We booked the 3 day trip to Niagara Falls and Washington with Take Tours. Take tours failed to mention that this tour ran through L & L Travel Enterprise, because otherwise we might have been more prepared based on L & Ls reviews. It doesn't help that Take Tours only posts the good reviews on there website. Take tours also implies that this tour is in English with Chinese available, there's no doubt about it: THIS IS A CHINESE SPEAKING TOUR.
When we first got on the bus we were informed that the toilet was not to be used and of all the added costs that we had to pay. When asked how much we were paying for each attraction the tour guide 'Windy' couldn't break down the cost for us. He charged children and adults the same overpriced fee as well. For one attraction we were charged $25 each, but upon looking at the ticket pricing we learnt it was only $7 entry and children under 12 were free as well as students, even though our tour guide told us they don't do concession prices at any of the attractions. When we said we didn't want to do one of the attractions because it had no interest to us he started to argue. This was all before our bus broke down in the middle of no where and we missed all the first days attractions anyway, one of which was the main reason we toke the tour: Niagara Falls at Night.
While our bus was broken down we only received one update from the tour guide 2 hours in saying they were going to fix the bus and it'd be around half an hour. 4 hours later a new bus arrived to take us to the hotel. We spent 6 hours standard. We reached the hotel just before 2 in the morning and were told we had to be on the bus by 7 - just 5 hours after checking in.
The second day we got to finally see Niagara Falls, complete with the Niagara falls movie in Chinese that we had to pay for. When we learned this was what he intended to do we asked for our money back and we were told that it was a good opportunity for us to learn Mandarin. Our tour guide hardly gave instructions in English, rather thought clapping at us to get our attention was more appropriate. When he did give English instructions or information it didn't make sense such as 'when you get off the bus go rightleft and straight' or '18th century they only rode sheep'. If we asked where we were we could expect answers such as 'Only I need to know that, trust me' or 'it only matters where we are going'. We would often drive up to 5 hours without a break because according to the tour guide there was no where to stop within that 5 hours for food or a toilet break other then a buffet significantly out of the way, which would be great if we weren't told we couldn't use the toilet on the bus and it wasn't past dinner time. We lucked out the second night as there was a supermarket for food next to the Chinese buffet, we weren't so lucky the following day at lunch where we stopped for another out of the way buffet. We got an early night on day 2, arriving at the hotel just before 11 pm to be back on the bus by 6:30 am.
Nothing beats the moment on the third day in Washington when we were going to visit president Thomas Jeffersons memorial and the tourist guide implied that the President was racist and said he was 'full of s**t' in regards to his proclamation of equal rights. The whole time in Washington he was not able to tell us what things were in English, luckily most of the sites had very helpful attendants so we actually knew what we were looking at.
This tour had no flexibility, we were given specific short times that we were allowed to be at each place before the bus left, sometimes given only 20 minutes to look at a landmark, go to the toilet and eat. This is in no way an American tour. I highly recommend seeing Niagara falls and Washington, but with a real tour company, and not this scam. He overcharged for attractions, we had no sleep, and were expected to pay $24 for his service each. One young girl didn't want to pay the full amount, rightfully so because his service was horrid, so for 30 minutes straight he yelled at her on the bus. Altogether I would not recommend this tour to anyone.
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