Cyclo scams are just as common as taxi scams and could even be more dangerous in certain occasions. Anywhere in Ho Chi Minh City, but especially in District 1, you can find cyclos or bike taxis offering their services on just about every street corner, and some of them are able to sweet-talk unsuspecting tourists to take a ride with them.
If you are certain that you would like to take a cyclo, only book them through your hotel or tourism company. Many cyclo drivers around the city speak English well enough to sweet-talk tourists into hiring them. However, be aware that you are more likely to be scammed by these independent cyclo versus the ones you book through a hotel. Even if you are not bargaining the price much lower than what is offered, you must do it just o principle. If you don’t bargain, it will be a signal to the driver that you will give into the demands.
Before you start the ride, be very clear on what the price agreement is. Make sure you understand what the total price is and what is includes. You should be clear on whether your agreed price is person, per hour, or a total price regardless of number of people or amount of time. Writing it down and confirming with the driver may help to eliminate the possibility of a misunderstanding. Also, if you are using a cyclo throughout the day and the driver will have to wait for you while you sightseeing, make sure that the total price includes waiting time as well.