Our trip was absolutely amazing and definitely ‘an experience of a lifetime’. From our very first contact with this travel agency, through the entire planning and booking process, and each aspect of the actual trip, the level of organization and service and professionalism exceeded our expectations. In every instance, the people were responsive, well informed, professional, punctual, courteous, respectful, and genuinely friendly. We never felt even a second of concern or doubt or worry about the plans and arrangements, and we appreciated the obvious attention to detail, safety, and comfort.
Although we are experienced international travelers, this was our first ever use of a travel company, so we were nervous about relinquishing control of the planning and wondering if we’d feel too ‘programmed’, but our concerns were quickly put to rest. In fact, we found that we were much more relaxed and able to absorb what we were seeing and learning, free from the worries of managing the logistics. There is no question that on our own we never would have had some of the unique opportunities and experiences provided by our tour guides. (See more below.) Each guide was outstanding and personable. Because we spent by far the most time with our guide in Hanoi, he became a very comfortable, trusted companion and resource, and it was very reassuring to know he was always just a phone call away – our ‘phone a friend’ if needed! Having our tour manager come to our hotel to meet us in person and make sure we were happy with everything, and present us with a gift, was just another example of the personable, attentive service. Honestly, we just could not have been more pleased with every aspect of this wonderful trip.
We can honestly say that we enjoyed every part of our trip so it’s very difficult to categorize anything as ‘most’ enjoyable or memorable. Certainly, the vibrant and unique energy of Hanoi made a huge impression, as did the haunting beauty of Halong Bay, and the serenity of Mai Chau, the history of Hue, and the colorful lanterns of Hoi An. While any tourist to Vietnam may have shared those wonderful experiences, it’s doubtful they would have had the opportunities we were given to visit local people in their homes – the father-daughter duo in Hanoi demonstrating traditional Vietnamese musical instruments just for us; the highest ranking fighter pilot meeting privately with us in his home to share his memories of the American War and his subsequent friendship with the American pilot he shot down; the talented, personable lacquer artist who good-humoredly assisted us in creating our own pieces of art; and the gracious hostess who welcomed us into her home to share her fascinating family history and an authentic home-cooked meal at her table.
The overnight on Halong Bay, in our own private junk with our own crew and cook was just beyond anything we’d expected. It took us a while to realize it was JUST US!
Also, the lunches with our guide in Hanoi, in restaurants we NEVER would have known about or entered on our own, were truly memorable.
These are opportunities we NEVER could have experienced on our own.
In reviewing our trip, we feel that the itinerary and pace were really well thought out and executed, so there is very little we would change. There was also enough flexibility that we never felt too ‘programmed’. In fact, on a day when heavy rain complicated the day’s plan, our guide suggested an alternative itinerary, which ended up being a very pleasant experience.
In the evenings, the guides were always available to help us choose restaurants and make reservations and even take us to the restaurant and meet us afterwards to go back to the hotel – or if we felt comfortable walking on our own, that was fine, too. A few times we found that by the end of the sightseeing portion of the day, we were quite keen just to relax at the hotel and have a simple, light meal in the lovely hotel courtyards rather than going out for dinner, and it was always perfectly acceptable to tell our guide that we were quite happy to do our own quiet thing for the evening. Having that freedom of choice was very pleasant and much appreciated, and we realized that it helped the guides, too, when we were open and honest with our preferences.
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"Overall we think this is a wonderful travel agency which is very professional and listened to our needs when creating our...
"The guides were absolutely amazing and personable."
"We received a lot of value for what we paid. It was well worth It!!! If we travel back to South East Asia, we would use...
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