Has anyone had any experience using an agent called Kim Travel?
I am looking at travelling from Saigon to Phnom Penh through the Mekong Delta in January. I have found a website for a tour operator called Kim Travel which I quite like the look of as much of the tour through the Delta is by boat rather than bus:
However, I am also aware of the reputation enjoyed by tour operators in Vietnam in general. Has anyone tried this or any other tour with this lot?
#1 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63
The advert describes the route in enough detail for me to suggest to yu that Kim Travel is on-selling a product provided by another.
My hunch is that the originating provider of the product is Sinh Cafe.
Maybe if you go compare the similar product (here) you can work out for yourself (the Sinh Cafe produce is US$48, not Kim's US$80).
Hope this helps.
The same thought has certainly crossed my mind, and since I posted my original question I have come accross someone on Thorn Tree complaining a different Kim Tours package saw them on a couple of one day packages from other companies that cost them about twice what the individual packages were worth.
However, I haven't been able to find anyone else (including Sinh Cafe) with an overnight boat between Can Tho and Chau Doc. Given what I have read about some agents in Vietnam, it has left me wondering if this may be one of those occassions where you book the tour only to find out what you get is not what is promised and the boat proves not to exist, so I am interested what experiences other people have had with this agency.
#3 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63
Kim Travel is one of the two "original" travel agents operating out of Saigon -- I say original in that it was these two were the ones that popularised the open tour system and everything that rolled on from it.
That the tour sounds similar to something Sinh is offering doesn't mean she's onselling his stuff rather they're selling probably a very similar product.
I've personally met Kim and would say she's a stand-up kinda operator -- can't comment on the price other than to say, in Vietnam, more than anywhere else I've ever been, you get what you pay for.
Sorry meant to add, if you're concerned about a price differential, email the two operators and ask what is the story -- it could be wrapped up in better standard of accom, private boat vs shared, private car, vs minibus etc etc (sorry haven't looked at the actual itinerary mentioned above, bit busy catching up just now)...kinda like the Ha Long Bay tours some are $30 some $300 -- there's a reason why that is the case!
However, in typical Vietnam fashion, I have come accross a few "Kims". I have also seen a Kim Cafe. Do you know if this is the one you are thinking of:
#6 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63
There are two good company which arrange tour exit to Cambodia by boat thru border. Name are Sinh Cafe and Sinhbalo. if you cross the border, prepare photos 4x6 and 25 usd for visa stamp fee
Why dont u DIY,
I saw a trip online a few weeks ago (I can't remember what site) but it included 2 day/1 night Boat Trip From Saigon to Phnom Phen with homestay and buses etc arranged. I thought I saw the price was US$36 or am I totally wrong for expecting such a price?
I am interested in undertaking such a trip and was wondering where would be the best value. I have looked at Sinh Cafe and there is a big difference with what they are charging. Any help would be greatly appreciated? perhaps I might have picked up the wrong price off whatever website I saw it on and perhaps the true cost of such a trip is in the 100's of US$.
#9 cupthehand has been a member since 22/5/2009. Posts: 6
Who was that one with? The boat trip to Cambodia takes a full day on the slow boat or half a day on the fast boat (that leaves in the morning anyway). I'm surprised they can pack that much in to what is basically a one day trip.
#11 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63
LOL that's my problem - I can't remember who it was with! I seem to recall it was perhaps the slow boat leaving from Saigon. It had things mentioned on the webpage including visiting floating markets and villages and such.
#12 cupthehand has been a member since 22/5/2009. Posts: 6
Argh...after more than 5 hours of research I still got snookered. I researched tons of recent 2009 reviews on Kim Travel, Delta Adventure Tours among others. Member feedback seemed to indicate that "you get what you pay for". With so many bad reviews about Delta Adventure Tours, I went ahead and booked the more expensive trip with Kim Travel (twice as expensive). The problem is that as soon as I booked this, I found out that the two trips are pretty much identical, even though, I was told point blank that they were not by the Kim Travel sales agent when I showed her the Delta flyer. Apparently, the only tour operator that has a boat (vs. bus) originating from Saigon is Delta Adventure Tours. Therefore, only they can offer this portion of the package. If the rest of the package is identical, then you have the same tour. In the end, I will be sitting next to a person who has paid half the price that I paid for the same tour. The options on the budget end are murky and the operators are successfully keeping budget travelers in the dark to keep the upper hand. To make things worse, the budget hotels also peddle a "commission" version on behalf of the operators which they claim does not effect the tour package cost, but it is difficult to trust the information when it is biased by money, even if it comes from the reputable Madam Cuc's house.
#13 rtw2009 has been a member since 10/1/2010. Posts: 3
From my understanding delta tours is owned by Kim travel. I did a 2 day mekong delta tour last month and thought poorly of it. Aside from the boat ride from HCMC the rest was just a shifty tourist trap to places that seem to be owned by delta (aka Kim). It's all a tourist trap and the hotel we stayed at overnight was in some **** alley, I would have gladly paid more for a better place had I had an option to begin with.
#14 UCSBrown has been a member since 28/11/2009. Posts: 24
Just got back from our tour. I can confirm 100% that the tour that Kim Travel sold to us was indeed a sell-through product. I don't know if they are the same companies per se, but I can tell you this:
#1: The first day of the tour was conducted by tour guides, buses and boats supplied by Delta Adventure Tours as evidenced by logos on all of these. I can also confirm that this part of the tour is a complete tourist trap with very poor service and extremely crowded buses (28 travelers excluding 2 tour guides and the bus driver)
#2: The second day of the tour was conducted by a very good tour guide working for another travel agency based in Vinh Long called Mekong Travel. I would highly recommend staying at the Ba Linh Homestay run by a very nice family on an island across from Vinh Long.
My recommendation, for what it is worth, is to bypass Delta Adventure at all costs. Get yourself to Vinh Long via another means (public bus, private transfer, etc). Book a private tour directly in Vinh Long. Our guide was quite good, but I don't know if other guides at the same agency would be as good. Here's their direct website. www.mekongtravel.com.vn
Best of luck.
#15 rtw2009 has been a member since 10/1/2010. Posts: 3