As in several other developing countries, particularly (ex-) communist ones, a dual pricing system has been in operation for some time. The good news is this is changing. Trains which only a few years ago were as…
As in several other developing countries, particularly (ex-) communist ones, a dual pricing system has been in operation for some time. The good news is this is changing. Trains which only a few years ago were as expensive for foreigner: as flying, should now be the same price for all passengers. Inevitably, to meet the ensuing shortfall in revenue, the very modest prices charged previously to Vietnamese have risen steeply since everybody else began paying them, too. Air travel still costs more for foreigners, but the gap between foreigner and Vietnamese prices is narrowing. The government has given all private and state-owned enterprises a few years to eventually wipe out the dual pricing system, including entrance fees to all heritage sites and other places of interest. This new regulation is gradually being introduced throughout Vietnam and should be universally observed within a couple of years.
The government has given all private and state-owned enterprises a few years to eventually wipe out the dual pricing system
A thornier problem for foreigners who elect to settle down and rent somewhere to live in Vietnam is that of utilities, namely electricity and water. Here, too, a dual pricing system has long been in operation, with hefty charges and inflated estimates of foreigner’s rates of consumption. There is no longer any need to pay these extortionate prices; landlords no longer have to obtain an expensive permit previously necessary to have foreigners inhabit their property (they only have to register your presence at the local police station, equipped with copies of your passport and visa). You can always pay the local price for electricity and water, as long as the bills are in the Vietnamese house owner’s name. However, many landlords see no reason why they should cease to profit from these lucrative extras (which of course have consequently become even more lucrative). DO negotiate firmly if you want to rent a place: as a foreigner, you are a good prospect, since you will almost certainly pay more than a local, you won’t start worshipping your ancestors in the house and refuse to ever move out – and you may even attract other monies foreigners to the neighborhood. However, you should also be aware that there is no legal protection for people renting accommodation: if you have a problem, you must solve it with your landlord – again, through negotiation. The pleasant – and unusual- result of all this is that, in many respects, Vietnam has actually been getting cheaper (only for foreigners, though) over the last few years: not many other countries in the world could say the same!