Tag Archives: scams

Tuesday Travel Tips: Avoiding Transport “Scams”

28 Sep

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]It’s probably the commonest travel complaint on the planet from folk travelling the developing world. Transport “scams”. Overcharging…

And it does relations between locals and visitors no good at all. Here’s how to make your life easier when travelling.

1: Agree a Price Before You Start the Journey.
Would you take a minicab or unmetered vehicle in your home town without agreeing the fare first? Continue reading

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10 Lines that Say You’re Being Hustled

12 Jul

Poster warning of "non-Thai pickpockets", Wat Pho, Bangkok[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]This rather charming warning sign comes from Wat Pho, Bangkok, home of a 50m reclining Buddha and, it would appear, a gang of light-fingered Playmobil people.

Outside the nearby Royal Palace, however, the sign warns, succinctly and sweetly, “Beware of wily strangers.”

And wily, to be honest, is the perfect word. For ten lines that only wily strangers will use — with handy translation — read on. Continue reading

The Red Queen

30 May

The Red Queen from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Shot in Vietnam, most likely.

It’s the weekend on Cat Ba island, not to mention the Vietnamese summer, which means there’s a vibe on the beach I can best characterize as Spring Break meets Butlins meets the coach tour from hell.

I am watching a stream of cheerleaders doing their schtick to Avril Lavigne on our tranquil beach as hogs roast in the background and thinking, of all things, how much we English and the Vietnamese have in common.

There’s the tendency to invade neighbouring nations and pretend they were part of us in the first place. There’s the general talent-show lack of irony (think child rappers in sequined suits that up the viewing ante from disturbing to frankly traumatic), coupled with a fervent belief in the national sense of humour.

There’s the utter bloody rudeness, surreally combined with an eye-gouging sensitivity to courtesy (or respec’) from others. And getting on a bus in Hanoi involves the kind of vigorous elbow action that would put the London rush hour to shame.

But, my god, when it comes to tourist scams, these guys sooooo totally kick our flaccid Western arse. Continue reading

Cab Journey from Hell #1

27 May

Z riding a xe om, or motorbike taxi, Vietnam

Cooler, in every sense, than a metered taxi...

I really thought, by now, after over four months in Asia and experience with virtually every taxi scam permutation known to man, my naïve London belief that anyone in a metered taxi with a light-up sign will know where they are going, own a map, and not take the piss too badly would have disappeared.

Apparently, however, this is still not the case.

We arrived in Hanoi on the Reunification Express and fended off the first wave of touts, who boarded the train brandishing offers of motorbikes and taxis.

Z, who, like any small boy, likes nothing better than hopping on the back of a motorbike and whizzing through city traffic, wanted to take a xe om (motorbike taxi). I said I couldn’t be arsed to haggle, and as we were only going a kilometre or so we might as well take a metered taxi. This was not my best idea… Continue reading