My Experience: How I got Swindled by a Taxi Driver in Vietnam

This has to be the most traumatic experience I had traveling abroad. It goes to show what a Third-world country can do to tourists/travelers. Well, I’m not saying that all people staying in a third world country will do this but some people will. This is actually my first time to post a negative blog entry about a certain place since I think it is my responsibility to inform people what kind of disaster I went though when I traveled to Hanoi last December 09, 2016.

I was made aware by some blogs stating that communism and mafia groups are still abundant in Vietnam, warning people that travelers should be cautious when traveling. I was in Ho Chi Minh City two months prior to visiting Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. It was a very memorable trip.

I was being complacent when we went to Hanoi thinking that locals would still be the same- hospitable and helpful. But it turned everything upside down when we step into a certain taxi.q

It all began in our day tour in Hanoi. It was all going smoothly at the start of our city tour in Hanoi. We rode a taxi going to the Mausoleum without any trouble.

We were enjoying the scenery and the place. We walked around the neighboring attractions and took a lot of photos and even visited the Dead body of Ho Chi Minh inside the Mausoleum.

The tragedy happened when we decided to get back to the hotel for lunch. Upon exiting in Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, there were a group of taxi standing by, not minding what taxi company it was, someone just ushered us to hop in, so we did.

Upon hopping in, I noticed 3 things right away: the taxi did not have a taxi company logo, the taxi meter flag down was 5,000 dong than the usual 10,000 dong and the third was, the windows were opened and did not turned on the air condition. I just thought to myself that maybe its normal in Hanoi since they have winter season and have no need to turn on the air condition as well as making the flag down rate lesser than the usual.

While riding, the driver began to talk to us as if wanting to initiate a good conversation. We did not mind it and talked to him back. I was in my map when he also deliberately talk to me more often pointing the map and telling me something that I can’t really understand, when I saw the meter, it stroke up to 45,000 dong already and we were not even close to half of the distance to our destination. Normally, from our hotel to the Mausoleum, it will only cost a maximum of 50,000 dong. That the time I realized that the driver was messing with us and wants to distract us to avoid noticing the meter streaming fast.

When I already noticed it, I began to keep quiet and began staring at the meter. It was like 1,000 dong for every 3 seconds, it was that fast. Half way on our ride, I cannot contain myself and ask the driver why is the meter very fast. He did not reply as if he did not hear me talking.

Me and my parents are now talking in our own language that we are already being cheated! I began to feel my blood boiling from anger. We always hated this kind of treatment, even here in the Philippines, this happens to some tourist or even locals as well.

Me and my parents agreed that whatever the meter bill may be,we will only pay the 50,000 dong. However, much to our surprise, when we arrive ,we told the driver that we will only pay the 50,000 dong , he immediately locked the doors and windows, and mind you, there was no control for the lock in the passenger’s seat.! My mom was already very frightened, while me and my dad was actually thinking of just killing the man (No joke), thinking that he is only one and we were 3 inside. However, my mom begged me to just pay it so he will unlock the door and we can go outside. She was frightened that the driver might take us somewhere else as we realize that those taxi’s standing by outside those area are a group of gang.

If only we weren’t thinking good enough, I don’t know what could have happened to us,since Vietnam might procure grave judgment on us if we will do something bad to there citizen. So, we just paid the amount and the driver let us out.!

When we got off, I immediately took some photo of the car and its plate number. Too bad I was not able to take a photo of the driver.

This was the car’s plate number! Until now, it still gives me the boil every time I think about it.

When we got back to the hotel, we reported the incident and gave the plate number. Although it would get us less or no solution at all, we still tried to report it.

Next time, I will always bare in mind that when visiting a Third World Country, one should not be too complacent and always be careful .

Quick tips:

  • There are 2 reputable taxi companies that are trust worthy, you may ask you hotel about the names, sorry I forgot the names of the taxi companies.
  • When riding a taxi, flag down rate should always be 10,000 dong. If it’s 5,000 dong, get off the taxi immediately as that is one of the sign for a fake taxi!
  • If you want to ride a taxi from your hotel, I would advice that you ask the receptionist to get you one then ask on how much will you be paying more or less.

I hope our experience will help all the readers out there to be vigilant!


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