How We Got Scammed by a Taxi Driver in Hanoi

How We Got Scammed by a Taxi Driver in Hanoi

This Filipino family was scammed by a taxi driver in Vietnam. Learn from their experience to avoid such incident.

Contributed by Chinito Wanders

This has to be the most traumatic experience I had travelling abroad. It goes to show what a third-world country can do to tourists or travellers. 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 entry about a certain place since I think it is my responsibility to inform people what kind of disaster I went through when I travelled to Hanoi last 9 Dec 2016.

Also read: How We Got Scammed While Crossing the Thailand-Cambodia Border

taxi driver scam vietnam

I was made aware by some blogs stating that communism and mafia groups are still abundant in Vietnam, warning people that travellers should be cautious. 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.

It all began on 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 neighbouring 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 Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, there were a group of taxis standing by, not minding what taxi company it was, someone just ushered us to hop in, so we did.

Upon hopping in, I noticed three 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 the air condition was turned off. 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.

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 talked 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 time, I realised 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.

My parents and I were already talking in our own language that we were 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 tourists or even locals as well.

taxi driver scam vietnam

My parents and I agreed that whatever the meter bill may be, we will only pay the 50,000 dong. However, much to our surprise, when we arrived, 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 were 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 realised that those taxis standing by outside the area are a group of gangs.

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

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

taxi driver scam vietnamThis 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 bear in mind that when visiting a Third World Country, one should always be careful and not to be too complacent.

Also read: Top 7 Tourist Scams to Watch Out for in Thailand

Quick tips

  • There are 2 reputable taxi companies that are trustworthy, 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 signs for a fake taxi!
  • If you want to ride a taxi from your hotel, I would advise that you ask the receptionist to get you one then ask about the estimated fare.

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

About Author

Willester Yap
Willester Yap

A chinito who wanders places that are intruiging and fascinating to both the eyes and mind. He aims to inspire others to captivate what the world has to offer and how to enjoy life through budget friendly travel escapades. Tag along with his blog, it might surprise you where he will go next.


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