Travel complaints among members

One of the activities which seniors love to engage in is to see the world while their legs are still strong.  Many of us plan to go on trips which travel agents do not normally bring travellers to.  Sometimes,  we do not have kakis to travel with.

Quite often, some members do ask if there are like-minded SHCians who would like to travel together.  At the same time, some members, because of their knowledge of some places, invite fellow members to join them to travel to selected cities or remote parts of the world.

From what we read in the forum, most self group travel among members turn out well; and members enjoyed the friendship and the trip proper.  Members also tend to trust and accept travel arrangements organised by fellow members.

But some trips can turn into disaster trips; and the consequences can be unhappy. Expectations can be totally mismatched.  Our expectations of costs can vary eg what is the perceived cost of hotel or guesthouses.  Food can be another area where value and price mismatch.  Service is another area.  Sometimes, we may feel it is better to take an organised tour vs a self-planned tour.  Gosh, things can go wrong.

Some trips among members do turn out into disaster trips.  Friendship goes down the drain.  Many travellers keep quiet, rather than speak out on what they see as bad organisation or they just stress themselves quietly among themselves.  Some feel strongly other members should be informed.

Some feel I should highlight these members or even ban such members from the club.  Should we discuss this openly on this forum?  Should the organiser who led the trips be given a chance to speak out?  Very often, when things go wrong, there is a feeling the organiser made some money. 

Yes, we all know things do and can go wrong.  When a service is offered, the follow-up communication is usually between seller and buyer, organiser and fellow travellers.  The unhappiness lives on.

As a club, we do not have the resources to track all travel arrangements.  We do not track any sale of products and services between or among fellow members.  Who would put up travel guidelines? Who would check and enforce these guidelines? Would there be club volunteers to track any complaints?

I am writing this email because there are such complaints.

I like to hear your views.  Stay objective please.

Terence Seah 

 

72 thoughts on “Travel complaints among members

  1. Yes, Terence, such issues should be brought up as I totally agree with ‘Some feel strongly other members should be informed’.

    Organizers should also be given a chance to speak out/clarify as sometimes things do go wrong at the destination and the organizer had not had the chance to explain.

    If organizers are really out to take members for a ride, they should be highlighted and yes, be removed from the club.

    I suppose a warning should be given and hopefully this will discourage those members who are here to take advantage of others.

    As the owner of the club, although you are not accountable per se for bad things that happen here, you should not be seen as condoning such behavior.

    I am glad you have posted this; a good sign – indicating that we want a club with happy members by addressing unpleasant issues in a positive manner without being quarrelsome.

    Tops!

  2. We should try to appreciate that the organisers are putting the effort and time to put together a group of people to embark on a journey to share the companionship, the travel, the lodging,and the food.
    In regard to whether the organisers profit from the venture, it is rather remote. However, the wouldbe participants can check for himself and establish the validity of the costs before joining the trip.

  3. There are two sides to a story and it is only right to hear from both sides before making a judgement. Having said that, SHC members themselves must be solely responsible for any decision they make. Hence, they should try to recognise members who are in SHC to fish … and avoid being caught!

    And members confirmed fishing in SHC should be barred from SHC membership so that bona fide members can tread safely.

    2-ct’s worth.

  4. Hi Terence, why should you – or the club as a whole – involved in such personal matters?

    At age 45 or older, participants should enter any deal with their eyes open. The fact that you disallow advertisements already disclaims you of any responsibility. Taking the organiser to task only invites unnecessary trouble. How do you prove the organiser is “making money”, assuming money is indeed the factor? Airlines have differing fares for the same destination, hotels charge differently and prices can vary a lot at restaurants and shops. If you are not careful you avail yourself to potential suits of libel and defamation. Even if a participant feel cheated, it should be just once and for all. There is a saying in the caveat emptor market at large — if you are cheated once by the dealer, he is wrong – if you are cheated twice by the same dealer, you are wrong. In any case, give the benefit of doubt to the organiser. Who would want to organise anything if participants are encouraged to nitpick? There are hundreds of tour companies out there. Join them.
    In the final analysis, I believe many problems are not solely due to money – be it in a group, an organisation or even matrimony. Money however is a good excuse to camouflage the real cause of any sour-up relationship. When in good terms, people can lavish money without a blink. The reverse is 10 cents becomes bigger than a bullock cart. My suggestion is – warn members discreetly. Don’t underestimate messages by the word-of-mouth.

  5. Hi Terence / Yunnan EO , Daniel Chan,

    Daniel, you are wrong. I am here NOT to take the EO to task but to PROTECT the interests of unwary SHCians. and not to blame 1 another.

    Terence, since you have put up this blog, it is obvious that some of the complaints among the members are indeed VALID. For a long time , I ponder before deciding to highlight in order to protect the interest of SHCians at heart despite my v. busy schedule.

    Although , I am not the owner of SHC , through the years, I have this feeling of “ownership” and as such I too need to protect other unwary members so that they would NOT be taken for a ride by these “unscrupulous” member EOs who are out to make a quick buck from SHCians and NOT for the interest of SHCians at heart.

    Thanks Terence for writing this blog. I think it is v. fair that I am giving the EO a chance for him to explain all my points listed below. Pls. DON’T moderate my comments although it is a lengthy one as my complaints are VALID and I stressed that I have NO conflicts with the EO at all but v. unhappy ,angry and frustrated with the treatment we received from her/him.

    Before I decided to go on this tour, I ask a few members and they told me are you sure you want to travel with her/him ? as they receive many negative feed back from other members as well. I decided to give her/him the benefit of the doubt and decided finally to travel with her/him to find out the truth myself and not through hear say.

    1) I receive private invitation email/SHC blog to visit Yunnan, Dali and Li Jiang in Sept. 2012. The mail was general. I was given the impression that the EO will accompany us on F n E terms around in Kunming, Dali and Li Jiang and he speaks fluent English. I was v. happy as most China package tours are conducted in Mandarin. At least with him around, I can better appreciate the places of historical interest.

    2) As they were 9 of us including our EO, we expected the basic thing thing she/he does is to charter a mini bus or a van to shuttle us all together around in Yunnan region. To our great disappointment when we reached Kunming airport , the EO wasted more than ½ hour of our precious time arguing loudly with 2 pirated taxi drivers in full view of the public. We felt rather embarrassed when other passengers saw the commotion.

    3) The 2 small taxis that he hired couldn’t really accommodate all of us and our luggages. The many heavy luggages were pile 1 on top of the other behind our backs and we have no choice but to sit v. closely together and felt v.uncomfortable. Luckily, the luggages didn’t fall on us. And as such we were split in 2 different taxis ALL the time from Kunming to Dali to Li Jiang.

    4) On the way back at night from Li Jiang to Kun Ming for 8 h , we have to sleep in train cabins with triple deckers on each side with NO DOORS for our privacy. It was open concept and any passenger can see through and encroach into our private space. Imagine to our horror and GREAT ANXIETY , how to sleep peacefully when we have to look after our many luggages on 1 side and also to look after our valuables on the sleeping berth. Any stranger can just walk by and steal our valuables or luggages and alight at nearby train station if we sleep soundly without being aware what had happened. Here, our safety is at stake. There are train cabins with double deckers and with doors to protect our privacy but she/he chose to buy the cheapest class to profit more from us.

    5) We flew in by Singapore Airlines, paid $400 for to and fro transport from hotel to air port, travel by taxis to Dali n Li Jiang and basic accommodation in apartments and ordinary guest houses. Already, she/he could have saved a lot by not putting us up in hotels. Why subject us to this kind of “torturous” treatment ?

    We are NOT budget conscious travelers on a tight budget. If she/he feels that the amount we pay is not enough, then she/he can just let us know and I am sure all of us are prepared to pay more for a comfortable, fun and enjoyable tour which we are looking forward too. ( All meals is on our own . ) I am NOT complaining about meals. If we are indeed budget conscious travelers on a v. tight budget, well I have no complaints how she/he arranges the tour.

    6) It is most irresponsible of the EO to sub contract to another young man whom he only know 1 day. The young man is inexperienced and a NOT proffesional tour guide. EO has business commitments ? ? ? in Kunming and only accompanies us for break fast and dinner only. If she/he is NOT prepared to spend time with us I think he or she should not have organized this so called Yunnan tours. Why I join her/him in this tour because I thought she/he is so familiar with Kunming and at least will bring us around. To my disappointment, he guided us how to take public buses instead giving the excuse that he was v.busy with his work in Kunming.

    7) On the way to Dali in 2 taxis, I heard from the other group that their taxi driver with long unkempt hair and fierce tribal look drove recklessly as though he was driving in a grand pri putting them at great risk. Also the young guide did not know that there were 2 different entrances to Dali Foreigner street guest house. 1 is v.near while the other is v.far way. He dropped us at the wrong entrance and we have to carry and drag our many heavy luggages over uneven cobblestone path for about 20mins . I pity and sympathesize with 3 of our elderly seniors aged 60+ to 70+ who have to carry on their own all the way to our guest house.

    My point is if she / he has hired a bus where all of can sit together happily and not separated in to 2 groups , there will be no complaints from us. And also as EO he should look into our safety and welfare and to come along no matter how busy she/he claims to be unless we are budget conscious travelers on a tight budget.

    8) One of our members was so v.exhausted , v.angry and v. frustrated from the “torturous” journey that she told us that she wanted to fly back to Spore 2 days before actual departure date. This is clearly evident that something has gone awfully wrong.

    9) During dinner at a restaurant , 1 of our members complained that his noodle was ½ cooked and tasted raw to the waiter. The EO shouted across to him a few times not to complain but to continue to eat the noodle again in full view of the public. All of us was shocked by her/his sudden outburst of temper. We felt embarrassed too. This is v. unbecoming of our EO to behave in such a manner. Our member has the right to complain as he is paying for his own meal.

    10) As we were tired from carrying our heavy luggages, I ask EO to recommend where we can go for a good traditional massage , she/he says that there is no massage centres in Kunming. We went to explore and manage to find one at night . I deliberately show him the massage centre card we went to. Is it that she/he will only help when there is commission or profit to make ?

    11) The EO being a member and friend of the group with NO luggage to carry , NEVER at 1 time did she/he offer to help to carry 1 or 2 heavy luggages from the 70 + elderly senior citizens to relief their load a bit although this is not a must.

    12) Just to share,when I was EO for tour package to Vietnam HCMC I went to source from a few reputable travel agencies with competitive prices and with good holiday itineraries. With 5 of us, I was able to ask for a good discount. Whatever, the discounts and special prices the agent offers me, I shared it equally among the 5 of us.

    My intention is that I want to travel HAPPILY together with other SHCians and NOT into any kind of profit making which is against my principles.

    13) If I knew earlier that I will end up with so much unhappiness and lots of frustration and misery from this this tour , I would with the same amount of money $1000+ , I could easily booked the same package tour from a reputable travel agency which will provides me the following :-

    (i) 2 way air fares.
    (ii) All meals, transport and itineraries as in brochure
    (iii) A local travel guide who sees to our safety and welfare in Yunnan.

  6. Sorry for get to mention for

    No 13. (iv) 3 to 4 stars hotel accomodation included.

  7. Hi Steven. How could I be wrong when I was replying to Terence’s post IN GENERAL, and not to yours in particular?

    What Yunnan trip? Your name was not mentioned when I made my comment. I have yet to digest your long story. Allow me time to do so. Since you have a case here, we shall now have to be specific. Very specific. Lets hear from all concerned to get a better picture.

    I am not sure if this is the best place to hold a “briefing”. Personally I don’t think so, but don’t mind being a part of the jury. Your call, Terence.

  8. The “Yunnan EO”‘s name is not mentioned. I must first declare that I am not the EO. I have neither time, energy nor capability to do such a thing. Just kaypoh a bit here.

    Steven, you opened your story with this statement,

    “Daniel, you are wrong. I am here NOT to take the EO to task but to PROTECT the interests of unwary SHCians. and not to blame 1 another.”

    1. The 13 points that followed obviously take the EO to task. And anybody who can read knows you are blaming him/her.

    2. How to PROTECT the interests of “unwary SHCians” when there are no names mentioned?

  9. Hi Daniel,

    Not to worry, you are not the EO. As you have not been with us in this tour, you have not have experienced the hardship we went through. Experiencing is believing.

    And poor thing , 1 elderly member from our tour Yunnan group was so overly exhausted that she fell sick for 1 week just after she returned from the tour. All the facts I listed above are reliable and not exaggerated as I had no conflicts with the EO at all. I write what I deem is right to speak my mind.

    The EO who frequently conduct these Yunnan “guided” ? tours on a yearly basis will respond sooner or later to give his views which I am waiting for her/him to reply.

    I leave it to Terence to do what he thinks is right. And he already knows who the EO she/he is.

  10. Hi Daniel,

    If I am the “complaint” type I would have complain in Sept after the tour. Why wait until Jan 2013 to complain ?

    It was other SHC members not in our Yunnan tour group who complain to Terence after hearing out our unpleasant experiences and here I am contributing my part while I leave the rest to my other members to contribute too.

  11. Hi Steven,

    Thanks for bringing up this issue. I had similar bad experiences with my Yunnan trip. In my case, we were at this guest house waiting for our rooms. After much hoohah, we finally had a room for the four of us. It was apparent to us that no reservation had been made.

    On checking in, we had to sweep the room and asked to change the bedsheets, worse still, there was no toilet paper, no soap, no towels, nothing! We asked the EO for towels. After much squabbling between our EO and front desk, our EO went out to buy towels. They were just small, pink and very thin. After using it we all turned pink because the colour runs.

    Up till today, I still have phobia of pink towels. I have more to write when I have the time. Story to be continued…..Ah Nee.

  12. Hello fellow. SHCians,

    With the heat in this post, I thing is best for me to say a few things objectively.

    What is life? My neighbor always asked me. Life is like traveling on a conveyor belt. Most of us are on a conveyor belt designed by others. (Ref: 25 random things).

    Whatever we do are made up of choices – our final decision, OUR choice. Sometimes we do make bad or wrong choices and paid heavily for it. Reasons – do not know the right QUESTIONS to ask the person who wanted us to part the money to, we totally have no idea what we are in for, we do not know humanity well (eg some people have a $$$ in front of their head and some have a “heart” in front).

    There is a general saying – you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. You can find a lot of examples, in any occupation, in any society worldwide – in Singapore, in China and even in developed countries. I am fortunate because I travel widely for my work and well informed by friends who are well informed and do not have $$$ in front of their head.

    So, as a Social Group with varied COMMON INTERESTS, those who have opinions (I emphasize, your personal opinion) can pass the word round (for the recipients to make his/her final choice). To be fair to the “victim”, sometimes things go wrong is not 100% the fault of the organizer. I would encourage the person in the center of this heat to come to the open and give his/her reasons why things go so wrong. Let the Social Group (not involved) to understand both sides of the story.

    Hewlee

  13. Good morning to all. A beautiful Sunday. Breakfast now.
    An apt comment, Hew Lee. I wish there are similar comments from people who have widely traveled, especially been to “primitive” places.

    Steven’s revelation painted a very tumultuous experience. “Oh Dear !! That Bad??” should be the natural response of readers. While we do not expect clock work efficiency in a foreign land, a minimum level of comfort and convenience is not too much to ask for.

    It leaves us to wonder how much of the happenings in the alleged nightmare ought to be within the control of the organiser/EO.

    If the person in question does not say his/her piece, then this proceeding has not made anybody wiser.

  14. Hi Hew Lee,

    Thanks for your feedback. Well, I would NEVER expect a Friend and also a SHC member to give us this kind of arrangement with regards to our safety, health concerns just imagine our ledrerly seniors have to carry our he ( refer taxi story to Dali… ) as well.

    I already stressed that we are NOT BUDGET CONSCIOUS travellers who travel to Kunmimg by Silk Air would try to stinge here and there to save costs.

    What we wanted was a happy memorable Yunnan group tour with SHCians with a reliable guide. If the amount of $400 is not enough to cover , she/he could have inform us to give her/him more money to top up and I am sure all of us will be more than willing to give her/ him the extras but NOT subject us to these ” HARSH ” conditions. :(

    …… to be continued.

  15. Steven,

    I sympathize with your experience and hardship you endure for the Yunnan trip. From what you wrote, I gather that people in your similar shoes would be better off joining a conducted tour.

    Since we know most members volunteer their time n effort (may or may not profit or just to cover his own cost) to EO
    a trip, perspective n responsibility among EOs will vary.

    As what I know, most EOs will hold a briefing for interested members before anyone make any deposit. This would the the best time to ‘grill’ the EO with details such as what the payment covers and what not, what he/she will do, what as followers we need to prepare for, and if he/she can provide an account of the expenses incurred.

    I deduce (correctly or wrongly) that your expectation is high (well which of us is not & it’s not wrong to do that) of the EO as well as to get value-for-$ for the trip, what I think is this should be brought up during the briefing and ask probing questions. If the answers suit you, go ahead. If not, check if certain requests, like staying in how many *s hotel instead of guest houses, can be accommodated.

    Don’t expected every EO to organize tours with quality of Terence. I think expectation in every trip needs to be set right before it even starts.

    Note: I went to same Yunnan trip in Oct2011, endure most of the ‘hardship’ you mentioned and was nearly pickpocked in a public bus. Nevertheless, I must said I learned more from this trip than many conducted tours I joined before.

    May your next trip be a more pleasant one.

    james tan

  16. Hi everybody,

    I am following up on the feedback and comments from travellers on the Yunnan trip. Let’s stay objective. We may not know about the trip proper. Importantly, I see an element of travellers’ expectations which did not match what had happened on the ground.

    Did the travellers ask all the necessary questions before the trip? Did the organiser provide an idea as to what the trip would look like?

    Stay objective.

    Terence Seah

  17. I am commenting on this subject because I have benifitted from many trips with members here. I have also gone with Feztus to Kunming 2 times and I have also gone on a long public bus trip with him and other SHC members from Chiangmai to Kunming. I have enjoyed every trip.

    There are roughly 2 types of Singaporeans who venture outside of the country. There are TRAVELLER who enjoy the freedom of travel without boundaries and three are TOURIST who wants to enjoy travel and also have all or better than the comforts they have at home. I do enjoy both but is very aware each time I make a trip on what is to be.

    In a social club like SHC I would expect EOs are usually someone who wants to share his/her adventure with others but of course time and again we have legal or illegal tour operators masquerading as friends to get customers. I think I think it is important for Terence and us members to help flush the latter out.

    If we are going with an EO here, we should respect him/her to be a friend and fellow traveller and not a servant. If we think he/she is earning money from you, we should not go with them because he/she is an illegal tour operator and you will have no redress whatsoever if things go wrong.

    We also have EOs who organize the tour through professional travel agency. In this case, if you chose to go, you should still treat the EO as a friend and fellow traveller and work with him/her to solve your problem with the tour operator instead of expecting your ‘friend’ to solve your problem.

    I hope this comment serves a an encouragement to those who wants to share your travels with members here. I guess the lesson to learn from this is for EOs to state clearly what they are.

  18. Ater reviewing all the comments, we are getting somewhere in arriving at the correct perspectives in what to expect in tours arranged by SHC members.
    A SHC member may or may not have the experience and gumption to be a good tour leader or EO. Before a tour is finalised there are many groundworks to make both from the
    wouldbe travellers and the EO. There will be questions and answers to be trashed out. For examples are the participants fit enough to embark on such a journey.
    For those who want clockwork precision in the tour, they should join conducted tours provided by the travel agents. The intinerry is very detailed and precise. Any deviations will not be entertained. Each morning there is the morning call at 6.30am to prepare the start of the day’s tour. This is understandable considering the task of chaperoning such a big group of diverse people.
    In a Free&Easy tour, time and mode of travel are completely at our discretion. We can choose the time of waking up, the means of transport, the food, the motels/hotels, the places to visit, the next town of destination. To some, these are adventures and they derive thrill and joy from them. To many, these are too much of a hassle and will not subscribe to such a notion. The choice is theirs. Once it is
    made, there should not be too much grouses and regrets.

    Robert Ong

  19. Hi Robert Ong / James Tan

    I have been to Ubud, Sanur and many other remote places in Bali ulu ulu places on Free n Easy terms for 8 days in the last 3 yrs with tut tut and taxis ferrying SHcians as well and we too stay in ordinary guest houses. We happily enjoyed the arrangements made by her and she held a briefing before we finally makes our decision to go with her.

    In Chiangmai, our group of SHCians took tut tuts most of the time to move around the town for our shopping and meals. To say that I had high expectations is wrong. We were v. happy with our E.O. also a SHC member who guided us around although he makes it clear that he is not a tour guide but to facilitate us. If my expectations are indeed high , instead of tuk tuk , why not take a taxi then, more comfortable and air cond too. Right ?

    From the emails , the description of the Yunnan tour itinerary was brief.
    No briefing was held and we did not insist as we trusted her/him as she/he is a friend and also a SHC member. Nothing was mention that we will be split in 2 groups in small pirated taxis at Kunming airport that squeezes us together.

    And we assume the most basic transport is to charter a small bus or van for 8 of us to be ferried around together. If that was the case, there will be no complaints.

  20. Back to my story………….Steven has said it all.

    This is not a budget constraint trip. EO listed the cost for air tickets, accommodations, transportations and the total amount to be paid to him. Yes, there’s a pre-trip discussion. We did ask him where we are touring in Yunnan; he said that it can be arranged at our own expenses. I did not asked for more details as I have good judgment of him since he has travelled frequently to Yunnan and I trusted him to lead us on this trp. It has proven me wrong!

    What I am upset about was his rude and inconsiderate attitude. When I asked him why a face towel and not a Bath towel? He simply replied “take it or leave it”??? As if it’s my fault and I can’t afford a towel. We are at his mercy there in a foreign land. :(

    Our Safety is at stake – we moved around in Yunnan / Dali / Lijiang by taxi. Usually he will left us after looking for 2 taxis and informed the drivers to bring us to where we want to go. Most of the time we are worried, luckily, we have 2 men in this group and we make sure that 0ne man must be in a taxi with the ladies, just in case we are lost in …….or anything can happen . Like Steven mentioned, he could have arranged a mini coach or van to ferry all of us together as a group. It was not clear the transportation did include those taxis we took; we paid for the fares anyway.

    On the Tour Guide he arranged for us – we wanted to visit Dali ancient town, Minority Village. As this place is very big and we may not know how to navigate, we paid for a tour guide. The so called “Tour Guide” he arranged for us was an undergraduate student freelancing for some pocket money. The young adult was seen studying the map while guiding us. At one point, he guided us to a “Neverland”, no through road. Hahaha…..We gave up looking up to him, in the end the so called “Tour Guide”, joined us walking, sightseeing, and lunching together. And we agreed to pay for his lunch.

    Taking an overnight Train – I am not sure the money we paid for are for what type / class of train cabin. The one arranged was an open concept cabin, but I have taken an overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa with curtain on the Train Cabin.

    Not all EOs are like the Yunnan EO. The memorable Bangkok trip and subsequent ChiangMai / Thailand’s coastline trips organized by Terence was so gooood…….also the unforgettable Padang trip by Wee Chin, Hainan Tour by Dolly, Batam / Taiwan trip by Lily and the Kelong outing by Boon Liang. These EOs have their “Heart in front and not $$$ in front” like what Hew Lee puts it and I appreciate their effort in making the trips a pleasant and enjoyable one for SHCians.

    Overall, with the sum of money we spend, we could comfortably join a package tour by Chan Brothers. Well, it was a mistake I made. :(

    Ah Nee

  21. Hi All

    I think the issue here is that trust and faith were given to the EO.

    From the comments, the travelers simply wanted the basic necessities for their accommodation, having a suitable mode of transport and safety.

    These are not much to ask for. They did not whine/complain about unreasonable expectations.

    It would seem that the trip was poorly organized. I wonder if the EO had informed the travelers that he would be a facilitator and that he would only provide certain ‘help’ and would not be with them throughout the trip?

    Terence, please tell us again as I am not certain about this. Are EOs and ECs required to be with the travel group for the duration of the trip even if the trip was organized privately for members?

    It is important for the club to ‘flush out’ per TS’s comment those who are here to make money out of members on a trip.

    The whole point of travelling with members is to have fun and sweet memory from places visited.

  22. Hi Ah Nee,

    Could it be the same undergraduate that you are talking about and also free lancing as a “tour guide” for us in Dali and Li Jiang ? We meet him only in Dali. Usually he will leave us after looking for 2 taxis and informed the drivers to bring us to where we want to go. He does NOT accompany us except for b.fast and dinner in Kunming only. In Dali and Li jiang he leave it to the young un-professional tour guide ” to bring us around to some places which he too have never been before. Ridiculous!

    Also the 2 pirated taxi drivers from Kunming have to stop halfway and ask the group to get out with all their luggages and and wait for another taxi coming down from Dali to fetch them to Dali. We were lucky. Our group was told before hand by our taxi driver and we were mentally prepared.

    Imagine for yourselves , the other group of 4 senior elderlies being asked to get out of their taxi in a foreign place along the highway without clearly explaining to them why ? Our other group of elderly folks was not told before hand of such an UNUSUAL arrangement.

    To their SHOCK and ANXIETY they thought it was some kind of
    ” KIDNAPPING ? “. Even if he does NOT accompanies us , the EO could at least pre warn us of such an unusual practice in Yunnan ? ( Territorial business ? )

    I think if the taxi drivers were legal and licensed, then we were not have to stop halfway, got down with our many heavy luggages and carried them to another taxi that is heading back to Dali.

    Talking about his rude and inconsiderate attitude I agree with you Ah Nee as mentioned about face/bath towels. I find him to be aggressive and arrogant and not willing to listen to constructive criticisms. We are indeed at his mercy in a foreign land. Also like Ah Nee we trusted him too much and that has proven us wrong. :(

    At the restaurant when 1 of our male members complained that his noodles was 1/2 cook and tasted raw , he SHOUTED LOUDLY at him ” XY, Sit Down Don’t Complain ” a few times in full view of the public. We felt rather embarrassed.

    He has no respect for XY and reprimanded him like a child in full view of the public. Is this the correct behavior of an adult E.O.? After all, XY paid for his own meals and entitled to complain what he thinks is not right.

    I totally agreed with Ah Nee that not all EOs are like this Yunnan EO.
    The memorable Chiangmai trip organised by an EO in Feb , Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay by another EO in Aug and the Guangzhou and Guilin tours by another EO in Nov 2012 was so Gooood and Exciting!!! .

    The EOs are SHC members too and would not like their names to be mentioned and I respect their wishes.

  23. “Unforgettable Padang Trip”
    After 3.5 years of the trip, some good souls like Ah Nee still remember the trip and grateful there was someone who volunteer to organise it. This is heart warming.

    Thanks for Terence monthly emails that keeps SHC in overseas in contact. The fond memories that we enjoyed through SHC become part of our life. Thank you Terence.

    Tiger Airlines resume daily flights from Singapore to Padang since 1 Dec 2012 and now I sell lobsters to Singapore. For those who love lobsters, good news.

  24. Travel overseas is one top event among SHCians.

    Geraldine, an EO (Event Organiser) is required to be present during the travel period. He/she leads the travel, with or without tour agency assistance. The group comprises all SILVERHAIRSCLUB members.

    If the organiser leads the travel, but includes non-SHC members, he is an EC (Event coordinator). He/she is also required to be present during the tour.

    If the organiser is not present during the travel, the travel is considered an Advertisement. Free advertising is not permitted on this forum.

    These are general guidelines.

    We will still continue to hear views and comments on this topic of complaints. Feztus, please give your side of the story. Your response before 15 Feb 2013 would be appropriate.

    Terence Seah

  25. Bpk Chin #23,
    HELLLOOOOOO…..where/how have you been??? Such a looong silence!
    You are wrong! There are still many many people who remembers and enjoyed your Padang Trip!
    We still talked about it now and then, whenever short & near travelling trips/topic were in discussion.
    Please participate or join in at SHC (forum or events)whenever you are free….or please try ya!!
    I believe many SHCians are wondering WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? HOW ARE YOU? WHY NO SOUND FROM YOU etc….
    Really GREAT to hear from you again!
    Cheers,
    Ivan Lim

  26. Oh yeah Bpk Chin….how to forget Padang? Those yummy big Lobsters and Prawns we ate! Avocado juice…..Nasi Padang…..Wow, value for money too. :)

    Ah Nee

  27. They said singaporean are stupid, naive…
    I think it is quite true…

    I think in any deal ..if it goes wrong ..it is a two party fault

    1) Do you know your risk/comfort level..have you ask yourself..Can I take this trip (if you can write, surely you can find out by google on the place you are going)

    2)If you are paying only $400..didn’t you asked.. “what am I expecting from the trip …tour, food, hotel

    3) You cannot compare a package tour and a self packed tour – say if tour agency charges you $800 for the tour, $400 go to air-ticket, $400 to tour/hotel/food…do you know that only $50 goes to cover your hotel, food, tour, transport…and the other $350 goes to local agency (to cover advertisement, admin and margin)Do you know how they do it …I leave you to find out about it

    4) When travelling, always travel light, travel safe and travel smart…I suppose it is less than a week tour…why bring so much lugguage

    5) On such a tour you should not go expecting others to help you with lugguage, walking etc You should know that anyone above 70s is at risk to go for such a tour and such a place. You only have yourself to blame.

    6) In fact anyone above 70s should go for a reasonable comfort package tour, not the rough it out kind. And always buy travel insurance

    7) Package tour is usually cheaper than self planned tour unless you are prepared to rough it out

    8) Do not expect everyone to be like you.

  28. Geraldine at #21,

    Yes these are the basic necessities which I don’t understand why Towels are not provided? The squabbling between the EO and the front desk staff that we saw, could be on the issue on who should paid for the Towels???

    Steven at #22,

    I sympathise with your other group of 4 senior folks being asked to get out of their Taxi, lugging their heavy luggage along the highway, just to wait for another Taxi. What kind of transport arrangement is this? So scary!

    Oh…..I forget to mention this familiar slogan often used by the Yunnan EO “Do I need to answer you”. Whenever there’s a question being put to him, this will be the answer “Do I need to answer you”??? What the @#$%^&….if I know about Yunnan, why do I need to ask you or come all the way to Yunnan at your mercy.

    I am glad that Terence has initiated this post for us to speak our mind. Going forward, I hope that SHCians should be wary of such trips.

    Ah Nee

  29. Christina Pan (#27)You don’t mince your words. Like.
    Not so sure about the money part but I agree with you on points 5 and 6.

    Members who have an opinion have “spoken”. Hopefully there are more. Those who were directly affected have told us, with disgust and indignation, their ordeal. No reason to doubt their revelation. Without an explanation from the other side, we can only conclude that the expedition was indeed horrendous.

    On the other hand, we have “floor speakers” who chipped in to express their thoughts – not so much on the trip in question but travelling in general. Most of us feel that event organisers are generally caring and responsible people. Not an easy job. Participants who sit and wait for something to happen must be grateful when it actually happens. I always appreciate the work of EOs.

    While waiting for a reply to all the accusations, we can only ponder and wonder.

    Some questions that warrant an answer:

    1) Should SHC (Terence to be exact) be involved in such controversial cases?
    2) If the answer is YES, how can each case be investigated, judged and moderated?
    3) Our first concern should be safety and security (face it – we are not that young). What responsibility does SHC bear if something unpleasant happens during the trip – such as sickness, injury or even……?
    4) How does SHC inform/remind/warn members of undesirable elements, assuming you are able to prove that they exist?

    Regards
    Happy Travelling

  30. Hi Bapak Chin / Padang kakis,

    Loooong time we did not hear from you. Apa macham ?

    If not for you as EO for Padang & Bukit Tinggi tour ( Sumatra ) I would not have a chance to taste the v. fresh Sashimi Lobsters at your friend’s restaurant. It was the BEST lobster I ever tasted in my life . About 3feet in length from head to tail. And many thanks for your good arrangement for our hotel accommodation , food , shopping and itineraries.

    It was indeed a a v.happy and memorable tour for all of us. :)

    Luckily, we went about a month earlier and the place was still intact. A month later the whole place was devastated by a strong earth quake.

    Yes. I would like to order some live lobsters from you. :)

  31. Hi Christina Pan @ 5 and 6,

    I am not 70+ as you had assumed and I don’t expect him or anyone else to carry my heavy luggages. I can manage all by myself.

    I say I pity those who are with us and are 70+ who had to lug their heavy luggages all the way around Yunnan region for 8 days.

    If ALL of us were in 1 minibus/ mini van , a lot of inconveniences can be ruled out and NO need for this blog to appear. He chose the “cheapest” way to get more profit from all of us.

  32. Hi Christina Chan @27 and Steven Chan @31

    Christina has brought out the practical aspect and common sense in travel. She has pointed out in general and not referring anyone in particular that those travellors above
    70 years and are not fit should not join tour that requires some roughing out.
    I often encourage friends and relatives that they should travel while they still can.

  33. Since the admin, which i assume is terrence out of concern for steven chan has open a ‘grievances’ department to let folks like him and opportunist ah nee to vent her pent-up sufferings, it is good that they get this chance to air their frustrations. I am not sure if the admin has preempted this matter with steven, it doesn’t matter anyway.
    the reason for responding to this thread is purely out of concern for the group. as you know on all trips, some travelers’ personal habit, depressive remarks and attitude can be irritating to the group especially in free and easy type of travel. eventually when the traveler persisted, the rest of the group either just avoid them or ‘because it is necessary to finish the trip together’, just chose to accommodate them. when it comes to choice, a sub group decided to not include steven on a day trip, because they find him not suitable. But later that elderly lady out of goodwill to him offered to treat steven to a buffet breakfast costing 69 yuan. This same lady did not fall sick after the trip but about 10 days after returning to Singapore. She enjoyed everyday of the trip though she chose to avoid certain day trips that requires too much climbing. When steven and room mate has some difficulties we offered to change room mate but he resisted. travelers are also offered the option to take a single supplement room. When steven chose to bring massage girl to their rooms, we did not bother.
    The crux of the matter is that when there is no minimum critical number of travelers from shc blog, the event is unlisted and unofficial. steven received an email informing him that there is a personal group going (many not from SHC) and since steven has been asking me for years to keep him in the loop, he received the email. there are those that wisely opted out knowing it is not a package tour. there was a pre-trip meeting too. so when it is a personal group, he must comply to the group. but slowly over the trip, his habit and the group members’ personal habits kick in, the color shows and travelers started to do avoiding game. If there is “less preferred list of travelers”, we have a few people we like to nominate too.
    finally just last Sunday, there was a nonya and nasi lemak hosted by another 60+ elderly lady of the group, though originally hesitant about inviting steven to the lunch but eventually informed him as we want to give him a pleasant feeling. If she knew that steven is going to unilaterally go against the group’s feeling and do things without the group’s knowledge that he is going to hang out his dirty laundry, she would have avoided him. Steven does not represent the group and if he represent SHC, I wonder what capacity.
    There are many personal and non package trips, so whoever is doing the regulation need to advise travelers clearly. Anybody can also organize trips to yunnan for all I care. Maybe these 2 unhappy travelers can go for the 6K dollars trip and do a good job. All the best to you

  34. I think the complaints may be getting kind of a peronal. Allegation of “to get profit from all of us” is quite a serious accusation unless one can actually prove it.
    Having heard the grouses of the many goers, it appears that it is a msimatch of expectations.
    The onus of an SHC member subscribing to a trip should satisfied with himself/herself the character and temperament of the EO as well as the people that he/she is going with. The companionship is most important in any trip. It just take one chap to spoil the whole trip :-(
    As for me, I will find out what to expect, what I need to bring, and find out more about the places I am going.

    On the other side, the EO should spell out in no uncertain terms, what he is providing- whether a chartered coach or hitch hiking, whether a pre-booking of hotel is done or to expect to sleep in the rough.

    Mismatch of expectation is the sure formula of disaster.

  35. The only trip ( if my memory serves me well) with SHC members is the one I went to Batam organised by Lily Ho.

    I enjoyed it thoroughly as it was well organised and nothing was left unchecked. We even have morning calls from the EO and her “assistants” on the day of departure. Everything was well arranged, from the ferry ride to the accommodation and food and entertainment. It was sort of free and easy but we are well taken care of.

    We need to have a positive thinking when we go to a foreign land. Just tell yourself you are going to enjoy the trip. Dont expect too much so you will not be disappointed unless you had paid a princely sum for the tour.

    Its fair if the EO tells the group upfront if he is getting a free ride if he could gather enough participants and register if we are happy with the arrangements. Its not an an easy job arranging for overseas holiday trips for a big group.

    I have heard of some trips where participants who have tight ar.. and dont want to buy check in baggage claiming they are not buying anything. But on the day of departure, these same people want to use the baggage allowance bought by others. This takes the goat.

    If we want to have an enjoyable trip, not only the EO is responsible but we as participants should play our part.

    Or the easiest way is like the trips organised by Terence, you get your own travelling companion, buy your own air ticket and book your own hotel room.

    And I agree with the points raised by Christina Pan.

    Ah Nee – you make me LOL about becoming pink with the towels!

    Cheers
    Carly

  36. I agree with James Koh about the EO and participants of the tour.

    If I see the name list consisting of people whom I think I cannot hang out with, I will not register for it.

    Cheers
    Carly

  37. on#29danchan
    fyi I did went on a $50 package tour in 2010, 5/4nights (excl airticket) to Hainan incl transport in a small comfortable bus, tour, 4-star hotel, all meals etc
    My whole budget excl shopping, extension only came to $350
    A similar package by local agency is about $600-$800

    From that trip I asked and realized how they can do it so cheap

    #31 I did not assume you above 70s

    Actually in China if you have money you can travel in comfort You can even hire a porter to carry your lugguage all the way back to singapore or even 4 persons to carry you on a carrier and you don’t have to walk
    The problem I see is everyone want to be served and assume it is all inclusive and no one want to open their mouth to ask for the extra for a fee

    Worst even suspect EO making money.

  38. Hi Feztus,

    Pls. don’t DEVIATE from the main topic on transport arrangements.

    ……to be continued.

  39. Hi, SHCian, Good day,
    If is not someone brought me to the troublesome water, I would not voice up my unhappiness travelled during the Yunnan trip.
    I’m a often traveler use to tour to countries around ASIA especially in China, Yunnan Trips have been there a few times, I like the cultural of the minority tribes, the beautifulness of many natural sight of interests.
    I’m a SHC register member for quite some time but I only take part activity in last May 2012, I do not want members have the Impression that I am a trouble maker to raise this complain.
    Let me elaborate a few points during this Yunnan trip.
    I) I brought a 100 Yuan prepaid phone card in China in case of emergency, and I can contact my family in Sg. But was told to hang over to someone because I can not hear well. But I told him can give to anyone if there want to use but I can’t hang over to anyone. Since that he is the EO, he should buy once who want to contact tour member.
    II) I am the one who complained about the half cooked noodle with beef was shouted to eat without grumbling.
    III) I am the one asked the masseur to come to our room to massage for me but Not Steven Chan, What is wrong of a masseur in my room?
    IV) I did not ask to change room with Steven since that he is my good friend and buddy, he is the one who ignited fire to ask Steven to change room that cause both of us unhappiness.
    V) Last but no least I support Steven Chan statement though no 100% but 99.999%.
    VI) Thank you.

  40. Big chief, I think this forum has taken an ugly turn to become personal attack on each other. Travel buddies seem like have become sworn enemies.Not sure if this is your intention when putting up this thread. If not, suggest the aggrieved parties come together face to face over a cup of kopi for a level-headed discussion. Have a good talk, resolve the differences and be buddies again.

    Thereafter, somebody summarise the key points and post the lessons learnt to this forum again.

    I myself personally dont believe EO organizing this type of trips are out to fleece members. I also believe members like to trust EO as much as possible and that this trust should be properly cherished.

  41. Dear parties who have been following up this post on travel complaints,

    Although I am out of Singapore most days, in this case, last two months, I do keep track of Club going-ons. In this case, there were more than 4 complaints on the same trip. But I do not know the details. Honestly, I do not have the time. This explains why I would like someone to take up a local role of Club Manager. Unfortunately, no one has offered, as no one wants to be caught in solving or taking a decision on such matters. If you have the time, and willing to take a decision, the position is still available.

    The Post is very clear. It invites comments on travel complaints. What can be done? We can shut all comments from affected participants. We can also close the Post. I and neither can the Club take a decision, if there are no facts.

    When there is a travel complaint, or any complaint, we could give some time for the affected parties to voice their points. Of course, it is important we stay objective, and not get personal. Easier said than done.

    At first, I thought the complaints arose as a result of a mismatch between travellers and organiser. But at the same time, there are also other conflicts on the ground, which we do not know as yet. I am quite sure that at the end of this discussion, many members would have made up their mind, as to what happen and what cause these complaints to surface.

    I don’t have a judgement over who is right or wrong. I would only allow the parties to clarify themselves, and in this case, we will close this post on 31 Jan 2013.

    A number of members have voiced their views, and I would say the comments are true to the spirit of SilverHairsClub, as a social club. Perhaps, this is an excellent way to resolve issues, as the Club develops.

    Please continue to offer your views, stay objective, and avoid being personal.

    Terence Seah

  42. Alamak!…apa macam this thread has become so unsightly :(

    I know its not easy to be an EO…it takes courage & very time consuming..& worst..even being suspected ‘make money’ out of Shcians,tsk tsk!

    Well…im here not to support or vice versa..just to say something from my heart..i hope nobody will be offended hor :)

    I have been to the Yunnan trip..a real experience & eyeopener..
    To me,I have enjoyed most of the time when we were there..of course one cannot expect so much.I think this kind of trip is not suitable for someone who gets tired easily..ooppss..hehe..sori

    When I follow Shc group tour..i always thought its a frienship jalan2..must ‘give & take’ la….we participants
    must talk ‘nicely’..& not be angry easily.
    EO…u apa macam…also cannot shout la…so paiseh le..hehe..oppss :)

    AhNee…u only say about his ‘bad’ points…so kesian..:(
    U didnt say that he was so nice to bring us to his fren’s house,where we pluck fruits..a big house ,so beautiful!& also farmhouse where we cook our own meal..i caught a big fish & steam it there..at the hut,remember?it was so fresh!
    We ate until so gemuk!…haha
    And also we went to another of his fren’s house..an apartment,i think..where they very good people served us so much sedap food??…u must have forgotten all that..
    all these im sure can overite the ‘pink towel’ episode rite,hhmmm.. :)
    He even went extra mile to look for my ‘halal’ food..& always make sure i have food to eat..im very touched :)

    I think what James@40 say is a good idea..on which we should settle any grievances in person..its better rite?..nobody will get hurt or cause some unhappiness.

    To all my kawan2 out there…lets be friends la..we are afterall one big family…make it a happy one!

  43. Hi All,

    About nearly 17 years ago, I went on an 8-day RC organised trip to Yunnan through a reputable Singapore tour agency with excellent contacts with native Yunnan tour operators. Every thing went on ticking with clockwork precision, thanks largely to the active co-operation of all who purchased the tour.

    All the time a large aircon tour bus took us wherever we went including destinations where villages of minority tribes were located. We observed their cultural dances and their interesting tribal life. The cooked food supplied was very tasty and quite substantial. Nobody had to complain about nagging hunger.

    The trip included an internal airflight to pictureques snow-capped Li Jiang. We all were captivated with stunned expressions of genuine disbeliefs after taking in all the sights of the vast expanse of the beautiful Yunnan countryside.

    How to get hitched Yunnan minority tribal style?

    Most tribal adult or maturing males and females can sing and dance with legendary excellence.

    A young bachelor armed with his tribal styled guitar or flute may go up a highland to sing his heart out. Many eligible maidens out “husband-hunting” will also sneak up there. If a girl likes the powerful voice of her target man, she will sing melodiously back in reply while still hidden behind a bush. Later she will bravely walk out of the bush and tie her silk handkerchief on his musical instrument, indicating she is willing to accept him as her boyfriend and future husband.

    No wonder so many inquisitive, elderly lady matchmakers are suffering from recession in Yunnan. Reportedly, Yunnan married men and married women are allowed to take lovers – paramours – to help out in the fields during planting and harvesting time. Understandably, some of their children carry the genes of their boyfriends or girlfriends rather than their respective husbands and wives. Such mind-bogglingly absurd lifestyles were revealed in a film, “Strange Cultures Of Yunnan” at Golden Theatre along Beach Road decades ago. You may phone long-service ticket sellers at Golden Theatre to verify my story. New ticket sellers may not be aware.

    Blessings,

    tt

  44. Yunnan was never a territory of Imperial China in previous centuries. While I was in Yunnan with my tour group, a senior minority tribal elder confided to our group that the Yunnanese fought courageously against the invading Imperial Chinese armies for 1,000 years and lost. Superior military strategies of Chinese generals backed up by well armed soldiers easily crushed the Yunnanese armed resistance forces. Chinese ancients already used flaming arrows and cannons to confront the hit and run Yunnese guerillas armed with out of date and puny weapons.

    tt

  45. In Yunnan we can tell the difference in dressing between a Chinese and a Yunnanese. Tribal male and female Yunnanese wear turbans, while Chinese don’t. You may conclude without a shadow of doubt that Yunnan is a province of tribal turban wearers.

    tt

  46. Nor, it’s always FUN to have you around in the trip. You and I are not that old lah…. I did not forget the FUN we had. Btw, why are you still around in the office?

    I do not wish to write any further, what has happen in the past….is over. Alamak, now I have to continue my story…….

    EO suggested this village which the owner catered lunch for tourists. You were very excited when we saw fishes in the pond. You went to “catch” the fish for lunch since there’s no halal food for you. And we all started cooking…….apa macam next time can go Kelong lah, that’s really fishing.

    Yes….I remembered the EO has some kind of “matters” (if I remembered correctly, something to do with foreign student in Singapore) which he needs to settle with this family. Therefore, he suggested we had our dinner there before taking an overnight train back to Yunnan.

    Quote: He even went extra mile to look for my ‘halal’ food..& always make sure i have food to eat..im very touched :)

    Nor, I disagreed with you. You feel very touched at the wrong person! The one who went with you to get your food was that China lady which the EO brought her along to join us for dinner at the restaurant. I am not there as a Treasurer, but I think we paid for her meal, but that’s not the issue since having a meal in China is cheap. You want the Yunnan EO to get food for you! You wait long long hor.

    Hahaha……there are more interesting story of Yunnan by Terry…..hahaha

    Ah Nee

  47. Now that both sides have spoken, we have a clearer picture of this dramatic debut of 2013. However, we can never feel how the aggrieved persons felt on those “memorable days”. Similarly, we can never understand the problems faced by the organiser. And Terence has a tough job playing “Justice Bao”.

    With the light-hearted intervention by Terry and Nor, the heated stage should be cool down considerably.

    Let’s remove a thorny factor here — $$$. Money should not be the bone of contention. How much can one make from such trips that are few and far between? Rude manners, uncaring attitude, poor management, lofty expectations and self-obsessed nature may be the cause. Hence, I repeat my line in #4 above, “I believe many problems are not solely due to money blah blah ….”

    Without the issue of money, discussions can be more civilised. Things done cannot be undone. Attitude can change for the better if we want to stay relevant. Apart from bruised egos for some, participants should be thankful that they have come home unscathed.

    Stop throwing out more surprises to an anticipating (perhaps amused) audience. Have a talk over a cup of coffee (no alcohol please, for obvious reason haha), shake hands and forget the whole damn thing.

    Han’s on the 23rd ?

  48. Travelers to Yunnan,
    Just sharing my side of story (this is not a show of support for the EO or trying to bring down other trippers)
    I too joined the same self-packaged tour in Oct11.
    On the day of my arrival in Kunming by C.Eastern touching down at 7am, there was no taxi or van arranged to fetch me. I had to make my way to the hotel in the heart of the city by myself, still very panda-eyed after 6hr flight, and paying the fare out of my pocket.
    On top of that, the hotel reception was located on the 17th floor, so if you went to level 1 to check in, you will be lost as a sheep without a sheperd. As Singaporeans, we would be shocked how can this type of system exists in a modern city in China? Nevertheless, that’s the fact.

    Throughout the trips from Kunming to Dali to Lijiang and to Shangri-la, we had to travel by public bus, and never in the ‘comfort’ of any so called ‘cramped’ taxi. I paid the same amount of $400 for these land trips as well. On the way back from Shangri-la, I had to share sleeping cabin with 3 others too and there was no curtain or door to offer privacy.

    Should I complain too?
    No …….. and not because I liked or even know the EO.
    But because I was more or less prepared. A briefing was held just before the trip. Some had more questions for the EO, some had less and some chose not to say anything but indicated they will go together with the majority.
    I asked usual questions like which places of interest, admission fees, distance from Kunming, food availability, hotel rates and options and transport mode. For the last, I too had expected that at least a van or minibus would be hired since there were >10 of us.
    I was shocked when his reply was negative and he said we had to go everywhere by public transport.
    After weighing the options, I decided to give in thinking that since so many of us go by common buses, we would be safe as a group.
    On the experience of riding by overnite train, I was told to guard my valuables under my pillow and tucked the luggage under the bed. The nite passed without any incidence although I must said our sleep was more troubled by the noise of the train than the fear of someone trying to sneak in.
    Later, while traveling on a public bus in Kunming, my travelling pouch containing $ and passport was quietly slashed by a passenger sitting beside me while I was taking a nap after a long day visiting the Minority tribe.
    If I really lost my pouch, should I blame the EO for not being with me and if he’s with me, blame him for not warning him about pickpockets in Kunming?
    These are my experiences and in every incidence, I treat it like something to cherish or a lesson to learn from.
    Nobody to blame. Period.

    The point I am bringing out is that although the EO could have made better arrangement for us, it is also the duties of followers to find out as much info as possible before the trip and prepare accordingly.

  49. After reading both sides of discussions brought forth, by those involved, by those who have experienced the same (or almost the same) situations – in particular #49, I have only two words to sum it up. That is, to the travelers, expectation & surprise and to the organizer, control (self-control and not make the situation worst) & skills (to manage difficult people). If you are a member of a group tour with different nationalities, you will have good opportunity to see and learnt (the good) and witnessed (the ugly).

    30 or more years ago, Singaporean are well known and be easily identified in a tour group (with varied nationalities) because of our complains & expectations (differences in living standards, etc). I am not sure, in a multi-national tour nowadays, Singaporeans still behave like that in the past.

    So to conclude, I would encourage (Ref: #48) those directly involved to meet, shake hands and to live happily ever after.

    There is a hokkien saying I always subscribe to “Hwa he chew ho loh”.
    I think in English it means like this – do what ever you want to do, as long as you are happy and enjoy doing it.

    Hewlee

  50. Good morning everyone,
    I have not been reading the Shc website for quite awhile.. Hmm.. But since I was told of this heated topic, I came in to peep & see what’s happening.
    I can’t agree more with comments from
    #48 to #50. Singaporeans are not stupid. They are just too comfortable, fortunate & pampered. To each his/her own. Expectation levels differ & so is “chin chye” level. This applies to both travelers & EO. Some time we need to make do with it when we are caught in the most unexpected situation. To me, I will treat it as a lesson learnt & know what to expect in the next trip. Be prepared !

    Ah Née, if you want to compare, I felt our trip to Juizhaigou is worst rite? The treatment & mental torture we have experienced? Treat it as a lesson learnt & never go on a “1 for 1 penny” trip again lor.

  51. Suzhang, wld u mind to share yr JZG experience as this is a popular destination n others may be planning to go? No nd to mention names if its SHC organised. Thx

  52. Hi James,
    May I on Suzhang behalf, comment about the aspect of the JZG trip which was unpleasant. There were 10 SHCians on this trip. We went without an EO but with the understanding that every issue wld be decided by concensus. That worked out fine because we all got along very well thoughout. One aspect we found despicable, was to be scolded fiercely by the chinese tour guide for not purchasing enough. It happened everytime we returned to the bus from the sales outlets. As you might have guessed, that trip was made thro a G…on offer. We do not know if there is a rule that people going on G…on offers, were expected to spend $XXX on shopping. If there was, I feel that we should be told in advance. In any case, the scoldings we had were painless, just like watching a foreign language movie as an add-on to the itinerary…hehe, no worries. Having said that, my previous trip on G…on offer which was to Shanghai, was a dream..great dining, entertainment, sightseeing and hotel.
    JZG is a very attractive place to go – will not go into any details lest it becomes a commercial.
    HC

  53. HC, thanks for the tips. I nearly bought the G…on offer to JZG too. My frens (non-SHC, together with 8 others) went to Shanghai on similar offer, had a pleasant experience too.
    Any idea about the G offer to Beijing? If you have, can briefly explain here as a service to other members or you may write to jamestancl@gmail.com if you thing commercial elements involved.

    Thanks again.
    Thanks again.

  54. Hi All,

    Oh dear, I have to thank my Lucky Stars!

    It seems I was the one and only “pre-SHC member” enjoying an almost endless, trouble-free, well fed, well entertained and pampered trip to Yunnan.

    Some past S’porean visitors, particularly from our SHC, have cried “foul” and seen themselves as having been mightily somewhat short-changed. Since I wasn’t involved in the mess, I had better seal my lips to avoid getting caught in the cross-fire.

    Time for a Tiger. It is pertinent to let bygones be bygones and re-bond on friendly terms by stringing ourselves heart- to-heart, mind-to-mind as one great tightly knitted SHC family unit sharing our caring ideals in brotherhood and sisterhood. Red hot tempers from whatever grounds rightly or wrongly should be fizzled down and out by large tumblers of ice-cold Tiger beer.

    Let’s cling glasses and shout “Yum Seng!” in unison please?

    YUM SENG!

    Blessings,

    tt

  55. I want to thank Hou Chong for putting up his post.. Save my brain cell from thinking how to put forth… :D

    At least we still have some pride & compassion…. We still tips them afterall the scoldings. We do understand where they come from. So let the case rest.

    Suzhang

  56. Terry@55,
    Yes!, you are lucky bcos u choose to be happy & make it happen..twinkling stars everywhere..hehe
    For a moment when u say..Time for Tiger,i was excited!..thot u met Tigerwoods!…haha…

    I have followed to many of SHC group tour..frankly, i feel
    that almost all EOs have done a great job!Lets applaud to them!
    I have no problem or anything ‘serious’ matters..of course have a little hiccups la…we are all human,we made mistakes..just say sorry lor..& smile,:)stay positive & be happy :)

    So..potential EOs..don be ‘scared’ to organise one after all these turbulences..its ok!

    I am going to another SHC tour this weekend!,this time lead by prestigious EO!..keke.to somewhere romantic & beautiful..well..thats the promises..if don have..don complain la…just imagine..haha

  57. Hi Feztus,

    4 days had passed but you still have NOT answer my questions on your poor transport arrangements. Instead you chose to DEVIATE from my main topic to “attack” my character instead.

    You are v. good in writing the statements here and ending it abruptly leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions which is in your favour which I will clarify in my next comment. Too much to write at 1 time.

    Feztus @ 33 ( When steven chose to bring massage girl to their rooms, we did not bother. ) What are you trying to imply ?
    You have guts to smear my reputation of saying that I booked a lady masseur to massage me in our room which I shared with Alan as though to imply that what I/we are doing is not proper ????

    It was brave of Alan to admit that it was him and NOT me who booked for this lady masseur. Are you trying to hint to the members that we are doing “hanky panky” with lady masseur in our room ?

    Is there anything wrong to have a younger lady masseur to massage for him ? He is an ADULT and he knows what best for him and it is NONE of your business to interfere or worse still to reveal Alan’s private affairs to SHC members and the public. What you are doing amounts to hitting me below the belt. Be a MAN !

    Do you have any good reason/s for shouting at him ( not to complain ) in full view of the public when he complains his food was not well cooked. How would you feel if you were in his shoes?

    If you act in the interests of SHCians , surely you can afford to buy another 100 Yuan prepaid phone card. He already explain why he cannot let you hold his card but why you must INSIST that he must hand the card over to you. ( 100 Yuan = approx $20. )

    Surely you can afford to buy on your own unless you chose to stinge. Ah Nee @ 11 and 20 has complained about the pink face towels and her body ran “red” after using it.

    Surely it is obvious that a face towel is too small to dry the whole body. That was why Ah Nee asked for a body towel instead of a face towel. Is this how an EO act in the interest of members ?

    Goodnight. TO BE CONTINUED !

  58. Hi Christina Pan @ 27,

    I fully agree with what Geraldine Ting @21 already mentioned above.
    ( From the comments, the travelers simply wanted the basic necessities for their accommodation, having a suitable mode of transport and safety.

    These are NOT much to ask for. They did not whine/complain about unreasonable expectations.

    Comment @ 27, ( They said singaporean are stupid, naive…I think it is quite true… )

    If I/we am/are stupid and pampered as you think , would I /we go for Free n Easy tours in Bali , Yunnan , Guilin , Guanzhou , Shanghai , etc…instead of travel package tours ?

    Why I enjoy F n E tours is that there is no time constrain and fixed programmes to follow and I am NOT PAMPERED as you think I am.

    ( They said singaporean are stupid, naive…I think it is quite true… )

    If I/we am/are stupid and pampered as you think , would I /we go for Free n Easy tours in Bali , Yunnan , Guilin , Guanzhou , Shanghai , etc… ?

    Why I enjoy F n E tours is that there is NO time constrain and fixed programmes to follow and I am NOT PAMPERED as you think I am. Also there are some places not covered by travel agencies which is also quite interesting to visit. ( info from travel guides for eg. the Vimmamek Teak Palace in Bangkok. Most travel agencies will cover Grand Palace instead. I chose to travel by BTS Skytrain , river boats and public bus to reach my destination. Pampered ?

    If I am that pampered, I can continue to engage my ex-part time helper to do all my house chores , ironing which I hated most etc.
    NO. I choose to do the chores all by myself including cooking which is
    v. le cheh as it is tedious and also to wash all the bowls,plates n cutlery after enjoying my home cooked Thai and Cantonese dishes while at the same time busily working as a part time tutor.

    If I am that pampered, I may as well eat at restaurants, food courts and hawker centres. Why bother to cook ?

    I SELDOM take taxis unlike others and cycle to MRT stn , park there and take the MRT. You say I am pampered ?

    MASSAGE :- Just to share with interest of SHCians , I ENJOY massages and almost every fortnight, I travel alone or with other SHC members to Johor Baru by MRT and bus and NOT taxi. I can enjoy Thai, Javanese and Swedish massages at City Square and KSL City ( again travel there by public bus ) Also I find the the masseurs here are more skilful and more personal and friendly :)

    To be CONTINUED.

  59. Hi StevenC #59,

    A number of members, including myself, understand the bitterness you have over the incidents which had occurred during your trip to Yunnan. And for the other participating members, I can also feel your disappointment and displeasure at what had happened.

    Your comments, including those from other members, have opened the eyes for members who intend to participate in future trips. We have to be more prepared.

    Hi Feztus,
    Please feel free to respond to any comments or clarify as you see fit. This will give members a better understanding on future trips which you may plan to organise to Yunnan via this forum or private email invitations.

    For all members, I guess you will now add a few more questions before going on trips. Importantly, SilverHairsClub stresses on you making friends and knowing one another better. It is important you are comfortable with your travel partners.

    This Post will be closed on 31 Jan 2013. So, feel free to comment and suggest in the meanwhile. There will be more trips, and there will be other complaints too.

    Terence Seah

  60. I am seeking partners (a few, not a whole bunch, ok, maybe I would say 3 or 5) for travel purposes … to anyplace interesting, exotic, not too off the beaten track (nowadays, even on the beaten track is not safe)… with matching availability in timing (I would like to go away for CNY but maybe a little too late now to consider, although other times of the yr are still open for consideration) … perhaps asking for matching personality is a little hard, but maybe some matching interests like I’m a moderate sports person, or prefer more outdoor kinds of activity than stay at home (altho I do enjoy a quiet read or meditation from time to time) … I’m moderate in most things, even talking, I know when to shut-up, maybe closer to less talk than talk, bc I don’t like to listen to endless chatter either (some is ok), ….I’m usually accomodating, and this is sometimes a bane, when my own needs is sacrificed, and if I said “no”, it’s usually bc I need to, and has nothing to do with the other party …..I say ‘sorry’ when I’m wrong, but only others are sensitive to point out my mistake sensibly, not in public view of those who have nothing to do with my mistake … I definitely dont like to joke sarcastically, except that sometimes I’m also aware I got bias, esp when I’m tired, it comes out w/o thinking … I hope to give a little of myself here so others know how I operate in their presence … and perhaps get to know others like me (not totally), through travelling tog … maybe for a start, can go for a 2 or 3 days trip, I don’t know, just considering only … also, good to have someone help to find trust-worthy furpals who can care for my dog when I do travel, … oh, btw, I’m perhaps also moderately season enough a traveller, but still open for travel … I also don’t speak much Mandarin (nothing against the beautiful language, ok, just when I was in school, I hated it, so, didnt do well) … anything else I havent said about myself, perhaps, will come out, from time to time, in future, as I get to know more guys/gals here!

    I like that this forum has this space for others to share about their travel gripes, but, I’m here to present myself so others may know where I’m coming from …

  61. Greetings Hannah

    Like you, I too like to travel in a small group to any place interesting, exotic, far and away if my legs can carry me.

    I am also a moderate outdoor type and prefer free n easy but due to age catching up may have to consider Guided Tours for Remote Areas. I just wanna add in case anyone knows of special promotion to Koh Samui, especially special deals for stay such as SASHA twin/group sharing, please share, I like to go someday from June 2013 onwards.

    Last but not least – I like this forum too because it offer others to share about their travel – thank you Terrence for the opportunity and Happy New Year to everyone.

    Cheers
    Freda

  62. Greetings, Freda,
    Thanks for sharing a little about yourself. For me, ‘moderate’= walk alot, sweat alot, can still take in 4 hrs of rollerblading. If I go to a resort, I like to take in fun activities like kayaking, snorkeling(altho I dislike it bc i wear glasses and cant’ see as well as I would like if I wear the goggles), swimming, jet-ski, etc…and/or enjoy a nice meditative time in a spa or massage, or walking/trekking thru the lush forest. TV in the room is definitely out for me while on holiday (why do the same thing when you can do that at home). Shopping is generally fine with me; but it’s not on my top of the list to do things. Eating is part of the fun; but I don’t like the philosophy of fast-food(this not only at McDs, nowadays even in restaurants pple eat hurriedly for whatever reason) esp when eating with pple who enjoy choosing what they like from an array of diff platters on the table. For me, if I can do as many things in a single day, and enjoy them without hurrying thru, I am satisfied.

    June is a good time for me too for such trips.

    Thanks, Terence, for this forum to share about travelling.

    cheers,
    Hannah

  63. Hi Feztus ,

    i ) From Terence replies :- ( In this case, there were MORE THAN 4 COMPLAINTS on the same YUNNAN trip. ) WHY ?

    ii ) If the organiser leads the travel, but includes non-SHC members, he is an EC (Event coordinator). He/she is also required to be PRESENT during the tour. YOU were NOT PRESENT to accompany us to Dali and Li Jiang but sublet to a young inexperienced student. WHY ?

    1) To summarise from mine , Ah Nee and others which I have heard from their grouses from the same Yunnan tour .

    7 days has passed but still NO answers to defend all the 13 points of grievances from my comment @ 5. – one by one we need an answer.

    2) His classic tactics- EVASIVE, DEFLECT, then DEVIATE , FINALLY CONFUSE READERS.

    3) His counter was simply to DEVIATE by highlighting personal habits, character, weakness ( which I will CLARIFY 1 by 1 and to others not Feztus also on the Groupon issues in the next 2 more comments ) instead of focusing on main points,

    4) E.O. responsibilities ? What are they ? To look after the welfare,care attend to problems of the group whether budget, back pack , free n easy or packaged. its NOT less but same responsibility to fulfil.

    5) E.O. has FAILED in his duties in the following areas :-

    a) TRANSPORT :- Using public buses and PIRATED TAXIS. Illegal transport has NO INSURANCE COVERAGE. Very DANGEROUS risk to lives. my comment @ 5, point 7.

    b) ACCOMODATION – poor ( no reservation make at guest house , no toilet paper , imagine have to sweep own room , body turns pink upon using the towels he bought face instead of body towels etc. Pls. read comment 11, 20 and 28 for details. Feztus since you have been in Yunnan long enough it is OBVIOUS to you to know which guesthouses/hotels/apartments are sub standard by now.

    c SECURITY, safety are 1st. PRIORITY in travel , details at my comment 5 point.4

    d) Sightseeing – Poor arrangements , some attractions skipped.( Not my complaint but from other members not from our group that has been to Yunnan with you. )

    e) Subletting tour guide to an inexperienced student . Ah Nee comment @ 20 and my comment 5 point 6.

    f) No program scheduling.

    5) $400 paid for transport, accomodation n guide only ?
    Poor value we receive. ( to clarify no meals or itineraries were included —> I am NOT complaining about this two items nor the accomodation . )

    6) E.O. using SHC websites to solicit travellers to Yunnan so frequently in 1 year. WHY ? Is it a business ? or doing SHCians a favour to accompany/guide them in Yunnan.

    Why so many times a year he does this soliciting ? Recently he used the disguise of setting up retirement homes to entice SHC to visit there. This is already a “DEAD” project long ago dropped. When one member questioned his purpose, his reply was very EVASIVE and RUDE .

    7) PURPOSE of this thread is in response to our big chief Terence requesting members to air their grouses so that in FUTURE all SHCians BEWARE of such unscrupulous members exploiting on our social network……against the interest of SHCians.

    TO BE CONTINUED ….. >

  64. Besides Alan and myself, I had spoken to other members of the group to gather more facts before I write more and they refuse to be drawn into this complaint blog and I respect their wishes.

  65. Hi Feztus @ 33,

    I need to clarify the following points where the statements ended with readers making their own conclusions :-

    ( When it comes to choice, a sub group decided to not include steven on a day trip, because they find him not suitable.) ?

    Why NOT suitable ? Are you implying that I cannot get along with other members ? Not at all.

    Why I was NOT included in this trip is because I wanted to visit Stone Forest but other members preferred to visit other places of interest. And if I will to go to huge Stone forest by myself, I cannot speak Mandarin at all and talk to the tour guide in case I am lost there. After weighing the pros n cons, I finally DECIDED not to go and I also do NOT like to visit those places by the rest of the members who are keen to go.

    ( But later that elderly lady out of goodwill ??? to him offered to treat steven to a buffet breakfast costing 69 yuan.= S$12 ) ? Are you implying that I CANNOT afford to pay for this buffet and rely on her to treat me.

    For yr info, this same elderly lady NOT ONLY treated me but 3 other members as well. Back home, I treated her in return and 2 other SHC members not from our group to a brunch in a restaurant costing about $40. ( if not for you bringing up this matter on treat I would have not written this down. ) So why the FUSS u want to create out of this treat?
    Am i that stingy like you ?

    ( This same lady did not fall sick after the trip but about 10 days after returning to Singapore. She enjoyed everyday of the trip though she chose to avoid certain day trips that requires too much climbing.) Really ??? Then we need to hear from the horse mouth.

    When steven and room mate has some difficulties we offered to change room mate but he resisted. travelers are also offered the option to take a single supplement room. When steven chose to bring massage girl to their rooms, we did not bother.
    when it is a personal group, he must comply to the group. but slowly over the trip, his habit and the group members’ personal habits kick in, the color shows and travelers started to do avoiding game. ???

    Avoiding game ? Most of the times, we were having a good time having coffee and meals together. You call this avoiding ????

    ( finally just last Sunday, there was a nonya and nasi lemak hosted by another 60+ elderly lady of the group, though originally hesitant about inviting steven to the lunch but eventually informed him as we want to give him a pleasant feeling.??? )

    I had spoken to her to find out the truth. . At 1st, she said she was hesistant because she had NOT enough help to cook many delicious dishes by herself and her maid but later 1 of our members said she can help her to do the cooking and washing up. And she told me she find both of us jovial and entertaining and can make them laugh. So he decided to invite both of us as well . You were INVITED LAST.

    ( … Anybody can also organize trips to yunnan for ALL I CARE . )
    Yes. You ONLY CARE for your own SELF INTERESTS without due regard for others. ) from my comment 5 , point 10. ( As we were tired from carrying our heavy luggages, I ask EO to recommend where we can go for a good traditional massage , she/he says that there is NO massage centres in Kunming. Not believing him as Kunming is a big city . We went to explore on our own and manage to find one at night . I deliberately show him the massage centre card we went to.

    Is it that she/he will only help when there is commission or profit to make ?

  66. Dear all,

    Thanks for your comments. Before we lose focus of the real issue , let me reiterate the reason for bringing up this matter.

    I had thought long and hard about it as I realise that anything I say :-

    (i) would certainly impact my relationship with the EO.

    (ii) and those who may be sympathetic to him.

    After all, the Yunnan trip was in September 2012 and I am writing about it now ( Jan 2013)

    In my mind, the SHC is a virtual club connecting people of similar interests and I consider it as my “extended family” In the years of its existence and me being an ACTIVE member have participated in many activities, I was EO of a few events and ENJOYED some of my most memorable experiences in the club’s activities.

    After my bad experience, I had a choice of KEEPING QUIET, move on and just to beware of this same EO on other tours. But what about other fellow travellers in the club who are unaware of the experience that await them if they are not cautioned. And that was my overriding thought that made the decision for me.

    They are several members to the forum who had made a variety of comments of buyers beware , doing thorough checking ,inflated expectations etc… Let me just say I am NOT a 1st. time traveller and certainly i am aware of the potential hardships in 3rd. world countries.

    But, the E.O. is an SHC member and perhaps my MISTAKE was to TRUST that a fellow member to believe that he would act in our best interests. Nevertheless, even f he had not come anywhere near fulfilling our expectations, had he made attempts to give us the BASICS. I would have cut him some slack and kept quiet. After all, we are all fellow members of the SHC or kah kee lang. The fact is that it was a horrendous experience and it is just impossible for me to find any excuse to JUSTIFY it,try as I might.

    Instead, I am now attack in personal terms with much fabrication instead of getting anwers from him.

    It is stated v. clearly in your itinerary on Day 3 &5 under Remarks/Costing that you mention the word ” WE ” very clearly meaning that you will ACCOMPANY US TOGETHER to try the Dali ethnic Bai Food instead you sublet to a young inexperienced student to lead us in Dali and Li Jiang.

    A soft copy of the detail Yunnan itinerary prepared by you and emailed to us has been sent to our Big Chief Terence to VERIFY my legitimate claims.

  67. Hi Feztus,

    `Re:-Comment 33, 39
    ( When steven and room mate has some difficulties we offered to change room mate but he resisted. ) Who is HE ? It was Alan not me.

    It was you who told me to share with this young student. To me I am OK to share with ANYONE . He phone you and spoke loudly that he is v. unhappy with your arrangement. Then you drop the idea of me twin sharing with the student and told me to get back to share with him.

    ( I did not ask to change room with Steven since that he is my good friend and buddy, he is the one who ignited fire to ask Steven to change room that cause both of us unhappiness. )

    Feztus, you seem to give the readers the impression that I am a difficult person to get along with. I PROVED you WRONG .

    1) Alan and me remain as good buddies even after our tour. We had our own private monthly “makan” gatherings with other SHCians as well and sometimes we still meet at our monthly cycling events .

    I am now meeting him at Hans SHC gathering. :) :) :)

    2) I had travelled to many countries and share with other SHC members twin room sharing at the Bintan Agro resort, Batam Leisure Cruise, Guilin n Guangzhou , Saigon and lately Hanoi,Halong Bay and Sapa etc….

    If you think I am such a difficult person to get along with other SHC members , would these SHC members twin shared with me ?

  68. Hi StevenC,

    This Post on travel complaints is intended to hear from members their experiences and complaints on travel, and perhaps what we can do about them.

    We have heard your complaints on your Yunann trip. Although I have stated we should stay objective in our comments and complaints, what you have written are personal attacks on the person. I am afraid this will have to stop, as the SilverHairsClub forum is not a place for personal attacks. You will therefore have to stop, failing which your membership will be immediately suspended.

    If you wish to communicate with Feztus, please email your questions to him personally, but not on this forum. As members, we have heard more than enough.

    For other members, including Feztus, please note this Post will be closed 31 Jan 2013.

    Terence Seah

  69. Hi all
    I am going to Padang, Indonesia with some friends during the Good Friday long weekend. Does anyone know the email or contact number of the Padang/Bukit Tinggi EO as I would like to get the information on where to buy lobsters and bird’s nest plus info on the places of interest and tour guide contact, if possible? Please email info to me at laurawee@hotmail.com
    Thank you

  70. Usually, all posts can be kept open, as long as it is relevant and meaningfull. However, the intentions of this post have turned into a round of personnal attacks. Therefore, this post will close as scheduled tomorrow.
    From the comments, the Club recognises that travel during our Silver years is a very much loved activity. We all want to see the world.
    However, Club is unable to track any private arrangements among members. Please get to know one another and be comfortable with one another first. Let’s not go as friends and come back as enemies.

    Terence Seah

Comments are closed.