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“Unfinished Project - should be named "Rip Offs R Us"”
Review of Lak Resort

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Lak Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Lien Son B&B and Inns
Darwin, Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Unfinished Project - should be named "Rip Offs R Us"”
Reviewed June 28, 2011

My two nights stay at Lak Resort at the end of May 2011 was just one huge disappointment. They did not rip me off, but tried to several times. I did witness them succeed in ripping off other guests while I was there in my presence. Read on....... (....at end of hotel review I will provide some tips and hints for visiting Lak Lake).....

Lake Lak Resort is part of the government run/owned DakLak Tourist company. In Buon Ma Thuot they have a "sister" hotel the Thanh Cong Hotel on Ly Thuong Kiet Street. Their scam attempts on me started there. While at that hotel, they lied through their teeth about Lake Lak transport abilities (read my review on the Thanh Cong Hotel). Lak Resort did the same saying to me over the phone the only way to Lak Lake was by private car and denied a bus service existed. After telling them I would not be paying the 800,000 dong fee to take me out there and would take the bus (which they said did not exist), they suddenly remembered there was a bus service (22,000 dong) from Buon Ma Thuot to Lake Lak)
I arrived at the last bus stop as the staff at Lak Lake Resort said I should do, saying it was just a ten minute walk from the bus stop to the Lak Resort. However, this was in fact many stops past where I should have gotten off. I had to take a motorbike taxi which somewhat surprised me and made me immediately think scam. Some 20 people getting off the bus and only one motorbike taxi at the stop who just happened to speak reasonable English. He assured me he knew where the Resort was and commenced taking me there saying it was some 5 kilometres back. He specified a price of 40,000 dong which was fine with me giving me a chance to look around better than on the crowed bus. After traveling some distance, he pulls into a cafe telling me he needs to ask for directions. In my limited knowledge of the language, I picked up enough to understand he was telling the cafe people he had a rich American and was going to get at least 100,000 dong from me by taking me the long way. (I play dumb to these guys pretending I do not understand any Vietnamese until the service is over). He then tells me he now has directions and away we went. I have enough sense of direction by keeping an eye on the sun to know we were traveling now a u-turn heading back the same direction but along a different road. We arrive at the resort and he demands 100,000 dong because it was a longer distance than expected. I remind him of his earlier conversation... In his embarrassment when I pay him the earlier agreed 40K, he says I should have taken the hire car from Buon Ma Thuot and I should tell others to do the same. He then goes off and chats with the security guy at the gate of the resort. Smell like a scam??
No Check in problems.... but shortly after realised the $27 USD a night was way overpriced. The lawns are non-existent... just all high weeds really. The walking paths are steep to the cabins and are made up of un-level granite rocks. A true hazard in the day time, even worse at night with poor or no lighting. Walked past the pool to see a LOT of sediment in the bottom. The room was fantastic. It was large and clean with a small balcony out front, air conditioning worked well and had a TV and small fridge. Bathroom was large and modern. That is where the praise for the resort ends. I can not say another positive word without telling lies.In total, I consider it an attempt at building a 5 star resort on a 1 star hotel budget. Almost everything apart from the cabins is unfinished or made rough or cheaply. Although within my cabin, there were exposed live wires to the water heater directly above the shower head. Not that this would ever be a concern since the water pressure was almost non-existent. Just a dribble from the shower head. At night, the badly fitted doors allowed a gazillion insects into my room including these horrible stinging flying ants or wasps or whatever they were. No insect screens on doors or windows. I might add that was about 150-200 metres walk from the reception to my cabin.
--THE POOL - Very cloudy water because it was full of bacteria and no chlorination (I am a pool owner so I know). Add to that the frogs eggs attached to the walls of the pool and over 20 frogs swimming about in the pool (see photos). Around the pool the tiling was done on an unprepared surfaces resulting in many loose or broken tiles, some of which presenting sharp edges. Bar at poolside was in desperate need of paint and both it and the surrounding floors were covered in dirt, leaves and dead insects. I am sure it had not been swept in at least a week. Next morning I saw dead frogs floating and a guy sweeping it. Next day it was obvious he did not do much of a job or the filter system was not up to speed since the bottom of the pool was covered in grime again and more frogs swimming around.
--- THE RESTAURANT - Where I come from, a restaurant is where you choose something from the menu. At Lak Lake Resort, they handed me the menu which had about 20 choices, but then tell me they only have noodles because the staff went home. I asked for alternatives and all they said was "in the town". At Breakfast next morning, very small selection (bread and eggs, but you can have the eggs cooked anyway you like) and abysmally slow service. I order coffee and they bring tea. The bread and eggs took at least 20 minutes, however next morning service was prompt, but again in spite of pointing at the listing on the menu, and myself speaking it in both English and Vietnamese, they still bring tea instead of coffee. (I am not talking about the complimentary Vietnam Tea, but Lipton Tea they would bring). Dinner was nothing special, but very slow service on both nights. Management in their white shirts sit around a table within the restaurant speaking loudly, smoking and drinking disrupting what would otherwise be a pleasant place to dine looking out over the lake.
- THE VIEW - Each cabin is advertised as having lake views. If I lay down on the balcony and looked under the tree directly in front I could see the lake so I guess I did have a lake view (insert sarcastic rolling of eyes). Sitting in the chair on the deck, all I could see was trees. A walk around the grounds revealed most cabins have tree views with a lake somewhere behind them.
-- THE GROUNDS -- In a word - Atrocious!!. Except for the paths, everywhere else is weeds with some waist high. The Resort burns their rubbish in piles along the lakes edge to give you that charcoal look in the foreground of your photos. They decorate the bases of the trees with assorted plastic bottles and other unwanted refuse. Chest high weeds greet you at the lakes edge where you can access otherwise it is a steep concrete wall to the waters edge.
--- TOURIST SERVICES -- Don't use there booking service, but rather go to the locations yourself and save big bucks. Examples :- Elephant Rides - their price $35 an hour. Price charged on site is $15 an hour and the same elephants and locations on the ride. Dug Out Canoe - their price $10 and hour per person. Locals price $4 an hour for the whole canoe which can carry 4 people. Motorcycle Rental - their price 400,000 dong (just under $20) for the day (or part there of). Locals charge just $5 for 24 hours, but the Resort has your passport so it is very difficult to find a local who will rent out his bike without decent ID. I managed however. Fishing - for 150,000 dong they give you a bamboo pole and a 4 metre line and hook which will let you jag fingerlings near the waters edge if you want to brave the leeches in those weeds (yes there are leeches. I plucked one off my ankle trying to attach itself). What they should have is a small jetty or clear the damned weeds and provide proper fishing rods to hook those one footers I saw jumping about 25 to metres off shore. Gong Show - for 1.5 million dong, you get to watch the M'nong perform in a replica long house to which each are paid a mere $2 a head per performance. Alternatively, go to their village and they will invite you into their homes and not expect payment and are near in tears when you give them a gift.
Overall, their tourist services are appalling.
-- INTERNET -- while advertised as being part of the room charge, you would think this means you have WiFi or cable access, however, their internet service is one virus ridden PC at the reception which is loaded with pirated software and only to be used briefly to check emails.
-- OTHER COMMENTS -- At Breakfast first morning , I counted 18 individual staff, but could only see 7 guests.On check-out, again there was pressure to take one of the cars they could arrange for me and were very reluctant to tell me where the bus stop was. They would only tell me "near the bank". Bus stop was 100 metres from the bank and not an obvious one at that. Absolutely nothing to do in the evenings. There are no bars or clubs anywhere. I found a single pool table in a cafe set off the road a bit about 75 metres back from the Lak resort entrance.


----- SUMMARY ----- They are playing with themselves calling it a resort. I consider it nothing more than budget hotel rooms by the water. This place has a huge potential with a little more money invested and some good management. If they would do both, this place would be great.


------------ TIPS FOR VISITING LAK LAKE - there is a hotel being extended which is very close to Lak Lake Resort. About 100 metres from the Lak Resort Entry, up the hill to the king's villa, is a lovely hotel on the left at the T-intersection. I did not stay there but did eat at their restaurant and looked at the rooms. Very tidy, cozy and extremely friendly. They own it, they run it and it's about $15 a night including breakfast. It also has lovely breezes sweeping up the hill from the lake with great views. Sorry, I forgot to write down the name and can not remember it to type it here now. For cheap elephant and canoe rides direct from suppliers, just walk the lake road from Lak Resort and you can't miss it. At the end of the road is the M'nong village. It's about 3 klms from Lak resort to the elephants and canoes but a beautiful scenic walk. Also, in taking the walk from the Lak resort, on the hill about 150 metres along you will see a building ruin poking out above the trees. Tale a walk to it and you will find one of the last battle fields of the Vietnam war. This is one location where the South Vietnamese tried to defend against the Communists in 1975 without success. You can see a pill-box (bunker) and trenches as well as the bullet and shrapnel damage to the building as well as a few artillery craters. I am assured it was cleared of all unexploded ordinance just 3 months ago. I could see the relatively fresh holes here and there where things had obviously been dug out. There is only 1 ATM in Lake Lak area and it runs out of money by 10 in the morning and not refilled until 4:00 PM. When taking an elephant ride, use insect repellent. When the beast stops to wrench out a trunk full of bamboo, the swaying branches shower you in both dry and green leaves as well as showering of insects which include some nasty bugs that bite really painfully.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
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7 Thank DarwinAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
47 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2011

We stayed at the Lake Resort as a stopover on a 4 day Jeep trip through the Lower Highlands. The room was basic and clean but the power is intermittent. Consequently no cold beer! The dining room is large and reasonable but the prices are cheap and the food what you wouldexpect froman out of the way hotel that does not see many non-Vietnemese guests.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank blaughlan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2011

Lovely location by the lake. I stayed here as part of an easy rider tour. The room was a good size but looked like it could do with a good paint. At night the paths are very dark and no signs for the room numbers so I got a bit lost. Bring a torch! I think there were about 10 people staying here total. The restaurant is a huge roommans felt rather lacking with only 10 guests. Staff do not speak English. Lots of mozzies so bring repellent although they do provide nets. This place could be so much better. It has the potential!

  • Stayed May 2011
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Thank Snibbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Almere
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2011

The Lak resort is government owned and has no direct competition in the area. As such the staff is uninspired, uninterested, slow and speaking English is a problem.
The bungalow was outdated but clean inside. An empty paint can and pack of cigarettes outside the window convey the attitude of the employees: they don't really care.
A patio without chairs, bars in front of the windows and doors, crooked lamps on the walls and a barely functioning door lock are illustrations of how the lack of enthusiasm and competition affect this resort.
It's a shame, because the location at the lake is perfect and it could have been so much better than the mediocre-at-best place it is now.
The Gong show the M'nong performers gave t the resort was ok, but don't expect anything extraordinary.
The elephant ride in the direct vicinity was an experience, but I felt kind of bad afterwards and would not do it over, I pitied the wonderful animal which had been reduced to a tourist attraction too much.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank DenIos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Lien Son hotels

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2011

We loved everywhere we went in Vietnam except for here. Sleepy to the point of dead (although they said they were "full tomorrow"), their restaurant had a 20-page menu (but only a handful of items were available), they would offer programming like bicycles for rent (but then had only 4 bikes, some of which looked like we would be borrowing from staff) -- and expensive, compared to the rest of the country. It did feel like being in Eastern Europe 30 years ago! We walked from here to Jun Village, past bored teenagers trysting, and along an empty highway. The resort location was picturesque on the shores of the Lak lake, but not worth it to my mind.

We should have stayed at Jun village itself -- the longhouses looked fine, and they were 1/30th the price -- but on the other hand people weren't smiling in the village, and it had a slightly oppressive atmosphere we hadn't encountered in the rest of the country (only the south - we didn't do the north at all). all in all, we should have gone to Hue or Hanoi with our last 2 days in country, I think, instead of trying to experience the mountain culture in so short a time and from such a poorly run hotel.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank 3kids2cats1spouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gladesville, Australia
Level Contributor
465 reviews
150 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,786 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2010

Located on the banks of Lak Lake, this government-owned resort suffers from being the only main player around. Yes it’s a disadvantage in this case, it seems management lack the motivation, creativity & leech off the low paid staff, just like where I work. Like most government owned-monopolies, your cash will go towards some fat communist official’s brand new shiny Mercedes WITH bluetooth.

The resort has little cottages scattered around the lakeshore walled in by low level mountains, the cottages have satellite TV, aircon, hot water, mini fridge, private bathrooms, tubs & tables, they are quite discrete if u like it that way & there are many to choose from with different views, some are poolside. If your on a tighter leash there are budget rooms avail like the sort found in District 1 in Saigon. We opted for the homestay in Jun Village which is organised thru the Lak Lake Resort reception desk.

For the same price you can stay in the resort’s traditional rong house minus the intrusion on any families but it sorta takes away from the experience of staying in a functioning minority village.

Their restaurant is located lakeside in full view of the previous ‘floating restaurant’ which burned down amazingly enough in the middle of the lake (typical communist luck), all that remains are the concrete foundations, technically it still is floating, minus the walls, roof & everything else. The restaurant has a narrow waterfront balcony only big enough for small tables while the inside resembles an empty hall with fewer tables. It seems there is little effort to establish itself. The viet food was ok if u are hungry & is cheap.

The resort offers various activities such as canoeing, fishing, elephant rides, day tours of minority villages, traditional performances & meals that include drinking strange local rice wine from bowls & tubes in the rong houses. Staff don’t seem to have formal hospitality training & are more of your ‘willing to work cheaply’ type & if they lack language skills are at least hardworking.

If staying in Jun Village it is only possible to eat meals here at the Lak Lake Resort. There’s no town or nightlife nearby besides the local peasants & their cows so it would help if you had company & a bottle of wine. Situated just off Highway 26, it is 50 kms from Buon Ma Thuot & is a beautiful drive thru low lying mountains & windy roads typical of the central highlands.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank The_Pale_Ridah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lak Resort

Property: Lak Resort
Address: 30 Au Co Street, Lien Son, Vietnam
Location: Vietnam > Dak Lak Province > Lien Son
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Lien Son
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Lak Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 32
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Also Known As:
Lak Hotel Lien Son
Lak Resort Dak Lak, Vietnam

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