Scams! Forewarned is forearmed.
Updated: Jan2013


Tourism is well established in Vietnam and so are the scams – but not everyone is out to get you. The one that you’ll no doubt encounter and may have already read about is the copy-cat businesses that exist. If you own a successful hotel, then you can expect there to be a duplicate somewhere close by – including name, branding, frontage-signs and in some cases we’ve seen them go as far as to copy the lay-out of reception! Here are some of the others, which even the most experienced travellers have fallen foul off.

Money Switch

Be wary with the 500,000d and the 20,000d notes. It’s one that we’ve heard off on several occasions where a taxi driver collecting someone newly arrived in the country takes a 500,000d note and quickly switches it with a 20,000d note telling you with a smile on their face that “you’ve given a small note by mistake”. The best way with handling money is to make it visibly clear to the driver you know what note you are giving them by taking your time and handing them one note at a time.

Hotel Safes

Your hotelier will be keen to make your stay a good one and that your belongings are safe. Most, if not all, will have a safe to keep your hard currency in. If you do take advantage of this service, then ensure that you count the money out to the hotelier and take a receipt. When your money is returned, take the same count back. It may be worth writing it out in detail as well (i.e. 2 x $100, 5 x $20… etc). When money “goes missing” it is normally just a few notes, in the hope that you don’t notice. Unfortunately still, if money does go missing then you’ll have to get the police involved and though they may get your money back it is not something that will happen within a week or two.

Use of travel sites like Trip Advisor can be useful, but not always that accurate. We’ve stayed in hotels that have complaints against them and had no issues, but have also returned to hotels where we’ve had no issues but have then had our rooms visited by staff. In particular, be aware of your room on your last night if you have already told them that you are moving on.

Bag Snatching

This is becoming more and more common unfortunately. In the last few years, the influx of younger holiday makers brings with it a lack of caution which the unscrupulous are taking advantage of. In addition, with so many motorbikes on the road with two passengers it’s a difficult one to keep your eye on.

Small handbag/ purses that can be snatched away from you, bags sat on the beach either early morning/ late in the afternoon when more locals are on the beach, busy tourist streets at night where motorcycles have access and when you are alighting that bus after a long journey are all common complaints.

If possible, buy yourself a couple of cheap imitation climbing clips and make it clear that your bags are locked together. When travelling on overnight buses, again ensure you have your bag and be careful about who is being “helpful” on the side of the road.

Motorbike Rental

It’s easy to rent a bike in Vietnam, with just your passport or driving licence (whether you’re qualified or not!) being needed to secure the deal. Be sure to check the bike before you take it as there are reports of people being fined for damages. In this day in age with digital photography and even phones carrying video recording facilities, why not walk around the bike recording it’s condition and delete after you have returned it. Ensure that the member of staff is aware that you are recording this as well!

These are the big ones that we know off, though the one thing you’ll come to realise after learning their history, they are one creative and resourceful nation! By and large it is very safe but just be warned and wary of the big ones and make your own decisions on the smaller scams such as “parking charges for your bike?” – if it’s not on their property then there shouldn’t be a charge and “baggage charges on buses?” – get a receipt for each bag and you help them count!

The Leaping Lemur Group
Our Chosen Charities.

There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
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SOS Children provides children with a home, a family and a new mother in a purpose-built SOS Children's Village, where they can stay until they are ready for independent life. 
SOS Children currently cares for 1,952 children in Vietnam at its 13 SOS Children's Villages throughout the country, and a further 272 youths at its 10 SOS Youth Homes, where young adults go to prepare for independence. [more].

Endangered Primate Rescue Centre. EPRC rescue and take-in primates that from around Vietnam as well as running an education/ visiting centre to help locals and foreigners understand these magnificent creatures. The aim is to rehabilitate the rescued primates and release them back into the wild where they belong. Volunteering at the EPRC gives you a unique opportunity to directly help endangered wildlife whilst sampling the highly cultured and welcoming country of Vietnam. You too could soon be near to the rarest primate in the world during the day and then enjoy some tasty cuisine (and possibly a ‘Bia Hoi’ or 2in the evenings with a not so rare primate species. [more]

MilkCare Foundation Until economic reforms in 1986, the Vietnamese government provided free schooling. Now, students must pay for "public" schooling in addition to other expenses such as school maintenance fees, textbooks, school uniforms. With an annual per capita income of less than $150 (US dollars) in rural areas, many families simply cannot afford to send their children to school. For these children--some abandoned and homeless--even basic nutrition and education remain only a dream. [more]

Vets With A Mission is a group of Vietnam veterans and non-veterans who are dedicated to bringing healing, reconciliation and renewal to the people of Vietnam. We run many different projects from volunteering to donating and fund raising. Please visit us for [more] information.

Mine Awareness Group

We work with conflict-affected communities to identify their needs, removing land mines and unexploded ordnance, and helping those people in contaminated areas to live more safely. [more]

More links to charities in Vietnam can be found [here]

The Leaping Lemur

A Day with Easy Riders
"Da Lat on two wheels"

My brothers family of 4, my dad and my older brother and us two on bikes? Impossible!

Ask and you will be answered. Or how about reading and answering for us! 

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