Taxi scams in Hanoi
Taking a public service in Hanoi can be a little challenging. The language barrier and the highly devaluated currency, are used by occasional scammers to profit foreign tourists as much as they can. International tourism is getting its golden time in Vietnam and it attracts already good effects like more young people able to speak English or the use of US dollars on tourist areas facilitating transactions. But still not easy to take a cub on the street for a nearby destination: it is likely you will be victim of a scam, even with the use of an altered taximeter.
On April 14 I took a Taxi CP from the Hoàn Kiếm lake to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The taximeter marked 30,000 Dong, that is a little more than one dollar. Here it is right normal and the taxi driver is a honest man. But going back, from the Temple of Literature to the Cathedral, same distance (2 kilometers), same taxi company, here we find a brave scammer…
He used the taximeter, as it is expected. But it marked almost 300,000 Dong. It is 13 USD… Now you can see that something is weir here, if you pay 1 USD to a Taxi CP driver and you have to pay 12 dollars more to another taxi driver for the same distance.
But this taxi driver was not over. He did not claim 300,000 Dong, but 700,000 Dong! The scam within the scam… It is about 31 USD.
I was with a friend. The day before we asked some agencies for the cost of a city tour and it was about 30 USD. We find it too much expensive and we decided we could lead our own city tour. Now this guy comes to ask us to pay to him 30 USD for some meters, exactly the same of the city tour price. In Numbeo, a website to calculate the cost of life in world’s cities, the taxi fare in Hanoi from Hoàn Kiếm lake to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (2.3 kilometers), 10 minutes duration, would be 25,806 Dong.
Some recommendations to avoid taxi and motorbike scammers:
- Ask your hotel to ask a taxi for you and ask in the reception how much the taximeter would mark to your final destination.
- Show the paper written in your hotel to the taxi driver. If he is not agree, abort the contract with that particular person.
- When you abort a contract, do not let yourself being intimidated by the driver saying that you have to pay for the fact to abort it. Walk away without fear.
- If in any contract with a taxi or motorbike driver you feel that there is not a real understanding, it is better to abort the contract.
- Try buses, they are cheap and safe. Learn their routes. Bring a city map with you or use your GTP.
- Normally the meter starts in 4,000 Dong and it moves 6,500 Dong / 1 Kilometer. If you see a disproportionate change, suspend the service and pay 4,000 Dong.
Other sites with recommendations on how to use public services in Vietnam:
- Frommer’s: Getting Aroung (Hanoi).
- TripAdvisor: Taxi meters (in Hanoi).
- Travelfish: Avoiding taxi scams in Hanoi.
- Use Numbeo to calculate taxi fares in cities like Hanoi.
Have you been a victim of taxi scams in any Southeast Asian cities? Let your story in the forum. Let us reveal the face of scammers. #scammer.