After ‘horror trip,’ Aussie offered free tour of Vietnamese destinations

By Vy An   May 29, 2018 | 10:48 pm PT
After ‘horror trip,’ Aussie offered free tour of Vietnamese destinations
Lynne Ryan (R) among a group of Australian tourists tour Ha Long Bay in May 2018, in a photo posted on Facebook.
Vietnam's tourism authorities say they are 'sorry for what happened' and want to make up.

An Australian tourist has been invited to tour Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay and other destinations for free after news outlets highlighted a Facebook post titled "Horror trip, Ha Long Bay" last week.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has written of apology to Lynne Ryan and invite her to return to Vietnam for the free tour.

Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the administration, said in the letter that he was "sorry for what happened" and informed Ryan that Vietnamese authorities have "seriously punished" companies responsible for the cruise that proved to be a disaster.

Ryan, who'd visited Vietnam along with five other Australian tourists in early May, wrote the post after returning home. She said her group had booked a Ha Long Bay cruise with a travel agency in Hanoi. She said she'd been shown a glossy brochure with beautiful pictures of a boat and its services, but the actual tour proved to be vastly different.

The tourists were taken on a rat infested "junk boat" with 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 a broken toilet door and a non-functioning air-conditioner.

"Sun decks on the top of boat had wood borers and were falling to pieces," the news reports quoted her as saying.

The group described their Ha Long Bay tour as a "nightmare."

Once the news spread, authorities swung into action. They fined the owner of the cruise ship and the travel agency in Hanoi that booked the tour VND15 million ($660) and VND8 million ($351) respectively, and suspended the ship’s operation.

Tuan said VNAT will take care of the free trip for Ryan; but the Australian responded saying she was wondering if she could take her friends along, since they were also victims of the scam.

Ha Long Bay welcomed more than 28,000 foreigners in the first four months this year, according to tourism department of Quang Ninh Province, home to the famous bay which is known as one of the top natural wonders of the world.

Australia is a major source of tourism revenue for 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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