This is the first of two pages compiled in a joint effort by myself, and a travel professional (ComeAndGoVietnam) to help educate you as to how not to get taken advantage of by taxis in Vietnam, but in Nha Trang and Saigon in particular. Please excuse me if some of the information gets repeated. ComeAndGoVietnam’s writing is in Italics, whereas mine are standard lettering
A frequent complaint from foreign visitors is of being overcharged, ripped off and generally mistreated by the city’s taxi drivers, particularly those operating at Tan Son Nhat Airport. (Saigon) Indeed, a 2007 survey discovered that the number one reason cited by tourists as to why they would not return to Vietnam was being overcharged by taxi drivers.
Taxis are a concern in many countries, and Vietnam is no exception. As a matter of fact, I personally consider them one of the worst things about this country. They can be aggressive, manipulative, and most cannot be trusted. Even individuals working for reputable companies will try to take advantage of a tourist at every opportunity.
Taxis are highly commission driven and they will take you to the furthest spot they can that will give them the highest commission. Do not ask the driver to recommend and drive you to a nice restaurant. You may or may not end up where you want, but where he wants. The friendly fellow will even wait for you to take you back.
Another very common practice, and one that annoys me immensely is the practice to try to scoop a hotel guest by lying, or trying to trick them into thinking there is a good reason for you not to show up at your reserved hotel. You will probably end up at some budget hotel and getting bullied into pre paying for your nights so you do not leave after your sleepless night. The taxi driver does not care…. He has made his 20% commission for scooping you. That is all he cares about.
When you arrive at Cam Ranh airport to go to Nha Trang, there are a few things to watch for in order not to be scammed. You can elect to buy a shuttle ticked at a desk as you leave the airport for 80000 dong that will take you to the old Nha Trang city airport. From there you can catch a taxi, bus, or motorcycle cowboy. You also have the option to purchase a taxi voucher for 380000 dong that will take you wherever your hotel is. (Ignore excuses or other things he says and do not pay extra unless you wish to tip) The cheapest option is to walk out past the ticket desk and out the front doors past the Airport Taxi mob to the parking lot and grab a car or taxi that is waiting a short distance off about 15 meters towards the rear of the parking lot towards the right side. Take your time and do not rush to get a taxi. Walk to the Mini vans and cars off in the distance and let them approach you to offer a ride. A car should cost 200000-300000 dong, and a Van 300000-350000. They will run the meter to keep track of miles. Beware the common scam of them saying the price was for one way and you are required to pay the return fare or what the meter says!!
Important!! If your taxi pulls ahead or behind the entrance to your hotel, you are most likely being cheated. The taxi driver is trying to avoid the possibility of the receptionist coming to your aid.
Lastly…. Always take note of the taxi number when you enter. If there is any problem during or after the trip, you will at least have some chance of making it right. If you forget something, it may be returned, and if you were scammed, at least it can be reported to a company that cares.
So how can you ensure that your visit to Saigon isn’t blighted by taxi cheats? Here’s my guide, based on 7 ½ years as an expat in the city!
In my 7 years in the city, only one company has an unblemished record with regards to overcharging – Mai Linh. Their taxis are white & green. Be careful – there are several fake Mai Linh taxis around using very similar livery and logo. In recent months they have become outnumbered by the ubiquitous Vinasun taxis – they’re mostly OK but are less fussy about who they employ as drivers, and tend to employ country bumpkins with no knowledge of Saigon and with zero customer service skills. I mostly agree except I myself have been taken the long way by Mai Linh taxis and have had them also try to cheat me. It all depends on the individual driver I guess. You can also spot fakes by the driver not wearing a tie which must be worn at all times by a Mai Linh or Vinasun driver.
All other taxi firms should be treated with extreme caution!
To be continued……..