A well-planned and easy sojourn through North Vietnam, filled with beautiful sights and well-chosen accommodation. A lovely and memorable late-Honeymoon / 1st Anniversary Getaway!
Our initial guide was truly fantastic. He stayed with us for the majority of the stay (8 or 9 days) and truly made the trip. He has all the best qualities of a guide: considerate, organized, well-versed in the culture and history, and maintained a great upbeat, neutral attitude. He kept us informed and ensured that the trip was carefree.
We saw the major highlights of Northern Vietnam -- Hanoi, Tam Coc, Sapa, Halong Bay -- and Hue for a special tour. Vietnam is so beautiful and varied, and our circuit felt easy but still adventurous!
We also really enjoyed all the hotels that were picked for us. We were on our honeymoon and the hotels were clearly informed of this. In one case, our cruise ship in Halong Bay actually made a cake for us! So very sweet. And our hotel in Tam Coc was a dream. I also very much appreciated the forethought our guide put into letting every hotel and restaurant know about our allergies and dietary restrictions.
This varies. For me, I really enjoyed biking through Tam Coc (my first time biking -- I crashed twice but it was so beautiful who cares) and all the fun activities on the cruise boat in Halong Bay. I also really enjoyed having the evenings "off" to explore the city at our leisure. Our hotel placement was always great -- everything was always in walking distance. I really appreciated the thoughtful choices of hotel selections.
For my husband, it was the opportunity to hike up to Hamburger Hill in Hue (this was a specially requested activity) and Halong Bay. He really enjoyed a chance to see the beach and swim a little.
We both adored our guide! What a great guide.
If I could re-do the trip, I would focus more on streamlining or picking unique activities. At times, our trip could be a little repetitive. For example, we did three different boat rides through similar landscapes in the Tam Coc area. Each trip was beautiful but one ride would have been enough. Additionally, our first day in Sapa involved trekking through CatCat Village but then did a much longer (and far better) trek through the actual range of Sapa and its villages the next day. I think we would've enjoyed more varied activity (we saw quite a few interesting massage parlours that specialized in reflexology and cooking classes) instead, and will specify that desire in the future.
I would also request a different guide for Hue. It was very tiring to have our guide make jokes about how my husband probably wanted to get away from me and other sexist jokes... Nevermind the fact that he rarely, if ever, spoke to me about the sights and just focused on my husband. I would refuse to use this organization again if I knew he would be our guide, and my husband and I definitely want to do a Central to Southern Vietnam tour in the future.
My husband would have specified that he would appreciate hotels with well-equipped gyms.
Travel Company's Comments
We apologize on behalf of your guide in Hue; he really was upset to hear how he had impacted on your time in Vietnam, this was in no way his intention and he unequivocally apologizes as well. We are thrilled you enjoyed your time in other areas, seeing this fabulous country and the guides here exceeded your expectations.
We would love to welcome you back to Vietnam and to explore the center of the country, we would 100% guarantee to have a guide you enjoy to be with as much as your first guide, I would also enjoy the opportunity to meet you and apologize in person. We would ensure you have hotels that meet the gym requirements allowing time for the unique spas and of course more of the incredible food and with a cooking class of course! It would be my privilege to help you with this and share my own experiences of all these options with you!
Nobody likes to hear anything negative and we always strive for perfection, it is however, only with feedback like yours we can look where we need to improve and continually improve. So Daphne, whilst I am sad we failed you, I thank you for sharing this with us so that we have been able to fix this situation, so none have to encounter what you have and we are now a better company because of this.
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