Booking conditions with Private Vietnam Tours

Dear Mr Phong,

Thank you for your nice note. Mr. An was an exceptional guide, really wonderful. I will write him myself.

I did catch a bacterial infection in Vietnam (perhaps the same one that you had?), and I was extremely pleased by the good care I received at a clinic. I was given intravenous anti-biotics, and recovered enough to fly home. I am very grateful.

We had a wonderful amazing trip and will return as soon as we can afford it again. Thank you so much! I will write a great review on tripadvisor. Really the guides and hotels and tours were awesome. Ms. Nhung was very sweet and refreshingly honest, very likeable. Mr. Tam was fantastic, highly knowledgeable and funny. Probably our best "tour" was the day we spent on motor bikes visiting the tombs near Hue. The bikes allow for a much more intimate view of the countryside. And then - as I wrote - Mr. An was absolutely the best guide ever.

On our free day in Hoi An we visited Suoi Ngam Doi (pictures attached), and I would really recommend that as an optional off-the-beaten-path adventure. We were totally alone swimming in a clear pool beneath a waterfall.

The hotels were all excellent. The Hotel Asia in Hue was over the top - like a Las Vegas resort. It was great to have the pool after a hot day of touring. My only suggestion is that it might be a bit better to have a hotel actually in old town in Hoi An. We walked to the old town the first day, and even though it is only a five or ten minute walk, the heat was pretty intense. After that, we took cabs and though they are very inexpensive, we aren't used to taking taxis so much and felt a little guilty. The four tour meals we had were all terrific. We loved the pho restaurant in Hanoi, very authentic (though in America pho has basil in it!), and the noodles were perfect. We both loved the lunch in the nunnery outside of Hue. The food and the setting were so peaceful. The Vietnam Village in Sai Gon was a treat. But the best was the wonderful meal on the Mekong. That is a winner for sure.

I started thinking about visiting Vietnam when I received an email from Travelzoo advertising a "special deal," a tour of Vietnam with Gate One travel for a trip for nine days for $1800 per person (including airfare). It sounded really fun. Then I did a bit of research and found you. You provided us with twelve days, including so many wonderful extras, and not with a group - but individualized - with cars and drivers and no buses, for less than $1800!! Airfare cost us $1600. So we saved $200, had three more days, and got to tour the tombs of Hue on motorbikes and go on the Mekong with a fisherman and eat lunch with his family, as well as all the classic sights provided with the group tour.

Thank you!

Jane Litman from US

Hello Toan
We are very glad that we found your company for our trip and overall we had a great time.
The pickups and drives to and from the airports were excellent.
We enjoyed the city tours and thought that the guides were very good – especially An in HCMC.
We also had a fantastic day with An on the daytrip to the Mekong Delta region – that was our favourite day.
On the Halong Bay trip we spent over an hour in the bus picking up people in Hanoi before we even left the city. Also had to wait quite awhile at the end for the bus to pick us up to bring us back to Hanoi.
Once we got there it was good and we thought that Peter who looked after us was excellent.
We liked the accommodation in HCMC, Hoi An and Hue very much – the hotel in Hue was the best. Compared to those three we found the hotel in Hanoi a bit disappointing for a few reasons. But we thought the location was good and the staff were very helpful and friendly.
All people we dealt with on the trip were very good and helpful – particularly to my mother which was very nice.
Thankyou very much for your help before and during our holiday.
If you would like us to give your company a good review somewhere I would be happy to do so.
Kindest regards
Sue, Geoff and Betty McPherson from UK

Hello Chinh,
Thanks for your patience while waiting for us to send you feedback.

As for your service and helpfulness, we are very grateful and can recommend no improvements.

Mr Vinh was a great guide and he was enthusiastic about teaching us many things. We made friends with him and hope to see him again. The destinations he took us to were all interesting. Note, the lunch we had on the Saigon City Tour was not very good. The restaurant was quite fancy and the service etc was good, but the food was either bland or too salty and the rice was not cooked well. We were eating 4 settings with only two of us so we ate well and got quite full though. I'm am just letting you know because future customers might be disappointed.

The accommodation was great, the room, the service and the buffet. It was the first time we had ever had a breakfast buffet and we were very impressed. The staff also took special care of the grandparents. The location was also convenient and we spent a lot of time walking around the city from there.

Nha Trang
The hotel was in a good location, we enjoyed the pool and the buffet there was also excellent.

Our highlight for this city was going out to Vin Pearl Land. It was not expensive and we spent all day until after the fountain show there. We had a fantastic time and could have gone there for a second day. We do intend to go back. I would recommend it for your tours.

We also were amazed at the quality of art in the curiously laid out at XQ Hand Embroidery and museum. It is just across from the hotel.

Hoi An
As previously mentioned, the beach has been washed away. The weather was windy and dark so it did not make the sea very inviting either. Maybe on a beautiful day it would be nicer, but I don't think it is as good as it once had been.

The town is now little more than a series of tourist shops. Excellent if you are looking for souvenirs and the art on display in some of the shops is of surprisingly high quality. But if your clients don't like be continuously hassled by street traders and have no interest in buying junk, this town could easily be left off the tour.

The hotel location was very convenient for us. Not too close that we are crowded by sellers, but close enough to be an easy walk to all of the attractions. The staff there are amazing and put in a huge effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. The buffet there was much smaller, but of great quality. We also made use of their free bike service and the bikes were well maintained and plenty of them.

The hotel room was very comfortable and a bit special. Again the buffet was really good. This was the first time during our holiday that we really felt like we were in Vietnam, rather than the tourist zone.

The motorbike tour was great. The guide was exceptional in meeting all of our needs. He was funny and silly for the grandparents who really took a shine to him. But he was also very serious and informative with us. He understood the needs of the grandparents and accommodated them while also sending us off in little extras while waiting for them. Lunch at the lady monks place was probably our best lunch on the tour.
Hue was Kassandra's favourite place.

The mountain drive between Hoi An and Hue had us excited, but we ended up going through long tunnels instead, which was faster and probably safer, but it did leave us a little disappointed.

Hanoi (both stays)
We understand that the hotel was chosen for its location and it was of the same sort of standard that Kassandra and I are used to so we didn't mind at all. But it was a very big drop in standard from the previous hotels. The second room we stayed in there was noticeably better than the first though. The buffet there was a bit dreadful and we opted to eat out after trying to have breakfast there. In fact we had a much better breakfast at the New Moon hotel where you so kindly gave us a break between train and bus rides.

Walking around the lake, and discovering the quaint shops and coffee houses in the area was enjoyable. The water puppets are something very unique and it was a great show, including the excellent musicians. Very enjoyable and a must see if you are in the area. We also enjoyed the mosaic mural for 1000 years on our way in and out.

We are not sure if the Ho Chi Minh complex tour was worth our time. Seeing his old residence was special and confirmed for us how he lived simply and loved his people deeply. The tour through the mausoleum was intimidating and very uncomfortable. We are not at all used to being herded like cattle, surrounded by people with armed weapons, stared at by military as if we are doing something wrong and made to keep walking at a steady pace in two straight lines like on some horrific march. It was not a good experience at all and helped us understand what the forced Khmer Rouge march out of Phnom Penh must have been like here in Cambodia.

The train to Sapa was fun and because you came to help us, it was very easy to manage. We were comfortable and we took your advice to look the door and check the price of things being offered so had a great trip in both directions. Thank you also for the care you took in pointing out the New Moon hotel. When we got off the train on our way back, we were up the other end and a bit disoriented, so having a good idea of what we were looking for really helped a lot.

It was a big relief to have a sit and relax, with another good buffet when we arrived in Sapa. You planned that very well. Our hotel was enjoyable even though it was very cold. We made good use of the electric blanket and were comfortable. Our stay in Sapa was hidden in swirling clouds which made it exciting and mysterious. Trekking was too much for the grandparents so the second day we had the tour changed to take them straight to a village which they could explore. Kassandra and I enjoyed both treks and got to see a great deal. The guide was very capable and considerate. I think it was a particularly good experience for us because of the weather that time of year. I don't know if it would have been as much fun slipping through the mud in the rain. Maybe it would be even better?

The location of the hotel was again very convenient. We spent a lot of time walking through the mists around that curious town and got glimpses of views where clouds parted expectantly. The hotel didn't have a secure place to lock up baggage after checkout, but before we were picked up. This was okay for us, but would be quite alarming for some customers. They do have security cameras which is of little use once your bag is gone or has something missing and you are catching the train out on the same day.

It was great to have a break at New Moon hotel. We had a shower and a short lie down before breakfast, charged our phones and got on the bus to Ha Long feeling refreshed. I feel like other tours don't have the expertise to plan for these details and we are grateful to you for your effort.

Ha Long Bay
The White Dolphin cruise boat blew us away with its luxury. It was the fanciest place we have ever stayed in. Every aspect of it was delightful. They also had plenty to do with a beach visit, a trip into a big cave, paddling kayaks, cooking class, squid fishing etc. Ms May also put in a special effort to make us comfortable and the couple that we shared the boat with were also particularly nice. I wouldn't start the tour with this because it raises the bar impossibly high. I think this was Tim's highlight.

Note, the driver who took us out to Ha Long Bay was dangerous. I don't mean compared to Australia, or Cambodia, I mean compared to all the other drivers on the road that day in the same traffic. He continuously took unnecessary and useless risks, pushing past traffic that was bumper to bumper while facing off fast moving heavy vehicles coming the other way. He caused many trucks and buses to break hard and swerve around him while he played chicken and scared other drivers to let us in where there was no room. I would much rather miss a boat than die or kill other people and this type of driving is not excusable. On the way home, I asked Ms May to let the new driver know we were in no rush to get back and to take it steady which he did very well.

Thanks for organising a great tour and then keeping track of us and ensuring everything continued to run smoothly. Please let us know if there are any specific details you would like more information about. We will be recommending you to our friends and are happy to make testimonials online if you have a trip advisor account etc.

Kind regards,

Tim and Kassandra from Australia.