Safety instructions against a theft or scam

Smartphones and purses are most attracting for quick thefts on scooters. Their hotspots are Bui Vien/Pham Ngu Lao and around Ben Thanh Market at day and night. Please, do pay more attention right here! 

  1. not goooodBack up important datas and travel pictures on a hard drive or cloud
  2. Have a copy of your passport 
  3. Avoid using phone while facing the road
  4. Do not hold your phone on your hand when not in use
  5. Do not let your purse vertically hang down on one shoulder only


In case a theft tries to pull it from you on the street or even sidewalk, sit down immediately and pull against it and scream loud. You shift the center of gravity of your body and a theft has a real hard time (once you still react in time). Even though once a theft tries his attempt, your time to react is shorter than 1 second.

  1. Rather stick to the 4 basic steps below:Beser leben
    Keep your purse between you and your friend inside the road
  2. While using phone to navigate or texting, put the phone on the palm of your hand and cover the top of the phone with your finger from behind, then type/text with the pointing finger of the other free hand. (Pic)
  3. In best case, keep your bag crossedand tight in front of your body and cover it with your hand
  4. Pick up phone calls while standing close to a wall
  5. Wear bags with thick straps that can’t be easily cut

These basics keep you safe because you already demonstrate that you won’t be an easy target. So you won’t be interesting.


In case you still got stolen your your phone, there are little chances to get it back. Maybe someone in the area or nearby shops do know those people and can provide your items back for a fee. If the lost phone is located in any phone shop, chances are still small to get it back since “no one” will have seen it there. Also put the current hotel card into the passport. Have a copy of your passport in your hotel just in case. They may throw the passport in front the hotel’s doorstep. Police station at Pham Ngu Lao at 66 Bui Vien Street.

  • Your Money: Divide cash in two pockets. One amount to maybe max. VND 300k in one pocket to always being ready to pull. Bigger amounts in another pocket depot.
  • Taxi Trick: Once I ever stepped in a taxi, after 2-3 mins of the ride I ask the driver:”Hey, why are you driving this way and not the other way which is much shorter!?” This sentence makes them be aware that you know the streets or have a navigation with you. (Even if you don’t)  🙂  You can learn this sentence in Vietnamese, it works!
  • They may once in a while want to confuse you and claim you only handed out VND10k even though you have paid VND 100k. Avoid to sit in the front next to the driver. Hold your wallet away from any driver to make it impossible to grab your money with his hand to “help you”. Do not let a driver count your money for you. Speak out the amount you just paid and get their confirmation. In worst case take a photo of their Taxi ID and make a call to their company and threaten to call the police and your embassy. That usually intimidates and make them behave normal again. Take a picture of the drivers plate before hand and of the ID that is close to the taximeter. Also randomly check, if the taximeter (first two digits from left) jumped up too soon ridiculous high . If it ever did, ask to stop and change the cab. City ride for about 2 km are around VND50k. I once heard someone got almost scammed and stepped out of the cab and just walked off.
  • Contact Mai Linh Tel: 0938 619 789. Email: No!
    Address: 64-68 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
  • Contact Vinasun: Tel: (84-8) 38 277 178 
    If you lost luggage:
    Complaint about staff:
    If you have any other concern:

  • Cyclo/Xe Om Trick: Rather sit on your bag while getting a ride on Cyclo (Basic). If you agree on an amount for the ride, type in your phone-calculator the amount you both agree on at first. Ask if the price is meant for one way or round trip? And ask if the price is meant per person? Rather use their services in the day time. Ask if you can do a selfie pic with the driver. They may say 15.000 Dong but then change to 50.000 Dong since it sounds very same. Be specific or walk.
  • Massage Studio Trick: Some budget massage studios offer massages for example for VND 150k/h. The masseurs only live from the tip you give after which you probably didn’t know. After the massage you may be in a very relaxing mood and they surprisingly hand you out a survey to rate the massage you just had. They look above your shoulder and hope you really liked it enough to set your cross in the “right field”.
    Very good                =                     USD 7
    Good                       =                    USD 5
    Ok                           =                   USD 3
    You possibly have really liked it or you may found it was just ok, but you anyhow set your cross in the top field where it sais it was VERY GOOD, because you currently don’t feel like debating after having one hour of massage and neither want to loose your politeness. But then of course you still get asked to pay the advertized price as well. You start to realize that USD 7 ( VND 160k) + the advertized price of VND150k make VND 310k, which is more than you expected before you entered the studio. The massages are often pretty fine to try, just don’t let a survey overwhelm you. You can easily ignore the survey and tip VND 50k which is fine regardless of how much you liked it. And of course, you can tip more if you personally feel it is appropiate to do so.

You can get further information or help from the HCMC Visitor and support center

See information in the picture.