Airport taxi scam

Ho-Chi-Minh-City-Vinasun-taxiTaxi scams are a phenomenon that happens all over the world, and also in Vietnam. Even the cyclos or bike-taxis in Ho Chi Minh City are not all trustworthy. One of the prime spots for taxi scams is Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat airport. Saigon Air Taxi has a monopoly at the airport, but this only means they will charge higher rates, and it doesn’t automatically mean you won’t be ripped off by the driver. MaiLinh (white and green cabs) or Vinasun (white and red cabs) both have a better reputation from travelers and locals, and both have a tourism desk inside the airport, although they may be hard to find if you’re not specifically looking for them. Booking at these desks can save you a lot of hassle, and may be worth the small premium they will charge you.

Ho-Chi-Minh-City-Mai_Linh-TaxiIf you don’t book at the tourism desk, the taxi stand is on the left side as you step out of the International Arrivals terminal. You are not required to take the next available taxi, meaning you can wait for one from MaiLinh or Vinasun. If other taxi drivers get in your hair, just tell them you are waiting for a pre-booked taxi.

A ride from the airport to anywhere in District 1 should cost you around 150.000 Dong (€ 5,50 / US$ 7 / £ 4.25), so anything over 200.000 Dong can be considered a scam.

If you are not in a hurry, or if you’re looking for the cheapest way into town, walk to the right side upon exiting the International Arrivals hall, where bus 152 will depart from across the Burger King restaurant. This bus will take you to Ben Thanh Market, where you can take a taxi to your hotel for a much lower rate. Be aware the last trip of this bus departs at the airport at 6PM, and the fare is 5.000 Dong per person with an additional 5.000 Dong per bag.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. At Ho Chi Minh airport we were scammed by a taxi where one of the taxi men temporarily grabbed our money when I was about to pay, saying he was looking for small bills. Whilst the other driver distracted us he took 1million / $50 before I managed to take the money back. They then moved us to another taxi (using an excuse of a bigger car) so that if we found out during the taxi ride it wouldn’t be the same driver who stole the money. This was the taxi booth outside the airport to the left. I recommend trying to find a different place to get a taxi.

    • The exact same thing happened to me today. I was robbed of two million dong! To say this has ruined my experience of Vietnam is an understatement!

  2. There are more scams in Ho Chi Minh city than in any other city in Southeast Asia. I am just back from a 3 month stay during which time I was robbed of all my cash and credit cards. Forced to leaved HCMC due to death threats and had my stolen passport used in connection with some child porn extortion business.
    Taxi scams are well known but watch out for the shoe shiners who lift your phone/wallet while shining your shoes. Look out for a guy working on Pham Ngu Lau called David Khanh who attempts to meet westerners and offers to help them with jobs and hotels etc, if you accept his offer and go with him your credit card/cash will disappear. He has scammed several people out of thousands $$ in recent months after meeting them in the backpacker area.

  3. I just came back from my trip in Vietnam. This was my first time and since I left when I was little everything was new to me. Upon arriving to the airport we went through custom and came to baggage claim to pick up our luggages. The guys working there immediately picked us up and literally helped themselves in assisting us. They dragged our luggages only a few feet from our pick up point and we were obligated to give them a substantial tip. As soon as we stepped out of the airport another guy ushered to a taxi to take us to the airport. The trip wasn’t that far and on the meter it said 158K vnd when we arrived at our hotel. Throughout our ride the cab driver talked nonstop. As soon as he’ was about to drop us off he tried to take advantage of us and said, “Since you’re from America why don’t you give me XXX amount?” Which was three times the amount of what was on the meter. I can’t believe how blatant he was. I guess I live in the states and no one would tried to scam you so blatantly.

    All in all throughout our whole trip we noticed as soon as the local people spotted that we’re not from Vietnam they raised their prices. Taxi drivers are notorious for pumping up prices. We used Grab instead and was happier since it was a set amount we know beforehand. When it was time to go back to the states we got dropped off at the airport. Immediately several guys tried to grab our hand cart to help us. Once again, they forced themselves to help us. We already loaded our luggages beforehand. All he had to do was push it a few feet to our airlines counter. He stood there while we present our passports. He followed us after our luggages got picked up. My family gave him and XXX amount and he demanded 4 times that amount! I was so mad by then. I told myself I do not want to come back to a place where I am being ripped off left and right.

    From my personal experience I do not recommending visiting Vietnam unless you’re willing to deal with all the scams.

  4. Pissed off Paul says:

    The scam is real.. DO NOT LET THEM TALK YOU INTO CHEAPER TAXI SERVICE (unmarked cars). The above event occurred with me and my fiancé. The guy picks you up to negotiate at the curb. Walks you over to the parking lot. Send you off to a driver and another negotiator. Put the a lot of bags in the back seat so that the two pasangers will need to split up. Ask for the money before we take off. Both the driver and negotiator will try to grab you money and tell you how to break the change. While you are startled and confused they will try to distract while the other steal a portion. By the time you got the money back, it’s too late. You will be missing a good chunk of your cash in the million dongs.

    STICK TO UBER. There are ways you can trace all of it with the system Uber has in place along with a fair rate.

  5. I agree with all the previous comments. In just the last few days in HCM city, I’ve had
    1) 2 Million VND stolen from me at the airport upon arrival
    2) Aggressive shoe-shiners accosting me every 50 meters or so
    3) Pimps chasing after me offering me prostitutes and calling me names for not being interested

    In this cess-pool called HCM city, you really need to adopt a more aggressive attitude to fend off these opportunistic scum. I’ve had to resort to telling them to “F*** Off!” – something they actually comprehend.

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