Quoting Swept Away
The cheep hotels in Vietnam usually keep your passport.
There is only 1 reason. The hotel offer cheep price for room and they expect (may be more than expectation) the customer will use some of their services (eg; laundy, drinks, tours - those may not cheep) to cover the hotel cost. Besides, some of the customers had used their services and disapear without a word. That's why they keep your passport as a deposit for these cases. Register process take only 1 min for them to insert the police from
Cheers & Happy Travel!
I would never trust those "boys" that work in hotels in Hanoi. Its ussually boys with very bad fashion sense. Hanoi, old quarters is like a giant travel agency and it seem like everyone wants to make money, selling passports may be on the list. I'm just saying be very careful, those hotels don't even have managers. I have seen backpackers being beaten up by the three young boys that manage the hotel that I stayed. I left because I think they look like the bad guys in some Asian martial arts movie. I had to be very friendly with the boys in my next hotel. But I didn't buy my tickets from them.
Its just that I met some strange looking characters in Hanoi, both boys and girls... They have the words SCAM in their forehead. I am not saying all of hanoi is that. Vietnam is the only country in southeast that offered me jobs, so I'm not going to hate it that much.
they check passports in all hostels in China and places that don't accept thai guest in Thailand.
But the thread is asking if we should leave our passports in the hotel. Well the staff at the Chinese hostels, don't look like the villains in a Jet Li, movie. The hotels in the old quarters looks so unorganized, its like your checking in someone's apartment, no managers and anything goes. The staff look so unprofessional. I didn't mind paying more dollars to a Aussie run hostel, where the Vietnamese staff looked like more trustworthy.