Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City: A Rocky Adventure

Saturday, 3 September 2016
I had done my research. I would not let another incident like the taxi one I had in Bali happen whilst in Vietnam. Recently, many of my friends had visited Vietnam and had wonderful, colourful stories to share upon their return. I was excited, and honestly a little nervous, to explore this fascinating country.

But what would adventure be without a colourful, daring story? We got that in spades within the first 30 minutes of landing in Ho Chi Minh City. We queued in line for one of the two reputable taxis in Ho Chi Minh and were quickly whisked into the next taxi cab. Our cabbie quickly pulled over before queueing for the exit toll at the airport. “1” is all he said to us. I handed him over a 500,000 dong note knowing this would more than cover the fair, expecting changing in return.

No! No! Too much! 1” he proceeded to yell whilst shoving the note back into my hand. My friend hands him a 10,000 dong note only to have him throw it back at her. We’re looking at each other incredibly confused. I offer him the 500k note again stating I will be given change and it was ok.

From there the cabbie proceeded to grab my purse and tried to reach for my money. Thankfully, being the paranoid traveller I am, I do not keep all my money in my purse. He grabbed a 10 baht note and threw it at me whilst trying to grab the dong I had in my hand. Clinging to the notes, I firmly said “No. Let go now!”

We handed him the 10,000 dong note which was the amount needed to exit the toll. Starting to feel like we were about to ripped off, I mentioned to my mate that we should be careful. The cabbie proceeded to pretend the car had stopped working and pulled to the side of the road.

We grabbed our belongings, quickly exiting the cab as he yell at us to pay the fair whilst trying to usher us into the next cab. “Absolutely not. We have another ride” my friend calmly said. Thankfully she was around because I was struggling to contain my anger at this point.

Thankfully, we used the Grab app to catch us a safe taxi to our hotel. If you're traveling in SE Asia I highly recommend downloading this app. It works similarly to Uber, but is heaps cheaper and allows you to see exactly how much you will be paying for the fair (I am not being sponsored to promote Grab. This app simply saved my skin in a stressful, scary situation).

Lessons I've learned on this trip: 1. Always keep your wits about you. 2. Make sure one person in your travel party coughs up the $5 USD for a new SIM card so that you have access to the Internet in case of an emergency. 3. All the research in the world can still lead to what will be hilarious anecdotes to tell your friends and family for years to come. 4. And above all, remember that if you're uncomfortable in a situation at home or while travelling to always trust your gut instinct!

And until next time...

Stay Curious!

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  1. This is frightening! �� Not knowing what he was saying and being arrogant and all. I hope if ever i had a chance to visit Vietnam I won't meet this kind of taxi driver.

    1. Yea it was a pretty scary experience. But luckily we were able to remain calm and we got out of there ok. Just use the Grab App or Uber if you're ever in Vietnam. It's much safer and you don't have to worry about getting ripped off by the cab drivers.

  2. My goodness you are a brave lady!! That sounded like an adventurous ride!! I don't know if I would have been able to keep my cool. I do envy you tho. I wish abroad. Maybe one day. It sounds so exciting!! 😜😜