My family visited Da Nang last week to let the kids enjoy a relaxing holiday. The city was an ideal place to visit, between the Han River and the sea also being surrounded by mountains it is fresh in comparison to Ho Chi Minh City. The streets and beaches were clear of trash; there were loads of public beaches and restaurants / bars in general offering fixed prices, with polite staff.

But it wasn’t perfect, there were issues. One big problem I faced was the cab drivers who try their best to take visitors to stone sculpture stores to earn commissions that they receive from the store owners.

On our first day my family and I took a taxi to visit Hoi An City, as soon as we departed from the hotel, the driver advised us to visit some stone sculpture shops, when I refused, the driver kept urging, “Just 15 minutes”.

We didn’t change our mind, so he pleaded “Please help me earn more!” and told us that taxi drivers bringing people to the stores would receive money and beer from the shop owners every month. Tired of being hustled, we agreed. When we arrived at the shop, we saw a lot of taxis there waiting for people to go around the place. Then on the second day, after visiting Ngu Hanh Son Mountain, we had the same again, a taxi driver begged us to visit a stone sculpture store for 15 minutes on the way to the hotel.

In the evening, we decided to eat at a well-known seafood restaurant on Vo Nguyen Giap Street and chose a table outside to enjoy the gentle breeze. We stayed for two hours and were continuously annoyed by many food sellers despite the government sign banning street sellers.

But the worst part was the trip to Ba Na Hills, a horrible journey, two hours queuing under the scorching heat waiting for the cable cars to the amusement park. When my family and I managed to arrive at the park, it was completely disappointing as we were stuck among a sea of people. I really felt bad for the kids as they were so tired and almost fainted by noon, so they only had a short time there to play.

But there should be improvements with the taxi situation, as it has recently been stated by one taxi firm that they will sack drivers that take people to stores against their choice.
Vo Thanh Nhan, general director of the north-central Vietnam subsidiary of Mai Linh Group, made the statement, admitting that many stores pay “under the table” to those drivers who force their passengers to visit these places. When the passengers want to buy goods, a taxi driver can carry them there; otherwise, the driver has no right to force them, Nhan said.

Drivers will be fined VND200,000 (US$9) if they break the rule for the first time, he said, adding that the drivers will be sacked if they do it again. According to leaders of another local taxi firm, passengers should firmly turn their drivers down and notify the operator whenever they are hustled by any of them into going to an unwanted destination.

As for visitors who are solicited by hawkers in Da Nang, they can contact local police for help Huynh Van Hung an official from the Son Tra District People’s Committee advised.


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