MANIFA TRAVEL Stole 50,000 Kip $$$$ from me.
Do yourself a favor and DO NOT BOOK THROUGH THEM.
I walked in here to book the shuttle to the waterfalls/bear sanctuary. I was told the next shuttle wasn't for another 2 hours but the guy was REALLY putting on the pressure to book ahead, so I paid him the 50,000 kip in cash and went to wait in a cafe.
I returned at the time he told me and ended up sitting and waiting for the shuttle to show up. After 40 minutes had passed and it was getting late and cold, I asked him if I could take the trip another day. I was a little bummed that I'd wasted my whole day waiting around for this.
He said no problem.
Two days later I showed up (before the 11:30 shuttle was set to leave) and was told it had already left. I knew this wasn't true as it was before 11:30 & even if it had been on time it would still be picking people up. After I pointed this out, the man at the desk admitted that it hadn't left, but then said it was full. He offered for me to take the late shuttle (in 2 hours) again.
I explained I had a limited amount of time here (as all people visiting here do, most are only here for 2-3days & I really need him to be flexible). He refused and suggested I pay a tuk-tuk to take me there. (So much more expensive!!!)
I told him that in that case I would like him to refund the money I'd paid if he couldn't provide the service I'd paid for. He got aggressive, laughed in my face & said, "No! No refund!" and shooed me out with his hand.
So now I've wasted another day not getting to the waterfalls and I'm out 50,000 kip.
DO NOT DEAL WITH MANIFA TRAVEL!!! THEY THINK IT'S OKAY TO STEAL TOURISTS' MONEY and take advantage of the fact that they can cheat you because you're foreign and won't be here long enough to sort it out.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
If you are walking alone at night it could be dangerous. Not because of theft of robbery, but because of dogs.
My experience is I was alone on the street at night, around 10 o'clock. The night life in Luang Prabang ends early, around 9pm. I walked to the night market to make a phone call home.
On the way back a big dog starred at me and keep barking. I was scared but I know I should not run. I starred back. Too bad the street does not have street lamp, so I wonder if the dog saw me starring at it.
Anyway, make the way back to the GH safely..
Try to avoid sitting directly under trees. Huge branches fell near us a least twice on our 4 day stay as well as a sudden shower of twigs. This in the dry season on non-windy days.
The first incident was as we strolled along the Nam Khan we heard a sudden cracking noise and watched a couple of huge branches crash down to the riverbank nearby. The second incident was while we ate dinner on the Mekong. There was a loud bang as a branch crashed down just between my husband and a girl at the next table.
Finally as we ate breakfast in our hotel on our last day, there was a sdden shower of small twigs raining down in the gardens.
I know bits of trees fall down; it's just that it happened a lot in a very short period of time.
White Elephant Adventures is owned by an evil man
We were looking for a little trek and some kayaking and stumbled upon White Elephant Adventures, we thought we might do a trip with them but we ended up getting a little weird vibe from them so we checked out other options. We decided to not do their tour and the Canadian owner completely and inappropriately freaked out. He came over to our hotel the night before and told the workers that he was our friend so that he could get our room numbers. I called his business and home phone to let him know that we were not going on the trip. The next morning he still came to our hotel, I had left with my girlfriend for breakfast, but my other two friends who are going to go with us was still there. He yelled at them and threatened to call the police on them.
They were confused and left. I thought maybe there was just a miscommunication between the staff, the owner, and my friends. So my girlfriend and I went to find the Canadian owner of White Elephant Adventures who had yelled at my friends to try to tide things over with him. This was not to be. He completely lost is cool and began to yell at us in the street (which incredibly culturally inappropriate in Laos (or anywhere for that matter)). He yelled at us that we are shorting is Laos staff that depended on us to go, I offered to pay for myself for the trip and split it evenly with the Laos staff. He refused the offer and by the end, he threatened our lives. He said that he paid the Laos police to retrieve his money from us, and if they do anything else he is not responsible. He also told us to not come crying back to him if the police take us. Arrest us for what? We didn't even do anything wrong!
Please, anyone who is traveling to Luang Prabung do not go on White Elephant Adventure Tours!!! There are many other good adventure tours there...Enjoy your trip there great place! Just stay away from White Elephant Adventures!!!!
don't get wet
When you are in Luang Prabang, during the Lao New Year (in April), first of all: watch out for the water throwing people. If you have a camera with you, be sure you have something to put it in so it doesn't get wet.
Or, what's even better: leave your camera at home, buy a bucket and throw some water back!
UXO (Unexploded Ordnance)
Laos is one of the most bombed countries in the world. During the Vietnam war, the US secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia, since the North Vietnamese moved the Ho Chi Minh trail into their countries. Over two million tonnes of ordnance was dropped on Laos, mostly in the north and southeastern regions.
Around town, you will notice how the Lao people have made trash cans and other items from the casings of the ordinances. In rural communities-some people find UXO and sell them to tourists. Do not buy these.
After 30 years since the end of the Vietnam war, people are still being killed or injured from unexploded ordinances. Around 11,000 people have been killed since the end of the war due to UXO. The UN and other international aid groups are training and employing Lao people to find and remove the UXOs. It is sad to think in our life time, Laos probably will not be free of UXO.
Luang Prabang and Vientiane are clear of UXO and safe. If you are traveling or trekking into rural areas, you may want to find out what the status of that area is, before you visit. Keep to worn paths.
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Don't use Manifa Travel Company!
The short version: Do not buy any trips or tickets at Manifa's. They are incompetent, don't understand English and they will lie to your face.
The slightly longer version:
We booked a boat trip (110.000 kip per person) to Nong Khiaw, seven hours north of Luang Prabang for 110.000 kip per person. 10 hours later we discover, that we have arrived somewhere west of Luang Prabang - Pak Beng, a bordertown where people ONLY go because they are on their way to Thailand. We tried to make the best of it and wanted to go on a trek the next day. But since there was a boxing match on the tv, nobody wanted to take us. Instead we decided to leave immediately by speed boat: 1.000.000 for two people, three hours back to Luang Prabang.
In Luang Prabang we went back to Manifa Travel Company and complained. The same guy was there (his English wasn't any better) and he promised that we would get our money back. We had wasted two days so we wanted to be on our way to Vientiane. According to him he had no cash so we bought a bus ticket from him, and payed an additional 40.000 kip since the bus ticket was more expensive than the boat ticket. The guy wanted us to show up early next day before we left, so he could get the money back from the ticket office by the river.
Next day we showed up, went to the "harbour" and there we had to wait half an hour because the Manifa-employee had problems getting his money back. Looking more and more troubled and frantically calling his boss, he then asked us for more money to cover his expenses. We explained to him, that that was out of the question, because he already promised us our money back. When he again disappeared behind the boat office, we jumped on a tuk-tuk and rushed off to the bus station.
We arrived at the South Bus Station half an hour before the bus departure. We went to the ticket office to check in, showing the guy in the booth our receipt from Manifa Travel Company. He looked at it, then at us, and told us, that the company's tuk-tuk driver had been there 20 minutes earlier to cancel our tickets. We could only get on the bus if we payed for two new tickets.
So, please. For the sake of future fellow travellers going to Luang Prabang - please don't use Manifa Travel Company!
- Budget Travel
- Sailing and Boating
mind your camera (and values)
Luang Prabang may look absolutely safe to you but thieves do exist, so always keep yout valuables upon you. Someone I was travelling with for a few days had her expensive camera stolen while we were having dinner in a quiet place, and everyone (both at the restaurant and shops nearby) tried their best so that we did not call the police (fear, I guess). In case something is stolen from you the place to go and report it is at the Lao immigration office opposite the Rama Hotel, but here too people are not too willing to help you. I guess they do not want to admit that pickpockets do exist
One evening, when I got back to my guesthouse, there were some notices to inform guests that there would be no electricity the following day after 6am. I wasn't too sure as to why but it didn't come on until the early evening (6pm) which meant that it wasn't possible to have a shower as it was electric! This also happened on the following day so I ended up having bucket showers at my guesthouses. Be warned about this as it'll affect ATM machines and coffee machines etc.
Tiny or not
becareful chilli in your food even it is a tiny one because it is so hot...it might burn your tongue LOL
No Traffic Light !!!
Watch out when you walk cross the street !!! People are friendly, I didn't see any accident even no traffic light .