Beware of the combining of tours boats to make one, very packed, uncomfortable tour.
This happened to us today. After talking at length with the operators of BIEN DAO Tours, located on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St.
This is our sixth trip to Nha Trang we have been there before so we knew about the trips.
We told them we did NOT want to be on a boat packed with people, that we would rather have the smaller boat that is for snorkeling, but we wanted to go to the fishing village which of course the snorkeling boat did not do.
We we assured that the four island boat would not be full. They showed us their booking sheets where they booked 10 and 19 and 14 people over the last few days. So we booked.
The next day we got to the boat dock and they unloaded three different buses. We asked how many people and they said FORTY. Needless to say, we were very unhappy. I told the operator we knew now that they are combining tours to fill one boat to save money. He tried to tell some story about getting a big tour suddenly, but none of the people for the boat were together.
So now they not only scammed people, but he lied.
Also, looking at the boats, they are now rather beat up and not one boat that I saw we you able to go up on top and sit on chairs like previous trips. Maybe they are too dangerous now??
So BEWARE if booking these tours. Beware of this Bien Dao Tours (although they are mostly all the same?) They will lie to you and lead you to believe the boat will not be have too many people.
Unique Suggestions: Go on the smaller snorkeling boats if you hate being packed in like a sardine.
Fun Alternatives: The boat trips used to be a great thing to do, but with higher gas prices and of course the greed of the operators, a day on the beach sounds like a better plan.
as described by another traveller
don't make the 4 island boat tour and snorkeling
first of all you get packed together with 50 people on a to small boat
first visit the 40 year old aquarium and have to pay 50000 dong don't waste your time there
second there was the snorkelling had to jump off the boat in dirty water
the sea is dead there only a few fish to see nothing special
than had some karaoke and the crew made fun with the western people
they let them sing beatles song or whatever in their language and vietnamese people had fun with it
after that we had lunch and had to sit close together(food was ok and fruit too)
than made another stop for swimming and had some kind of fruit juice on a floating island
finally we had a stop on an island but it was small indeed couldn't go anywhere and have to pay for everything and 20000 dong entrance fee
the only thing is you have a good view on nha trang from there
so finally i felt like i was in jail all day because to little space
so some vietnamese people even start fighting with each other
don't waste your money on that
maybe better try to rent a boat yourself or if you can not do that just enjoy the beach
had a really boring and bad day !!!
Unique Suggestions: try to make the best of it
Fun Alternatives: better stay at the beach
itS a Shop for T-shirt's and another clothes . i' ve spend 600 000 for 2 T-shirt's and i found exactly
the same T-shirt's in Saigon for 80 000 ! Of course without Bambou logo . They bay cheap stuff somwhere in Asia , call it french Design and sell it overpriced !
Fun Alternatives: the Dam Market is a good Place to find a good souvenir , noisy but real Vietnam !
Our charming hotel tour operator in Ho Chi Minh recommended that we take the overnight train to Nha Trang in a '5 star' cabin and enjoy a complimentary dinner while taking in the stunning views.
The cabin was a small prison cell which we shared with an extended family of cockroaches.
Dinner was a funky tasting bottle of water and a rancid hotdog which consequently lead me to take in the stunning view of the toilet which I spent much of the night pebbledashing.
Get the plane.
We went on a 'Island hopping trip' for $7 that promised snorkelling and exploring the 4 local islands.
It was more a poor attempt at an 18-30 cruise from the 1980's! For a start you dont get anywhere near the islands and you wouldnt want to as a lot of construction work is being done everywhere. and the beaches were just stones
The life vests they provide fly off when you hit the water, nearly drowning me and many more that found out the hard way. Add to the fact that there is so many boats in the area it's very dangerous. Several people (me included) near got trapped between 2 boats as they moved close to each other.
The 3rd island... was promised as a 'water park' all lies.
20,000 Dong is demanded of you as soon as you walk 10 feet down the peir and there is nothing there apart from crap for sale and people demanding 25,000 Dong to sit on deck chair! The 'beach' was all rocks and rubbish was laying everywhere
The last island was a an aqaurium. 25,000 Dong again. I didnt even bother getting off the boat.
I was hoping for sun kissed islands and snorkelling like in Phuket, Thailand. What i got was mutton dressed up as lamb.
Save the money and avoid this mess
Unique Suggestions: Stay on the boat if you cant swin
Fun Alternatives: Stay on the main beach at Nha Trang, its free and much cleaner
Where ever we went people tried to sell us tours to Monkey Island but we'd heard from other travellers that it wasn't very nice especially if you kind of like animals. They have a monkey circus and you can go feed the elephants and monkeys. Its takes an hour by boat to get there and then another hours back so you're looking at 3 hrs in total. Quite frankly there are better things to do with your time and money.
Commission isn't a bad thing unless people are just downright dishonest about it. In the Hanh Cafe, their 'no commission' on train tickets turned out to be huge. First they added a 15% insurance (?!?!), then a 10% tax (?!?). At least the other places opposite the crossroads near the Hanh Cafe were honest about what they charged.
Fun Alternatives: They speak excellent English in the train station and charge no commission!!
Be careful with the trickshaw drivers in Nha Trang. They are more agressive here than anywhere else in Vietnam and from my experience, will try to rip you off. If you do use them, be sure you are extremely clear on what you are agreeing on price-wise, and if they try to claim you owe them more, stand your ground.
By the time you get to Nha Trang, you will be fully aware of the postcard sellers. But at the Big Buddha, they have turned guilt and selling postcards into an artform.
They will attach themselves to you and guide you around the rather small complex then at the end hit you up for an obscene donation to help keep the Buddhist school on the site running. Of course it is open to negotiation but they are hardened and very good at making puppy dog eyes at you.
Unique Suggestions: Give them a small donation or give it directly to the monks not the kids.
Generally getting rides around Vietnam on the back of a honda dream is a really fun way to see the country- but we found the moped drivers in Nha Trang to be rip off merchants, albeit charismatic ones. When we get to our destination our drivers tried to charge us 5times the going rate (and because they'd hung around waiting for us without us asking them to!)
Unique Suggestions: Be solid on how much you are paying before setting off. Most drivers are friendly and knowledgeable.
Fun Alternatives: Hire your own moped- the roads in most places outside Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are quiet and local kids see you as film stars!