Vietnam tips: a first-timer’s guide (P1)

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Be wary of taxi scams
Be wary of taxi scams

Enthralling and enraging in equal amounts, Vietnam’s long-held position as a travel icon is more than deserved. In no other country is the collision of Southeast Asia’s past, present and future so stark. At times, this clash can seem so confronting and confusing as to send even experienced travellers fleeing for the nearest luxury hotel. However, like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out – and in Vietnam just a little preparation will set you up for the trip of a lifetime.

1. Be wary of taxi scams

Be wary of taxi scams
Be wary of taxi scams

For many, motorcycle taxis are the only way to truly see the thronging streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. However, although unlikely, scams can happen and your best protection is a decent knowledge of where you are going and points along the way. If you think you’re going the wrong way, simply tell your driver to pull over and flag down a new bike – those that stop should at least know the English names of the main tourist sights. Also, organise for a hotel pick-up from the airport – scam taxis are rife and, as my quickly lightened wallet can attest, far more expensive and stressful than the $5 you supposedly could save.

To be continued…