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Trustworthy Open Tour Bus in Hanoi

  • FonBangkok

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 6

    Does anybody know open tour bus operator in Hanoi? I need bus with adjustable seats because it would be along hour driving. I will leave Hanoi for Hue in the evening of 21 Feb.

    #1 Posted: 8/2/2008 - 10:35

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  • CatBa

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2007
    Posts: 349

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    The words 'trustworthy' and 'opentour bus' are not ones that usually co-appear in many phrases.

    As readers may have guessed, I have very low opinions of OT operators as they are incompetent, unsafe, dishonest, uninsured and worse.

    There are two notable exceptions - MAI LINH and HOANG LONG - who are more like North American or European operators.

    The term 'opentour' refers to the ability to buy a single ticket and be able to break your journey into segments. It is a generic term.

    Mai Linh Express can be contacted at: [Ha Noi - 04-664-8261][Hue - on Hung Vung near Nguyen Tri Phuong-get number from Ha Noi][Hoi An - call Da Nang 0511-376-7399][Nha Trang - 058-590-606][Da Lat - 063-521-111][Phan Thiet/Mui Ne - 062-739-222].

    Hoang Long can be reached through travel agents. DO *NOT* ACCEPT SUBSTITUTE CARRIERS.

    My recommendation to you would be to take a SLEEPER TRAIN between Ha Noi to Hue as well as Da Nang (stop for Hoi An) to Nha Trang.

    The tickets have to be purchased separately for each segment. In Ha Noi YOU should buy the ticket(s) at Ha Noi Railway Station located at 120 La Duan where the multi-lingual foreign travellers gate is open from 07.30H-16.30H. It is well signed but changes counters from time to time. YOU NEED TO ORDER/BUY THESE TICKETS 2-3 DAYS AHEAD OF TRAVEL, in other words BEFORE you go to Ha Long Bay. Buying tickets through your hotel or a 'travel agent' will cost you dearly - money/class.

    Remember, recommendations by 'travel agents' or hotels are usually based on commissions paid! Camel (along with T.M. Brothers are the worst) pay from VND20,000 upwards per passenger based on sales. Buying independently helps eliminate this bias.

    Most OT operators use the worst drivers (which is why sleeper buses are not worth the rough ride), have minimal insurance (not for passengers). Accidents usually are settled by the arrest of the (a) driver and (b) impounding of the bus until (a) a bribe or fine is paid and (b) payment to victims/estates is made of an amount determined by the police. Death is typically USD$25,000 to Vietnamese victims - foreigners need personal travel insurance.

    Sinh is the only other reliable OT operator BUT they use Ha Noi Toserco buses between Ha Noi and Hue - which is a middle level reliable company.

    The worst carriers, in terms of equipment are: Camel / T.M. Brothers (worst), Trekking Travel, Vung Thanh, Hanh Cafe, Vung Thanh. You CANNOT judge a bus' condition by appearance as most are well-painted used Korean buses (exception - sleepers are new) lacking competent/qualified maintenance and cheap/recycled tires.

    A decision you have to make at Nha Trang is whether to go to HCMC via Da Lat (hill station - inland) OR Mui Ne (sand dunes/beach).

    I hope this makes things more clear and have no financial interest in any company mentioned. Hopefully this item will be indexed by Google, et al and many will have similar questions answered.

    #2 Posted: 8/2/2008 - 14:15

  • FonBangkok

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 6

    Thank you very much TTD.

    I am really very appreciated your useful suggestions and clearly explanation.

    I will, on my own, try to get sleeping train. On Feb 17 once checking-in hotel, i will head to the train station. Hope the ticket to Hue on Feb 21 will be still available. If no luck, I will contact Mai Linh for OT bus.

    With information you gave, it's easier for me to make decision. Thanks again.

    #3 Posted: 8/2/2008 - 20:01

  • miaweelow

    Joined Travelfish
    26th October, 2008
    Posts: 4

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I with the bit on Camel travel.

    We bought an open bus ticket from our hotel at Hello Hotel, 5 Thanh Ha lane, Hoan Kiem district in Hanoi , and were supposed to get a ticket from the office in Hanoi. However, the staff working there said that we will only be issued our ticket at the next stop. But the thing is that they did not stop us at the agreed destination -Ninh Binh and made us go all the way to Hue. Then they told us that there would be no refunds even though it was their fault!

    Then when we requested to change our itinerary, we were told to pay more money if we wanted to reshuffle the stops. The staff were rude and nonchalent and preferred talking amongst themselves and lounging in their seats.

    I urge travellers to check the prices of Open bus tickets and if possible to avoid them. And to also avoid Camel bus company because they have bad service throughout Vietnam. From Hanoi to Hue, and Hoi An. It was a really bad experience because we could do nothing once our money was given. U might want to add in Camel Bus Company as inefficient and dishonest tour operators. We bought an open bus ticket from our hotel and was supposed to get a ticket from the office in Hanoi. However, the staff working there said that we will only be issued our ticket at the next stop. But the thing is that they did not stop us at the agreed destination -Ninh Binh and made us go all the way to Hue. Then they told us that there would be no refunds even though it was their fault!

    Then when we requested to change our itinerary, we were told to pay more money if we wanted to reshuffle the stops. The staff were rude and nonchalent and preferred talking amongst themselves and lounging in their seats.

    I urge travellers to check the prices of Open bus tickets and if possible to avoid them. And to also avoid Camel bus company because they have bad service throughout Vietnam. From Hanoi to Hue, and Hoi An. It was a really bad experience because we could do nothing once our money was given.

    #4 Posted: 4/2/2009 - 13:11

  • minaparesh

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hi there i just wanted to know how the vietnamopentour.com/sinhcafe.com are? are they reliable?

    thanx
    mino

    #5 Posted: 13/5/2009 - 01:10

  • miaweelow

    Joined Travelfish
    26th October, 2008
    Posts: 4

    hi minaparesh. I don't know much about vietnamopentour but Sinhcafe is pretty established in Vietnam, however, with it also comes more costs. However, its really tough to tell you which company is reliable because service quality is different everywhere and QC is not met most of the time.

    What I can say is that avoid 3rd party transactions whenever possible and shop around for the best price and then take the plunge. There's no method to fully take away risk of meeting a bad agent, but what you can do is greatly reduce the impact of that risk.

    Also, try not to buy an Open bus ticket if you're doing a Hanoi-Saigon or vice versa as it greatly limits your plans should you decide to change them. Vietnam is best seen on motorbike.

    That is all. Have a good time! Vietnam is awesome.

    #6 Posted: 13/5/2009 - 09:32

  • Stevee

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd July, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi everyone,
    'adventurer' has great advice - please follow it!
    My bad experience with TM Brothers and Camel Bus Company:
    I bought an open bus ticket at a travel agent in HCMC (Saigon) for $34. These included stops at Mui Ne , Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An , Hue` and Hanoi . I specifically asked for a sleeper bus with toilets for each trip. Toilets did not work in any of the buses. We were told in Mui Ne that the manager of TM Brothers had changed and our tickets were no longer valid. After a lot of discussion the guy changed our ticket to be on a sleeper to Hoi An. Although we re-negotiated getting the sleeper bus we paid for! the 12hr bus trip only stopped for the driver to have a smoke and if anyone needed to go to the toilet - your option was in a small bit of bush between 2 houses. From Hoi An to Hue` we had a seated bus. Today, we went to get on a sleeper bus to Hanoi (Now with Camel Bus Company) and was told (extremely rudely - woman shouting at us) that we had a sitting bus ticket. We are back at the hotel and have re-booked for an extra $12 on another bus company tomorrow.
    Apologies for the complaining - thought some people would want to know
    DO NOT BOOK TICKETS WITH T.M. BROTHERS or CAMEL BUS COMPANY!
    Cheers!

    #7 Posted: 3/7/2009 - 19:04

  • lexkssnbrg

    Joined Travelfish
    5th May, 2009
    Posts: 53

    As far as I know, fake ones are blossoming in Vietnam. Make sure that you deal with the real one.

    Good luck

    #8 Posted: 4/7/2009 - 09:59

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Interesting that many on Travelfish have recommended an alternate company for OT, but it's not listed here.

    I used Sinh Cafe (the real one, not the fakes as are everywhere in HaNoi) for most of my bus travel last time I was in Vietnam.

    I found that as long as I booked the ticket with Sinh Cafe, I was looked after, and the travel was good to acceptable. The sleeper bus from Hoi An - Nha Trang was excellent.

    As noted there are fakes. Check out the correct website (for addresses of the shopfronts) at:

    www.sinhcafevn.com

    Cheers

    #9 Posted: 6/7/2009 - 11:11

  • MissJanie

    Joined Travelfish
    10th June, 2009
    Posts: 7

    I took Hung Thanh Travel's bus, soft bed from hanoi to hue for 200 000 dong. It started from 7pm to next day 10am, 3 times stop.

    #10 Posted: 27/7/2009 - 19:26

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