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WARNING: Faked Sinh Cafe Ha Noi

  • Nax

    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    We recently bought a ticket from a faked Sinh Cafe in Ha Noi. As we already knew these traps are around, we followed the Lonely Planet Map (latest edition) which guided us straight into the hands of Mr. Hai. He showed us a Sinh Cafe ticket, which we were told is waiting for us on the bus. It happened three stops later on some bus by "Camel Travel".

    Shit happens and it's okay when you got yourself into it, but we were very p***** off with LP.

    Watch out everyone. Because who doesn't use LP Vietnam???

    #1 Posted: 21/1/2009 - 18:58

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  • brucemoon

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

    Nax

    I had a similar experience - and it nearly cost me my life.

    The saddest part is that LP just don't want to know.

    I emailed them at HO, explaining the problem (etc) asking that they place a message on Thorntree. I got a message back effectively saying 'sorry, but we don't give a sh*t!'.

    When back in Australia, I rang HO and explained the situationa gain. HO advised that LP don't/won't do that for purchasers of their travel-texts.

    HO asked me to send a detailed account so that they can give to their travel writers. But, here's the rub, they wouldn't even promise to address the 'problem' in their next edition.

    Now that Lp has been taken over by BBC, it seems we are the losers and BBC will just take the profit.

    Bless Travelfish.

    #2 Posted: 23/1/2009 - 08:55

  • amazon_blon-
    de

    Joined Travelfish
    20th December, 2008
    Posts: 116
    Total reviews: 9

    sorry for asking what might seem a stupid question, but nax, what "happened"? And brucemoon, how were you endangered? I'm familiar that there are lots of fake sinh cafes in Hanoi, but thought the worst that would happen would be that you are ripped off a ticket/tour price. This sounds worse than that ... I'm headed to Vietnam in a few weeks. Thanks

    #3 Posted: 23/1/2009 - 19:31

  • brucemoon

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

    amazon_blonde

    I'll respond on the basis that this is your first trip to VN.

    VN is a great destination. However, the gov't appears to be condoning (even promoting) VN nationals to see westerners as money bags to be ripped off, &/or to treat dishonestly.

    Once you learn that, and ALWAYS treat the smiling friendly Vietnamese as 'on the take', then you can still 'play' with their friendliness, but at the same time act to protect your own interests.

    When booking, don't pay a cent until you have everything in writing (and the content clear). All the 'promises' also need to be in writing. I eventually found that the 'honest' travel agents are more than willing to do this - the shonky one's weren't.

    As for Sinh Cafe, I learnt that the HaNoi administration won't register trade names for any company started in Saigon (and that's the majority). So, in HaNoi, every second corner has a Sinh Cafe travel agent (or AdventureTravel, etc.).

    I also learnt that from Hue south, there is ever only one Sinh Cafe in a city. So, with the knowledge I learnt, I used Sinh Cafe from Hue southwards with good outcomes.

    In my case, I took a 7 day 4WD + driver tour of the north-west (from HaNoi). The car had not been serviced properly and the brakes were defective, and the driver was gung-ho on treacherous mountain roads. On more than one occasion I was saying my prayers. And, on one, the car skidded such that the front wheels went over the edge.

    And, when one has paid much for the 'priviledge' to visit remote areas, and is in the middle of no-where, with no access to anything, and a stranger in a foreign place, it's times like that where one really needs good honest support.

    I learnt that there are some friendly honest people in VN. I also learnt that for the VietNamese people, it's very important to be friendly and polite FIRST. For them, only after the engagement has been completed do they ask for money. By that time, you come to learn that one has 'consumed' the goods (friendliness, advice, bag carrying, directions, etc., etc.) and so have no fallback. As you'd know, in the west the reverse is true, one negotiates the price first and gains the product second. So, while it may seem 'improper', remember to 'play' with the friendliness, but ask up front what is to be given and what price is to be charged. Except for remote areas, enough VietNamese have experienced westerners to know this is 'their' way (and so OK).

    Cheers, and have a good time.

    #4 Posted: 24/1/2009 - 06:08

  • Nax

    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Just as brucemoon said, Vietnam is a place of eternal cheat. After having been in the country for nearly a month now, I slowly get
    very annoyed with those kind of traps.
    It wasn't a major problem to travel with another bus comapny, but
    we were charged more and the condition of the busses worsened every time.
    I don't know if it depends on the bus company whether you have a
    hell driver or not. Anyway, we had one, too.

    With this message I just want to warn people not to go to Mr. Hai
    as shown on the map in LP. He has a faked version of the Sinh Cafe
    and lies straight into your face.

    Be prepared for those traps when you come to Vietnam.


    Enjoy your trip.

    #5 Posted: 24/1/2009 - 19:15

  • basho

    Click here to learn more about basho
    Joined Travelfish
    10th May, 2008
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 24

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I counted 15 (yes 15) fake Sinh Cafe's on my way around town today. Use the website to nail down the real ones (there are two). The LP is often wrong (Hoi An for example).

    As far as tours go, and I have read the long story of our friend here back on Thorntree, they all all the same. Don't pay over $100 for a 3 day Halong Bay tour, for example, and know that you will get ripped off a little anywhere. On our HB tour, we paid $90, the couple next to us paid $110 and the lads from up north paid $135 - all for the same tour and all with different companies that stuck us on the one boat.

    Still, we all had a good time!

    #6 Posted: 27/1/2009 - 16:14

  • miaweelow

    Joined Travelfish
    26th October, 2008
    Posts: 4

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    The bit on Camel Travel is true, at least for us.

    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 the middlemen (tour agencies) as much as possible and 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.

    #7 Posted: 4/2/2009 - 13:15

  • brucemoon

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

    miaweelow

    I feel for you.

    TO EVERYONE READING THIS LINK...

    Now that the US credit crisis is a global event, three WILL be so many LESS visitors to Asia & Vietnam.

    This means that each travel firm will have to try and conduct business with less potential customers.

    In such circumstances MORE PEOPLE WILL GET RIPPED OFF.

    Be aware, only use reputable firms.

    LP has a list of some reputable firms (but not all).

    Hotel travel agencies are probably NOT where you should seek HONEST travel advice, and certainly not where you should spend large sums of money on travel.

    JUST BE VERY VERY CAREFUL!

    cheers

    #8 Posted: 4/2/2009 - 13:47

  • susanhaokhan

    Joined Travelfish
    9th June, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Sinh Cafe tours are quite cheap, how can people enjoy it?

    #9 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 15:04

  • BruceMoon

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

    susanhaokhan

    Are you being rhetorical, or serious?

    Cheers

    #10 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 16:50

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