How to avoid taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh City: The XO Guide

Taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh city
Taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh city

Taxi and transportation scams are a part and parcel of any large metropolis, and Saigon is no exception.  As a seemingly unsuspecting foreigner, you are the perfect prey for many taxi and cyclo drivers around the city.

Taxi drivers can be very shrewd and unwavering in their attempt to scam you.  Many tourists get into cars with broken meters or “quick” meters, get driven several kilometres in the wrong direction or even in circles, agree on a fixed price that is likely more than what the meter would cost, or take a “fake” taxi.  Some tourists have reported instances where the driver asked for a hefty tip at the end of the drive and refused to give them their luggage until they paid the tip.

**** If you would prefer to avoid dealing with taxis altogether, or if you’re arriving to Ho Chi Minh City very late and/or you have young children, we can highly recommend Drive Vietnam for the best Saigon airport transfers ****

The incidence of cyclo scams is just as frequent as taxi scams and sometimes more dangerous.  You will see cyclos on almost every corner in District 1 in Saigon just waiting for their next customer.  Cyclo drivers may scam you by agreeing on a price with you and demanding more after the trip by stating that the agreed price was only per person or per hour.  People have described situations in which a cyclo driver will drive a customer to an alleyway and demand more money while implying physical harm on the customer.  In fact, the city is making an effort to restrict cyclos to only certain parts of the city due to the large number of complaints.

Here are some important tips in avoiding taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh city.

(Please click on the link below to jump directly to the section you would like to see) 

  1. Taxi scams
  2. Cyclo scams


Before the trip:

In Vietnam, the two taxi companies, Vinasun and Mai Linh, have proven to be most reliable (although scams still occur) in comparison to others.  Other companies do not have as strong of a reputation of good customer service.  Mai Linh taxis are either all green or all white with green. Vinasun taxis are white with green and a red stripe. Both these companies require their drivers to wear a tie.  And, check the dashboard for the picture of the driver and make sure it matches. Beware of taxis with slightly varied names – Ma Linh, Vina Taxi, and more!

Vinasun taxis are found throughout the city - the characteristic white with red and green striped car is hard to miss!
Vinasun taxis are found throughout the city – the characteristic white with red and green striped car is hard to miss!


MaiLinh is one of the best taxi companies in Saigon and the cars are either white+green or all green
MaiLinh is one of the best taxi companies in Saigon and the cars are either white+green or all green


The MaiLinh fleet also contains vehicles that are all green.
Green Mai Linh Taxi


Beware of fakes! Look closely - the name of this "company" is Ma**inh and the phone number is wrong!
Beware of fakes! Look closely – the name of this “company” is Ma**inh and the phone number is wrong!


Tan Son Nhat airport is a prime location for taxi scams.  As you come out of the international or domestic arrivals, walk to your left towards the taxi stand. Let the taxi attendant know that you only want either a Mai Linh or Vinasun Taxi.  While waiting at the taxi stand at the airport, you do not have to take the next available taxi.  Saigon Air Taxi has a monopoly at the airport but try to avoid them in favor of Vinasun or Mai Linh.  Feel free to wait if you don’t see one and if anyone pesters you, let them know clearly that you are waiting for a car from one of these two companies.  Please note that Mai Linh and Vinasun are reported to have established a tourism desk inside the airport, although some people have said that they are hard to find.  Hiring a taxi from the desk eliminates a lot of hassle but they do charge a small premium.

Alternatively, if you want a cheaper and relatively safe option get to the city center, you can take the yellow 109 bus which follows the following route from the airport:

To City Center [The 109 Bus]:

International Terminal – Domestic Terminal (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) – Truong Son – Tran Quoc Hoan – Hoang Van Thu – Nguyen Van Troi – Nam Ky Khoi Nghia – Ham Nghi – Le Lai – Ben Thanh Bus Station – Pham Ngu Lao – 23/9 Park

Note the closest street to your hotel if you’re staying in District 1 and get off at that stop. If you’re not staying in District 1, then it’s better to take a taxi. The ticket price for the 109 bus is 20,000 VND per person (less than $1 USD). The 109 bus departs every 15-20 minutes and runs from 5:30am to 1am. The 109 bus is much better than the old 152 bus because it’s cleaner, roomier and has more luggage space (no extra charge for luggage), and there are signs and announcements in both English and Vietnamese. To find the 109 bus, turn right as you exit either the domestic or international terminal and follow the signs posted on the walls.

109 Airport Bus
109 Bus


If you don’t mind paying a little a higher fare to be dropped off directly at your hotel in District 1, you should consider taking the 49 Yellow Shuttle Bus, which like the 109 bus offers a safe, comfortable ride from the airport to the city center. The fare for the 49 shuttle bus is 40,000 VND per pax (less than $2), which is double the fare of the 109 bus but as mentioned before you are dropped directly at your hotel. The route and running times for the 49 bus is the same as the 109 bus.

49 Yellow Shuttle Bus
49 Bus


If you want the cheapest possible option to get to District 1 then you can also choose to use Bus No. 152 from the Airport to Ben Thanh Market.  As you exit the international terminal, look to your right and you will see the Bus waiting across from the Burger King.  If you cannot see it, ask a uniformed guard at the airport.  Note that many taxi drivers may try to give you false information.  The bus fare is 5000 VND per person and 5000 VND per bag – try to have exact change.  The bus only runs until 6 PM.  Once you reach Ben Thanh Market, the taxi fares to your hotel will be substantially lower. Please keep in mind that that the bus attendants only speak Vietnamese so you need to pay attention and know which stop to get off at.

Bus #152 from the Airport to Ben Thanh Market is a cheap and hassle-free alternative to a taxi
Bus #152 from the Airport to Ben Thanh Market


If you decide to take a taxi from Ton Son Nhat airport, it’s very important to understand your route. Look at a map and take note of the general direction in which you need to go.  Understanding the layout of the city will help immensely if the driver is really driving you around in circles or taking you somewhere completely different than where you want to go.  Understanding the route will also help you determine where to flag a taxi.  Walk to the nearest intersection or corner where you can see a clear route towards your destination.  Saigon has many one way streets and it is very easy for a driver to take a longer route with the excuse that he is avoiding the one ways.

During the trip:

Always use a meter!  Insist on it when you enter a taxi.  A legitimate meter will turn on automatically as you start driving.  However, you may encounter taxi cars with “broken” meters or jumping meters.  Pay attention to how much the meter goes up by as you drive and ensure that it goes up consistently.  To give you a general idea of how much a taxi ride should cost, most companies charge around 22,000 VND or so for the first two kilometre, and around 12,000 – 17,000 VND for every additional kilometre.  Saigon is a relatively small city so if you have a rough idea of how far your destination is, you will know how much a reasonable fare is.  For instance, from Tan Son Nhat Airport to somewhere in District 1 should be roughly 150,000 VND.

Most importantly, be very clear on where you want to go.  Know the address and write it down if you have to.  It is all too easy for the driver to say that they did not hear you or understand you.  Pronunciations are quite tricky in Vietnamese so unless you are extremely confident in your language skills, write down the name and address of your destination.  Please note that if you do write anything down, the accents and tones are essential.

At the end of the trip, you should also be careful when you pay in cash to the taxi driver. Recent news shows that there are taxi drivers scamming customers by changing their 500,000 VND note to 20,000 VND.

taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh City
This is the 500,000 VND note that the passenger gave to the driver
taxi and cyclo scams in Ho Chi Minh City
He quickly replaced it with a 20,000 VND note and asked for more money

After the trip:

Tipping for taxis and cyclos is not expected in Saigon.  If a driver demands a tip, do not feel obliged to give him more money unless you feel that you want to reward them for their work.  If you do give the driver a tip, 5-10% of the total price is more than enough.  Some instances have been reported where the taxi driver has withheld the customer’s luggage until receiving extra payment.  It may be good practice to make sure the driver opens the trunk as soon as you arrive at your destination.  Or, if you are traveling in a group, let one person remove the luggage while the other pays.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are the victim of a scam, there are a few things you can do. The first is try and negotiate as much as you can – whatever their demand is, start with half and be as steadfast as you can.  You can also try taking a photograph of the driver of the car – that tends to intimidate them.  In the event that you feel physically threatened, try to bluff and say you’re calling the police or pay an amount that will allow you to leave the situation.  However, tourism is very important to the Vietnamese economy so is it highly unlikely that drivers will hurt tourists.



Cyclos found throughout the city in search for their next customer.
Cyclos found throughout the city in search for their next customer.


If you are certain that you would like to take a cyclo, only book them through your hotel or tourism company.  Many cyclo drivers around the city speak English well enough to sweet-talk tourists into hiring them.  However, be aware that you are more likely to be scammed by these independent cyclos versus the ones you book through a hotel.  In order to avoid overpaying for their service, hone your negotiating skills!  Bargaining is very important in Saigon.  Even if you are not bargaining the price much lower than what is offered, you must do it just on principle.  If you don’t bargain, it will be a signal to the driver that you will give into their demands.

Before you start the ride, be very clear on what the price agreement is.  Make sure you understand what the total price is and what it includes.  You should be clear on whether your agreed price is per person, per hour, or a total price regardless of the number of people or amount of time.  Writing it down and confirming with the driver may help to eliminate the possibility of a misunderstanding.  Also, if you are using a cyclo throughout the day and the driver will have to wait for you while you sightsee, make sure that the total price includes waiting time as well. Finally, if you are taking a cyclo as simply a means of transportation rather than for the novelty, we recommend that you take a taxi as cyclo scams have the potential to be more dangerous.

Although it may seem daunting to have to be on edge and alert the very minute you are in need of transportation, many scams are quite easy to spot.  Simply remember the key points and use your street sense.  Safe travels!


We hope you found this post from XO Tours – Vietnam Motorcycle Tours useful.  For more amazing Vietnam Travel Tips, please revisit our blog regularly! We will be delighted if you book a scooter tour to discover Vietnam in a unique way.


  1. We knew all about taxi scams, so got one from the airport to our hotel – and all went fine. Wish we’d known about the cyclo scam in advance though. We got caught out today! Agreed a price per hour – of course no mention of the fact that the price was per person until it came time to pay!Really glad that we declined all offers of something to eat or a coffee! I am a regular contributor to Tripadvisor – so will certainly put a posting there as well. One of them even had the cheek to ask for a tip! Has left us with a very poor initial image of Tourism in your country.

    • Hi Dr. Kennedy,

      Sorry to hear about your experience. Yes, being scammed can be very frustrating, especially when you think you have been as cautious and thorough as possible. We are glad that you made it out of the situation safely. Knowing what to watch out for beforehand is extremely helpful so please pass on this post to people you know who will be traveling here. Hope you enjoyed the remainder of your stay in Vietnam!

  2. I have actually been scammed by the cyclo drivers infront of the Bin Thanh Market. As you wrote, they have good english. My mom and I were looking for a specific restaurant near the market. The driver showns a sign of the price to hire the cyclo (and it looks valid). We then took 2 of the rides as he said 1 person ea cyclo. On the way, as I was about to take my mom picture on the cyclo, my driver stopped me, citing that a motorcycle driver might snatch my camera. They took us through a long ride and stopped at a quite area demanding 10x the cost of the ride shown earlier. When my mom, want to take out money from her purse, one of the driver snatched her money, it was green in colour. We demanded for the driver to gives us back or we take it to the police. We nearly called out and he returned 20,000 dong to us. We then settled with 50,000 dong. We know we pay more than what should be but we just wanted to go. Once in a restaurant which is just besides Binh Thanh market, shaken, we found out that the money he snatched is 500,000 and not surprisingly, I wasnt allowed to take pic earlier as he doesnt want us to identify my mom’s driver.

  3. I have heard it said best as “There’s a special place in hell for taxi drivers that scam”. I always keep my bags with me and demand a meter. Never put anything in the trunk because these sharks can hold it hostage. When I come out of the airport, I buy a voucher for a trip to anywhere in D1. Costs a little more but doesn’t leave the taxi driver anything to scam.

  4. It’s funny that even the locals get scammed also. My fiancee’s mom in Ho Chi Minh got scammed by a taxi driver. The taxi driver drove around in circles when she went to pick up her daughter from school saying “this way is a lot quicker”. I am not that familiar with the roads, but when you’re driving in circles, it’s very apparent.

  5. Will never go on a clyo again!!
    My girlfriend and I asked how much to the war museums we were told 15,000. So we said ok and went on the ride. Once we arrived the entry fee was 15,000. My girlfriend and I were like oh can’t cost too much for the clyo. We thought couldn’t be more then 200,000 for a few places. The driver took us to two other places. To finish with at a coffee place which would of been his friends shop. He then gave us an old book to write how wonderful he was. So we both wrote nice comments for him. After this he said 3 hours was his limit. Then he showed us his company brochure “thanh cyclo” company, I think. It stated at the bottom 900,000 per hour per person??? We were shocked but we didn’t want to create a sence as we were at his friends coffee place who could of out numbered and robed us!! So we ended up paying 2.7million each for a 3 hour bike ride to only see 3 tourist sites. 5.4million dong, That’s just under $260 usd. We could believed how we were scammed on a 1st day. Feel really sick about this. Now I always demand the price for everything up front.

    Found someone else online and they have a video of him.

    Be careful guys. Hope this con / scam guys end up in jail.

  6. I would say that cyclo drivers are just not worth it. I knew a taxi was 30K but I thought it would be cool to ride in cyclo and give them some business. My driver demanded 100K. I walked away twice and bargained hard and he took me for 60K, complained the whole way, then asked for more money. Thank goodness I had exact change. I know, first world problem and not as bad as your experiences, but still really negative and just not worth it.
    Conversely, I took a MaiLinh Taxi to the train station in Hanoi and it was a quarter of the price I was expecting, way more comfortable and very professional.
    By the way, thanks for the bus info – spot on!

  7. My experience with Cyclo’s has varied. In HCMC district 1, the cyclo offered up a tour (2 cyclos and 1 tourist each bike), basically all day to about 6 venues like the War Museum, Chinese Pagoda, down to the river port, etc, all the time waiting in between each visit while we snapped photos and admired the scene and given a running commentary on places we visited. We agreed to cost before of 400000d, we paid them 500000d at the end because we thought they had done a great job. That equates to $25 for a days tour for 2 people. Yes I agree be careful when you make an agreement, however don’t be to stingy when it comes to paying for something so cheap compared to your home country.
    And another time with my thai friend, again 2 cyclos we sat as our guides rode all around the place to visit different venues, palaces, cathedrals, markets, the river port etc, this time all for $10 (200000d).
    So don’t be too tight with your money, these guys do work for it.

  8. Wonderful article. Wish that I had read it before arriving in Ho Chi Minh! Arrived last night and got into a Saigontourist taxi. Made sure that the meter was turned on. The driver insisted that I pay his parking. Hasn’t happened to be anywhere else in the world, but figured local conditions could be different. Gave him a 100,000 dong bill to pay for the 10,000 or 20,000 posted parking cost. No change. Guess that either he palmed the money or else the parking attendant was in on the scam. Then he started talking about 4 million as a cost to my destination. I yelled stop, stop, several times before I got him to and got out of the taxi. This is 3 blocks form the airport. He now demanded another 100,000. I told him in my not calmest voice that I wasn’t paying, flagged down another taxi who brought me to my destination for 220,000 dong. So I spent 100,000 to go 3 blocks. Does beat 4 million! My local friends support the thesis that Saigontourist is a dishonest and tricky company. Stay away from them completely. They also said that Vinason is a reliable taxi company. Hope this has some value! Robert Baines

  9. Here’s a scam I wasn’t ready for: I gave the driver 2 100,000 notes to cover the fare (approx. 150,000). He took the bills but then quickly turned back around holding up 2 10,000 notes, claiming that this was what I had given him – and demanding the rest. I knew I was being cheated, but what to do? If it were just him and me, I may risk an altercation (Lord knows, I wanted to challenge him! And I did, verbally; still, he was adamant); but we were in a crowded area where I would have been the only foreigner. I chose not to risk it. Now I know, though, to hold up the bills and have him agree that this is the correct amount before I hand them over. So, in the end I paid 330,000 for a fare that should have been 150,000 (my original 200,000 minus the 20,000 he claimed I gave him, plus the actual fare of 150,000). I wish I could remember what the cab company was – I read this article after the event!

  10. Thank you for this post; your suggestions are very useful. I love Saigon, and it pains me to have to report that in half a dozen or so visits to the city over several years I have never yet encountered a taxi driver who did not try to scam me. I now make sure that I photograph every taxi I take before I climb in (including the name of the taxi company and the number of the taxi.) If possible, climb out of the tax and retrieve any bags. Finally, I try my best to avoid dealing directly with Saigon taxi drivers at all. If I am staying at a hotel, I ask the hotel to arrange airport and other transfers; it may cost more than an honest taxi driver would charge, but at least I know ahead of time what I am paying.

  11. I just want to say I was completely scammed by Saigon Air taxi. I arrived late at night and a guy from Saigon Air directed me to a taxi. I showed the address and the driver nodded affirmatively to show he knew where to go, saying ‘yeah’ ‘yeah’. Well, he had no idea. We circled around for a half an hour, he called his friends for directions, and even was stopped by police for his slow lurking driving. Finally I had enough and got out to find another taxi since this driver was wasting my time. But before I knew it, he drove away with my bag! When I went back to the airport and reported this case, I was told my bag was waiting with the driver in the company’s office and I needed to pay their company to take a cab there and pay the driver to get it back-o it was essentially blackmail. It was late at night and I was a girl by myself and there were no police in sight so I went to the office and just paid for my bag (maybe $10?). Since the office was in a remote location I had to again pay their company (the only cabs around) to take me downtown, when there was a driver headed there anyway to pick up some more customers. The least they could’ve done for this whole debacle is offer me a ride into town since they were going regardless of me, but no, it was yet another way for them to get cash. Pathetic and disgusting behavior!!! PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SAIGON AIR TAXIS!!!

  12. On September 12, 2014, my wife and I were nearby HCM Pharmacy & Medical School, formerly Sai Gon Medical School. It was raining hard and I flagged down a taxi to go back to Dong Khoi Street, a trip normally would cost no more than 110.000 piasters or $5.5 US dollars. I did not pay any attention to the taxi company and did not look at the meter. When the taxi stopped at our hotel, the meter indicated 485.000 piasters or $24.3 US dollars. I told the driver of this taxi it seems that his meter ran quite fast but paid the full amount anyway. I then looked at the name of the taxi company and it is SaiGon Tourist. I told my classmates (Class of 79 SG Med. School) about this crooked taxi company and told them to stay away. Lord and Behold, they took the same taxi company on behalf of the guy who guarded our hotel (Bong Sen) and they paid 150.000 piasters ($15) but on their return trip with Vina Sun, they paid 70.000 piasters or $3.5.

    A good lesson to learn for all tourists who will go to Ho Chi Minh City. Stay away from Sai Gon Tourist taxi company at all costs.

    Hung Le

  13. I take taxi from post office to war museum at hcmc this taxi is toyota vios limo white and green taxi and the driver is a very young man sorry to said that i forgot to take his vehicle number he take malaysia ringgit 50 and 400,000 dong from me and checked my pocket whether i have any money or else or not than he speed away from war museum my suggestion for all of u better take innova taxi than toyota vios taxi or choose an old taxi driver than a young man.

  14. Re – location of the Mai Linh tourism desk at Saigon Airport, for purchasing a taxi voucher: immediately after clearing customs where they scan your luggage, turn right and go to the end of the hallway. The Mai Linh Tourism booth is on the left, at the end of the strip of travel agencies and currency exchange booths. Not sure what their hours are – it was closed when we arrived at 7 pm. We had read that the Vinasun booth was down the hallway to the left, but couldn’t find it. We went to the taxi stand outside instead, which was no problem. The only Mai Linh taxi was at the end of the line of taxis, and the Mai Linh ‘concierge’ with a green shirt and tie who was standing there got us into their taxi. Note – at the end of the trip the taxi driver wanted an extra 10,000 VND – I couldn’t understand what he was saying, nor could I read the little piece of paper explaining the fee in Vietnamese. When I asked the clerk at our hotel what it was all about, she said there is a 10,000 VND fee for taxis exiting the airport (but not entering the airport). With the 10,000 VND, the fare came to just under the 150,000 VND that I was expecting, so I felt like it was legit.

  15. Just got ripped of today in hcmc today too. Jumped in cyclo taxi by bhan market and got a 35 min ride and he demanded 1000000vdn each for 2 of us. We had no idea about pricing till I just saw this

  16. Luckily read this article prior to arriving at hcmc airport. I was directed to near the head of the queue by staff. Totally ignored by taxis, possibly due to a lot of luggage, lots of locals jumping the queue and taking ages to board taxis ie who will sit in front or back and unnecessary running about and jabbering, uniformed staff running around shouting and screaming, had to wait until nearly everyone had got a taxi, I was one of the last ones left standing about despite waving at multiple taxis who ignored me, not happy!

    Eventually uniformed staff decided to notice me and indicated I should move up to front to take a mai linh taxi. Staff member and taxi driver seemed to be having a nice chat that sounded like it was mocking me? Staff member gave me a slip of paper and said ‘taxi number’.

    Boarded taxi and showed driver hotel address on my phone, cue more mocking conversation between driver and staff member, great laughs had all round.

    Driver became considerably less confident after long uncomfortably silent journey into town. Possibly due to me pointedly using google maps to check route and frequently pointedly looking at meter.

    Fare came to 138k vnd. I gave driver 150k vnd. Driver puts in pocket and indicates I should get out. I remained in my seat. Driver then produced a slip of paper and attempts to explain in vietnamese its the 10k vnd airport tax. I made him write down on the back of the slip a breakdown of the cost. I then took it off him and put it in my pocket, slight consternation from driver!

    I didn’t insist on my 2k vnd change as that seemed a little petty.

    Bottom line; vietnamese taxi drivers are not your friend! Its a business transaction – be cold and business like, he would love to rip you off if he could.

  17. Hi All.. Happened to our trip from Ben Thanh Market to An Dong Plaza.. We took Mai Linh taxi.. Upon step in, I saw the meter showed 100.. After less then 2km the meter went up to 400.. I asked the driver whether to times 1,000 or 100..? He didn’t reply & show sign that he will explain later.. Once reached the An Dong Plaza the meter shows 622.. He wrote on a piece of paper, 622,000.. That is around USD30 for 5.5 km trip.. He raised his voice few times to make us scare of him.. We told him the charge is not reasonable.. Finally he took a 50,000 & 20,000 note (about USD4) from our hands & ask us to get out.. Please don’t fall to this type of scam.. My advise, no other taxi company can be trusted except Vinasun.. Vinasun looks professional & their metering system can easily being understood.. They placed a sticker inside their taxi on how to read the meter with English translation.. Please also prepare small change before you board on any taxi & don’t take out all of your money in front of them.. It was a horrible situation & please be careful…

  18. Thought I had it figured out – got from airport to hotel no problem. Touring the sites downtown and decided to take cab back to hotel and did not pay enough attention to meter and it was 3 times what it should be (I had a rough idea as I had taken taxi into town twice) when we got to hotel. I tried to tell him it was too much but he just kept pointing at the meter and talking loud. Finally gave him a $500k blue note and he turned in his seat and magically a $20k blue bill appear in his hand and he is saying it’s not enough and pointing at the meter. Should have just got out a cab at that point but suffice to say this was an expensive lesson and really all my own fault. Think I have learned my lesson now.

  19. Taking the 152 bus is also not that safe! I took the bus today with my husband from the market to the airport to pick up his mother and aunt, as they will be traveling with us for the next 3 weeks. We paid 10000 duong just as expected.

    Once we picked up the family, we wanted to take the bus back into town because it went so well on the way there but this is where we went wrong. We got on the bus and the driver, who was already yelling at other people before he even reached us, got to us and requested 35000 duong for 4 people and 2 bags. It should have been 30000 but we were like ok, hm whatever it’s not that big a deal (even though it’s already wrong). My husband took out 100000 as we had no smaller change and the driver just returned 50000 while yelling at us for it now costing 50000. We were like, wait what? And we were saying no no, it’s 35000 but the guy kept yelling at us, no it’s 50000. Eventually the Vietnamese people got involved and told him something (not sure what but looked like they were arguing in our favour as the guy spoke minimal English and all he did say was really unfriendly).

    He gave the money back to my husband and kept saying that we have to get off the bus! We (30 years old) and our elderly mother had to get off the bus because he wanted to scam us, people got involved and then he got unhappy because he was caught out. KICKED US OFF THE BUS. Beware of taking bus 152, it has it’s dangers. I just wish we could have complained to someone. It’s unbelievable that the official bus drivers can do this. Very very poor first impression of Vietnam.

  20. Brindabhen,
    Thank you very much. Enjoyed reading most of your article. As a sole traveller, appreciate you article.
    Thanks again.

  21. I live and work in Vietnam for 11 years now and I have been scammed once by a taxi in Hanoi, whom used a traffic meter that showed 3 times the rate. I can speak some Vietnamese and know my way around, which helps me for avoiding scam, but once it happened in a cases like this, you are powerless.
    I am horrified by what I read in your posts. Especially the high amounts of the scams surprise me and trouble me.
    I can’t know for sure, but I think it all comes down to very clear agreements before starting of on a trip and then to be calm, but firm at arrival.
    It is necessary to be sure that you both understand exactly the destination and the (agreed) price. The cost should be low. For taxies it can be estimated as described in the article. And yes, you must pay the airport parking fee and toll gate fees on top of the meter.
    A Xe Om will ask a lot, but it should cost less than a taxi. Idem for a cyclo. You need to negotiate. But these are of course the people whom will scam you most frequently. What I do is, if the demand is unreasonable, I just walk away and don’t give that guy any chance anymore; I don’t negotiate with him.
    To be sure your agreed amount is clear for both of us, I would sometimes show the driver the exact amount of money that I should pay at the start (being very careful he can’t grab it) and let him acknowledge that this is the full amount I should pay. Then I give it to him at the end and walk away. I don’t react to any of his queries anymore.
    For taxies, only use big companies (Vinasun, Mailin in Saigon and Hanoi Taxi, plus some other in Hanoi) and I always go by meter. I recommend to never take another smaller or private taxi. I always let them drive away without me.
    In case of problem, I write down the number of the cab and I call the company. These days, taxi drivers from these big companies will lose their job if there are negative reports on them. So, mostly I don’t even need to make the call.
    It didn’t happen to me that a driver changes the notes from 500,000 to 20,000 or from 200,000 to 10,000. In such a case, I would get out of the taxi, take (or ask for) my bags in a friendly way and then simply walk away. If it turns bad, I would not be scared to involve local people (but I have to stay calm and friendly); I think no any ordinary Vietnamese, except the group of scammers, will accept such behavior and they will help you. Otherwise, call the police, if they didn’t already steal your mobile sic.

  22. First time in HCM and took uber the other day from the airport to district 1. The driver called my international number and although he didnt speak that much English, he tried to find me.

    Some tips for uber: Login to free wifi at the airport. It has a long range and works well outside the terminal. the driver waited at pillar 4, next to Popeyes. Easier to find uber at night compared to vinasun (maybe its for that one night)

    My trip was 89k

    • Thanks for the great tip Noel! Uber in Vietnam seems to work well however, as you say, most of the drivers do not speak English.

  23. Great article.
    We are planning to go to Saigon by early next year. Would you mind if i ask you a couple of questions?
    – From Jade Emperor Pagoda area, how can i go back to Ben Thanh market? Can i ride a bus back to Ben Thanh thru the nearest bus stops? Or is it there a cyclo bike going there?

    • Hi Ton,

      I am not sure if there is a bus that will take you to Ben Thanh Market from the Jade Emperor Pagoda. I wouldn’t recommend hiring a cyclo either as they are notorious for scamming travelers. Taxis are everywhere in Saigon though and the fare from the Jade Emperor Pagoda to Ben Thanh Market should be fairly cheap ($2-$3). If you take a taxi, make sure that you only use Mai-Linh or Vinasun brand taxis and that the meter is turned on.


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