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Money to burn: French tourists get joss paper as change from Hanoi cyclo driver

As they stepped out of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, two unnamed French tourists agreed on an hour’s cyclo ride for VND600,000 ($26).

The normal rate is around VND100,000 per person per hour.

At the end of the ride, the Frenchmen gave the cyclo driver VND1.5 million ($65). If they used VND500,000 notes, it is not clear why they paid three, instead of two notes.

The cyclo driver returned their VND900,000 ($39) change in one VND500,000 and two VND200,000 notes.

It was only a day later, when they used that money to pay Huu Phuc, the taxi driver, that they realized they’d been cheated and given paper currency that is usually burnt as offerings for deceased relatives.

Phuc decided to go public with the story and attached a photograph with one of the French tourists holding the fake money.

The French tourists accused cyclo rider for giving them fake money. Photo: Huu Phuc

One of two unnamed French tourists who were allegedly given VND900,000 ($39) in joss paper as change by a cyclo driver. Photo by Huu Phuc

The disappointed tourists said they had to cancel their trip to Ha Long Bay and go to the hill station of Sa Pa instead.

Tourism Department officials have said that they will follow up on the story in collaboration with Hoan Kiem District police.

They will also contact the two French tourists directly for more information after the latter get back from their Sa Pa trip, the officials said.

Phuc wrote in his post: “The two Frenchmen are thankful for people’s help but they don’t want to make a fuss over this situation. They just want a peaceful vacation.”


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