Hotel reservations- try and have reservations, but keep in mind that it is common for them to not hold the reservation for you, always have a second or third hotel in mind as a back-up. Hotel prices are very negotiable, $20 will get you a nice room, and it is very common for them to try and cheat you on check out.
Taxis- these guys will probably be the ones that can annoy you the most. It is very common for them to try to rip you off. Before you go anywhere, try and ask others about how much you should pay. Other travellers will probably know about how much you should pay.
Shopping- they will make it a sport to try and rip you off as much as possible. You will be quoted anywhere from two to ten times as much as you should pay.
Almost every purchase is negotiable in Vietnam, and you ARE expected to negotiate.
If you really have no idea as to how much to pay, start by offering them less than half of what they quote you, and then try to pay half the quoted price.
Also, just try walking away, and you will se that prices will drop very quickly.
Only drink bottled water, your hotel will probably include some bottles of water with the room.
Beggars- sad to say, but most of the beggars that you might see probably work for someone else. There will be one “boss” maybe the parents or older siblings, that sends children out to beg, and then he collects all the money from them. If you want to help, give away your left over food. Any money you give away to children will probably go to someone else for him to buy drugs or alcohol.
Also, many of the beggars are also pickpockets, they will surround you to try and distract you and one of them will lift your wallet.
I found this in a Bangkok paper, but the same situation is found in Vietnam also.
"Child beggars exploited, beaten and making a small fortune - for others
By Connie Levett Herald Correspondent In Bangkok
August 13, 2005
It’s a business … a beggar woman and child on a walkway above
Sukhumvit Road, central Bangkok.
A new snapshot of the begging trade in Bangkok shows a business built
on children trafficked from Cambodia and Burma who never profit
personally from their lucrative daily takings and are sometimes beaten
to make them objects of greater pity.
No one can say how many children are begging in the Thai capital but
the three-month survey of the trade earlier this year shows children
aged from three months to 10 years are working long hours in tourist
destinations and busy business precincts. A handler sits close by in a
small business, perhaps selling flowers, and regularly collecting the
“It is like they are enslaved children. To be forced to work is one of
the worst forms of humiliation,” said Ealkak Loomchomkhae, a legal
officer with the Mirror Foundation, the Thai non-government
organisation that ran the study. The findings are set out in a report
released with the International Labour Organisation last week, Child
Beggar Business - Investigating Children in the Beggar Business.
The survey, during which researchers observed the beggars at four
central Bangkok locations for three months, proved “this was not
normal begging, it was a business”, Mr Ealkak said via a translator.
It is a lucrative trade, with children making between 500 baht
($15.80) and 3000 baht a day for their brokers. They receive only
basic food and accommodation. A shop assistant earns 6000 baht a month.
The survey showed old women carrying very young children or babies,
one old woman with a different child each day or the same children
with a different mother. Rarely did the children speak Thai: most of
them came from Cambodia or Burma. The brokers got the children from
poor families in the border regions by buying, renting or kidnapping
them, Mr Ealkak said.
“They talk to the parents, offer them 3000 to 7000 baht-a-month rent
for a child. They want children from three months to 10 years old
because that is the age that appeals to passers-by,” he said.
Urban myths abound in Bangkok of beggar children whose hands have been
cut off to make them more lucrative. “I’ve heard about cutting off the
hands but I’ve never seen it,” Mr Ealkak said. “I did see pinching,
hitting with wood, punching. It can be interpreted as a way to control
the children; but also, when people see scars and bruises, it melts
the hearts and it’s evident these children make more money.”
While the number of beggar children working in Bangkok is hard to
quantify, Mr Ealkak said hundreds have been rescued and rehabilitated.
Before a child is sent home, NGOs and the ministry evaluate the
family. “If they believe they will sell the children again, they will
not send them back.”
He said the situation for beggar children had improved in that it was
now seen as a problem. “When I started working with beggars [three
years ago], nobody worked on it. Now there are more organisations
paying attention.” In July, the Royal Thai Police set up a division
focused protecting children and women. Lieutenant-General Kumronwit
Thoopkrajong, the division’s commander, said through a translator that
the beggar children would be treated as “victims, not as criminals”.