About five months ago I arrived in Saigon for an adventure that I had been planning for about a year. I was full of many emotions; excited, nervous, happy and scared all at the same time. This was my first major adventure alone to another country. I arrived late at night and made my way to my hotel, after checking in and taking my stuff upstairs I was excited to get out and about on the city. I decided to hold off and to wait till the morning, as I was exhausted after traveling all day.
The next morning came and I was eager to start exploring. I grabbed some steamed veggies from the buffet and made my way onto the street. It was about 9 in the morning and I had no real plan in which way to go. I decided to just randomly walk up the street a couple of blocks to see what I can find. I kept getting offered things from the locals including sunglasses, noodles, massages, marijuana and of course the motorcycle tour of the city. I had this man approach me and started talking to me. I knew that he had something to offer me. He started to ask me questions like “Where are you from?” and “What brings you to Saigon?”. After a short chat to him he showed me a book of reviews that other travelers have signed. He then immediately offered me a tour on the back of his bike. I was very weary; I had a gut feeling that it wasn’t the best idea. He offered me 150,000 Dong ($8.50Au) for a tour and I had no other plans that morning so I decided to go along with it.
I hopped on the back of his bike and immediately started having worst-case scenario thoughts. We were whizzing through the traffic and the footpaths and I was trying to not fall off the bike. We stopped off at many destinations including the American war museum, the Notre Dame cathedral and Independence palace. After about 50 minutes I decided that I wanted to get off and do my own thing again. I asked him to drop me off where he picked me up and he agreed. He pulled over at the side of the road right across the road from my hotel. He then grabbed my arm and asked for payment. At this point I knew something was wrong. I pulled out my wallet but instead of being 150,000 Dong he wanted 900,000 Dong ($51.50Au). I knew that I should have trusted my gut feeling. He claimed that he had been driving me around for 2 hours, Well that’s what he gold Rolex said. I managed to give him 700,000 Dong ($40AU) and told him no more and started to walk away. After I got some distance I looked behind me and he was gone. I walked straight into my hotel room and lied onto my bed and thought about happened.
I had been scammed and lost 700,000 Dong. This had been an experience for me. I had learnt not to trust everyone and to trust that gut feeling that you get when something is not right. In a way I am glad that it had happened, as now I will be a lot more cautious.
Photo Courtesy of Expedia.