Our trip to Vietnam was spectacular! The Vietnam tour company that we chose responded immediately to my early inquiries--and our contact was so helpful and adapted many different aspects and changes we requested. She was extremely knowledgable and helpful, and spoke English very well.
We had two main guides who were wonderful! The first spoke English very well, and was university educated and knew a great deal about the history of Vietnam.
Our second guide, for the mountains of Sapa (up by Chinese border) was a member of the Minority Peoples of Vietnam, and told us many, many interesting details of her people's history and culture. Also, she was an extraordinary woman, self educated and extrememly charming. I'm sure all western tourists love her. It was really a treat getting to know her. She went above and beyond for us.
My family loved everything about Vietnam: the culture, the food, the museums, and the people. I was particularly impressed with our moderately priced hotels--they were very lovely and had wonderful breakfasts.
Most memorable in Hanoi was seeing the mausoleum of Ho Chih Minh. I'd never traveled to a country that so revered it's former leader; that was fascinating.
The mountains of Sapa were very beautiful and I recommend to anyone interested in the culture and geography of northern Vietnam.
We were very lucky with weather; it was cool and never rained. Perfect for being outdoors. Hanoi was an interesting city, and the visit inspired me to read a book about Dien Bien Phu, so my visit launched me on an interesting literary and historical journey.
The Vietnamese people are very friendly; my 22 year old son saw some kids playing Hackey Sack in a school yard, and he joined them and they seemed to love it. They weren't wary or shy.
I would do more research about the whole country and see if there were other places I might like to go. I did no research before I contacted our travel agent, told her what I was looking for, and she made suggestions--which turned out great. But there is so much I didn't see because I didn't want to spend a lot of time traveling. So I didn't see Saigon or Da Nang.
I thought I wasn't interested in the history of the war, since I lived through it, but it was fascinating from the view of Vietnam--so I would do more tourism focused on the war.
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