On July 26th night, a tourist from Taiwan posted on her Facebook 3 videos showing a group of other foreign tourists in Nha Trang were being yelled at by the driver’s assistant, their belongings were thrown out of the bus and eventually they were forced to get out of the bus.
She also shared that she bought a bus ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). This incident happened in Nha Trang where she transited. According to the Taiwanese tourist, the seats weren’t numbered so two female passengers on the bus wanted to seat near the window instead of the last row which was said to be uncomfortable. They tried to convince the assistant but he responded by threatening them and anyone who didn’t follow his arrangement.
He twice threw the belongings of the said two passengers out to the road and verbally requested them to leave the bus. The two passengers refused, making a huge commotion on the street of Nha Trang. The video showed that after a while, a male traveller tried to interfere but only made the assistant more out of control. This same assistant even found a metal bar to threaten the male traveller yet the local people stopped him. Another staffer on the bus seemed to be drunk, she added.
Clip: The assistant yelled and threw away passengers’ belongings
In conclusion, she accused the driver’s assistant of his ill and unprofessional attitude toward the passengers. The bus company, as this tourist made clear, was Queen Café Open.
The videos as well as the remarks quickly attracted great attention from both locals and foreign tourists and raised outrage among tourism communities. Majority of the opinions agreed with the poster, that this driver’s assistant’s behaviours were inexcusably wrong and he very much damaged the image of Vietnam tourism in general. Many local people felt sorry for the two passengers and wished them to have other great experiences in Vietnam.
A few days later, there was more information on this incident from the other side of the story, first from the bus company. So what is the whole truth?
Queen Café Open denied responsibility
On 27th July many local reporters had contacted to Queen Café Open in Hanoi for clarification. According to management staffer of this bus company, as seen on the videos, the colour of the bus wasn’t identical with Queen Café Open’s buses which are painted white. They also said that their company sells open tour tickets on routes, from Hanoi they have tickets to Hoian only. These tourists might have bought tickets from Queen Café Open from Hanoi to Hoian then from Hoian they used service from another bus company to continue their journey.
Explanation from Viet Nhat Travel
The red bus in the videos was actually from Viet Nhat Travel. After clarifying, Viet Nhat Travel took responsibility on the case but also claimed that the videos from the Taiwanese tourist didn’t show the whole story.
They said: “This is a group of tourists who travelled from Hanoi to HCMC, stopped at Nha Trang to buy tickets. Their tickets were upper berths at the back of the bus but they insisted to have to lower ones which at the time they got on had been empty. The driver’s assistant explained they couldn’t do that several times but the two passengers weren’t listening and even had aggressive behaviours like spitting at the assistant. This drove the assistant to lose his temper and caused the incident as what we saw in the videos.
When arrived in HCMC, this group have sent their apologies to the driver and the assistant for seating at wrong seats and spitting/insulting at the staff. However, the way our staffer behaved in this incident wasn’t acceptable which now done severe damage to the company’s reputation. On 27th July follow our due process, this assistant’s contract was terminated and we sincerely send our deepest apologies to our passengers and everyone affected by this unfortunate experience.”
We hope this article can clear a lot of misunderstandings among foreign travellers. Also our advice for independent travellers by open bus:
- Follow the arrangement of the driver’s assistant
- Do not seat at wrong seats/berths
- When you have some dispute with the staffers or feeling unsafe, get off the bus as soon as possible then come to the bus company’s nearest office or police office to report.
- In any case, do not intensify the argument to avoid physical harms