Scamming Money From Tourists

Vietnam tourism industry has a reputation of scamming tourists more than most other countries. Here are today’s remembered incidents. They didn’t amount to anything. The money involved was trivial and I let it all go withing seconds. So why post? To warn people about scam methods.

Lie about something instantly verifiable

Stopped at one of the Chinese Association temples. Guidebook says it’s not one of the ones for which a city wide ticket is sold. Three old guys sitting around a table at the entrance. Claim it’s one of the spots on the ticket circuit. OK, I was going to get one anyway. How much? 10 he says (10,000 VND, $0.50). That’s BS, the ticket is 60 according to a 5 year old guide book. Gave him the money, just so I could justify going off on him. Asked for the ticket (one ticket is good at multiple locations) he said they didn’t have any. Grabbed the bill out of his hand. Decided yelling at him would be disrespectful of the temple and besides, it generates stomach acid, so walked out.

Lie because that’s what I want to hear

Inquired about a half day trip and the guy gave me a well practiced summary of the trip. Asked how much time on site, he said 3 hours. He’d earlier said the trip start and end times, and how long the driving took. Simple math meant 2 hours on site, which matched what I’d read on line. Pickup is at my hotel, asked about drop off. He said it’s at my hotel. Must have forgot that when he first gave the trip summary he’d said drop off was at the central market.

Making currency exchange errors in their favor

Room was $20 (yes, the prices are in USD) or $24 with breakfast. Went without, changed my mind after booking the day trip. "88 sir", said the clerk, meaning 88,000 VND, which is $4.20. Said I thought it should be 84. She pulls out the calculator, which they all use all the time for exchange calculations, and confirmed it was 84. Gave her 90, got back 2 as change. Again, pointed out I thought I should get back 6, and she complied. Was it worth the $0.20? No. Was it worth the practice of having my guard up? Hell yes.

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