Rip-offs, trash and traffic: The long holiday shows its ugly side

Thanh Nien News

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Millions across Vietnam have tried to make the most of a week-long holiday, but things did not turn out well for many of them. 
Hang and her friends had big plans for a trip to the southern beach town of Vung Tau this week. But when they arrived there, they realized that they could not afford the holiday room rates -- more than VND1 million (US$47) for a small room at a supposedly low-budget motel.
“It’s too expensive. We had to sleep in a park,” said the factory worker from Bien Hoa, around 80 kilometers away.
Uncontrolled price hikes, especially at small, cheap guesthouses, are a common problem faced by tourists across Vietnam during the holiday, which started with the Hung Kings’ death anniversary on Tuesday and ends this weekend.
While top hotels in Vung Tau have followed regulations to keep their room rates unchanged or only increased them by 20 or 30 percent, small hotels have charged four to five times more than usual.
Thousands of students, factory workers and young backpackers seeking a holiday by the sea chose to stay in parks, where they also cooked, littered and destroyed many plants. 
The messy scenes have taken the gloss off the holiday. 
A manager of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Park and Plant Company said the damage to the parks could amount to thousands of dollars.
The company has collected a lot of garbage round the clock, but cleaning cannot be as fast as littering. 
As the country is going through the worst hot season in years, hundreds of thousands of people also flocked to Da Lat and Mui Ne, only to struggle with inadequate services.
Da Lat received a record 110,000 tourists between Tuesday and Friday.
Many guests had to rent rooms from college students or sleep on the floors of hotels' reception areas. Entertainment spots could not have the space for all, while many restaurants ran out of food as early as 6 p.m.
Resort managers in Mui Ne and others along the central coast said the number of tourists was too high compared to previous years.
Cham Islet off Hoi An received more than 21,000 tourists, three times the figure last year.
Popular beaches up north such as Cua Lo or Sam Son had tens of thousands of visitors each.
The list of bad things did not end there. 
The National Traffic Safety Committee has reported 91 deaths and three missing persons in 163 road, boat and railroad crashes between Tuesday and Friday.
Traffic police across the country fined violators more than VND13 billion during the holiday.

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