Experience in Vietnam: How tourists were scammed in Vung Tau

After a series of rip-offs in Vung Tau were published, hundreds of readers wrote to Tuoi Tre newspapers to tell how they fell victim to restaurants’ scams and had to pay dearly for their overpriced but under-quality food.

A Vietnamese Canadian reader, nicknamed ngoitrongmo, said he found more oyster shells than meat in his seafood soup in a restaurant in Vung Tau.

“Of 100 oysters, 70 had only shells.

It was crowded and I did not know who the manager was,” he wrote.

The shell soup that day cost him VND1 million (US$50).

If a restaurant manager is present, he or she will recommend some special dishes to the guests – dishes that do not strike them as anything special at all until the restaurant hands them the bill.

One of the victims is reader Quang Huy, who went to Nhu Y restaurant.

“A woman at the restaurant suggested that we take 200-300g of groupers.

At VND600,000 a kilo, it was not much so I added a dish of sautéed squids.

She recommended a hot pot instead of a bowl because the cold breeze may make the soup cold,” he recalled.

Huy said he was served a hot pot of fish chopped into pieces.

He and his friend had to try hard to finish it.

“We received a bill of VND1 million ($50).

On asking the woman why we were charged 1 kilo of fish we didn’t ask for, she just simply replied: ‘But you finished everything!’” told Huy.

He also observed women in scanty clothes coming to the restaurants with foreigners.

He later learned that they are brokers who took tourists to eat here for tips.

Not only Huy but many tourists were shocked on seeing the amount they had to pay on the bill.

Dong Kha was surprised he had to pay VND500,000 ($25) for a two-person hot pot even though it was VND150,000 ($7.5) in the menu.

When asked for clarification, the waiter told Kha the price did not include seafood and vegetable.

On the receiving end of not only an expensive meal but also a threatening stare, Kha had no choice but pay.

Similarly, Tuan Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, was surprised at the bill and learned that the sour soup he ordered was charged double, VND720,000 ($36) instead of VND300,000 ($15).

The owner explained to him that the price listed in the menu was only for the broth, thus he had to pay VND420,000 extra for a kilo of fish.

“On the way back to hotel, my wife pointed at foreigners eating grilled fish by the sidewalk and said:

‘They have more experience travelling in Vietnam than us,’” said Tuan Nguyen.

Last but by no means least is the story of My Hong, who had to pay more than VND3 million ($150) for a meal for two at the notorious Nhu Y restaurant.

“My foreign friend and I were lured by the owner to order shrimps, whose size was half our palm according to him.

However, when served, it turned out to be lobsters and they were not even fresh.

When we called the waiter, he said he did not know and told me to ask the staff I ordered,” told reader My Hong.

Hong and her friend later had to eat the lobsters and a small steamed fish dish.

They ended up getting a bill of more than VND3 million ($150) as a kilo of lobsters cost VND1.9 million ($100).

“Since then, I’ve been scared of going to Vung Tau and so have my foreign friend.

By word of mouth, there will be less tourists going to the beach city and in the long term this will affect Vietnam’s tourism.

I hope the authorities will pay attention to this issue and punish scam businesses like Nhu Y,” concluded My Hong.

These stories above are only a small tip of thousands of cases when tourists were “robbed in broad daylight” in Vung Tau restaurants.

Please continue to speak up and tell us your own experiences as this is one of the most effective ways to urge local authorities to take actions on preventing and eliminating scams inVietnam’s tourist destinations.

Source: Tuoi Tre Online

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