble, please avoid this scam or just say no to all of them immediately. Believe me! You will see a lot of them, especially in Hanoi Old Quarter.

    Recently, we have observed a few people offering local doughnuts and “souvenirs” to tourists. Initially, they seem friendly, but once tourists try the “free doughnuts,” they try to charge them a significantly higher price for them. Unfortunately, several guests who joined our tours have reported falling victim to this scheme. We wanted to alert you about this, so you can avoid it. Have a safe and enjoyable trip in Vietnam.

    It is advisable to avoid buying items on the street. Not everyone is dishonest, but there is a risk of falling victim to a scam.

    The scam of Free Photos Opportunity

    The image of a female hawker wearing typical Vietnamese conical hats and carrying hawker baskets across their shoulders is not unfamiliar to tourists and locals in the Hanoi Old Quarter.

    Sometimes they smile at you and offer you to put on their hat or even take some pictures with their baskets for free. However, this is a kind of scam- as the donuts scam, nothing is free. If you accept to take a photo with them, they will demand you to pay for it

    Other than the hawkers with conical hats, you will also meet the street sellers carrying fruit and good who offer free pictures. Again, say no to them at first because there is nothing is free here. If you agree, you’ll likely have to face an embarrassing demand for payment later. They will follow you and create a scene.

    Pick Pocket and Bag Snatcher

    Pickpocketing and bag snatching seems to have quietened down in Hanoi. However, for safety, you still need to watch out for it, especially whenever you are at crowded places, because the thieves can take the opportunity to blend into the crowd to pull something out. If you do not want to be a victim of pick -pocket, please pay much attention to your belongings

    For the motorbike thieves, especially careful if you are wearing a bag that is slung across your shoulder-you are particularly injured, in the worst situation, you may be dragged across the street, leading to many serious injuries

    This is a horrible crime, but thankfully, this crime is now uncommon in Hanoi (and they were very open about all the current scams in the city). This is more prevalent in Ho Chi Minh City.

    To avoid this kind of scam, We advise you to use a bag with two straps when you walking on the street and if you visit some crowded places like night market or walking street…., you can wear this bag in front of your chest. Always be careful and keep your eyes on everything around!

    ​How to be Safe in Hanoi ?

    ​Hanoi remains a relatively safe city for visitors, but the more you aware of some typical hazards, the more you will increase the likelihood of you having a hassle-free stay.

    Here are some things to beware of:

    • Don’t carry too much cash. Use an ATM card for regular withdrawals or keep the cash in a safety deposit box at your hotel. When you go out, you should bring a moderate amount of money or, if not, you can keep it in a bag and wear it in front of your chest in order to always keep an eye on your money.
    • Be especially vigilant at night when the streets are quieter and it’s easier for thieves to cut and run, particularly when victims are drunk. We’re not saying don’t drink, but if you’re planning a big night out, don’t take valuables, make sure you’re with other people and do have a plan for how you’re getting back to your hotel, particularly if you head outside the Old Quarter to areas like Phuc Tan (where the infamous Phuc Tan Club is located).
    • Don’t trust red lights; sometimes you should be aware of the situation around you instead of depending mostly on traffic lights, because there are many people who pass through red lights and ignore the traffic signals, which can cause unpredictable risks.
    • Don’t drink and drive, wear a helmet and take it easy. And don’t forget, if you don’t have a local license, your insurance won’t cover you in case of an accident.
    • Men should be aware of being courted by sex workers; do remember that HIV is an issue here :((((, as is stealing from flattered and satisfied clients.

    ​Above are some of the common Hanoi scams that you most likely to encounter. Always watch out and don’t be a victim of any Hanoi scams that ruin your holiday.

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    3 thoughts on “[Infographics] Hanoi Scams and How to Avoid Them

    1. eileen says:

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