Author: John Rybczyk
Date of Trip: May 2015
In 2012, my wife and I made our first trip to Vietnam. We had a private tour (a driver, a guide and us. We used Vietnam Royal Tourism Co. out of Hanoi, Vietnam. It definitely was a great find and the trip was better than expected. We wrote a Trip Review, titled Grrreat trip to Vietnam, the trip was May 2012. The two highlights of the trip was the trip to Sapa for the huge market in Bac Ha. and the 2 night cruise around Halong Bay. There is so much to see in Vietnam we knew that we would be going back to visit places that we just did not have time to see. So again in May 2015, arrangements made with Vietnam Royal Tourism Co to go back to Vietnam for 20 days. A couple of things that made us go back to Vietnam Royal Tourism, the big item is how they treated us. Right from the start they made us feel that anything we wanted to do or see was possible and if they thought there was a better way or more to see they made recommendations. Again, a private tour, a driver and guide and just the two of us in the car. Breakfast every morning and lunch every day except those days that we had a free day. It was great, want to do something else, want to go back early, want to stay later, it was done, the day was ours – it just could not have been better.
We wanted to do a couple of things different this time around but we wanted to do a couple of things over again and the first thing was the cruise with Mekong Eyes, a 3 day 2 night cruise. Ho Chi Minh – Cal Be – Can Tho – Cal Be -Ho Chi Minh. VRT sent us a brochure from ME and we selected which cruise we wanted to take and then VRT set it all up. We did not have to deal with another agency, VRT handled it and charged us just what was listed in ME brochure. This definitely was the highlight of the trip and we did it on Day 2 to 4, right at the beginning of our 20 day trip. It was fantastic and MKE was great. The staff was terrific, the food was over the top. I am not going to go over the whole 20 day trip, even though it was totally a great trip, but just some of the highlights. VRT picked us up every morning after the MKE cruise and off we went.
We went on a tour to Cham Island and Barb my wife got an opportunity to go snorkeling. They supplied all the equipment and she had a great time,I just went along and too pictures. Did I mention Barb is 75. Our next big event was 4 nights in Hoi An. In 2012 we spent 1 night there and right away we knew that if we came back Hoi An would be more than 1 night. On our way to Hoi An (with our driver and guide) we stopped and visited Tra Que herb Village. We had the opportunity to work the farm and learn how to prepare and cook Vietnamese food. So Barb and I and the Cook made our lunch, we each had a turn cooking. There was another family of 3 there but they had there own stove and Cook. We got to meet the whole family who runs this tour. Four nights in Hoi An was terrific, its a small town and all the action is at the Old Quarter. Restaurants, bars, shops, people, lots of people. Our 4 nights – all at the Old Quarter just walking around, trying different places to eat or have a drink. Prices were very reasonable.Spent some time in Hanoi, and then we went back to Halong Bay on the same boat, the Victory Star that we went on in 2012. This time we only went for 1 night. When we boarded the Victory Star we were met by the staff and they said “Welcome Back” and they upgraded us to a suite. I am sure that VRT had something to do with that. Regardless who did, we had a great time on the boat and all the staff treated us like we were family returning. Our last couple of days were free days in Hanoi. It was a fantastic trip, I would not have changed a thing. VRT did everything right, we stayed at some of the same hotels we stayed in 2012. All were great. The driver and guides we had (a different duo in every town) were again great. They were knowedgeable, spoke excellent English. really took care of us. If we go back it would definitely would be with VRT again, Ms Thuy, owner of VRT handled our tour in 2015 and it was over the top. Highlights in 2012 had to be the 2 night Halong Bay trip and the huge market at Bac Ha, the guides, the hotels and definitely the lunches. This time 2015, the Mekong Eye cruise was definitely the highlight along with the 4 nights to Hoi An and then of course the great tour set up by Ms Thuy, the reception by the staff of the Victory Star for the Halong Bay trip, the guides and definitely the lunches. I thought the lunches were fantastic in 2012, well 2015 was just as good and maybe even had a couple of places that definitely stood out. If you want any information on a trip to Vietnam I highly recomment VRT and you can contact us anytime. John and Barb
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