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Poll For Professor Travel Rate your experience

Poll: Please Rate Professor Travel (1 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 User is offline   Spark_man 

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:16 PM

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#2 User is offline   Kelly 

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 02:14 PM

Originally Posted by LiHia in Travel Agent & Tour Operator Ratings Forum:

In Apr 2006, my boyfriend and I have decided that Egypt will be our vacation destination for our year end trip. Therefore, we started planning. Most of the guided tour offered by tour agents in Singapore are 10 to 12 days. After lots of research, we decided to plan our own itinerary and engaged a tour operator in Egypt to help us.

We visit website. Put up a brief request that states our intention to travel to egypt for 18 to 20 days and requested for suggested itineraries. After a few days, I receive alot of emails from various tour operators. After lots of correspondence, we decided to use this company call Professor Travel, the website Egypt License Number 1009 from the ministry of tourism in Egypt.
The trip was scheduled for 15th Dec 2006 to 1st Jan 2007.

It covers the route of Cairo-Aswan-Abu Simbel-Kom OmBo-Edfu-Luxor-Sharm(RedSea)-Sinai-Cairo-Alexandra-3 days desert-Red Sea Monasteries-Cairo.

We are aware that this is a very aggressive trip and we tried to cover alot of places in this trip. While corresponding with Mr Hamdy Fadl, we were being assured that we will be able to cover all the places of interest. It took me about 3 to 4 mths to plan this trip, as I read the guide book, taking note when to visit what places. E.g. St Catherine monasteries is close on Friday and Sunday and it's only open 9am to 12noon on the day when it's open. etc. All my concerns and expectation were articulated very clearly to Professor Travel. And it's with his assurance that we appoint him as our tour leader.

On the day we touch down in Cairo airport, we were met by Airkman, the tour leader from Professor Travel. It was a pleasant experience. Although he speaks little English, we were able to understand what he is trying to say. Day 1 of our trip was meant to be free and easy, we check into Delta Pyramids hotel and rested and then requested that he put us into a taxi and bring us to Hyatt Hotel. Being first day in Cairo , we want to be conversative and eat at a more known place. We pick Hard Rock Cafe. The tour leader insist that it will not be safe for us to be alone. He therefore join us @ Hard Rock Cafe and sat with us while we eat. Though a tad awkward, we appreciate their thoughtfulness and is very thankful that we enagaged such a good tour operator. On the night of day 1, we met Mr Hamdy Fadl and make out 1st payment for the trip (agreement was 50%, 25%, 25%). So we paid him 50% of it.

We are aware that it's a practice to tip the driver and our tour guide everyday. Mr Hamdy is kind enough to make a arrangement for us such that we do not need to tip them, Professor Travel will handle all tipping on our behalf and at the end of the trip, we pay Professor Travel for the tips. This delighted us too.

2nd day of the trip, visit the Great Pyramids. This is a pleasant day. Though the driver came late (about an hr) because his car broke down, and we hear our tour leader screaming into his mobile phone in egyptian language, it didn't dampen our holiday in any way. At the end of the trip, the tour guide ask for tips. We explain to the tour guide that the tour leader will be tipping him and have requested that he make sure he gets his share of tips from the tour leader.

On the night of the 2nd day, we board the sleeping train to go to Aswan. Mr Hamdy came personally to send us off and together with him are at least 3 to 4 more staffs from his company. The tour leader took the train with us to Aswan too.

3rd day; arrives at Aswan, we board the cruise ship Miss World. According to the travel arrangement, I am supposed to either stay at the MS Aton or equivalent. I hope Miss World is the equivalent. I didn't check. We have problem with check-in because the rooms are not ready and we start to learn that 5mins egyptian time is actually 30mins in real life. When someone tells you 5 mins. Be prepared to wait 30mins to an hour.
After we check-in and leave our things in the room, we met our tour guide in Aswan. His name is also Airkman. We were supposed to do the typical Aswan route (Philae Temple, Unfinish Obliquesk, etc) and in additional, the felucca ride. Just went we get started, the tour guide offer to help us take a photo and then he ask for tips. Thinking that he is joking, we ignore him. After a while, he broach the subject of tipping. We explain to him that the arragement was for the tour leader to tip him. We suggested that he call the tour leader immediately, if the tour leader aint giving him any tips, we will tip him. I am not sure what happened between their conversation, the tour guide got into bad mood after and the rest of our day tour was touch and go. He show signs of fustration and impatient when we ask questions and when we stop to take photograph. He wasn't told about our felucca ride arrangement and was again mad when we insisted that we wanted the felucca ride.
After we got back to the cruise. We basically have a long talk with our tour leader. We explain to him that our itinerary was fixed many months back. His boss has a softcopy of it. We printed 4 copies and he has a copy of it and nothing should be left out of the itinerary. We do not want to need to constantly remind tour guides that we have miss out an attraction here or there. We also explain to him that we do not want to need to explain to every tour guide about the tipping arrangement. He should have explain to them. All in all, we told him that we do not want all these to happened again.

We paid him the 2nd payment of our tour package on the same day too.

Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 to Abu Simbel to Kom OmBo and to Edfu and finally Luxor was great, not much glitches except for this obvious suitation where the tour guide took us for a ride. We have requested when in Aswan to go to the Aswan market. Then after shopping at the market, we want to go to the Nubien House restaurant for dinner. What the guide did was he call for a taxi and the taxi bring us to the Aswan market, after that the same taxi take us to the Nubien House and at the end of the evening we paid 250 Egyptian pound for the taxi.
After Luxor, we fly to Sharm El Shiekh. We were met by another tour leader. We were being brought to our hotel, and he suggested that we watch a Fantasia show at night and he also help us arrange for snorkelling at the Ras Mohd. We were being pick up from the hotel and reach the Fantasia. The tour leader tell us that the show starts at 10:30pm and ends at 12:30 after midnight. He instructed us to wait for him at the enterance at 12:30 so that he can pick us up and bring us back to the hotel. The show ended at 12 midnight and we stood at the entrance to wait for him. Everyone left the place and alot of taxi drivers keep bugging us to take their taxi. At 1am, there is still no sign of the tour leader. Luckily we did write his mobile number down and we seek a police man's help to call him. To our dismay, our tour leader is sleeping at home and he said he has sent the driver to pick us up. The driver do not know who we are and we do not know who the driver is. We were even being scolded by the tour leader for being late, he claims that the driver cannot find us. We tried to reason with him and explain to him that we were there but to no avail. We give up and let it go.

Our activities continue in Sharm and we had a great time snorkelling. On Saturday morning, the guide and driver from Professor travel came to the hotel to pick me up to go to Mt Sinai. I was very surprise because to climb mt sinai on saturday night means visiting st catherine monastery on sunday morning. We all know sunday morning the monastery is close. I immediately ask the tour leader. He speaks almost no english. He then call another tour leader in Cairo and he spoke to me over the phone. I ask him the same question and he assure me that the monastery will be open. We took the car ride to Mt Sinai area. At about 1am, we walk up Mt Sinai, reach the top at about 3am and the guide told us that we can sleep till 6am for sunrise. We almost miss the sunrise as the sunrise was at 5am and the guide was sleeping through it. While walking down Mt Sinai, we starts talking to the tour guide about St Catherine Monastery. The tour guide say that it's close. We walk down Mt Sinai, walk pass the monastery and then to meet the tour leader. The tour leader didn't know that it's close and when we told him that it is close. He simply give us a "it's a wrap then" expression. He is ready to head back. Here we started an slight argument with him. We travel all the way and can't see the monastery. Then the tour guide paid the monk at the monastery some money and sneak us through the back door. This to us is a very unpleasant experience.

We took a 7 hrs car ride back to Cairo after visiting the monastery. We reach the hotel and is ready to check-in, wash up and head out for our Christmas eve dinner. Here comes the big big big surprise. We don't have a room. We were supposed to stay in the same hotel in Cairo whenever we come back to Cairo. We were kept waiting while the tour leader keeping say "no problem...wait 5mins". We wait for almost an hour and he then wanted us to take our bag and bring us to another hotel. At this point we refuse. We were too disappointed and disgusted by their travel arragement, especially with all the problems still fresh in mind. I requested to talk to Mr Hamdy. They try to call him but it's only after a while that they pass the phone to me.

When I pick up the phone, here's how the conversation went
Mr Hamdy: "Hello Li Hia, how is everything"?
Me: "Hi Mr Hamdy, I would like to talk to you because some of the things are not okie"
Mr Hamdy: "DIDN'T YOU GO TO THE PYRAMID? DIDIN'T YOU SEE THE PYRAMID? DID YOU TAKE THE CRUISE? DID YOU SEE MT SINAI? DID YOU SEE THE MONASTERY? YOU SEE EVERYTHING, SO YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. YOU ARE A LIAR! JUST GO TO THE HOTEL AND STAY THERE!!!!!!!" (throughout his shouts and scream, all i can say is "Mr Hamdy, please do not shout at me, Mr Hamdy, I cannot talk to you if you should like that, Mr Hamdy, please remember I am your customer, Mr Hamdy, please stop shouting at me")
He just continue to shout and shout and he hang up on me.

I was so shock and taken aback by the entire thing, and with all the fustration built up, I started crying. This shock the hotel staffs at Delta Pyramids Hotel. They start rushing in different direction to bring me nice hibiscus tea, tissue, water. They then cancel someone's reservation and let me have a room at the hotel. I was so embrasses by that.

After we check into the room, we have to wait for Mr Hamdy to come to see us and see how we can move from here. We have paid 75% of the tour package but we are only half way through. And it's peak period in Eyypt and we are worried that we cannot get hotel.

I was initially planning on not meeting him, we want to just change hotel and forget about the rest of the trip. That's because I fear that he turn violent when we meet face to face. If he can scream and shout over the phone, I don't know what can he not do.

When we met, Mr Hamdy explain that he wasn't screaming at me over the phone, he was screaming at the reception. etc etc. To us, it's a pack of lies. The tour continue and the next big thing happened during our 3D2N desert trip. When corresponding with Mr Hamdy, he has advise that we need to bring our own sleeping bag and that we will be checking into a hotel for shower before the night camp @ the desert. However, this was not the case, we were being brought to the home of the desert guide where he serve us lunch. After that we went straight to the desert circuit and started our desert tour. The desert tour is beautiful!!

In the late afternoon, the guide parked his 4WD at a spot and starts to bring out all the neceessary for camping. It was a wonderful experience. Dinning under the stars. We had a nice dinner and had tea by the campfire. Shortly after the desert guide say that he wants to bring us to take some nice pictures. We walk to the rocks formation. The desert guide said he wanted to take pictures with us. While my boyfriend hold the camera, he and I walk towards the rock formation.

While walking there, the desert guide said to me "Tonight, when he sleep, I talk with you" I went "HUH?"
He reply "OK? Tonight when he sleep, I speak with you"
As I don't know what he exactly want and was too shock, I walk very quickly back towards my boyfriend and I said I'll take a picture with them. I told my boyfriend to listen carefully to what the guide said to him. My boyfriend said that the guide said nothing. After they are back, the guide ask to take another photo. I gave it a shot because I do not want to misunderstood him.
So he goes again "OK? Tonight when he sleep, we talk? OKie? He sleep, we talk"
I replied saying "No..what do you want to talk about?"
He said "about you, about me, about the desert"
At this point, I got scared. And I said "NO! you want to talk to him AND me"

I walk back towards my boyfriend and told him what happened. We completely freak out not knowing what to do. Confronting him is not the best option. He is the desert guide, he has all the advantage over us. We decided to play it cool, just pretend we don't know what's going on.
My boyfriend didn't sleep a wink that night as he has to guard over me. During the night, the desert tried to pull my blanket off my sleeping bag. I ask my boyfriend to check and see and it's really him. When he realised that my boyfriend is not sleeping, he pretend to go back to sleep.
We waited till the morning to tell the guide that we dun want to camp in the desert for the next night. He is very persistent about it until my boyfriend confronted him. All he did was just said sorry.

Overall, we love our trip to Egypt for the rich history, the beautiful places we visit. However, the tour operator Professor Travel definitely did their part to spoil part of our trip. I would advise anyone who is looking at engaging a local tour operator not to engage Professor Travel.
"I am so clever that sometimes I donít understand a single word of what I am saying."

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