We have just returned from 17 days in Laos and I felt I should warn other travellers to be careful when booking through travel agents that they get what they pay for. As there were 4 of us travelling together we decided to book a car and driver to take us from Luang Prabang to the Plain of Jars. The agent we approached had a young English speaking university student who helped us and suggested he could also organise an English speaking guide to take us and show us around the Plain of Jars. As we were only there for I day we thought this would save us time so agreed. He then asked if we had accomodation as he could give us a good deal for transfers, tours and accomodation. We specified that we would like to stay at a specific hotel but he said it was not so good. He told us he knew a new hotel that wasn't in the guide books yet and for an extra amount we could have private rooms with our own hot showers and Western toilet. As he seemed to be very helpful and know what he was doing we agreed to pay extra and be upgraded. We paid a deposit and agreed to return the day before we left and pay the balance. Our receipt didn't specify a hotel name or that we would have an english speaking guide. Our first mistake.
When we returned the owner was there but not the person we had dealt with and he looked at the hotel made some calls and said it was all arranged. We did try and get a hotel name from him but he just said it was a very nice hotel and pretended he didn't understand.
What we got was a driver who spoke no english but we were stuck as we had checked out of our hotel and had flights booked for 2 days time. We left and after a 7 hour drive arrived to a Hotel? that was above the travel agents Plain of Jars office and had rooms with windows that didn't shut and a hole in the door. These were rooms we had paid $50 US a night for and they weren't clean. They did have a western toilet and seemed to have some hot water. The driver left and indicated he would return at 9.00 am the next morning and no one spoke english. When we tried to call the travel agent in Luang Prabang they couldn't understand english and the english speaking fellow had gone home even though he worked from 4.00 - 11.00pm. We tried agian later but got the same response. The same the next day.
We went out and found somewhere else to stay as we weren't going to stay there. The driver who was supposed to be picking us up at 9.00am arrived at the hotel where we did stay to drive a couple back to Luang Prabang at 8.30am so we are assuming he wasn't going to pick us up anyway. We organised another tour guide and wrote it off but please be careful when dealing with these agents. I don't know if I can name the agent so I haven't but he is recommended in my Footprints book.
#1 robyn has been a member since 18/2/2007. Posts: 1