Scams in Hoi An: The classic ones that can be avoided once you know!
1# Parking scams
What’s great about Hoi An is that they close the old town for motorcycles which means you can walk freely around the old quarter without risking being ran over, the bad news if you rented a scooter yourself you will also need to park it outside of the center.
There are parking lots everywhere outside the center but if you are ‘foreign’ looking prices will vary depending on the mood of ‘Mister parking’. The price for locals is 3000 vnd. For foreigners, 5,000 – 10,000 vnd is acceptable. Don’t pay more!
Make sure to have some small change to avoid the awkward moment
2# Petrol stations
If you turn up with a group of western friends on scooters, the petrol guy is most likely looking for a ‘lucky day’. That scam is pretty obvious, once you know it there is no chance for them to get you. Like any petrol station in the world, I assume… There is a meter reading, don’t let the petrol station staff pour petrol into your bike until you see that meter reading set to Zero. If you don’t check that you will likely pay for the previous visitor and thereof pay 80,000 vnd (4 usd) for a quarter full tank when that amount should give you a full tank.
3# My friend
In Hoi An and the rest of Vietnam, everyone has a ‘friend'; a mecanic friend, a computer friend, a tailor friend etc…. Unless you are sure that you are ‘friends’ with the person in question, leave it. That would to…
In Vietnam, a lot works around commission but in Hoi An they make it a vocation. With the huge number of similar businesses, more than 400 tailors, more than 100 shoe shops etc… competition is tough and offering commissions to hawkers, hotels and pretty much anyone who brings clients because for some business the only way of getting a good flow of clients. Tailors pay up to 40% commission, that will be out of your pocket, when giving the price the shop owner will keep in mind that 40% has to go somewhere.
Rely on reviews, blogs or recommendations from trusted sources; don’t let your tourguide (if you have one) dictate where to shop.
5# The yellow bus
For those taking the train or the plane from Da Nang, there is a ‘yellow’ bus which runs all day from Da Nang to Hoi An and back.
The bus ride costs 20,000 vnd for a one way ticket. Have a 20,000 vnd note ready because if you give them a 50 – 100 k note, the driver will look very confused when you are waiting for your change.
Its actually a non – ending topic on the tripadvisor forum with more than 70 comments: Danang to Hoi An (yellow ) public bus rip off
There are three other options apart from taking the bus to get to Da Nang:
1- Taxi – would cost around 20usd
2 – Xe om (motorbike taxi’s) – depends how you look…
3 – Private car – 240,000 vnd / way
4 – Hoi An express shuttle bus (link: http://www.hoianexpress.com.vn/ha/NormalItemDetail.aspx?id=143)
Go for option 3, there are plenty of private cars that have a fixed rate of 12 usd / way for Da Nang – Hoi An. I have a few good contacts but only one speaks English. Doan: (+84) 01206057794
6# Xe om’s (motorbike taxis)
These two wheel taxis are everywhere; In big cities like Hanoi and HCMC, they are the cheapest way of getting back and there are good at bypassing the traffic. I take them over taxis there but not in Hoi An.
In most cases, it will cost you more to get from Point A to Point B with a Xe om than a taxi… so not a tough decision nice car with A/C or a scrappy bike with a disintegrating helmet.
The worst ones are those that pick alcohol infused tourists leaving the bars to get back to their hotel; Great targets. Drunk at which point a 500,000 vnd note and 20,000 vnd is the same. If you get out but your hotel is too far to walk, you must walk away from the bar and find a taxi; some of these bars don’t let taxis go near as the extra income happy hour income from taking the drunk flesh back home is worth it.
7# 500,000 vnd note vs 20,000 vnd
500,000 vnd = 25 usd
20,000 vnd = 1 usd
These two notes look quite similar, and some take advantage of the unfamiliarity that tourists have with the local currency. That’s something to watch for everywhere in Vietnam. By the time you realize you gave the wrong note, you can forget about getting it back.
Will think of some more but this list of 7 scams in Hoi An is very accurate in exposing the obvious ones.