Vietnam is a beautiful country with amazing depth of culture and wonderful variety of landscapes; however, it is not perfectly safe country. You definitely have heard stories about aggressive touts by street vendors, being ripped-off, being stolen or being pick-pocketed while travelling in Vietnam.
From my own experience, I realize that foreigner travelers are easily to be target of scams or overcharge. It is reality in developing countries as well as in developed countries. To protect yourself, you are advised to learn about the country prior to your trip to know how things are supposed to be. Hope that some tips below will help you to avoid the nuisance tourist traps in Vietnam.
Take trustworthy taxies
The illegal taxi drivers have many tricks to overcharge foreigner travelers who are unfamiliar with streets, distance and taxi fares. They can modify meter machine to run faster than normal ones, or they take longer paths to the destination, result in much more expensive fare. Some trusty taxis brand names are Mai Linh, 3 Sao, Vinasun or Taxi Group. You are advised to call to taxi’s customer care center to order a taxi rather than take a random taxi on the street. Ask your hotel’s receptionist to know the distance or how many estimated kilometers should be, or better, ask them to call the taxi for you.
Keep your possessions carefully on the street
Do not show off your wallet/purse or jewelry if you do not wish to be target of robbers. Make a habit to keep a hand on your trouser pocket whenever you are on the street or in middle of a crowd to make it difficult to be stolen. Keep camera straps around your neck while taking pictures.
Be strong-minded with street vendors
Foreign tourists are quite interested in street vendors that are not available in their home country. Taking advantage of this psychology, many street vendors encourage tourists to take a photograph with their bamboo hangers or colonial hats and then force tourists to buy goods with ridiculous high price or demand money for photo. Vendor children disturb tourist by trying to sell chewing gums for tourist. They will not give up until you give them some money. If you do not want to buy anything, do not show any interest; do not even look at them and walk away. In certain circumstances, a firm but polite “No” is necessary or just ask restaurant staffs for help.
Always fix a price for any services/goods
Before confirm to use any services/good and make payment, it is definitely essential to have agreement of exactly what you will get. If it is a tour, check carefully what is included/excluded. Do not hesitate to just ask them plenty of question until you are clear. It will help you to control the actual price you have to pay for your tour. During my trip in Vietnam, I used tours of two tour companies and happy with them. They are Eviva Tour which specializes on customized tour and Sinh Café which organized group tours with cheap price.
It seems like a lot to be worried about, but it is only small thing in your trip to Vietnam. Relax to enjoy the country to the fullest.