Most of the Vietnamese people think that foreign tourists are all the rich people whom they need overcharge. They also think that the money the foreigners spend in Vietnam is just a small part of the tourists’ big fortunes.
Jerry, 41, from the Netherlands, surprised people when he said: “no motorbike, no taxi, no xich lo (pedicab)”. The words half in English and half in Vietnamese made Vietnamese people think. “Why does he know all about that? Is the traffic in Vietnam is terrible?”
However, this was not the reason that made Jerry feel unsatisfactory. The thing that Jerry complained about is the overcharging in Vietnam.
He related that he caught a taxi to go from Hoan Kiem Lake to the President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The taxi driver charged him 300,000 dong for just a short distance. “I feel annoyed when I was cheated,” he said, ending the story.
A taxi driver told ’s Vietnam Economic Forum that a colleague of him overcharged a Japanese traveler last week when carrying the traveler from Ton Duc Thanh Street in HCM City to the Tan Son Nhat airport. The Japanese woman burst into tears when she was forced to pay 400 dollars.
“That explains why foreigners think ill of Vietnamese people. We need to settle the problem, or we will lose tourists,” the taxi driver said.
Lili, a ’s reader said that she usually witnesses Vietnamese taxi drivers overcharging foreigners. The drivers sometimes take roundabout routes to the destinations, and then overcharge foreign tourists.
“They charged 100 dollars for one hour,” she said. “I really feel ashamed, but I do not know what agency should I contact to ask for help.”
“It would be better if Vietnam sets up a hotline at all big hotels, so that foreigners can make complaints and ask for help,” she suggested.
Vendors also overcharge foreigners
In some areas in Hanoi, which are called the “foreigners’ streets”, such as the west Lake, Hoan Kiem lake or ancient streets, a lot of “moving shops” have been mushrooming which target foreign travelers.
Saeed, a traveler from India, said that last week, he and a Vietnamese friend had to pay 230,000 dong for the taxi service when going from the Literature Temple to the Hoan Kiem Lake. After that, they went to a restaurant on Lo Su Street, where they ate four small crabs and drank two Heineken beer bottles. On leaving, they had to pay one million dong for the meals.
The Indian traveler said that it was so lucky that the Japanese girl agreed to pay 50 percent of the bill, and that he could not imagine what he would do in this case, if the girl had not paid the money.
Not only foreigners, but Vietnamese people also “draw lessons” when they traveling Hanoi. Tranvancuong1974, a reader of , wrote that he and his family, for the first time, went to Hanoi and the Ha Long Bay last Tet holiday. The things he witnessed in the capital city have made him sure that he would never return to Hanoi.
“In Hanoi, the woman seller heaped insults on me when I haggled over a souvenir in the area near the Mausoleum,” he wrote.
“We had to pay 50,000 dong for a bowl of pho, while the Hanoian, who sat next to me, only had to pay 30,000 dong. We had to pay 600,000 dong per kilo for a fish. Though I knew that the fish was just five kilos, the seller still said it weighted 9.8 kilos and we had to pay 5.8 million dong. When we had the cook on the cruise help process the fish, we had to pay 580,000 dong, or 10 percent of the fish’s value. It was terrible,” he wrote.
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