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The Most Common Vietnam Travel Scams That Tourist Should Aware The Most Common Vietnam Travel Scams That Tourist Should Aware

The Most Common Vietnam Travel Scams That Tourist Should Aware


Vietnam is a beautiful country that cannot be ignored. We always welcome travelers with our whole heart’s content and the magnificent sights are still waiting for you to explore. Although the country is completely safe for travel with the low crime rate, still, there are still some Vietnam travel scams that tourists should be aware of in this Vietnam Travel Guide for a perfect trip.


Vietnam’s currency is now using two types of banknotes: paper banknotes (1,000VND; 2,000VND & 5,000VND) and polymer banknotes (10,000VND; 20,000VND; 50,000VND; 100,000VND, 200,000VND & 500,000VND).

Polymer banknotes are usually mistaken because of the similar color of the 20,000 VND note and 500,000 note. In addition, polymer banknotes are quite sticky and you might double pay the actual price of the item or the service. The exchange rate from Vietnam’s currency to the US Dollar changes every day.

Currency Scams

You should notice when paying and receiving change.

» How to avoid: 

Recount the amount of money you have to pay or receive. 

Check the exchange rate on the websites of authentic banks.

Don’t exchange your money at the black market. It is best to exchange money at the airports or the local banks.


Cars and Taxi Scams

In normal situations and in many countries, tourists often choose taxis to get around the city, as you can go anywhere you want, get away from the crowded streets as long as you have enough money. Nonetheless, taxi drivers have tricks to make you pay more than how much the ride actually costs. Usually, they adjust the meter or do not use the meter at all, they drive different, longer routes to maximize the fare. Some normal cars even disguise themselves to look like reputable, popular companies in Vietnam. 

Transportation Scams

Car and Taxi scams in Vietnam

» How to avoid: 

Please check for the meter at the front of the taxi, the price per kilometer is usually stated specifically outside.

Check the map from your location to your destination, and choose the car option, google map is now intelligently convenient to use.

In case you are not feeling confident enough to ride a taxi in big cities, book a car on the “Grab” application. This application is popular with even the local people. However, we would recommend using a grab-car only to travel in town, the fee is extremely high if you travel from the airport to the city’s center or in rush hour.

Motorbike Rental Scams

Renting a motorbike is absolutely idealistic when you travel to Asia countries and have an international license. However, there might be a disadvantage in this means of transportation option. A common scam that can be seen in our experience is defective motorbike parts. After finishing your adventure with the motorbike, the owners will charge you fixing fees, or compensation for damaging their motorbike, though it was not your fault to take. 

» How to avoid:

If you are used to riding a motorbike, check the bike carefully and make sure there is no part falling out when driving before renting. Take a trial spin first. 

Always carry your driving license by your side.

Take a before photo of the motorbike to confirm the existing scratches or missing parts like mirrors. 

Booking Train and Flight Tickets Online 

Be extremely careful with the unofficial websites online. It is a good thing that you can book your train or flight ticket by yourself online but you can encounter some web pages that sell fake tickets or attractive prices but in the end, a surging surcharge waiting for you at the station. In the worst case, your identity or your credit’s information can be stolen to commit fraud or other crimes. 

» How to avoid:

We suggest you buy the tickets directly at the station. Websites are only for checking the departure date and time purpose. 

You can also ask your hotel’s receptionist or your local travel agency to book your ticket for you.

Some official websites to buy tickets online:


Vietnam Airlines:

Vietjet Air:


Vietnam Railway's Offical Website:


Attaction Scams

Searching carefully before traveling

It is quite hard for foreigners sometimes to differentiate which attractions are obliged to buy tickets. There might be some people standing in front of the sightseeing places, dressing formally requiring a certain entrance fee to visit the area. 

» How to avoid: 

Do some research if you’re planning to visit those attractions.

In most of the Buddhist temples, pagodas are free to enter. Please notice if there is any ticket fee sign at the entrance. 


Fake items and souvenirs

For some people, shopping is the most favorite part of traveling and Vietnam has many things to offer.

Apart from the country's famous handmade products like high-quality silk, sophisticated embroidery, or beautiful brocade, many international brands can also be found in Vietnam. However, just like many other places in Southeast Asia, counterfeits are pretty common at street-side stores and in local markets. From silk, bags, clothing, and wallets to hand-watches, all can be made fake and sold at a high price.

» How to avoid: 

Check the items carefully before buying 

Make sure you have an experienced guide who knows what to buy and where to shop

Buy authentic products from the traditional and original villages.


  • At the Train Station

The train stations might be one of the most chaotic places in Vietnam. In most cases, you can catch the scenes of local people standing at the front gate of the train station to ask tourists if they might need some help. And at that very moment, you suddenly feel exhausted from hours of traveling with your heavy luggage, you think it is a good chance to finally relax and let them lend you a hand. Baggage handlers will take advantage of the moment you gaze your eyes to another place. 

The luggage scams

The train stations might be one of the most chaotic places in Vietnam

» How to avoid:

Don’t trust strangers. Sometimes, a friendly gesture is not exactly a good intention. 

Mind your luggage all the time to make sure they are still with you.

  • At the Airport

Have you ever put something valuable inside your check-in luggage or a souvenir that you cherish from the very first moment you buy it and are eager to take it back home to give to someone special? And yet, by the time you take your luggage back, you discover a gaping hole, things are broken inside, or no sight of your valuable items. That might happen to some unlucky one out there when traveling to Vietnam.

The joke could be taken too far or it is exactly the evil intention of the baggage handlers at the airport. When your luggage is running across the scanner, they notice something that can be taken from your suitcase. It is sad but true. However, it is not a big problem to worry about because the chance of being stolen from your luggage is now only at the minimum rate. 

» How to avoid: 

Wrap your luggage carefully. Spare some time and changes for luggage-wrapping service. They might come in handy sometimes.


  • The Food

Vietnam street food is among the most famous factors in Vietnam’s tourism. They are splendidly delicious and mouth-watering just by seeing them. But be careful when choosing things to eat on the sidewalks. The process of making them might be not hygienic enough to digest, you might have a stomachache.

Eating in Vietnam

Street vendors are popular in Vietnam

» How to avoid:

If you are planning to have a full stomach of street cuisine, please book a street food tour with a local. We know the area and we can choose the safest and most tasty places for you to enjoy our original street food. 

  • Restaurants that do not display the prices 

Some dining venues often have a trick to call the price of the meal higher. They do not publish the dish's price and pretend to not understand English. Thus, when you ask them to charge the meal, the whole meal might be doubled. 

» How to avoid: 

Ask for the menu first or ask for the price of the dishes that you want to try before placing your order. 

You can search for the restaurants and check their reviews beforehand. 

  • Extra-charged-non-order dishes 

It may sound strange to you when you have to pay for what you did not order in the restaurant, isn't it? But it does happen occasionally when you eat the dishes that you thought were complimentary dishes. They are often fruits, peanuts and slides of cucumber which are already placed on the table. Whether you ate them or not, they are still written and charged in the bill. That's why you need to be careful when paying the bills at restaurants. 

» How to avoid: 

Check your bill twice when paying.

Notice the food on the table and ask the waiters if they are free or charged. 


Bargaining is an important trick to learn when shopping in Southeast Asia and Vietnam is not an exception. Try to haggle when you buy something from the local markets or street vendors. The actual price can be lower than the initial cost of about 30% or even 50%. Hence, if you see the price tag on the item, don't bargain. It is non-negotiable.

Bargaining in Vietnam

Bargaining with street vendors

» How to avoid: 

Learn some Vietnamese. It is better to haggle the price

Ask your tour guide about the price of some local items that you need to buy. 

Learn how to bargain as much as you can when you are at the local markets and sightseeing with the cyclo.


The criminal rate in Vietnam is low compared to Asia's countries. However, travelers should watch out for pickpockets at crowded places like bus or train stations. They are extremely fast and they also set someone to create misdirection and they will take that opportunity to steal your phones and wallets. The bag snatch situation also happens in some places in Ho Chi Minh City.


Be careful with the pickpocket

» How to avoid: 

Mind your purse, wallet, and handbags at train stations, bus and bus stations, or crowded places. 

Wear your backpack at your front to keep it protected. 

Dress simple and do not wear too many valuable accessories.

The Vietnam travel scams that we have listed above are some that you might be unlucky to experience in Vietnam. That is why we are here to help you and prevent those things from happening to travelers in Vietnam. Vietnam, as well as Vietnam’s tourism, is still growing and needs a lot of care and attention from the government to reduce scams in tourism. But in all, it is important to remember that these scams are just a small number and they should not be the factors that keep you away from the joy of traveling in Vietnam. 

Pack your back and travel with us, visit our website for more useful information: Asia Links Travel will be delighted to be your trusted travel agency.

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