You Asked ( 17-04-2012)

Update: April, 17/2012 - 09:09

Dear Editor,

I am a German tourist who has spent several days travelling in Ha Noi. However, I have two problems that really annoy me:

1. A shoe cleaner in the city's Hang Trong Street forced me to pay him VND100,000 (US$4.7), five times higher than the price he told me in advance. I refused, but he chased me down. I had no choice but to give him the money.

What should I do in this case?

2. I was cheated by a taxi driver who drove me from Hoan Kiem Lake to the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and charged me VND200,000 ($9.5) which I think was too expensive.

Even a cyclo driver charged me higher than usual.

How should I avoid such unreasonable surcharges?

Helmut Jahn, Germany

Dear Jahn,

We are sorry to hear about the troubles you encountered during your time in the city.

Here are our suggestions:

1. To deal with dishonest service industry people in the city's Old Quarter who charge unreasonable prices, you can get help from local security guards present on every street. You will recognise them via their grey uniforms and a red band on their arms. They usually operate in groups of three and are there to keep everything in order.

Few of them can speak English. However, Duong Xuan An, a security guard on Hang Gai Street, ensured us that with their intervention, you would be able to avoid unpleasant experiences.

You can also call the emergency help line on 04.113 for swift police response.

2. Regarding cheating taxi or cyclo drivers, we usually advise foreign tourists to check internet sites or tourism information booklets in advance.

You can access to view a list of trusted taxi companies.

In addition, you can also:

– Dial 04.1089 and press 1 or 2 after which the operator will automatically connect you with a taxi company.

– Call a taxi company such as: Mai Linh 04.38616161, ABC 04.37191919, Taxi Group 04.38535353 and Taxi 52 04.38525252

As for cyclo services, you can call Sans Souci on 04.39281248/0903438048 or Huy Phong at 04.38267042.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the city.

The Editor