Our group of four had a great day on this tour. Our guide, affectionately known as Mr Key, was a gracious host. He did his best to provide background history, explain what we were seeing, and the hardest part to keep us all together. I would recommend to anyone wanting to see Tam Coc! Worth it!
Excellent trip. Both places were worth visiting. The boat trip was amazing the scenery around is amazing. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny. My only complaint relates to the lunch. The quality of food wasn't great and hygiene level in the restaurant was poor. Overall it was a very good tour. I would highly recommend to anyone.
The scenery at the river boat ride at Tam Coc was really beautiful and was what we expected. The ride itself was nice. But at the end of the river before turning around, there were many boats with merchandise pressuring you to buy things from them and the prices were not cheap compare to what's the usual price in Vietnam. The worse part of this tour for me was the bus ride to go in and out of Hanoi. It was more like a full size van with narrow seats, not a coach bus. They packed the 24 seats van full with another tour group and it was a 2 hrs ride plus 45 minutes going around old quarter hotels to pick up people. We were the 1st ones to be picked up. So, it was 2hrs and 45minutes on those narrow seats for us. It was very uncomfortable to me. Also, I thought this tour does not include bike ride since the description did not mention the biking as several others do. But it still included 1 hr bike ride. So, we had to wait around.
The tour was nice and the agenda pretty much respected with correct time for each activity. The only not so great point is the transport, that could have been a more comfortable for a 2h30 ride each way: chairs are very close to each other, not reclinable and also the clima was not working properly.
Our tour to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc was operated by Alova Cruises / Go Asia Travel.
There were a number of things that didn't go quite well during this tour and overall we wouldn't recommend taking it.
Here's what went wrong:
1. Our pick-up time was confirmed to be 8.15 AM multiple times. Nevertheless, the driver came at 8.00 AM and we were rushed to finish our breakfast to board the bus.
2. The guide's English wasn't good and it was very hard to understand.
3. Our group had around 25 people... Not exactly what I'd call a small group.
4. The guide lacked kept making jokes that caused confusion.
5. My partner can't ride a bicycle and we were denied to double ride. We were told that is the policy but we saw many other groups double riding... Also the guide didn't handle this situation properly as we were left alone with limited information on where and when to find the group later.
6. Multiple times we were pressured to tip the driver, the boat rower and the guide. While it is fine to state that tips are expected the way this was done is really bad... Basically the guide would question each member in the group individually and in front of the whole group about their satisfaction and then request for tip in front of everybody stressing that this is just about politeness in Vietnam...
Tam Coc is a wonderful place but unfortunately our tour was really ruined because of the guide's attitude and lack of professionalism. We definitely wouldn't recommend using Alova Cruises / Go Asia Travel to visit Vietnam.