Just back from my short vacation to the Netherlands. Had excellent time visiting the country and enjoying the fine places like the beauty of lovely houses of the Edam village and the Zaanse Schans windmills village.
However what tourists should be careful of is choosing the tour operator. Just outside the station while walking towards the Dam square we passed through "Asian Compass/Lindbergh tour operators" both running the same tours and buses with "The Best Of Holland" advertised outside.
We booked a full day tour that would take us to Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken villages and would also include a City sightseeing trip that boasted of a lot of places, including the Red Light District etc.
The tour started at 12pm with city sightseeing through the bus, everything was done in a jiffy, from a distance we were shown and told there is the red light district, we could only notice a few buildings from far, the timing of the guide's instructions and actual sites around like museums and monuments were ill timed, and we were lost as to where was what. A major time was spent in the diamond factory, and then we were asked to change the bus and board another one to continue for the villages tour, and ushered into another bus. 2 hours of nonsense had already passed and as soon as we sat in the bus we realized that the city tour had started all over again!
At the very first stop, a non-functional windmill in the city, we asked the tour guide what was going on, it was already a major waste of time for us, and we were told that it was a mistake on their team's side that we were put on the wrong bus due to some internal confusion. We were told that we had to wait till the time they reached the Diamond factory again! Once there, the guide quickly disappeared with the rest of the tourists (who were on the last lap of their journey of another trip) and came out after a lot of time and called the office back and asked us to walk back down to the office!
We were brand new to the city, had already wasted more than 3 hours, with no lunch, and were left in the middle to head back. Once we reached office, it was 4pm, and demanded a refund as our day was ruined, we were put in a wrong bus, our time was wasted, and left of to walk back!
The owner of the comapny told us he would charge me and my wife for the city sightseeing that we had done because inspite of their team's mistake they had shown us the city. He did not bother to spend any more time with us or listen to us, and shouted orders at the staff to refund partial amount and get rid of us.
We were shocked with the rudeness, wish we had seen this face before we took the trip, he had no realization of the trouble we had gone through or that we had travelled thousands of kilometers for a few precious days to explore a country with trust in their tour company that was broken.
As a result on the last day we went to the touris information center outside the central station and asked for other tour operator than this one. They suggested Key Tours. Due to lack of time we took a half day tour as we had to leave the same day, and they were Qualitatively Excellent!
I wish that no one loses out on quality and money in their trip and be aware that what comes first on their way may not be the best!