Don't trust Viva travel agency (beside Joma Bakery in Luang Prabang)
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Oct 14, 2012 9:09 PM Last Post By: Vientianeboy
Oct 8, 2012 5:48 PM
Don't trust Viva travel agency (beside Joma Bakery in Luang Prabang)If you arrive in Luang Prabang, you'll learn fast that Joma Bakery is a distinguishing spot for backpackers to get dropped off as the side streets behind it are lined with more guesthouses than any backpacker would have time to compare to each another (the bakery itself I'd pretty awesome too ;) I made the HUGE mistake of thinking the travel agency next door would be worthwhile (Viva Travel). I went there on advice of changing our flight in which the girl proceeded to laugh at me in that we were over charged $30 USD when buying our flight in Chiang Mai to go from Luang Prabang to Hanoi (we had done out research and that was the cheapest travel agency price out of 5 places we went in Chiang Mai, next time maybe I'll buy straight from the airline). With no luck in changing our flight, we had a couple more days to spend in Luang, so she set us up with a full day kayaking trip. The trip itself was great, good guides, great group and the food was authentically local. It wasn't until I thought of asking one of the other women how much they paid did I realized we were scammed. They spent $45 each, almost half of us... Tickets bought on the same day! When I went back to Viva to complain, the girl just kept saying they have good luck, we have bad luck. Even went as far as telling me when I left my mobile phone unattended on her desk she could have kept it but instead gave it back to me so she's not mean. Most frustrating experience and feel that people should know not to go there, look around and compare - Viva is not worth the hassle and $$$.
Oct 8, 2012 9:52 PM
Oct 8, 2012 11:40 PM
Oct 8, 2012 11:50 PM
Oct 9, 2012 12:17 AM
4lesson learned? always compare prices. There are so many agencies along the road.
I made the 1 day hiking tour with them and it was a great day. I booked at another agency but if you compare the tours they offer you will see that almost all agencies sell the same. So tour operator is the same, only different agencies to sell the tickets.
And hey, if you would have the chance to earn some extra bucks, would you do or not?
Oct 9, 2012 12:27 AM
Oct 9, 2012 4:52 AM
6I'm surprised at the support here for a business that tries to rip people off, especially given the Viva employee's response (if true) that they are lucky they didn't try to shaft them even more (by taking their mobile). I kind of expect this sort of attitude in Vietnam or Thailand, I don't expect it in Laos from Laotians.
Oct 9, 2012 5:01 AM
Oct 9, 2012 5:20 AM
namewithheld posts in to tell us of a great new company recently opened in LP.
sithone: Why do you say we are supporting the company?
No matter where you go there will be differences in costs. No two shops always charge the same no matter what the product. If the OP had shopped around he would have found that out.
Oct 9, 2012 6:32 AM
9Bassalegboy ... I guess I misread the OP. I took it to be that both parties bought tickets at the same place, and were charged completely different rates. I realize now that they were bought from different companies.
But I guess this is one of the things that I see is changing in Laos ... and I don't like it. Used to be that you didn't have to haggle much, as sellers would ask pretty much the same price from everyone (Asian or Falang). Now, you do have to go to 3-4 shops to find out what the going price is and then haggle some more.
This is what drives some tourists to argue over the price of a 10,000 Kip tuk tuk fare .. to try and get it down to 3,000 (I've seen this many times in LPB). If you're a tourist, maybe its fun and part of the experience, but if you live here, then it just becomes tedious.
Oct 9, 2012 7:42 AM
Of course some agencies will charge more than others and, to some extent that is to be expected. I feel that the real problem here is being exploited. To find that someone paid half of what you did for exactly the same would annoy me - sorry, this is not just price difference - it is a rip off.
OP put it down to experience, at least you got it off your chest by having a go, maybe if more did that who knows????? You posted here also - feel a little better? Thanks for the warning. Next time do a comparison, the business folk are not fools, if they know you are shopping around - and there is no cartel - they will be less inclined to offer a high price.
Oct 9, 2012 9:42 AM
Oct 10, 2012 8:17 PM
Oct 14, 2012 3:17 AM
13I hear you OP, and thanks
A little story about ticket shopping in CM
First I stopped in one place to get a ballpark estimate – they had it listed on the signboard out front. Ok Now lets go to another travel agent in Chiang Mai, give me a quote on a ticket RT to LP for a week but told me I couldn’t get a seat return on Wednesday or Thurs (huh what ???) - then told me well check in LP maybe they can change your reservation. This is October and technically ‘high season’ – its still low and flights are not even HALF FULL – so right off I know something is wrong
Then I have to TRUDGE over to another agency to find out, sure I can get a ticket coming back on wed or thurs and yep it will be a little cheaper. (AH HAH)
Dealing with 3 agencies it was 45 minutes + f---ing aggravation and walking time
But you see OP – these people here on LPTT, are freaking travel gods and will spend hours to get that ticket and if you don’t want to spend that amount of time, then you are nothing but a lazy bludgering sod and should eat that extra cost and take it as a lesson learned, while they pontificate. And DON’T CRITICISIZE THE TRAVEL AGENT THAT RIPPED YOU OFF – there are just trying to make a living! – by the way I know that agent, as I am staying at Rattana GH – right around the corner, nice SUV they have!
Thanks for the warning and don’t pay attention to the lazy blogging souls above. They have little else to do and this gives their pathetic life meaning.
Oct 14, 2012 6:07 AM
14So if someone who books a hotel via agoda and pays 50$ and someone else booked it directly from the hotel or at a travel agency and paid 90$ then that's a scam?
Just didn't do their homework.
If people don't even care to do some basic research and compare prices then group tours booked back home might be better for them.
No need to do homework there.
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