Flamingo Travel Hanoi -> Never Again

Discussion in 'Vietnam - General Discussion Forum' started by cypress, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. cypress

    cypress Member

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    Hey GT-Rider,

    I did many trips all over Thailand, Laos, Cambodia....was also living in Thailand....own Motorcycles there....was couple of times out with tour operators. Never had problems like in Vietnam!

    What I experienced with Flamingo Travel was just a nightmare.
    A lot of preparation for nothing.

    Here the Tripadvisor rating of a friend which was in our group: (I confirm everything)

    Flamingo Travel - Hanoi - Aktuelle 2018 - Lohnt es sich?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    My group and me was renting dirt bikes from this company for 10 days scheduled, we are experienced enduro riders and wanted to do an light/mid offroad tour planned by ourselfes in northern vietnam

    the first day we was driving we noticed that the bikes was not maintenanced like they should. the electrical part of one machine made problems, the brakes of one bike was REALLY BAD (that is a major security risk), after beginning with offroad we also noticed the clutch of two machines was not ready to drive in offroad use. 1 of them even went nearly broke because it was adjusted !WRONG! by the mecanic. After all this (3 hours driving street, 1 offroad) we decided thats not acceptable and to call the owner and ask him to take care of that. After he refused saying "everything is ok" i had to talk clearly to him. He advised us to drive all the way back to an adress he gave us. So they didnt offer any help to us (i was also asking) and we had to search it by our own in the city we dont know. After we arrived 11 PM, we arrived in a backyard garage outside the city. There was only some mecanics waiting and there were angry at us saying that "we was wrecking the bikes because we drive like crazy" and we should leave them there and call a taxi and go back in the city. Also as i asked them to help us, they only say we have to see by ourself how we get back.

    Anyway the next day we wanted to talk to the owner who told us last evening to meet him 9 am in the morning in the office. Of course he didnt show up. as i was calling him he told "I have no time, talk to my wife" (remember he still had our full money). After a long waiting and several calling we was camping his store and after 3 or 4 hours he showed up. Of course he was saying all was our fault. Dont discuss with them because as tourist in Vietnam, YOU'RE usually GUILTY whatever it is, contract?! what is this?! After a long discussion we managed to get a part of our money back (of course he charged hundrets of dollars for repairs or whatever) we just decided to leave the country and drive in Thailand. So our full preparation of this tour that took months, and we was looking for the whole time... we could'nt enjoy them because flaming didnt do his part and give us bikes that was not ready!

    BTW we had Honda XR 400, 45 $/day

    Please take care this company! They dont provide the standard we expect if you come from Europe, USA or whereever.... so we just want to warn you. And whatever the owner is wrinting now, we cant believe them anymore. he probably tries write something and save his online representation. But i tell you FROM BIKER TO BIKER: dont rent your bike here if you need good material or asisstance!

    So my major point, whoever now is guilty or not:
    the fact, that the owner/employees dont help his customers in the smallest way, knowing they have major problems in a foreign country, is JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE! Sorry, but 1 star

    In Switzerland we say, "I went to this company 3 times: the first, the only, and the last time ^^"

    Cheers


    -------------------------------------------------------------


    Mr. Hung already answered with some nonsense. Just try to safe his ass, unbelievable.
    Even denies that we left Vietnam to go ride in north Thailand


    Im sorry, but this company should'nt be recommend by GT-Rider.
    Actually that was the reason we go to rent the bikes there.

    I DO NOT recommend to rent from Flamingo!

     
  2. princey

    princey Active Member

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    #2 princey, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
    Hi and welcome to what goes on in 3rd world countries.

    Just Stick to Thailand, many very good rental companies to be found all over Thailand.
    Sorry to hear about the big mess up but it doesn't surprise me.

    But with very good feedbacks for Flamingo Travel on Tripadvisor, maybe your expectation was a bit high.

    Also, I see many people come to a friends Bike Rental shop in Chiang Rai Thailand from all over the world and I find it strange that "so-called experience riders " cant tell a good bike from a shit bike?
    Did you not test ride or check out the bikes first?
    At least at that point, before you, part with your money you could either walk away or demand the bikes are sort out?
    Sorry that my 10 cents.
    P.S. To ALL PEOPLE who rent bikes there 2 words called Due Diligence / Caveat emptor.

    Ride safe
     
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  3. GTR-Admin

    GTR-Admin Administrator
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    Over many years, Flamingo Travel appear to have provided good service to many riders. I don't see or recollect any previous reports on GT-Rider forums from members who have experienced anything like what the cypress is outlining.


    Still, it always makes sense to carefully check any bike you are renting before you accept it. If you take what you are given without inspection or question, the risk of problems is increased. For a start, you can be sure that the last person who rented the bike probably did not point out any problems or damages they caused on their trip. If the shop is busy in high season, the guy who did a quick check and service before the bike is turned around might not notice little issues either...

    Overall, most bike rental shops are very obliging and courteous, and rely on repeat business and referrals to stay in business.

    In the interest of fairness, we will invite Mr Hung to respond...
     
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  4. princey

    princey Active Member

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    #4 princey, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
    Spot on Ben

    Allways to side with a coin?

    Here is the other side of the coin posted on Tripadvisor by the owner.



    hung n, Owner at Flamingo Travel, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago
    Thank you for your feedback. Let me begin by addressing your last issue first.

    I decided to end your contract early and return the balance of your payment because in less than 80 km:
    1. You and your friends left the shop doing wheelies and riding very fast—significantly faster than is safe on Hanoi’s congested streets.
    2. You and your friends managed to destroy the clutch plates on each of the three bikes.
    3. You damaged the front fender and gear lever on one bike and then denied it when we asked.

    Every one of our motorcycles goes through a comprehensive safety and functional check before it is allowed out for rental again. There is zero possibility that all three bikes had bad clutches when you rented them. If they had, you certainly would’ve brought them back during the day between when you rented the bikes and when you left Hanoi.

    You say you are very experienced riders, yet you burned through three clutches in less than 160 km. No matter how “experienced” you and your friends are, you are either unfamiliar with proper clutch use or you intentionally mistreated our motorcycles. Either way, we felt it was unsafe and unwise for you to continue your trip and, as is allowed by the contract you signed, we cancelled it. At that time, we returned the balance of your money after paying for the rental days and the $100 we spent to replace the clutch on one bike. Unfortunately, when our mechanics checked your returned bikes, we noticed that the other two clutches were in need of replacement at a cost of an additional US$200.

    Going back a bit, when you stopped 80 km out of Hanoi to have a mechanic look at the one clutch and called me to talk with him, he told me that it was completely destroyed. He was unable to replace it because he didn’t have the necessary parts. I suggested you stay there for the night and return to Hanoi in the morning, mainly because riding at night outside of cities is very dangerous in Vietnam, especially if you are having mechanical difficulties. You and your friends insisted on riding back that night, arriving at 11 p.m. It is quite unreasonable for you to expect us to ride out to meet you at that time of night, especially because there was nothing that could be done for the bike until morning.

    Regarding your claim that you immediately left Vietnam and flew to Thailand to ride, my mechanic saw you and your friends ride past the garage on another company’s bikes the day after we ended our contract with you. I hope you enjoyed your subsequent ride through beautiful Vietnam.

    Hung
    Owner, Flamingo Travel

    Just 1 other point Cypress after he sold his Modified Honda CRF250L down in Pattaya.

    Was he looking to buy?


    I sold my modified CRF250L as I need a enduro bike with more power, more ground clearance and better suspension.

    Honda CRF250X, CRF450X
    Suzuki DRZ400
    Yamaha WR250/WR450
    Honda XR400/XR600
    any KTM EXC, Huqvarna, Beta, GasGas....


    Sounds like "hard Riders" to me that doesn't make them bad men but hay Cypress
    you not on your own bike now?


    "Even denies that we left Vietnam to go ride in north Thailand "

    Simple post copies of you flight details or and your entry and exit stamps?
    Rental agreements from Thailand will soon sort out who is telling the truth mate.

    Is my view after all the effort getting to Vietnam and wanting to ride there?
    Why would you just want to just ride back in Thailand, as the owner said you just rented some other bikes.
    That makes more sense to ME?

    Sorry IMO don't look good



     
  5. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    Tripadvisor! Fake news if I ever saw one.
    Read about the non existent London restaurant which is top rated on tripadvisor. :joy::joy::joy:
     
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  6. cypress

    cypress Member

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    @GTR-Admin I agree. But who checkes the clutch? Maybe the clutch cable yes.
    However, Flamingo did'nt helped us with a new clutch. Only a repair (which we would pay) was needed. But NO.

    Now Hung spend a lof of effort to justify his behavior. Back in Vietnam when he had the chance to help a customer there was no effort.
    Took hours and many calls to even get him to his shop and our money+passport back.

    The Flamingo bikes were bad. Its impossible to burn a clutch of a DRZ! by normal riding. If so, I would need to carry a lot of extra spare clutches on every ride.

    *Clutch cable of the DRZ was at maximum position
    *XR400 clutch was slipping in higher gears -> Flamingo Mechanic says thats normal, no worry
    *Tripadvisor answer Hung says he needed to replace 2 more clutches? Maybe they were old as i said?!

    To Princey...i do not need to show my flight tickets. We stopped our Vietnam trip and flew back to Thailand and did the Helicopter/Huey loop. (There werent any other big bikes available in Hanoi)

    To Princey again...you shouldn't make a judgment about random riders and their riding experience.
    This is the experience of my group which was very bad.
     
  7. princey

    princey Active Member

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    "I agree. But who checks the clutch? Maybe the clutch cable yes.'
    That's the first thing you check on a dirt bike IMO

    A quick test ride would of "CHECK" the clutch in the right hands.
    Sorry, I even check the air pressure on the tyres before I leave the rental shop?
    Sorry, I don't make judgements I just look at facts.
    I let other people Judge you?
    Nuff Said.
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #8 DavidFL, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
    Sorry to hear of your bad experience Cypress.

    There's always two sides to a story & generally Flamingo only ever has good reviews.

    In my time in North Thailand & Laos I've seen & had bad experiences with most of the rental shops.
    They all have good & bad days, & one of the issues in high season is to keep the maintainence up between hire periods.
    It is extremely difficult when you don't have enough bikes & you have bikes booked in advance.
    Generally you prepare the bikes as best you can to be available for the customer who has booked a bike. Then you get bikes that are booked & customers don't bring them back on time for the next customer = they don't care, & the shop has to deal with it somehow.
    It also pays not to abuse your bike on tour, especially in less developed countries like Vietnam & Laos, where a break down could ruin your holiday. If the bike isn't great you probably need to baby it along a bit to do the trip - I've had to do this with rentals in North Thailand. I knew the bike wasn't 100% when I left but knew if I took it easy it would be ok, & so it was.
    Now from your youtube vdos I'd say you're a pretty hard core enduro / MX rider & more than likely enjoy beating up your bikes to see how hard you can go & how fast you can ride. That might be ok in Thailand where there is good back up service & parts, but Vietnam (& Laos) would be another issue.

    If there's another good big bike rental service in Vietnam, better than Flamingo we would also recommend them, but there isn't. So Flamingo it is. Look after your bike on tour & you will more than likely have a great time with the right attitude.

    Thanks for using GTR & we look forward to your next trip report.
     
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  9. cypress

    cypress Member

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    @DavidFL thanks for your feedback. Totally agree.

    Like I said, burned clutch is ok if we would reveive any help.

    And of course its impossible to proove that I was riding the bike carefully.
    But let this be said, it was my first day and 90% was tarmac to get out of the city.
    That DRZ was not abused at all.

    @princey if you had rented that DRZ you would run into the same problem as I did.
    A bad clutch will slip in higher gears, you cannot test that in Hanoi. You will notice it when you're out of the city in the same way we did.
    Airpressure has nothing to do with the clutch.
     
  10. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer

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    Cypress, sounds like bad luck or rider abuse.
    I have used Flamingo twice now and have never had any issues. First time a Minsk 125 and Yamaha YBZ with 22300km on the clock, to travel 1600km with no problems
    Last hire was five bikes, Suzuki EN150 KTM 150 and 3 XT150 all with reasonable kilometres on the clock.
    We travelled 2500 kms in the north on various roads and trails and the only hiccup was a flat tyre, repaired for 100k.
    Flamingo gave us everything in spares to go with the bikes, brake pads, clutch plates, cables, tubes and tools.

    One would think if your bikes had large kms on the clock that that would be a sign to have your own check of the bikes, a quick test ride and stress
    test of things like gears, clutch and brakes.
    As written by others, rentals do get a lot of hard work and may not get adequate servicing between hires. And being only 80 kms out of Hanoi (2+hrs)....not far....and you say you already detected a problem then maybe you should have returned to the shop ASAP, limping back if necessary.

    I'll be back to Flamingo at the drop of a hat for my next Vietnam visit.....might try thre new Hoi An Shop.
     
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