We booked a three-week trip to Vietnam with a side trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the Angkor temple complex. We are three 60-something women who had never been to Southeast Asia before. Before we left, our travel company patiently helped us customize our trip, down to the last details, providing great advice along the way. Our trip started in Hanoi, and our guide was there at the airport to pick us up and take us to our hotel, even though it took longer than we expected to get our visas. The hotel they booked for us on the south shore of Hoan Kiem Lake, was lovely and it turned out to be a terrific location. Throughout the trip, which included stops in Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, we felt well taken care of, with great hotels throughout. And our guides were flexible enough to change our itineraries on the fly. For example, one of my companions fell and injured her leg in a market in Hoi An. We asked if we could rearrange the itinerary to accommodate a trip to a hospital clinic, and they happily obliged. And later they modified the schedule for my friend, so she could skip some of the more strenuous activities.
The trip itself was wonderful. We experienced the markets, the organic gardens, the temples and pagodas, the waterways and the food that makes Vietnam so unique and wonderful. All of our local guides were so helpful and willing to put up with our eccentricities.
The only glitch we had on the trip was when we arrived at the Siem Reap airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. It turned out we did not have tickets on the flight. We called our travel company and immediately got a call back -- we would be met at the airport by a guide with tickets for the next flight out, and in the meantime he would take us to a lovely nearby hotel and buy us lunch. He also offered to get us a room if we wanted to shower or change clothes, but we just stayed in the restaurant overlooking the lovely swimming pool and sipped our mojitos, courtesy of of the company.
Also I should mention the value. Zicasso connected us with three travel agents who submitted proposals. This company was the only one that really understood our budget parameters and what we wanted to do within the budget. We felt the price was quite reasonable and were very happy with our trip.
Our cooking class in Hoi An was a highlight. It included a visit to an organic farm, the market, and a boat ride to the school. We cooked a fabulous dinner, under the leadership of our guide and instructor.
Our Eco-Tour, also in Hoi An, involved a visit to an organic farm, a boat ride to meet a fisherman and his wife, who showed us how to cast nets and catch fish, and a ride in basket boats in addition to an on-board lunch of the fish I caught. It was great fun.
And our Mekong Delta tour of the floating markets was wonderful, even though we had to be ready to go by 6 a.m. It was worth it to see the boats offering all kinds of vegetables and fruits for sale.
Build in more time to rest and relax. And a few more free days to wander around the cities we visited. But all-in-all, I wouldn't do too much differently.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
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