bus annoyances (HCMC->Can Tho) & (Ha Noi -> Cat Ba)
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Feb 20, 2013 4:30 PM Last Post By: zdengo
Oct 19, 2012 9:30 PM
1. First was a lesser annoyance but it might have been premeditated. We arranged the bus, boat, bus trip from Ha Noi to Cat Ba Island via the company Hoang Long. Overall this was very convenient, hassel free, and our lodging on Cat Ba helped arrange the whole thing for an extra $2USD but they told us to get off at "Nga Ba Bien Hao" once you get on the island so when we got on the bus at the boat dock i told the bus driver that that is where we needed to be dropped off. 20 minutes on the bus it pulls over and the bus drivers tell me that this is the place and my wife and i get off while looking for any indication that this is actually that intersection and before we could confirm the bus had already pulled off. Turns out this was not that intersection as my hotel had sent a driver for us and it became clear that this was not the correct road but "luckily" there were a 5-6 xe om drivers offering to give us a ride to Sui Goi for $15 which seemed a lot for around 5KM. We eventually found a ride for the both of us for $7 after walking 30 minutes but it was a stressful and confusing 30 minutes. This might have been a simple misunderstanding but it is a good warm up for our next and more harrowing bus experience in the mekong delta.
2. We took a bus from HCMC to Can Tho to explore the Mekong Delta. This forum suggests taking a cheap tour and getting off if you aren't going back to HCMC immediately (we were heading to Phu Quoc) and I now see why. We got to Mien Tay Bus station and started looking for a bus ride to Can Tho, and eventually settled on a competitively priced express mini bus to Can Tho. After a short delay and the bus packing every possible cm of space with a person (one guy stood in the door well for the duration) we finally left HCMC.
Near Can Tho our bus suddenly stopped and the bus driver got out and came to my window (we were in the back) and gestured for us to get out but I kept saying "bus station" in vietnamese where this was clearly not a bus station but a xe om stop and all the other people on the bus (all locals) were not getting off. It was a good 10 minutes as the bus driver as well as 5-6 xe om drivers kept pressuring us to get off and find us hotels and conveniently give us a ride there. The bus started up again and after 15 minutes the bus stops again at a hotel on the edge of town - again the bus driver gets and out and angrily points to us to get out as this is our stop, again i start saying and pointing to the address in the LP all while a large group of Xe Om drivers point to us and offer their services and various accommodation and someone tried to hand me a cell phone(?). After this other tense standoff the bus driver gave us and after harassing another customers starts driving again.
We finally get into Can Tho and the bus stops at what seems like a bus station but after we got off it became clear that we were the only ones who got off but at least this time we were in town and there weren't a large group of xe om riders but his bus station ended up being a good 40 minute walk (scam bus strikes again!) to the Can Tho riverfront but we made it finally after help from a group of friendly local students (restoring our faith in humanity).
Hope this account helps someone out there and I wanted to contribute after months of great advice from reading this branch of TT.
Oct 20, 2012 12:29 AM
Oct 20, 2012 1:50 AM
2Thanks for the head's up. I've struck the old "get off the bus at the outskirts of the town" scam a number of times in India, but wasn't aware it had migrated to Vietnam. I guess it now doesn’t matter what country you are in, so as you mentioned, it's seems it's always a case of "stay on the bus until all the locals get off"
Oct 20, 2012 2:02 AM
Oct 20, 2012 2:46 AM
Oct 20, 2012 2:10 PM
Oct 20, 2012 2:12 PM
6gotta first post sometime =)
but overall our trip to Vietnam was very positive and we had a very good time.
Oct 20, 2012 6:12 PM
Feb 20, 2013 4:30 PM
8I must post a bad review for Hoang Long office branch in Cat Ba town.
If you want to book any other ticket than CatBa - Hanoi, then be aware that the women working in this office will try to overcharge you by a lot of money.
Me and other 2 travelers (who traveled independently from me) were told lies when buying tickets ('last tickets available' etc.) and paid 750.000,- VND for the ticket from Hanoi to Sapa which was worth of 300.000,- VND!
Be carefull because the woman (in her 40th-ies) is very polite, nice and her English is very good but she might lie and overcharge other people too.
When we found out in Hanoi that we paid much more and that cheaper tickets are still available with other agents, we wanted to return tickets and buy cheaper ones. However, they refused to give us money back and we had to travel for that much higher price anyway...
On top of it, they cooperate with cheap Bus Companies - which means that two of us had no sleeping place on the bus and had to sleep on the ground in the bus middle-walkway! And still - all this for that higher price...
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