To make it easy for visitors to walk around the fest, organizers banned vehicles to Dinh Tien Hoang Street.
Taking this opportunity, people living on streets like Cau Go, Dinh Le, Hang Khay, Hang Bai set up spontaneous parking lots and charged exorbitant fees, from VND20,000-50,000 (US$1-2.5) per bike and VND100,000-200,000 ($5-10) per car, depending on the time of the day.
These levels are 10 times as much as ordinary.
Besides high fees, visitors also complained about very rude attitudes from those who offered the services. Hung from Tu Liem District said when he asked a staff at one such parking lot in Dinh Le Street about the fee, the man shouted at him, “VND30,000 a bike. If you don’t like it, go away.”
He then had to drive around to find another parking lot but all of them asked for “crazy” prices. “I had to accept the expensive fare and parked my bike,” he said. “I traveled all the way here to see the flowers and couldn’t just go home like that.”
Many young people anticipated the situation and chose to take the bus. Other took the taxi.
Other services such as portrait drawing, fortune telling, food stalls also sprang up along the flower street.
Near the Ly Thai To statue square, for instance, people gathered to watch or have artists draw their portraits for VND30,000-50,000 (US$1.5-2.5)
Various food stalls were also set up on Cau Go and Trang Tien Street.
A bowl of pho soup, with few noodles and small pieces of meat cost VND40,000-60,000 ($2-3).
However, many visitors still stopped to have one after getting exhausted from walking around.
Every year, whenever such an event is held in Hanoi, visitors often complain about being ripped off. There are security guards who can temporarily check the situation but things get back to normal when the guards are gone.