Vietnam Day one – Airport Taxi Scams

At least the view was nice

It took all of three minutes to get scammed on my first trip to Vietnam. I arrived at Ho Chi Minh airport feeling like shit after a long day of travel. I decided to save $150 and do 1 stop over instead of flying direct.

A 2 hour layover isn’t too big of a deal and certainly worth $150, but then my 2nd flight was delayed, then we sat on the plane for 30 minutes before taking off, and had to circle the city before landing for another 30. Fun times.

After going through immigration I changed $100 and was handed two 500k Vietnam dong notes, twelve 100k dong notes and a 20k and 5k. I bought a sim card for 150k and headed out to get a taxi.

I was told to go to pillar 2 to find the regular taxis. As I approach there is a long winding guard rail up that you have to walk through but no one is in line.

A taxi driver right in the area waves me over and I get lazy and don’t go through the guard rail. I was skeptical about whether he was one of the good taxis or not, and my spidey senses were totally up.

He said meter and I knew from reading monger forums that the meter shouldn’t be over 200k and told him I wouldn’t pay if it went over. He says OK and then insists I sit in front. When you are already a bit sick from travel its better to be in the front seat so I go ahead and do it.

So off we went. There are also some private taxis you can hire in arrivals for 220k without needing to queue up but I didn’t do that. Jspill did though, because the chick was cute.

A private taxi stand inside

I Said Pull Over

So as you exit the airport you have to pay some small fee of 10k. He asks me to pay and I pull out my wallet but don’t know how much it is. He has been pretty good with English but suddenly forgot the word 10.

I hand him 5k and he says no. Then he grabs my money and pulls out the 20k. This is right over my lap, I am staring right at it, and it all takes like 2 seconds.

I grab my money back and he gives me the 10k change and we are off on the streets. As I put my cash back in my wallet I notice that the last bill is a 100k bill when it should be a 500k bill.

I look through my wallet twice and realize that yup both my 500k bills are gone. I check one more time before accusing him of anything and then check all around the seats. There is nothing.

At this point I’m not really sure if he took it or not, but what other option is there. There is like a 1% chance I somehow fucked up when I bought my sim card, and a 1% chance it flew out the window. Well we were basically parked when my money was out, it didn’t fly out the window. He took it.

I start saying some of my money is gone and searching all over. He starts speaking half Vietnamese half English saying you pay you pay blah blah blah. I say please pull over and he pulls out his wallet to show me he has no 500k notes.

I search again and am getting pretty flustered. His ignoring me and jabbering nonsense pisses me off and I raise my voice to an Asian which I can’t ever really remember doing and tell him to pull over. He does.

I start looking all around my seat and under the seat and it isn’t there. I got halfway out of the car to do this and am lucky that the dude didn’t punch the gas, injure me, and drive off with all my stuff.

I sit back in and say I would like him to stand up and he starts jabbering again. Then I notice an oddly placed towel between our seats next to the gear shifter that is half folded over.

I lift up one half and hey whattya know there are my 2 500k notes and a $20 bill I had forgotten about. I put them both in my wallet and he starts asking me about what I will do in Ho Chi Minh as if nothing happened. The fare was 115k ($5), I gave him 115k and that was the end of it.

My Bad

Clearly a huge noob mistake. Airports all over the world attract guys like this and it was a fully planned out thing from the beginning. Park right next to the ‘good’ taxi area, have me sit in front, have the towel in place, and be super quick about it when he grabbed my money.

I bet he pulls that same move every night. What pisses me off more is I didn’t trust my instincts. I knew something wasn’t right about it and still did it to save myself from walking an extra 50 steps.

I remember reading on SingleMansParadise right before I left where Skins said ‘pull your motorbike up inside because Vietnamese people love to steal shit.’ For me it was proven true before I even left the airport.

Later that night after pipelining girls on VietnamCupid for a bit I went for a walk and had some dude on a motorbike pull up and ask me if I was English. I was like no thanks and kept walking and he followed me for a bit before he got the hint.

There are a lot of sharks in the waters here it seems. Good thing this taxi driver wasn’t a great white or he woulda punched the gas when I got my feet out of the car to look under the seat.

This means a 39,000 VND fare

Best Strategy with Saigon Airport Taxis

So your options are a) use the taxis that you book at the desks in Saigon airport just after arrivals – these cost a fixed rate of 220,000 VND ($9) to anywhere in town. These are the least scammy ones. Peace of mind for a few extra dollars, good if you’re travelling with a girl or have a lot of valuables or something.

Or b) walk left as you come out of the airport and queue up in the metered taxi line outside in the heat, and expect to pay around 115k – 170k on the meter depending on traffic and where you’re staying. Medium scamminess.

Just don’t pick option (c) which is get in a taxi that comes up to you and is pushy about you getting in their car. Maximum scam factor. These guys are lying in wait straight ahead as you come out of arrivals.

The way it works with the meter in Vietnam taxis is you look at the big numbers at the start, and that’s the fare in thousands. Ignore the smaller numbers to the right. In the pic above the meter is currently at 39,000, because it says 39. You can go quite far before it hits 100 (under $5).

Also be careful with the currency because all the notes look similar, 10k dong is a similar color to 100k.

More info on the hot Vietnamese chicks coming soon.

22 Responses

  1. jspill jspill says:

    I’m mostly just shocked you changed $100 at the airport

  2. RumandCokeMan says:

    Skins has got to give the detailed insiders low down on Saigon and where to find the hottest girl for ‘normal girl’ dating and the hottest looking p4p girls.

    Have you been in Saigon a month yet Dante-
    What was your cost of living/month?
    Are the short term apartments nice and comfy w/ good internet or shitholes full of scammers?
    Does the local food suck? Is the street food good?
    Are the girls the hottest you’ve seen in SEA?

    Thanks

    • jspill jspill says:

      Lol patience grasshopper all will be revealed soon

      This is about a month behind realtime, now he’s in a top secret location. Spoiler alert over the first month he spent $1275 but that was ‘holiday mode’ and long term thinks he’d average 1-1.1k / mo

      Plenty of decent apartments and decent internet. Food ok

      The girls are the hottest if you like white skin china doll model type look, if you like tanned LBFM rice farmer’s daughter horny girl next door look, then they’re not. Personally I’m not that into them, prefer Thailand and PI but they’re still obviously very hot and I had a blast over there

      But on average Viet girls ime are more mercenary and materialistic, or they are the super conservative good girl type which I don’t want either (guess it’s ok if you want a long term gf/wife)

      And more more boring in bed (Skins says the same) and more flat/bony body. Definitely the most symmetrical faces and refined features though. It depends what’s the most important factor for you

      They are more of a challenge, you’ll get less casual sex and ONS there (but still way more than the West). But then it feels more of an accomplishment when you do bang them

      It would be a good place to use as a base because the apartments are cheap and no issues with living on tourists visas. Just relax and work online with a handful of hot regular chicks you bang, or a supermodel girlfriend. Then when you do visa runs go nuts with hookers in Philippines, Thailand and Indo for a couple weeks.

    • kick2dante kick2dante says:

      lol i think some of those topics might be coming up soon :p

  3. yellowfever says:

    I want to see some of these white skin china doll model type looking girls….

    Looking forward to some Viet whore stories.

  4. Henry says:

    He acted as if nothing happened. Must be a chilled dude. In other places he might pull out a knife instead.
    They do follow you on motorbikes, even in D1 (center of Saigon) asking “What you looking for?” couple of times.
    But overall good city, gotta go back soon. Hope there will be some virgins left.

  5. -Cam says:

    I got in one of those taxis in China. I was on my guard the whole time, but the one thing I didn’t take into account is that my driver might have no idea where he was going. I was staying at the Hilton too so it wasnt like I was staying in some back alley hotel. He knew how to get to the right district, but then he started asking me for directions. I was like what the fuck bro I’m a foreigner use your phone. Maybe he didn’t have one or something, but we spent 20 minutes circling around/asking people how to get to the hilton. We agreed upon a flat fee too so it wasn’t like he was trying to run the meter. Moral of the story, always take the official taxi at Asian airports!

  6. profits101 says:

    for me it was just the opposite… in Hong Kong I got the taxi driver in trouble coming out from the airport since I didn’t put on my seatbelt and he didn’t ask me to… was pulled over about a 2-3km from the airport. Coming from the Philippines, I hadn’t put on a seatbelt for over a year… and those police were totally no-nonsense. I felt bad for the guy and split the fine… there was a sign in the cab warning about it. I was a HK newbie hehe.

    excited to see Viet stories, wow… really like to go there…

  7. southernallstars says:

    I started my Indo trip two months ago by trying to pay the taxi driver 140 USD instead of 14 USD, because of their retarded inflated currency and since I was tired from the trip. But he was very nice and actually gave me my money back! Maybe within SEA there is somewhat less scam in Indo than in the other countries, I hardly ever got overcharged due to my skin colour….but I had two attempts of pick-pocketing since I used their public busses….
    Looking forward to your Vietnam field reports, perhaps the hottest chicks in SEA and still on my bucket list for long-term stay locations!

  8. harley says:

    I spent 1 month in Ho Chi Minh a few months ago and got really tired of the place after a few weeks. There’s a good nightlife scene and plenty of available girls actually, but I found them kinda stuck up and arrogant. Sometimes just plain emotionless and rude. I’ll just go back for the nightlife and to re-live my memories one day but not sure if i’ll go back for the pussy though.

    Yes they are the hottest in South East Asia but actually the majority ethnicity there is Khin which is actually considered East Asian. They migrated from China… and I found their overall attitudes quite a bit similar to Chinese and Taiwanese for example, although the Vietnamese are a bit warmer and friendlier though, they still have that harsh “straight forwardness” and “coldness” of their northern neighbors.

    It’s actually relatively easy to bang hot Vietnamese chicks but you need to have a bit more game and patience than with Filipinas or Thai chicks. Took me 5 dates and 75$ total to bang a 6.5/10 with no tits. Got tired of it quickly.

    I could have banged many more chicks if I had more patience, there’s actually many Vietnamese on Asiancupid.com and they are accessible. However, I just found them to be a bit annoying and come off as arrogant sometimes.

    After Ho Chi Minh I flew direct to Bangkok for 50$ and jesus was I happy to be back in Bangkok…

  9. harley says:

    For cheap rooms go to Little Japan in District 1 that’s where you’ll find cheap rooms and also lots of massage places that to do happy endings. They cater mostly to Japanese but anyway for 50$ you’ll get a massage and your dick sucked. The hookers are A LOT hotter than what you usually see in other countries in SEA… these Viet whores would be considered hi-so by looks in any other SEA country.

    I lived right in the middle of these little massage shops… meeting so many girls from online but being unable to bring them home and pull down their pants immediately like I do in Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia frustrated me quite a bit.

  10. jspill jspill says:

    Agreed, they have pretty faces then it’s downhill from there if you’re after FS, for massage / BJ though it’s great

  11. harley says:

    Good place to find a really hot looking white-skinned Asian girlfriend or wife though… however you can find that in Bangkok as well actually… I think a hot Viet wife would be as jealous and clingy as a hot Thai chick however I think the Viets are more crazy and childish. Good looking Thai-Chinese chicks will just drop and forget you asap without losing face.

    I had a girl come to my apartment knocking on the door unannounced 3 times even I told her not to do so after the 2nd time. The 3rd time I just texted her instead of opening the door and told her to fuck off. This was from Asiancupid.com after a few dates. Then she sat downstairs crying for like an hour. This wasn’t a hi-so or 9/10 or something but I bet if you throw around a bit of cash the hot hi-so looking ones will act similar.

  12. Angus says:

    At the airport…cross the street to the busses. Wait 15 min max for bus 109…end of the line is district 1 …. 20k= .90 usd.

  13. Angus says:

    17 Saloon has a good band and hot waitresses 🙂

  14. Mikey Johnson says:

    Was in Saigon abt a year ago. Fantastic city, albeit a bit boring. As an incel coming from the US, I did ok (4 girls in 3 weeks). It’s a great city and I’m a sucker for the busy city streets, street food, etc. Hell, even the nightlife wasn’t too bad, but severely limited. You can’t really shore here. For normal girls, language barrier is HUGE. I went on a lot of dates and had to use Google Translate on some of them. Daygame is doable on tourist streets for girls wanting to practice their English.. Then you can get their Viber. Social circle is massive here as I had a girl or 2 wanting to introduce me to her friends.

    I do wonder though, how long is it gonna take for some of these places to reach Western levels of difficulty? Are we gonna see that in our lifetimes?

  15. RealGuy says:

    Ive never had an issue with vinsun taxis (the black and red ones if I remember right). Theres also uber and grab. The uber rates are pretty good too. They have uber motos too

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