Are they really trying to rip you off?

Before I talk about today’s topic, I want to share a quick thought.greens It is the winter time here, but there is still a vast array of color in the landscape. There are many flowering trees and bushes in bloom, and the variety of greens in the countryside seem endless. I attach a few random photo’s to this page……. Now…..

When you travel to Vietnam you will be hit with quite a bit of culture papertreeshock. One of the things that stands out the most is that it seems that everybody is out to rip you off!! It is true that they see foreigners as rich and easy to part with our money, and our reluctance to barter makes us look gullible. Are they ripping us off?, not really, but I will give you some good examples where I think we are getting ripped off.

First, Vietnamese people are generally very poor. If they can find a job forMai flower 60 dollars a month, they are doing well. Therefore, they will do almost anything, and work extremely hard to make money. In tourist areas, we are cash cows with money filled pockets and bellies swollen from rich foods. Most of the shady and aggressive people are attracted to the tourist areas to try for that mighty foreign buck. They will also ask absolutely unreasonable prices for their goods and services, they can bushalways be negotiated down, however, there are so many foreigners that overpay, it attracts more and more people out for our buck. It can make walking in the streets very unpleasant. A holidaycan be turned into a quest for peace. In tourist areas you will be approached by book sellers, sunglass sellers, cigarette sellers, art sellers, peanut sellers, lottery sellers and many others I cannot think of now.plant You will also constantly be hounded by Cyclo drivers, motorbile drivers, and waved at by taxi operators. You will be offered sex, drugs, other shady deals. Sorry……… If you are in a tourist area……DEAL WITH IT!! You can just ignore them, have fun with them, or negotiate hard and be happy with your purchase. They are trying to make a living for themselves and probably are sharing their money with family. THEY are notmmmm ripping you off. They are trying to survive.

If you go to a market or store where prices are not clearly marker, the price will by much higher. Many Vietnamese will not want to shop with you because of this, however, they do want to make a sale, so negotiate hard and you will do well.

SquidHere is a tip!!  Usually around the market area you will find similar goods pre priced. Also, in Ben Thanh Saigon, and other markets, you will see some small shops where all employees are wearing blue shirts. These are government run stores, and have fixed prices. Arm yourself with the value of the goods you wish to purchase and then venture into the chaos of the markets and have fun!! Try never to get angry when dealing. They will see you as impolite. They may at times look like they are frustrated and a little tiffed, but it is all part of the game. You will be treated with big smiles and laughs when the deal is done.

Now for the rip-offs

In 1999 I spent some time here when tourism was in its infancy. There were signs posted everywhere that foreigners had to pat a separate price. Sometimes it was 500-1000 percent higher. A lot of this practice has disappeared, however, still exists in rural areas. It still does happen in the cities, but is hidden in many cases. I get outraged every time I see this. I am a local now, I understand the culture, live with the people. I should not be treated this way, and neither should you. One of the common hidden ones is in the restaurants, and just happened to me yesterday, even though I am aware of it.

Menu’s in English have different prices than in Vietnamese in many places. If you are going to an expensive local restaurant, and you are given an English menu that looks different from the menu everyone else is using, ask for both. Then try to find same dishes on each menu and compare price. Sometimes you can use the beer prices as a comparison. If they differ, point out the difference and have them charge the lower price unless they can explain the difference. ( there may be the odd instance where portion size may differ)

Another RIP OFF!!

Massage parlors in high tourist areas!!  They all offer extra services that are way overpriced than other areas. Also, they run a scam to get at you wallet. I will speak more on this in the future.

If you want to rid yourself of the scams, hassles,and aggressive people trying to get your money, move outside the tourist area and soak in the real Vietnam. Many of the transactions will be easier and closer to the correct prices you should pay. There are some very good shops in the tourist areas that are there specifically to cater to foreigners needs, usually run by foreigners. They may sometimes seem a bit more expensive, but the quality is usually much higher to satisfy our standards.

As stated before, I will talk more specificly and in more detail at a later time.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

9 thoughts on “Are they really trying to rip you off?

  1. Can u please inform people of the tour trips from saigon to Cambodia and how much of a rip off they are. I paid for the highest package for 2 for 600usd. It was a big rip off. They said 4star hotel but tried to stick us in a 2 star. They said everything would be paid for. It was not. I had to pull money out of my own pocket. Do not us the xxx xxxxx Travel office in Saigon. CROOKS!

    1. Sorry poohbear but you ip is from Hanoi so there is the possibility that you comment is no as it seems. I approved your comment without the company name to help people be aware of what they are buying

  2. Owee,
    My wife and I are spending a few days in Nha Trang, looking for a good hotel and a few fun things to do. My wife is Viet and is fluent, so language isn’t an issue.
    We are also looking for transportation to Dalat after our visit.
    Air travel is not available from Nha Trang to Dalat, looking for options.
    Thank you..

    1. Ahhh Dalat. The place where every Vietnamese woman wants to visit… For me freezing most of the time 😉
      There are many good hotels in the city. Many of them in the tourist area and some outside. If you want budget in the tourist area, look at the Carpe Dm Ha Van or perhaps the Green Peace. For mid range the prime or sea and sum in the tourist area, or my place (riptide) outside. For upper End there is the Shereton, Novotel, the new best western (i cannot recall name), Sunrise and the Michelia.
      A bus leaves regularely for Dalat for abourt 6 dollars a pwerson. A private cart will cost about 70 dollars, of you could hire a couple of riders and get to Dalat via a countryside tour by motorcycle for adout 70 dollars a person. For things to do, sheck out my Nha Trang pages.

    1. I cannot recall if I ever did such a blog…… but……. Just over the Tran Phu Bridge on the north side of Nha Trang!! All of the best and most popular local restaraunts are there. Drop by my place and I will personally walk you to a fantastic local restaraunt….. Sorry, no hamburgers

      1. Hi Owee
        I really enjoy reading your posts @ Nha Trang, I am planning my wedding there in 4 weeks time and being not able to speak Vietnamese, I feel quite stuck. You keep mentioning this place over the bridge for good food, is it alot further up north? We are going to stay at 6 Senses Ana Mandara (feel quite ripped off every time we ask for something for our wedding), would this fantastic food place be too far to get to?
        Sorry if my question sounds pretty dumb, I have little to none information…. thanks!

        1. Congratulations on your wedding. The 6 Senses Ana Mandara is only accessable by boat so you will have difficulty getting over to Nha Trang I would imagine. There is a restaraunt calles the lighthouse that is the closest to your boat launch. The food is very good. There is also a long line of excellent seafood restaraunts along the beach road. Just go where the other people seem to be enjoying their food

          1. Thank you Owee, there are two 6 senses @ Nha Trang and the one I am getting married is not too far from the sailing club actually. So not at the island. Will look into your suggestion on beach road. Thank you.

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