Editor’s note: A Filipino told Tuoi Tre News how she was cheated by a taxi driver at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at the same time when a Dutchman, coincidentally enough, shared with us his tips on how to avoid bad cabbies at the Ho Chi Minh City terminal.
My name is Jesse Lim, a tourist from the Philippines. I read the news about the German guy who got scammed and reached out to you so I wanted to share our story too.
My sister and I just arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 12:05 am a while ago.
We exchanged currencies and went on our way to the taxi area to get a ride going to our hotel.
We then got into a silver Vios under Happy Taxi and were given a card with number 632 written on it.
The meter started at VND12,000 so we thought everything was pretty okay.
But then before getting out of the airport, the driver turned around and told us that we needed to pay him 300 for the airport services. We understood this as VND300 and thought it was a reasonable request.
When we arrived at the hotel, the meter was at VND156,000 so I gave the driver VND200,000 and waited for the change.
However, the driver accepted the money but turned back and asked for more.
He told us we had to give him 300,000 and he even counted the bills like "one… two... one more,” apparently meaning VND300,000.
We were confused and scared that he might not let us go if we did not give him what he wanted, so we eventually gave him another VND100,000 and he was finally satisfied.
We did not really have a choice then.
Anyway, it was a very horrible experience and we would not want drivers like those to take advantage of fellow tourists like us.
Tips for hailing cabs at Tan Son Nhat
Lim and foreigners arriving in Ho Chi Minh City via Tan Son Nhat may want to learn from the following recommendations of Hans Dingerdis.
I no longer take a taxi at the international arrivals hall at Tan Son Nhat. The operators there do not like Mai Linh and Vinasun, so they let you wait and wait and wait.
Instead, I walk to the domestic arrivals, whose parking lot has places for Mai Linh and Vinasun cabs, and take one there.
One day I had a taxi to Caravelle Saigon in District 1, a ride that normally costs VND60,000.
However, when the ride was only halfway through, the meter already read over VND100,000.
So I told the driver I changed my mind, telling him to go to Nguyen Hue Street and ending up having him stop right in front of the police station there.
I got out and told him I would not pay a single dong and if he did not like it, just go into the police station with me. He left.
There are people at the airport whom I call taxi sharks – those with a white shirt, blue trousers and some ID hanging on their neck which you cannot read.
They offer a taxi ride to downtown for around VND200,000 to VND2 million whereas it costs only VND90,000 on the meter.
On average there are about seven of them there. And the security/police only smile and somehow overlook them.
I even asked the official taxi stand there if they knew these sharks are stealing their business, and only got a smile back.
Once and a while it gets into the newspaper, and they disappear. But after a few weeks, it just starts all over again.
And that is the same as the scams at the tourist places.
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