Question about arriving and customs.

I will be arriving in Vietnam soon for the first time. A friend will meet me at the airport. I would like to know if the place she will meet me will be before or after I go through customs?

I bought this person a gift for her bday and I don't want her to see it. In general I'm also wondering when you arrive in Vietnam when (if?) they search through all your belongings do they do so out in front of everybody or what? Mainly I just don't want my friend to see what I got her but in general I'm curious. Thanks!

Nam,

It will be much like LAX.  She will meet you after custom and, if custom search your belongings, it will be conducted on the side.  Dude, Vietnam is moving up in the world, man.  Your friend will not get to see anything, unless she has connections with the airport authorities...

After customs

And no they don't open anything

I have heard of some Viet-Kieu having problems like this but no "westerners"
I have a friend (Vietnamese)that was given some grief over an extra iPhone he had in his luggage and was asked for some tea money. He said he just took out his wallet and started asking the officer in a loud voice "How much money do you want me to pay you?" He said the guy looked like he got scared and told him to be quiet and waved him through.

Your baggage will be open by the customs officials if you carry some 'unlawful items' which they suspect during scanning process!
You only meet your friend outside after customs clearance!:)

VungTauDon :

"How much money do you want me to pay you?" He said the guy looked like he got scared and told him to be quiet and waved him through.

An American friend of mine does this when he gets stopped occasionally on his bike. Start's waving a 500,000.00vnd note around and shouts "I hope you have some change"

I don't think I'd try it though :D

I've never had issues coming through the airport and done Visa on arrival, multi-entry visa and temporary residency card. Even done shopping trips in HK and brought lots of electronic toys back with me and never had an issue :)

and OP no one is allowed in the airport unless they are flying, your girlfriend will be waiting outside the door. It's like walking through the paparazzi when you first see it :D

laidbackfreak :

It's like walking through the paparazzi when you first see it :D

The first time I landed in Vietnam and walked outside and saw all the girls holding flowers I was sure someone famous was flying in and they were waiting for them. It wasn't until my later flights that I found that this was normal (at the international terminal,not so much at the domestic terminal)

I don't know if she works in customs or not but she is cute...

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/s480x480/563667_365077430276057_418090064_n.jpg

VungTauDon :

I have heard of some Viet-Kieu having problems like this but no "westerners"
I have a friend (Vietnamese)that was given some grief over an extra iPhone he had in his luggage and was asked for some tea money. He said he just took out his wallet and started asking the officer in a loud voice "How much money do you want me to pay you?" He said the guy looked like he got scared and told him to be quiet and waved him through.

VungTauDon,

The will go after the "westerners" also. If you are a westerner and your luggage is cardboard boxes like the many of the Vietnamese use, you can be assured your luggage will be getting the extra scrutiny when it goes through the xray machine.

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