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Copycat Confusion

Ever found yourself looking for a shop and finding not one, but about fifty of the same name? Probably not, but in Hanoi this is par for the course. With a serious disregard for copyright issues in Vietnam, knock off businesses are everywhere.

On our first trip to Vietnam my wife and I travelled independently, with some hilarious results. Booking a flight to Luang Prabang (which at the time could not be done online) required a visit to a local travel agent. We knew we could purchase the ticket at any agency, but had no idea which might take us to the cleaners with extra fees.

We set out in search of a specific company, which we heard had a good reputation for being fair. Navigating the winding streets of Hanoi can be difficult during the best of times, and trying to find a specific business on a map complicates things further. Even all this would be easy, if there were only one business to be found. In reality, due to its good reputation with backpackers, this particular agency had sprung up innumerable copycat shops using the same name, logo and photos. Yikes. This happens with almost every business that is deemed successful by the public.

Did we end up finding the right office to book our ticket? Of course not. But we were very lucky, and only got charged an extra “fee” of about $10. If it ever happens to you, don’t feel bad. Even reputable guide books (ahem) have fallen victim. The moral of the story? When in doubt, ask your guide or the concierge at a reputable hotel (or us of course). And bring along your sense of humour when you’re seeing double.

Mike Poppe spends his days planning trips here at Trufflepig, and his nights hunting for impostors who may have stolen our company’s identity.


Bring along your sense of humour when you're seeing double.

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