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Dual pricing not a matter of concern for certain expats in Vietnam

Dual pricing not a matter of concern for certain expats in Vietnam

Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 20:18 GMT+7
Dual pricing not a matter of concern for certain expats in Vietnam
Foreigners visit a tourist destination in Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A number of foreigners in Vietnam have said dual pricing, a common practice in many countries around the world whereby foreign tourists are charged more than locals for the same goods or services, is not a big deal, while sharing some tips to avoid being overcharged while living in this Southeast Asian country.

Alessandro Ferin said that some places in Vietnam, like museums, set higher prices for foreigners no matter the language visitors speak, but it is not a big deal for him, in response to Kristoffer Svendsen, who thinks that foreigners would only be fleeced if they did not know better nor speak Vietnamese.

They were among a host of expats having their say on Tuoi Tre News’ recent story ‘Eight things I hate about Vietnam,’ written by Ray Kuschert, an Australian who has been living in Ho Chi Minh City for over a decade.

Kuschert listed the top eight things he dislikes about Vietnam, such as visa policy, dual pricing, hot weather, food, and traffic problems in his story, which drew hundreds of reactions and comments on social media.

“Based on my experience, they double the price when they see that you are a foreigner,” Mark Walker, of Philippine nationality, commented.

“A 4-5 dollars gap isn’t a big problem,” Phan Daniel felt.

Rob Lock replied that it was fair to charge tourists more, as most museums are government-funded and Vietnamese pay taxes while tourists do not.

“Five years in Vietnam and I have never been overcharged for anything,” Eudy Vyas, currently living in Ho Chi Minh City, responded.

Kent Neo asserted that he never got ripped off while living in Da Lat, a popular destination in Lam Dong Province, located in the Central Highlands.

Neo, who complimented Da Lat on its beautiful landscapes and friendly people, added that chances of getting ripped off are higher in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, where there are hordes of tourists.

Many others listed multiple recommendations for expats on how to shun overpricing during their stay in Vietnam, including the need to learn Vietnamese, explore the local culture to get a better understanding, and mingle with the local community.

Anh Bon Andrew advised foreigners to learn how to speak Vietnamese, make more Vietnamese friends, and fit into their community, believing that by that way all problems facing them could be solved.

“I am a foreigner but many times I get things cheaper or even for free. Because I surprise them and talk to them in Vietnamese. I have had free meals, free trà đá [iced tea] and discounts on many things. Maybe put a little effort into understanding the culture you moved to,” Greg Matson remarked.

Ken Byrnes, coming from New York, said, “I figure it's my responsibility to learn the language and try to understand the culture. Yeah I've been overcharged on rare occasions."

Byrnes also recounted his stay in Ho Chi Minh City, where little kids always say hello to him, an old lady selling banh mi in his neighborhood has a greeting smile whether he buys from her or not, or a Vietnamese tapped on his shoulder at a traffic light, pointing to his mobile phone and reminding him to stash it safely.

Louis Barber Corallo, coming from the UK, received dozens of likes and replies for his comment that foreigners should learn and adapt to a new culture as much as they can, instead of moaning all the time.

He recommended that foreigners here learn some Vietnamese, go to their expat bubble for a break but also gain independence from the expat bubble by having many local friends, and be friendly with their neighbors.

“Just by greeting the lady selling coffee downstairs every morning, she's somehow given me, a dark skinned foreigner, a permanent discount on coffee even though I never asked for it,” Sivaraj Pragasm, currently living in Ho Chi Minh City, commented.

Meanwhile, Timmy Pham thinks that people travel to different countries to experience different cultures and environments, so “it wouldn’t be a travel experience if everywhere is like America and Europe and if you want the comfort and convenience of your own home then you shouldn’t be traveling.”

The General Statistics Office reported that in 2023, Vietnam experienced a significant surge in international tourist arrivals, reaching approximately 12.6 million.

This figure surpassed the 2023 target of eight million by 3.4 times, marking a substantial increase compared to the previous year.

However, it is noteworthy that this still represents 70 percent of the pre-pandemic level recorded in 2019.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Hong Ngan / Tuoi Tre News

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