Visiting Angkor Wat, fantastic place
We had 4, all of them were organised, friendly and competent
Take as little as possible, buy everything there
Reviewed by John Staveley who travelled in March 2012
Two things stand out. Angkor Wat is one of those few places in the world that exceeds your expectations – it is truly awesome. At the other extreme, our bike ride through the countryside around Hoi An allowed us to see lush and immaculately cultivated market gardens and gave us a glimpse of rural life today.
Both of our tour leaders were excellent – Vantha in Cambodia and Phoung in Vietnam. They were both tireless, always cheerful, well informed, anxious that everyone had a good time, and brilliantly well organised. Great assets.
There’s a lot packed into this holiday – it’s an assault on the senses in everyway. You need to enjoy crowded hot cities for their life and vitality. You need to enjoy ruins and be interested in ancient civilisations, And you need to be prepared to contemplate man’s inhumanity to man in the Killing Fields of Cambodia and in the photographs of the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Reviewed by Ronald David Harker who travelled in March 2012
Scenery in Laos; one of the trip members falling off the elephant into the Nam Khan river (several times!); then capsizing us into the Nam Song in Vang Vieng on the very first rapid and losing her sarong.
Thinh Lai, our guide in Vietnam – the very best tour guide! We missed him on crossing to Cambodia. Other guides, with the possible exception of the Lao guide, were also very good, but Thinh was exceptional – informative, helpful, funny, friendly. He organised optional activities taiored to the group’s wishes and went far beyond the call of duty.
1. Read the pre-departure notes, and stick to the advice in it. You really don’t need to take anything other than what it recommends. 2.Make use of the tailors in Hoi An – excellent value and quality of work. If you have favourite garments you’d like copied, take them with you or bring photos/patterns. 3. Make sure your insurance covers itinerary changes caused by weather. We had to but extra flights because of flooding and not all of us manged to get our money back.
Reviewed by Magdalena Styles who travelled in October 2011
There’s 2 stand out memories – Halong Bay and cycling round Hue. Halong Bay was stunning and we seemed to have the pick of the boats, which was very comfortable indeed. Ensuite rooms, excellent staff, spacious…My only regret was we didn’t spend longer there. The cycle ride round Hue was a complete contrast – 2 hours of total mayhem! And it isn’t even a particularly busy place by Vietnamese standards. Weaving in and of traffic and seeing some of the more local parts of town was both exhilarating and humbling.
Bao was a great tour leader. Whilst his English was a little limited he could virtually always get the message across. However, what he lacked linguistically he more than made up for which his mischievous sense of humour and insider knowledge of the best way to do things – how to avoid the crowds, where to get the best price etc. He was also very caring – going out of his way to keep us safe and make sure everyone was satisfied. In my experience that’s a rare trait in guides.
Just take 1 jumper (it’s very warm even in the supposedly cool North) plus thin clothes to cover your legs and arms. The mosquitoes are viscous at times! Take a poncho or buy one there – a conventional rain jacket will leave your lower half sopping wet in seconds…Don’t do this tour if you dislike buses – there’s a lot of bus trips all be it in very comfortable buses with air con.
Reviewed by Thomas Hazeldine who travelled in October 2011
Our tour leader Linh, who was from south Vietnam, was without doubt, outstanding.. Very informative, told us a great deal of history, organised tours on free days, and calmly dealt with a very awkward and difficult member of the group or did nothing but complain for the whole 18 days
Yes, many locals talked to us, looked at our photos and were very friendly.
Slightly, would need to go back again.
To be open to experiences and enjoy it as much as you can and always remember where you are, in a foreign country and not at the Hilton
Reviewed by Tracy Beattie who travelled in November 2010
I really enjoyed Sapa and Halong Day. I would have liked to stay in Halong Bay for a few days because it was so nice! Hoi Ann was also lovely. I also loved the Meekong Delta.
They were brilliant, really informative and also fun too.
Yes i think it did as we met people from some remote areas and brought things that we knew were ethically sound because they had been made by the people we brought them off.
Yes, i feel like we saw a diverse range placed such as the delta and Sapa as well as the busy cities of Saigon and Hanoi.
Buy a sleep sheet for the overnight trains!
Reviewed by Elspeth Muir who travelled in June 2010
Staying in the Mekong Delta was very interesting. It was good to see how other people go about their lives, make money, live, do their shopping etc.
Excellent. Krista was very knowledgeable throughout the tour.
Yes, we had local guides, and were encouraged to go to restaurants and cafes that helped the local communities.
Yes, I think so.
Be prepared for the cold weather!!! Its further north than Bangkok, where most people fly in from, and much cooler!!!
Reviewed by Emily Ashdown who travelled in February 2008
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