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My friend and I really enjoyed this trip. I chose this excursion because it had the best reviews of all the listings I found. The day started off with our tour guide picking us up at our hotel promptly. We then drove around picking up the other members. When everyone was accounted for we began our journey. The trip said it was two hours but did not feel like it, as there was a break in the middle where we could buy things and use the rest room.
When we got to the docks for the boats we were put in the boats about six people a boat which was enough room. The boat ride going there was nice. You are all excited and in awe of the beautiful scenery. It was about 45-an hour but I did not keep track. Definitely and interesting experience. Once we go to the place was explored some temples and then had lunch. It was really nice! A lot of great food. After lunch we hiked to the Perfume Pagoda. BUY A CABLE CAR TICKET! It is so much better. The walk looked insane and it is surrounded by vendors who would hound you the whole walk. The cave was awesome. Not as big as I thought but well worth it. Once we were done we headed back down to the boat. The ride back was hard to deal with. They are uncomfortable and they excitement had worn off. But I mean, its a metal boat, it isn't going to be the best but you have to set your expectations realistically.
I really enjoyed the trip!
A very well organised tour. The pagoda was awesome and the guide was very informative.
An extremely enjoyable day. Weather was not so good - bitterly cold and wet - however, this was outside our control. Our tour guide Tony was extremely helpful, polite and knowledgeable, and ensured everyone was included and had the best possible day. Thank you.
A really brilliant day. The pagoda is stunning and the boat ride there is an interesting experience.
Food is included which was pretty good and the tour guide was very knowledgeable.
Decent tour for the affordable price. Included in the price of the tour is lunch, transportation from your hotel to the river, then a 50-minute paddled boat ride on the river to where you will start your journey to the pagoda. Unfortunately, it rained a lot like typhoon amounts during my tour. Parts of the route were flooded and we were charged extra for the boat ride through the flooded portion. Most disappointing was that it was unclear why we were being charged more. I thought I was paying for a motor boat ride back down the river which would have taken 20 minutes instead of 50, but instead was later herded onto a paddle boat at the end of the tour. Also, beware of multiple requests to tip your paddle boat driver. Only tip him or her on the return trip. They will ask several times for you to increase your tip and will not believe you when you tell them you have no more money.
The pagoda itself is lovely. You have the option of paying for a cable car to and from the pagoda. The view from the cable car is amazing. I recommend you take the cable car at least one way.
I booked this tour on Viator as previous reviews were really positive. I was in Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks and booked many different tours, however this one was by far the worst. The English of our tour guide was really poor so our group did not benefit from anything he told us as we just could not understand. The low English skills also had as a consequence that he came across rather rude and bossy. For example, I did not book the cable car option as I wanted to experience the walk to the top. I have to say that I am hiking a lot and I knew what I was doing. However, it seemed to me that it was an inconvenience for him and he therefore tried to convince me to go along with how he wanted to do things. I was also surprised that he decided to take the group on the cable car in my opinion the safer option and let me go up to the Perfume Pagoda on my own. He also wanted to tell one part of a couple to not sit next but opposite each other denied them to go to the toilet and said they should hold it until we are back from the visit of the first pagoda 20 minutes. He called one person who walked to a shop to get some water silly. As one lady said she was not good with steps and would stay behind until we returned, his main concern was that she would not complain and ask for money back afterwards, instead of being considered with her. The group was really nice and the destination itself was worth a visit but it felt the way the way this tour was led was not living up to the standard it should. I do put a lot of this down to miscommunication and cultural differences. This however is why it is important that the level of English is high in a tour like that. The company advertising this tour on Viator is BC Family tours but it was operated by APT Travel which is a large tour operator in Hanoi. I personally would not go on this tour again and would recommend people to look for an alternative. The bus and boat transfer total about 6 hours, whilst the actual tour is 2 hours. The lunch was in my opinion not local Vietnamese food chips, rice, Chinese style beef stir fry, tofu in tomato sauce, cabbage, fish and really was not great. The Vietnamese cuisine is amazing and local restaurants as part of good tours are usually of high standard. This, however was not a great dining experience.
I give this tour 2 rather than 1 star as it was interesting to see the perfume pagoda and the setting itself Yen river, the mountains in which the pagoda is situated is beautiful.
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