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Hanoi Travel Blog

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I've still not got any time to write a proper log, but I would just like to say that the scam where the taxi driver picks you up from the airport to your hotel (which is actually a different hotel) is a little bit worse than we thought.

We told the taxi driver numberous times that we wanted to go to Van Minh hotel. He said that he understood. When we got to the hotel, it had no name. We asked again, he said it was the right one. By this time, he hotel staff had our bags in the hotel. We asked the staff what he name of he hotel was, and they told us it was Van Minh hoel. We were relieved. Even more relieved when they gave us Van Minh business cards and pointed to the hotel we waned to on the Lonely Planet maps and said we were in the right place. Yep, right. Shafted. It's a good job we found out where we really were before we got drunk, otherwise we would have never found our way back.

Laura and Alexis - if we don't bump into you in Hue/Da Nang/Hoi An on your way north through Vietnam, beware of this scam and insist that you walk up and down the street before you even go into the hotel. If they take your bags in, take them out. Also, don't book a Halong Bay tour through the hotel, as Handspan and Fanispan - the two best companies - only do bookings through their offices at the north end of the lake. They're easy to find and are in the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide maps. Our hotel said they did Handspan tours and had the same professional looking brochures, but they weren't ligit. We booked it with the hotel, but got it in writing that they give us a full refund if it wasn't a true Handspan tour. When we checked with Handspan, they said they'd been fully booked for days.

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