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Taxi Scam in Vietnam

Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
Taxi Scam in Vietnam

I have been travelling Vietnam for about 20 days. I first visited Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) in Vietnam. Being my first time here, I was having already trouble managing the currency. One day I took a taxi from District 1 went for around 3-5 kilometers. When the driver dropped me, the meter showed 65.0. So I thought it must be 65K Dong. But when I was paying him, he said it is 650K.

I was not totally convinced with that, but I have paid 25-30 dollars in Australia for a taxi ride of 5-7 Km. So, I asked him again about the price and suddenly he started shouting and asking me to pay him 650K.

In the confusion, I paid him that much. Later, I checked with my Vietnamese friends about the real price of the taxi ride. They said it's impossible it will be 650K. My friends from Vietnam complained to the company, but the company said after trying that they could not locate the driver.

I thought maybe it just happened one day and he must be a bad person.

After some days, I came to Hanoi. Here the same thing happened to me again. After a 2 Km taxi ride, the meter showed 14.0 and the driver started asking for 140K Dong.

But this time, I went outside the car and asked a guy from the street to tell me what's is the real price. They kept talking for some time, and some more people from the street came forward to help. The biggest issue was, these drivers did not speak a word in English, may be intentionally. After some discussion, a lady said me to pay 30K to the driver. I don't know what they talked about. But as soon as I took the money out, the lady said to pay 50K. I was shocked and said I am not going to pay any damn penny extra.

Finally, the driver looked very angry. I even told him that I am going to complain about this to his company, but I don't think he understood what I was saying.

After these two incidents, I am sure it is a common scam these drivers do in Vietnam. The taxi rides are dirt cheap here. You can get around 4-5 km very easily for a dollar or two. But if you look like a foreigner, they might even ask you to pay 10 or 15 times the price.

Just thought of sharing this with all, so that you can be aware and don't fall for any such thing.

1 post
1. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

It's a great piece of information, such local nuisance are not covered by the national advisories and as a foreign national, you pay the price . Understanding the ways of local in all forms, makes sure you have an awesome trip and stay safe. Thank you again .

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
756 posts
64 reviews
2. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

This is a very well known scam and one that is frequently mentioned here, including which taxi firms to use to avoid these issues. It's a shame you hadn't read up on it here before your trip in order to avoid those situations.

A D
Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
11 reviews
3. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

This is not the only taxi scam. I have lived not far from HCMC for only a year, but this trick was tried was tried on my partner and others who we work with.

The taxi driver asked for the fair, wrote it down on the corner of a newspaper to show us the cost, which was silly as we could clearly see the meter. But his other hand was under the news paper and as my partner was concentrating on finding the right money, the taxi driver was trying to get his hand into my partners bag. Because our colleague had this happen a few weeks earlier, my partner started shouting very loud and frightened the taxi driver. We paid the fair and got out.

Our colleague had not been so fortunate, she is 68 years old but stood her ground and refused to get out of the taxi because she realised she'd been robbed. She eventually got her visa card and mobile phone returned to her by the driver, but he had taken all her money and would not give it back. Then threatened to tell the police she wouldn't get out of his car. As westerners, it is very unlikely that the police will take our side against a Vietnamese. We just have to be very aware and understand that with most situations and places, people are good and a only few are rotters.

Edited: 07 July 2016, 15:59
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
5,978 posts
15 reviews
4. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

If you don't bother to learn the currency you get bitten quickly. You should pay them the amount on the meter and get out of the taxi. If you are in the right ,they will never go to the police.

The price per klm is about 12000, so for 65000 ,you must have travelled slightly more than 5klms.

I open my smartphone up to google maps and it will tell me the distance between 2 given points, using that information you can work out fairly closely what the total fare will be.

The rate per klm and the drivers name/pic should be clearly displayed in the vehicle.

Don't rely on locals to come and save you.

Its not that you are a foreigner ,its more like you looked as green as a avocado.

Take a pic of the number plate or driver.

Did you bother to notice which company?

Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
5. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

Mai Linh was the taxi company in HCMC.

Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
6. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

It's hard to read about all the scams in a city when you are visiting 4 countries and more than 20 cities in one trip. But thanks for mentioning that it was a shame :)

Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

Glad that you found it helpful.

Ho Chi Minh City...
Destination Expert
for Cologne, Laos
Level Contributor
9,147 posts
49 reviews
8. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

Mai Linh is actually the comapny recommended to use. THe metre seems ok though...the driver just added a zero it seems (the prices in a taxi leaves the three last zeros out, so 64.000 Dong appears as 64,0.

There are some fake mailin taxis in HCMC, maybe it was one of them..or I rather hope. Did the driver wear a green tie by any chance?

Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
123 posts
37 reviews
9. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

It's not a good idea to wave a taxi on the streets. Instead, have your hotel or restaurant to get you one.

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
1,421 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: Taxi Scam in Vietnam

We took taxis multiple times a day for 3 weeks in Vietnam - we were never scammed and always paid what was on the meter- I tended to round up to the next round xero - and several times I had drivers try to give me change back e.g. 3k back when I handed over 87k for a ride!

We always got hotels/ restaraunts to call or flag cabs for us if possible, but ocaision we had to find our own and stuck with Mai Ling or Vinasun.

Maybe we looked like we knew a thing or too - I watched to make sure the meter zeroed - which they do automatically when the cab pulls away, I took notice of the driver made eye contact and smlled even if we didn't have a common language (which was mostly). I also make a mental note of the cab number the driver name just in case.