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76 Yen Phu, Tây Hồ, Hanoi
“A restaurant with a strange name in a strange place. "Tivoli Cafe" and yet there is no Italian food. Coffee, I guess? And the Hanoi Club is just odd. Is it a hotel? A country club? Social club? And yet, the food here is actually good and cheap. Seen a foreign chef milling about. Looke...”
I lived in Da Nang for a little more than 3 years, visited HCM a couple of times, and my choice of taxi had always been Mai Linh. The flag down rate was dependent on whether the vehicle was big or small, but not once did I experience any problem whatsoever with their driver or the meter. Their drivers were courteous, honest and friendly.
I am returning to Vietnam in 2 weeks, this time to work in Hanoi, and this early, I am thinking of where to get a Mai Linh taxi at the airport when I arrive at past midnight.
NEVER TAKE THIS COMPANY. I have lived here awhile now and never take this 'reputable' company because it so expensive usually opting for thanh nga or thang cong. Tonight there were no other options at the bar so we took a mai linh as we live less than 1km from the bar. The meter came to 28,000 dong so I handed the driver 30,000 dong. When he saw the amount he threw it at me and said the cost was 80,000. I replied that no the meter read 28,000 and he immediately got really pissed and started screaming 'F*** YOU' at me... I got scared and threw the money at him (I now wish I had given him no money) and quickly exited the cab. He got out still screaming 'F*** YOU' at us until he realized we were entering an apt building with a security guard. What a sorry excuse for a man and a taxi driver. I so regret not standing up for myself and taking his information. He acted inexcusably. NEVER TAKE THIS COMPANY, is my only advice. If they are going to charge so much more than other companies in Hanoi they should monitor their drivers much better.
Do not use Mai Linh Taxis.
I took a Mai Linh taxi from Xuan Dieu to the airport, and it was the second worst taxi experience that I have ever had in Hanoi. The taxi driver drove 45 km/h the whole way! He sped up briefly when two airport taxis passed him. Second, he got lost going to the airport. Third, he overcharged me for the toll to enter the airport area. Then, he didn't give me my proper change. Lastly, when he saw me writing down his information, he changed the taxi cards and tried to get me to write down a different driver identification number.
This part is the best part. When I called the office and reported him, they took the complaint, his driver identification number, and told me that they would call him and then call me back. After not hearing from the office for over an hour, I called the office back. The second time I called the office, neither of the women who answered the phone seemed to understand that I had a complaint, and then they hung up on me.
Now, I have lived in Hanoi for over three years, and I have always recommended Mai Linh taxi service because it was a good, trustworthy, honest taxi service. After today, I will not use that service again.
Taxi experiences in Hanoi can cover the full range of satisfactory to downright awful and a few expletive laden descriptors either side. Tonight I had one of those rare but precious Hanoi taxi moments that restored a degree of faith in the system.
After a dinner with colleagues, three Mai Linh (small) taxis were called for those of use heading in varying directions. I grabbed the nearest one, fell into the back seat and promptly switched off for the ride home. Except for occasionally monitoring the general route, I paid little attention. Imagine my pleasant surprise when mid-way down Xuan Thuy the driver asks me in English "Can you direct me from here as I am not so familiar with this area?" For a moment I was stunned.
Was this taxi driver actually admitting to not knowing the way and asking for directions? In English??? Holy dodgy meters Batman!!!
Naturally, enough we got talking. Great young bloke. Studied English at school and tries to practice regularly. He thinks knowing English as a taxi driver in Hanoi could be an advantage. Well duh! Works for me.
At the end of the trip I asked him for his number so I could book him in the future. He even informed me that I should call at least 30 minutes in advance as he lives hear the Temple of Literature. So, speaks English, smart enough to recognise a competitive edge and thinks ahead to be helpful to prospective clients. Mr Nguyen gets my vote! He took me the most direct route possible tonight and got me home in good time, but safely.
Needless to say he is now at the top of my taxi list. He agreed to a text message in advance for any booking and he will be there. Simply marvelous. I will update this review after calling him a few times. But, I reckon it's worth putting the note out there - decent cabbies are pretty darned hard to find in this town and Mr Nguyen just might be the first of a new crop.
Five big fat stars from me!
Mr. Nguyen: 0919398835
I didn't want to write this review, but the previous reviewer has prompted it.
Up until now, Mai Linh has been a "prefered" supplier of taxi services. But no longer.
Recently, my son, wife and I got into one of the smaller Mai Linh taxis. We asked him to take us to from Tay Ho Rd to Hanoi Cooking Centre.
Everthing was good, right up to the very last moment, when it came to give mew my change.
I over payed the man, way to much, I even counted it out but in the confusion of stopping, getting the kid out of the car, making sure I had the right small change, I gave him my big money, which he promptly pocketed and then denied he'd ever received.
I hadn't even got out of the car before I realised what happened. I insisted that he give me back the money I had inadvertently handed to him, but he just made a pantomime of me not giving it to him.
I insisted. I asked for someone to call the police. Thirty minutes of waiting for no police, abuse and hostile beratement from people on the street, a crying son, and tollerant wife later and I left the scene unresolved. 300,000 dong short.
So much, for a plesant celebration of my wife's birthday.
I hate this f***er, and I am not inclined to use the company again, unless there is no other choice.
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