The travel company was excellent. We had never been to Vietnam before, and our travel planner planned out an excellent itinerary for us. He listed well to our input/interests, and crafted an itinerary that met them. He was also consistently very quick to respond to any questions, both prior to our trip and also during our visit. Reaching him was always very easy. I would definitely use this company again for further travel.
While we wanted to see the key tourist sites, our interests also involved opportunities to explore more off the beaten path areas. In the former category, the visit to Ha Long bay was very beautiful. The scenery there was magical, and the boat we were on was first rate. That was a very relaxing, enjoyable visit. For the latter, we particularly enjoyed the opportunity to venture out into the countryside to meet local people and learn about their way of life. We visited a small farm and got to learn about agricultural techniques there, and also visited fishermen on a small boat and got to try our hand at casting the fishing nets (with very little success!). Other highlights I would call out are the food (delicious), the people (very warm and friendly) and the accommodation. We stayed at a hotel in Saigon, and that was probably the nicest hotel I've ever been to in my life. And we finished up our trip at a resort outside of Cam Ranh, and that was also a truly first class experience. The Vespa foodie tour in Hanoi was also a highlight. We explored many restaurants that we never would have found on our own, and in most of which we were the only non-Vietnamese patrons. Riding on a Vespa through the bustling streets of Hanoi was at first a bit scary, but we got used to it pretty quickly -- despite the appearance of chaos there really is a method to navigating the streets. Also most enjoyable was riding bicycles through the countryside -- seeing the lushly green rice paddies, large numbers of herons and other water birds, and getting to see up close how the local people live.
I would have spent less time at war-related sites -- although I appreciate that's purely a matter of personal preference. And I wasn't a huge fan of Hoi An Village -- it's a very touristy collection of shops, galleries, restaurants. Shopping for souvenirs isn't our thing, and this place was predominantly tourists. I would have taken the time there and redirected it to spending more time in the countryside.
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