Vietnam is definitely on the list of “must-go countries” in Southeast Asia. Well-known for wonderful tourist attractions and distinctive cuisine, this country has attracted both backpackers and travelers for many years. To have an enjoyable trip to Vietnam, however, there are certain Vietnam travel experience tips that tourists should be aware of.
I have put together a list of essential things to avoid when you come to Vietnam. Let’s get started!
Whatever means of transportation you choose, never forget these basic rules:
- Elect the well-known brands only.
- Ask to be driven to your booked hotel.
- Don’t accept any tour or alternative route offered by the driver.
- Research beforehand to have an idea how much the trip should cost before hopping on.
Most commonly, you’ll meet taxis because this vehicle is one of the only two types of public transportation, besides airport buses, allowed in the airport vicinity.
If you’re freshly out of the plane and still in the terminal area, there are two ways for you to get to your booked accommodation from here:
- You can catch a shuttle bus which has been legally allowed to receive passengers at the airport. It details will be mentioned in the following section.
- You can stretch your legs a little by walking to the terminal’s gate to call a taxi.
In Vietnam, there are some reliable taxi brands providing reliable services for foreign tourists. You can find them everywhere. Preferably, if you like going by cars, you should call a Grab car that offers fixed prices in the app, or you can choose this taxi service dichungtaxi, they have fixed price on their website you can look over before making your decision.
But either way, you should check if the cab you’re going to hop on has a working meter (and if the driver is willing to use it). Sometimes, they may take a detour. In such case, don’t accept and never pay higher than the displayed rate.
This new, convenient airport bus service has proved to be exceptionally helpful in recent years. The bus will deliver citizens as well as foreign visitors directly from the terminal to their booked hotels – as the buses will roll by grand hotels in the city center.
Not only that, the passengers don’t have to be worried if they may be late for the plane because these shuttle buses have many flexible stations along the way.
But note that at the moment, shuttle buses are available only at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City). Contact your booked hotel to see if it is on the route of one of these buses. Or you can directly contact the bus service at (+84)913805098 or access this website to check out the bus routes.
Motorbike Taxi (Xe om)
After putting your stuff away safely in your hotel room, you can think of exploring the street. Now, you can have your Vietnam travel experience with motorbike taxis if you don’t want to use taxis anymore. The safest way is to call a Grab bike, simply because the prices are fixed when you type your destination in the app.
Moreover, if you’ll be in Da Nang city, you can contact a special motorbike taxi service called Xe Om Than Thien (Friendly Motorbike Taxi in English) which is not only reliable but also budget. As for the price, it will be accurately assessed by the working meter attached to each motorbike.
Vehicle Rental Services
These include the motorbike, bicycle, and car rental services. The main advantage of renting a private vehicle is that you’ll have the flexibility, convenience, and independence as you can create and follow your own schedule. The rental prices are relatively cheap too (maybe except for the car).
Riding a cyclo is a cultural experience, but it’s generally not a reliable mean of transportation. If possible, you should stay far away from any cyclo station. The scenario which foreigners easily fall for is like this: a cyclist will approach you, asking about your time here so far, then offer you a ride for a meager fee. Of course, they’ll over inflate their rates, and you only know this when you have arrived at your destination.
How to avoid:
- Negotiate the price and only agree to hire one after you’ve agreed on a clear price
- Ask your guide or the reception of your dwelling to arrange a cyclo tour
For first time travelers, you may be easily tricked by the taxi drivers. The common scenario is like this: the driver may tell you that your booked hotel is closed, relocated, or overbooked. Then he may try to introduce a “cheap” hotel to you so that he can earn the commission.
How to avoid:
- Insist on being dropped at your booked place.
- Call the hotel or do a quick look-up to recheck the information.
What’s more, if you’re not careful, there are still chances that you may have booked a shady guesthouse with a fake reputation that offers a lower price. Once visitors arrive, they could claim that the rooms are full already, and offer you other (usually more luxurious) ones with much higher prices. There may also be unreasonable charges for which unless you pay, you won’t get your passport back.
Haven’t Booked Yet
Due to certain unforeseeable reason (for example, the hotel is overbooked, or it doesn’t meet your standards), you might have to look for a new place to stay.
There’s an overwhelming number of dwellings to choose from, including hotels, motels, hostels, dorms, villas, and resorts. Their costs range from the most budget to the most luxurious. Generally, the more you pay, the more comfortable Vietnam travel experience you will have.
Moreover, note that despite the same kind of dwellings, the prices will be different from place to place (for example, cheaper in rural area/far from the airport, but more expensive in the city centers).
How to choose:
- Research thoroughly even before you book your plane ticket.
- Look up some other types of accommodations as a “Plan B” via a trustworthy hotel booking website.
SHOPPING AND MONEY
The item you have chosen and paid for might be swapped. Also, there are reports of tourists invited to eat/drink/do something for free, but be charged an unbelievable fee afterward.
How to avoid:
- Look up reliable stores, or ask from the protocol department of your dwelling.
- If you’re not sure, only buy things from official establishments
- Always inspect the item thoroughly before and after purchase
- When you’re at a restaurant (or any eating place), ask for the menu with written prices (in specific currency and exchange rate) on it. Also, stay away from eating places where the servers refuse to answer (or answer dubiously) your questions about the prices.
- Go online, look up the store/café where you purchase your stuff/meal at to see if it has delivery service. If it does, require your stuff/meal to be sent directly to your place.
Some websites for online shopping in Vietnam that I can recommend to you here:
Most of the website in Vietnam are in Vietnamese, it may cause some difficult things for you. Fortunately, they provide cash on delivery service so I can help you to order. Just contact me when you need any help. Or if you want to make a purchase by yourself, please click here, I have some coupons for you.
The appearances of some money notes in Vietnam may be similar. This explains why too many foreign tourists mistake the currencies when paying the products.
Some sly sellers may overcharge an item or sneakily switch the money you give them for smaller denominations to demand some more. Another case is that the vendors may swap visitor’s bigger valued changes for smaller ones.
How to avoid:
- Remember that the official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnam Dong (VND)
- Remember the distinct appearance of all Vietnamese notes
- Break your larger bills at reputable businesses and pay with small bills
- Always ask and confirm what currency a price for something is in use
- Always check your received change before leaving
Briefly, it’s always wise to be aware of where you are, not only in Vietnam but also in any other part of the world.
I hope that our today’s article is helpful. Wish you a lovely Vietnam travel experience! Thank you!