Tips to avoid being over charged in Vietnam
OK, here is some guid lines to help you avoid being over charge in Vietnam.
Firstly, let's talk about ' Xe om'
XE OM: (people who are motobike riders who offer to take you from here to there, you are best to avoid all of them, because they like to exaggerate their prices, even to Vietnamese people, not only to you. I don't trust them , I avoid them and you should too. It will never cost you more than $10 to go from this end of the city , to the other end). There are some xeom try to charge you $500 aday, protect yourself.
TAXI: and by, you need to confirm the price first before you jump in the cars/vans, don't ever let them pull you in and they ask for the price later. Even a long road that take aboug 2 hours of driving will NOT cost you more than $20 to hire the whole taxi, some times , they ask each of you to pay $20 for each person (to sit in a bus with 50 people), never let this happen, this is NOT the price in Vietnam.
HOTEL: An OK place will never more than $15 a night. Unless it is a very luxury place.
Ferry and yatch, to travel to island, i should not cost you more than 150,000 VND on way for a ticket and 300,000 tickets, it happens a lot that they make you pay 300,000 VND to have just one ticket.
Wherever you walk out of an airport, boat, ferry, there are always a group of people who standing their away, they are standing their because it is their full time jobs, they are their to make money, not make friends. Those people are not able to speak much English, and the only words they can speak are about the price, they are their to make money.
There are wonderful Vietanamese people, but wonderful educated people will be students, or have proper jobs to work in offices, NOT to stand searching for people in harbour, ferry, airport, or drive taxi, so it they can't speak a good level of English, they are often not educated, and the chances are they are there to make money from you.
The best advice is you need to make friends with some local students who are real Vietnamese, are are educated people, whose parents tauch them not to lie, not to cheat, those who go to uni. The people who are not standing there everyday to make money, for the thrist of bringing their English closers to perfection, they will be with you for a good reason, will be also with you on your way and help you to negotiate the prices, and help you to translate.
If you have more questions to ask for your own case, I'm more than happy to provide advise, I have been living in Vietnam for nearly 5 years, and i'm sure I know little or much, to give you some direction.
[ Edit: Sorry, no personal details please. ]