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Vietnam Traps and Scams

Traveling in Vietnam can be challenging to say the least, especially when trying to avoid tourist traps and scams hidden around every corner. Asia Highlights is here to show you what to look for to avoid these traps.

We can also help design the best possible tailor-made private travel experience for your budget and needs.

Our prime goal is to keep you safe. All of our guides have been trained with your needs in mind. They seek to give you the best experience possible by showing you all of the breathtaking views while keeping you away from tourist traps and scams.

Always Set a Price

Before you do anything,find out the asking price or set a price yourself. You can always ask your tour guides or hotel/hostel staff what the prices should be close to.

However, this can often be confusing because the Vietnamese currency (the Dong) has a very high note denomination. Currently,1 USD is equal to more than 22,000 Dong! Check the exchange rate daily because it is constantly changing.


One of the most popular and easy ways to scamyouis with a menu that has no prices listed. These restaurants are hoping you won't notice so they can overcharge you.

Don’t fall into this trap. Always check for a price, and if you can’t find one move on to another restaurant or try your luck with bargaining for a price.

Along with hidden prices, restaurants will often place tissues, bottles of water, and small snacks on or near the table. These things are usually not complimentary but are put there in the hope that you will use them so they can charge you for them — sometimes at triple the normal asking price.

So try to remember to ask about prices before using anything.

Street food is a fun and cheap alternative to a more Western-style restaurant, but many of these places won't have prices listed. So, the best way to make sure you’re paying the best price is to see how much locals pay for the same thing.

This way, the vendor can’t try to charge you three times as much for the same meal, and if locals are eating there you know it has to be good.

Getting Around

Taxis are one of the easiest ways to get around Vietnam, and taxi drivers know that once you’re inside their cabs you’re obligated to pay. To make sure that they don’t charge you more than they should, try to use official taxi companies, such as Mai Linh, Vinasun, or Taxi Group.

Often, illegal taxi drivers will have modified meters that run faster in order to charge you unbelievably expensive fares, or they will take longer routes to increase the cost.

You can always ask your hotel or hostel to call a taxi for you. You can also ask them for estimates on how much it should cost to travel from place to place.

Anytime you want to take a boat trip, we recommend booking a return ticket instead of a one-way ticket. Often, when you try to buy the return ticket separately it will more challenging and cost you more money, which you could be spending on fun excursions.

Especially when walking around, but even on the back of motorcycles and tuktuks, your bags are easy targets for professional thieves in Southeast Asia. Try not to show off your expensive belongings.

When traveling, always keep your personal belongings very close. It may even be best to keep a hand on top of your belongings to help keep them safe. Hotels, Hostels, and Tours

Hotels, Hostels, and Tours

Finding the right place to sleep and the best tour to take can be overwhelming, especially on a budget. We recommend only putting your trust in well-established and reputable tour groups, hotels, and hostels.

Any time you take a chance on one of these you risk not having a well-organized tour, safe food, or even a clean bed to sleep in.

Vendors and Children

Tourism has become a large industry in Vietnam, and the locals have learned what foreigners like and how to make money off them. One common scam is to get you to take a picture with them and then to ask for money.

By being aware of this scam you will be able to avoid these situations.

However, depending on how much you want some pictures it might be worth it to pay money to the vendor or child for the picture.

Locals at some very picturesque locations will try to help you take a picture and charge you for it. This can be seen negatively or as a great chance to meet the locals and create a lasting memory.


Like many other places around the world, some beggars are used by gangs and corrupt groups of people to make a profit by manipulating the sympathy of innocent people. It is hard to know who really needs help and who is just a part of the corrupt begging system.

So if you feel uncomfortable giving money because you don’t know how they will use it then we suggest you don't givethem any.

Instead, try to carry some food on you so you can give food instead of money. This way, if they take the food then you know that you have really helped them and have avoided giving them money for drugs or other things.

Stay Positive

Remember that if you do get scammed,you are probably not losing as much money as it feels like. We recommend downloading a simple converter app to help you know how much money you are actually spending and take one of our trusted guides with you to get the best deals.

Visit Vietnam with Asia Highlights

Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Vietnam. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit your requirements.

Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!

9-Day Best of Vietnam with Mekong Delta

13-Day Vietnam Classic Wonders with Sapa

14-Day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Tour

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