A cruise ship in the world-famous bay Ha Long in northern Vietnam is facing suspension after a group of Australian tourists described it was a “nightmare” trip far different from what they were advertised.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has ordered the ship owner to apologize and compensate the tourists, saying the incident damaged the reputation of Ha Long and Vietnam tourism.
The agency asked the authorities to suspend the boat when the tourists’ complaints are confirmed to be true.
Lynne Ryan, who was among the group of six tourists visiting the UNESCO heritage bay early this month, came back with “horrific” memories as she described on a Facebook post. Her post drew the attention from many news outlets who published the story last week.
Ryan said that she had been shown a glossy brochure with beautiful pictures of the boat and its services, but they were not what she and her friends actually received.
They had a “junk boat,” she said, listing a rat house under the sink in the bathroom, a rat coming through a window, and rat droppings in the room. One of their rooms had the toilet, door and air-con all broken down.
“Sun decks on the top of boat had wood borers and were falling to pieces,” she said, as cited by News.
Lynne said her group did not spend much money for the trip. They paid $75 a person to a local travel agency for a two-day cruise, but would have paid more if the staffs were honest about their services.
Ha Long in Quang Ninh Province is one of Vietnam’s biggest tourism magnets. The bay has been hailed by the U.S. travel guide site Smarter Travel as one of the best ecological spots in the world, while Business Insider said that an overnight Ha Long cruise trip is a “must-try” travel experience in Asia. However, complaints of overcharging, low-quality services and safety issues are not uncommon.
The bay welcomed more than 28,000 foreigners during the first four months this year, according to Quang Ninh’s tourism department.
Australia is one of the biggest source of foreign tourists to Vietnam. The country received nearly 147,600 Australian visitors in the first four months this year, up 13 percent from a year ago.
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