Overall, the service provided by this travel company was exceptional. During the planning phase, our sales contact was very responsive to shaping the itinerary, accommodations, and other details to meet our requests. We received travel documents (e.g., visa letter) and an updated itinerary (mostly filling in tour guide names that were pending) before departing the USA. A few details were pending, such as travel guide contact in Bangkok (at the end of trip), but this was provided via email during the trip. This company hires freelancer guides in each destination (as is fairly standard across all travel agencies). We had five different guides and drivers throughout this trip and all were excellent. We felt from the very moment we arrived in Hanoi that we were in capable hands and enjoyed our time spent touring and learning about each of our destinations from our guides. Indeed, they felt like friends more than just guides by the end! As an example of the guides' dedication to providing excellent service, we had to modify our plan to visit Halong Bay due to a typhoon that made it impossible to take the boat excursion out into the bay. Anticipating this possibility, our guide in Hanoi suggested an alternative destination called Ninh Binh, known as the "Halong Bay on Land." We were so terribly disappointed about missing Halong Bay, but this alternative ended up being spectacular -- gorgeous scenery! Although not Halong Bay, we really loved seeing Ninh Binh. Our guide knew that many travelers would divert to Ninh Binh due to the storms, and he made sure we had hotel arrangements and also planned short biking excursion to see a pagoda in that area among other sites. The drivers were friendly and great at navigating sometimes crowded urban centers as well as more rural, rustic roads. We felt completely safe the entire time. The accommodations were truly superior. We requested booking in 4-star hotels mainly, but selected on our own two 5-star hotels to include in our itinerary, which our travel company was able to accommodate. Of the hotels arranged by this company, my favorites were the hotels in Hue and Hoi An -- felt like 5 star, for sure! Of course eating well is a major focus in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. We had breakfast included with our lodging, which ended up being spectacular buffets with a broad variety of asian and western dishes. Many lunches and a couple of dinners were arranged at local restaurants - some more westernized than others, but we were really pleased with almost every arranged meal. A couple of exceptions was the dinner show in Cambodia (show as good, food was just ok), and a buffet lunch in Bangkok (horrible!). There was one miscommunication regarding our pick-up in Bangkok, our last destination on this trip. Our travel company had changed our flight from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, to a later flight to better accommodate our itinerary in Siem Reap. The tour guide and hotel in Bangkok had not received this updated information, even though it had been changed several weeks before our departure. We arrived in Bangkok, and were not met by our guide. I called her and she explained that she did not know about our earlier flight and had been waiting for us for 3 hours at the hotel (thinking we had gone straight to the hotel). Our hotel had a representative at the airport and we were able to arrange a car to the hotel, but had to pay for it. This cost was refunded to us the next day due to the miscommunication. One other comment regarding service in Bangkok. There was less attention to detail in Bangkok in general than in the other places we visited. For instance, in every location our guides provided water and arranged more authentic eating experiences. In Bangkok, we had to purchase water mostly, and the arranged buffet lunch was terrible -- not acceptable for an eating destination like Bangkok! In other areas, however, our guide went out of her way. Helping us arrange a cabaret show and guiding us through one of the night markets. Overall, we felt this trip was an incredible value given the exceptional service, quality of guides, transportation, and accommodations.
In general, the opportunity to see so many incredible historical sites and natural wonders in person with the added touch of having a private guide to explain the significance was most enjoyable. It would be impossible to choose just one or two favorite parts, as each location had many special sites and experiences. I will say that within Vietnam, our visit to Hoi An was a highlight, especially the food, hotel, and our fun fishing boat excursion. Touring Angkor Wat and the other temples in Siem Reap also stands out. Overall, we felt this trip was an exceptional value!
We would have preferred to stay with an earlier flight departure from Siem Reap to Bangkok. Our itinerary included a tour of an artisan workshop and visit to their retail store the afternoon of our departure, and since we had already done some shopping while in Siem Reap, we would have preferred to skip that and have more time in Bangkok. Otherwise, I think the company planned the perfect trip for our first visit to Southeast Asia.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your kind remarks in the message I have just received from you. Your praise of our service and its people is most gratifying.
It is unusual for someone to take the time to express her satisfaction with a product or service. It’s people like you who make our special effort worthwhile.
I am pleased that you like your trip as much you do. When I custom the tour and sold it to you, I really believed that it gives you many years of enjoyment.
There are some points of the services in Bangkok like the guide, the lunch & the water on Coach etc that you have informed is really precious to us. I have forwarded all of your comments to our office to remind them and request them to improve better then our services system can be perfect day by day.
I hope that if there is any chance that you come back to South East Asia or any of your friends, relative want to come then we can be the local supporter who can make your trip most memorable
Thank you and have a nice day ahead!
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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