I felt into the traps 3 times, even I am extremely careful:
1. Took a taxi from one of the museum to the city, should cost around 40,000 Dong. The meter jumps so fast that I ended up paying about 5 times more. BUT, this is not the end of it. After I tried to consult the driver the price per kilometer and failure to do so, my wife passed me two 100,000 notes (green) and I gave it straight to the driver. He then grapped my arm and tried not to let me get off the car and showed me two 10,000 notes(red), suggesting I had paid him insufficient amount. God, what a bloody city it was.
2. Took a taxi from airport hotel to airport. After my previous experience, I am become even more caution. Booked a taxi from Vietnam Airline, checked the price, even check it again at the hotel front desk (as the driver didn't speak much English) to avoid misunderstanding. When we arrived at the airport, this guy suddenly spoke in English, telling me that the agreed fare was double what we agreed, because it is a peak time of the day and it would take him a much longer time to the City.............oh, my business......right.
3. Went to a local restaurant, didn't ask the price and ordered 4 bowls of noodles, costed over US$20 each.......................same size of bowl of noodles, I was charged less than US$1.......what a retard I was not to ask the price from the first time.
Heading straight to the information desk in the arrivals hall I asked the guy there what my travel options were to get to my downtown hotel. He said, 'only by taxi costing $30 and this man beside me will take you now'. I passed on his generous offer and headed towards the outside followed by the taxi driver who discounted the price with every step I took. Across the road outside the terminal there are two taxi companies who wil fight for your business(and luggage)and get you downtown for $15.
Unique Suggestions: On exiting baggage claim hold on to your luggage and head outside to the taxi stands unless you can strike a better deal than $15 en route.
Fun Alternatives: My understanding is that Vietnam Airlines operate a minibus service from close to their downtown office to the airport for $2 but you may need to check timetables.
When you are taking taxi in Hanoi be very careful, if you don't speak Vietnamese. There was once I wanted to go to a Pub. I wave for taxi and out of no where the taxi is right infront of you. Before I board the taxi I ask the taxi man. " Do you understand English?" Few taxi I stop don't speak English so I did not hire them but the last one driven by a very young man, I think 19 years of age, I ask him do you understand English, he said Yes, second question do you know the Pub that I want to go, he said yes again. So I hire the taxi, but a 20 miniutes he drove me to a Pub which is not the one. I told him this is wrong Pub, do you do the Pub, he said yes again, after about several Pub hopping we finally arrived at the Pub I want to go but the taxi bill was US25 dollars that I refused to pay unless he rebate for the wrong journey he took. But this young man wanted to pick a fight, if I don't pay. I have no choice but to ask him to wait and I went into the Pub where the manager understand English, I told the manager the situation. After some unpleasant argument, the taxi finally agree to accept US$10. So be careful when you stop a taxi. Check with them how much it will cost, if they understand English. Becasue like this young taxi man, he only understand one word of English "Yes"
Unique Suggestions: Always ask the price for your designation, if you are alone or not with a local. Or else you will meet a taxi man that can understand "Yes"
Fun Alternatives: Besides travel by taxi, you can hire motorcycle taxi which is very convenience and fast. If you know how to ride a bike, you too can rent a bike but bear in mind, no insurance all at you own risk.
When you look at the Vietnam Air (VN) schedule you will be glad to find flights between Ho Chi Minh (SGN) & Hanoi (HAN) every two hours, sometimes every hour. Unfortunately, our 20:00 HAN-SGN flight was cancelled and merged with the next flight (ATD 21:59) and we were just given a coupon to have a limited meal and a drink in the airport snack bar.
Actually the flight was announced to be delayed twice before we realized that we are going to be merged with the next flight.
It was much later did we learned from friends that VN always do that if they do not have a full flight.
Unique Suggestions: Prepare for the worst and hope you do not miss your connection (if any).
Small cabs' meters run faster than you blink. Better go for the humble cyclos --- for a mere 10,000 VND you can practically scour the nooks and crannies of old Hanoi at a much slower, leisurely pace. Just arm yourself with some bargaining skills at the start.
being ripped off multiple times is the spoiler in this vietnam trip.. it's so rampant esp in transportation.. sighs. the taxi meters are so not reliable - 1 of which we were on went at a rate of 1000doug per 5 seconds! we got off immediately! other than that there were the cyclos - once, we agreed on 30000duog for 2, but at the end, he demanded 30000x2!!! another time we got on one cyclo and agreed on 15000duog per person. when we got off, the driver insisted he meant 115000 duog. we were so livid that we quarrelled with them and said either to take the 15000duog or leave it. i really dunno how we can avoid all these.. in the end we ended up so wary and tired.
You will be harrased beyond belief by the cyclo drivers.
Having said that, its a fun way (and not too expensive) to see the city, especially at night
Remember to bargin the price though if you do use one.
If it’s necessary taking a taxi cab, please beware of ‘faster-than-usual’ meter rates. So fast, and so incredibly overpriced (again -- the can making money out of every kind of this thing)!! I recommend riding a Cyclo (tricycle taxi) for short trips, and for longer trips maybe motorbike taxi is the best choice and don’t forget to ask ‘HOW MUCH?’ before you jump on.
For traveling to the airport, there’re fixed-rated taxis available at Sinh Café or just ask your hotel’s front desk for around 10 USD but way more comfortable.
Unique Suggestions: If possible get a Vietnamese friend with you.
Fun Alternatives: Cyclo for short trips and motorbike taxis for longer trips.
I took 'tourist' bus from Vientiane to Hanoi and apparently it stopped somewhere out of the city about 16km.
There was no other means of transportation to reach the city except motorcycle. On the way to the center, suddenly the driver asked for VD 100.000 from the initial agreement VD 20.000!!!
Unique Suggestions: Better to check where the bus will stop or just take a meter taxi to the center
Rikshaws are nice to look at and it is a slow and agreable means of transportation, but the drivers! To negociate the price can drive you crazy, they all want to rip off the clueless tourists. About 10.000 DONG should bring you everywhere in the towns centre.
Fun Alternatives: Take a motorbike by asking SE HOMME? They take you on the back of theirs and drive you around, great fun!
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