We booked a full day tour to Bokor mountain and pepper plantation and were told the vehicle would be a minivan. When we got picked up from our accommodation the driver arrived in a modified car like a Ute with seats on the back (called a super tuk tuk). We asked the driver where the minivan was, the driver said ‘not many people today so we have this’. There were 6 people on the ‘tour’ all of us crammed in uncomfortably for what is over an hour drive to the top of the mountain. It was a heavily rainy day and realistically a decent ‘tour’ company would have cancelled the trip or at least provided a vehicle as stated (minivan) which was waterproof. The vehicle we had leaked and rain came in from the sides.
On Bokor mountain, part of the trip is to see a waterfall. We got dropped off outside a restaurant where we had to pay to get in to see the ‘waterfall’. This was also trickery used by Vouthy Tours as we asked before we booked if there were any more expenses on the tour and they said there weren’t any. When we all got in to see the waterfall it was from the top. We didn’t see a waterfall like the pictures from the tour showed, more like a dirty river scene. When we got back to the driver from the river we asked if we could see the waterfall from the bottom like their pictures showed. He said ‘heavy rain, no see waterfall from bottom today’. Well that would have been good if we were told that on the day before we paid to get into the area, or better still before we booked the tour as that was part of the appeal to go there.
Once we arrived back in Kampot, before we were supposed to go to the pepper plantation we asked to go to the Vouthy tour office to put in a complaint. We argued for about half an hour about the poor quality tour. It took this long as the tour staff just didn’t want to know about the issue and try to say it’s their policy if they have small numbers they use smaller vehicle. I asked why we paid for a minivan and got smaller vehicle. I said ‘is it because you can save more money using the smaller vehicle?’ He couldn’t give an answer as we knew they were just trying to cut costs and earn more from tourists by not booking a more expensive minivan that we paid for. When we realised we weren’t getting a slight refund for the bad vehicle to Bokor mountain we thought we may as well finish off and do the pepper plantation. The tuk tuk driver who was waiting to take us to the pepper plantation said to me ‘I wait long time for you, you get less time at plantation’. He shouldn’t have told me that as I straight away we went to their desk and asked for our money back for the last part of the day. Possibly the tuk tuk driver would have lost his pay for the afternoon from the company, but he shouldn’t have made that comment with a smug look on his face. We got $8 back each, it should have worked out to be $13 each, but we figured it was like talking to a brick wall and the guy didn’t want to refer us to his manager when we asked several times. His body language when we wanted to speak to the manager made us realise he was in the wrong and didn’t want to get into trouble for his misleading information about the tour. The money we got back should hopefully be enough to get a tuk tuk to a pepper plantation tomorrow.
Sorry for the rant, but lies like this really leave a bad impression on tourism for this country and I don’t want others to experience the same issue and not speak up about it. We don’t have high expectations but when they show pictures of what the tour includes and don’t deliver, that’s just false advertising. They seem to do this a lot in such countries so you pay for a service, and when it’s not as expected, it’s too late to get your money back. They probably do this as most people wouldn’t book it if they knew the truth beforehand.