The scams in Vietnam are much worse than in other parts of South East Asia, and I discovered quite a few tourist traps during my stay in the Vietnamese capital. Here are 4 “tourist attractions” that you should be particularly wary of!
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre was supposed to be a great evening’s source of entertainment for me and a few fellow backpackers I had met in at my hostel in the Old Quarter. The shows are certainly unique but all the time during the show we were pestered to buy trinkets and bracelets, and many of these sellers were raising their voices which just added to the disturbance.
Hang Gai Street is located in the Old Quarter and is the place to buy all of your silk! Trouble is, how many of these silken materials are actually of good quality, and more to the point, how many of these silky vendors will try and rip you off? Hang Gai Street is the very epitome of the term ‘Tourist Trap’!
Bat Trang Ceramic Village is often promoted as a major tourist site in Hanoi, and while many tour operators will offer to take you there, my experience was far from ideal. Ok, it’s a ceramics market basically, which may not interest everyone, but a casual stroll along the market to look at the skilled artefacts on show is not possible here. Fairly aggressive sellers followed us around for a minute or two and gave us stories about how their families were ill and needed our money. I was glad to get out of here.
The Hanoi Flag Tower in the Military History Museum gives you good views over the immediate area (though not the splendid views that are promoted!) and the price at 10,000VND is fairly good value. However, we saw locals going up for free, which may or may not be official practice, which left a sour taste in the mouth.