HOW TO CATCH A CAB LIKE A BOSS IN HO CHI MINH
It’s common knowledge that Ho Chi Minh is full of scams and like any Asia countries a ride in a taxi or car could end up costing a lot more than you bargained for. We learnt the hard way, paying 200,000 VND for a ride that should have cost no more than 70,000. There’s plenty of tips we’ve learnt and picked up along the way to avoid making a cab ride a disaster from the airport, to every day travel.
Getting to your hotel/hostel
Providing that you’re staying in or close to district 1 (most guest houses and backpackers are located here) you’re safest bet should of heading out the main entrance towards to taxi stand on your left. Politely ignore drivers requests for taking you at a good price, there’s a chance they will change the price or make up extra charges. Grab a taxi, Vinasun and Mailinh are the only options to trust. A cab ride should cost between 150,000 and 180,000 odd VND depending on traffic. The driver should pay the toll fee on the way out of the airport. If they say to pay stand your ground and say no, claim you’ve been here lots of times and know you don’t have to.
Trips within district 1 or so should cost around 70,000-100,000 VND, simply hail a cab off the street and make sure it’s one of the big two. Do not take cabs that are sitting out the front of places waiting for passengers, chances are they’er around to take you for a ride, pun intended.
There is a scam currently with meter taxi’s and their drivers using a tiny device that automatically ups the price in the meter. If it jumps at weird times and by weird amounts then watch it carefully. If it starts getting expensive, simply ask the taxi to stop and pull over and get out. If you’re not so lucky to have them stop, you’ll have to best deal with thing at your stop. A sign of dodgy cab driver is where they stop, most pull up close enough to the hotel, the dodgy ones pull up further so they staff won’t come out and step in for you.
Our hotel receptionist explained several things to us when we came back frustrated at our dodgy cab ride. Firstly she said that if it’s a man you can get really angry and just throw them 100,000 which is about what it costs and quickly jump out. They won’t call the police because they have done the act of crime in the first place and can’t do much. If there are two of you, explain to the driver you have to grab more money from your hotel room, one of you will stay. if there is a girl, get her to get out and make sure the door is open (in case they decide to lock the doors on you) and the girl can jump out let hotel staff know and just hope the driver doesn’t do something stupid. The guy can try and jump out but safety comes first, don’t risk your life for a $10 cab ride. If you’re a girl travelling solo just get out and pay, as you’re getting out you could tell them they’re dodgy and you know or simply get their plate numbers and report them to the police.
Be safe and don’t be afraid to comment on dodgy behavior, it’s not ok to be scammed and it’s frustrating and ruining tourist culture.