I arrived in Da Nang by train on the most beautiful train ride in Vietnam that is from Hue to Da Nang. To get from Da Nang to Hoi An options abound.
As soon as we leave the train station we are bombarded with so many offers. Most taxi drivers propose to take us into town for an attractive price, but we know that going by a local bus is 5 times cheaper as the ticket costs about a euro. We decided to go by bus, not only for the money but also for the local contact. The bus ride from Da Nang to Hoi An takes about one hour and the fair price is 18.000 dong.
As we were not finding the bus station, we asked for directions on the street. The lady I asked for help on the street did not speak English, but as soon as I said “bus stop” in Vietnamese she changed face. She smiled and started shouting “Ben Xe buýt” to another person on the road, and out of nowhere, the bus lady shows up and runs in front of us leading the way. We try to keep up with her pace but we have backpacks on…
She kept running very fast while pointing to the yellow bus a few meters away. We reached the bus where we plunged ourselves and our bags into two very small seats. Those 2 minutes of running were very funny and stressful too. The bus is super old and it’s full and the bus stop is on 155 Le Duan and you need to hop on bus number 1. In case you don’t find it just ask on the street as we did. The bus runs every 20 or 30 minutes.
Once on the bus, she asks us for 30.000 dongs per ticket and we hand her the money. It is a cheap bus ride. But, the truth is that this bus journey is even cheaper. Unfortunately in Vietnam, there are many scams like this to fool foreigners. The actual price for this bus is 18.000 dongs and we only found out because there was a Japanese couple on the same bus that shouted at the lady once she asked for 30.000 dongs. The Japanese have been on that bus before so they knew the price and argued with her the whole trip for a few cents. But I get their anger. This is not the first time this happens to me. They charge foreigners more than locals just because they think we are all rich. That’s one thing I hate in Vietnam when they take advantage of our lack of knowledge.
After this episode I understood why the lady ran for us, she knew she will be doing some extra money by having us on board. It might not seem a lot to you, but with that extra money, they can do many things. It’s not because of the money but because of her lack of honesty. Fooling several tourists a day like this can be a lot of extra money for her. And damn, she was so angry at the Japanese! She even invited them out of the bus, since she couldn’t fool them. In the end, the couple won the prize of paying a fair amount. So on the subsequent trips on this bus from Da Nang to Hoi An, we were no longer fooled. They tried, but as we already knew the real price and were firm, there was no solution on their part but to give in. This is a common scheme in Vietnam. In smaller and less touristy cities, they try to trick tourists by charging more than locals.
The final bus stop wasn’t that near our Guesthouse so we called a Grab to take us where we wanted.