Our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was wonderful due to your efforts in helping us to plan our itinerary, select hotels, schedule flights and transfers plus our guides and drivers and activities. we thoroughly enjoyed vietnam: people, scenery, history, food.
1) Mr Tung was attentive from the start. He noted that my sister liked hot chilies and he made sure chilies were always available at our meals; he saw that i preferred a fork and similarly, i had a fork at each meal. He was informative in history, customs, peoples of Vietnam with good sense of humor. He easily answered our questions and was very good in teaching us how to navigate safely the streets/traffic
I think that had it not rained so hard our first night at homestay in Ta Van, we could have made the trek the second day but the path was very muddy/slippery. we voiced our concerns for safety but he continued the trek for about a half mile until we reached a road that would double back to village and we discussed continuing on the path or the road which we immediately voted for the road. think in retrospect, he should have turned back right away. you had expressed concern for our ages and the treks. we did fine on dry road without difficulty. we had concerns about hotel in Bac Ha but our accommodation and food was great. we did have to hike up to 5th floor (no elevator) but it was a great room and the manager was most helpful. After arriving in Bac Ha, we went on 90 minute walk to some village that really didn't offer much in way of sights/local people and think that could be eliminated from itinerary. The hanoi pearl was a great hotel with lovely breakfasts and good location in old quarter. We enjoyed our street food/night in Hanoi, and other sights we attended plus the restaurant "know one teach one" was good choice for lunch. we had read about this school and were excited to eat there and support the students. Know Mr Tung was disappointed that we did not go to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum but we were not crazy about standing in line for hours in the heat. Know it was crowded due to holiday weekend. We enjoyed sapa and our hotel and our walk through sapa. We wished we had stayed another night in this town.We enjoyed the homestay but guess my sister and i did not truly understand what a home stay meant. It was fun eating dinner with the family and Mr Tung helped cook, making fried spring rolls and again the next morning, he made pancakes. There were other travelers staying at homestay and we were the envy of the group as we sat at family table for dinner. We enjoyed the saturday market near Bac Ha as well as the village that we toured later that morning. the bus ride to sapa was ok but we had friends that did the overnight train and we were glad we took the bus.
2) Enjoyed the dragon pearl junk2. activity director mr Chung was good and activities went on as planned even with some rain. Most of the rain was during the night when we were sleeping. We enjoyed our cabin, the meals, the fellow passengers. It was a lovely cruise. transport comfortable
3) Mr Gnoc was great. Good sense of humor and very passionate about his home town of Hue. Informative to history for Hue and Hoi An and helpful in pointing out and recommending restaurants in both towns. We asked about location for post office in Hue and he insisted on taking us to post office and helping us with mailing a package home. We enjoyed the bike ride in Hoi An and our meal. The basket boat ride was ok. We liked our hotel in hoi an very much with convenient location and good breakfasts. We took hotel shuttle bus to beach and spent several hours on beach. We enjoyed our time in Da Nang at beach, cham museum and marble mountain. Glad we went to Hue and enjoyed our tours there as well as boat ride on perfume river.
4) Ho Chi Minh City was ok. Not sure why we weren't crazy about this city. Scary with scooters driving on sidewalk. Our hotel was good with comfortable room and delicious breakfasts and tea time, but we weren't crazy about location (dark streets/? neighborhood). We really enjoyed our cooking class and our teacher was excellent. The trip through market was interesting and she gave us copies of recipes and packets of spices for our pho. We always prepare a meal for our family that has entrees/etc from countries that we have visited. She said that she will do cooking class for students for any items they wish to prepare and not just the day menus that she has printed on her website. thank you for making the class private; much more fun.
We enjoyed our trip to the delta. all that water and plants/crops growing. amazing. The stops were fun including the boat ride but we missed our bike riding. Our hotel in can tho was comfortable with good breakfast and good location. Enjoyed the boat ride to floating market and other stops that day. We were disappointed with our evening meal in can tho. the setting was lovely on the river but it is a tourist place with big groups of tourists and the food was not up the quality/taste of other meals that we had in Vietnam. Similarly, the next day, we stopped at the bus stop where everyone stops going to/from Ho Chi Minh City for our lunch. The food was ok but we really didn't know how to properly eat that meal til almost done. Guess there may not be other recommended places for lunch on the road. Mr Do was attentive to our safety (always helping us on/off the boats/cars) with a good sense of humor and did answer our questions but he seemed bored. Not sure that is right word to explain how he came across.
5) Mrs Sothavy in phnom penh was excellent. She knows her history. We enjoyed our tour in the city. I asked about jewelry stores that she might recommend and she took us to one where i did purchase some earrings for my daughters. We liked the fact that our hotel was across from the temple and liked seeing the temple next morning and hearing the monks chant that night was an experience. seeing the monks in orange robes riding on scooters was a treat! our hotel was comfortable and the breakfast was good and we ate supper in hotel too. We did walk around the area during day time but did not feel comfortable to walk the night we arrived as too dark street. Our guide recommended a restaurant and we went the next day for late lunch and it was very good.
6) Mr Phearom in siem reap was excellent as well. Attentive to our safety and informative to history of temples/city and did great tour in temples. We were successful in seeing sunrise at Angkor Wat. Our tuk tuk driver was also attentive and good driver. We went to museum on our own the day before angkor wat and this was helpful with history and seeing some monuments/statutes/etc in better condition and recommend that for your clients. Our guide recommended restaurants and we went to one and it was good. We did prefer vietnamese food over cambodian food! Our hotel was ok. location not the best for being convenient to town/river and walking(dark narrow street) but guess most people ride tuk tuk's. We enjoyed our aspara show/dinner. Thank you so much for this treat. it was a lovely way to spend our last night together.
I plan to go on trip advisor and write glowing review of our trip and vivutravel. this was first time for us to use travel agency for our trip as we usually book all our hotels, do road trip driving through europe and arrange our flights/bus/train connections(which can be stressful trying to find hotels/airports). It was wonderful to just relax and know that we were in good hands: being met at airport, excellent drivers, safe transfer to our hotels, safe transportation to sights, informative tour guides, wonderful hotels and meals. Overall, i was very pleased with the trip and your agency. You were always so quick to reply to our emails and I appreciate your concern, your enthusiasm, your wanting us to have a good trip, your attention to detail in planning our trip. i have provided some input that might be helpful for other US clients but please do not take these comments as negative/critical. we will recommend vivutravel to any of our friends/family that may come to SE asia.
Thanks so much for all you did to make our trip wonderful and we will have grand memories of our travel to vietnam and cambodia.