Greetings from Hawaii! I am here on vacation for 2 months, so I finally have time to write to you and give you my thoughts on our trip. Our first guide, Luu was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and our driver was great. My only complaint was that it was difficult for us to understand his English, and he went in to too much detail at the Museum of Ethnology. Also, he gave me a survey to fill out at the last minute while we were in line to check in for our flight at the airport, making it difficult for me give a full review.
We really enjoyed the Meracus Hotel in Hanoi. It was in a great location, very clean, and the staff could not have been nicer. We really enjoyed our nighttime food tour, and loved going to the Clam Hut. That was a highlight for us and the food was great. We had fun at the home stay, our hosts were very sweet, but I have to admit that it was not very clean (especially the bathroom).
Halong Bay was wonderful, the boat was very nice, the food was great. We really liked everything there.
Our guide in Hue was much easier to understand and was also very knowledgeable. Our driver in Hue was not quite as conscientious, showing up late a couple of times. We enjoyed all of the tours in Hue and Hoi An. The Serene Palace in Hue was very nice and the food very good. We really loved Hoi An and found the Thanh Binh Riverside Hotel to be exceptional. When I requested a room change due to noise, the staff was kind enough to accommodate me. They were very friendly and service-oriented and the hotel itself was very nice. Our driver in Hoi An and Danang was very good.
Our hotel in Danang, the Holiday Beach Hotel, was great. We were given beautiful rooms, free massages and free beers at the rooftop bar. The manager was very friendly and was happy to make our stay as comfortable as possible.
Our last guide in Vietnam, Lee, was really great. He was enthusiastic, informative, and we had a lot of fun with him. All of our tours with him, especially the Cu Chi Tunnels, were very interesting. As you know, the Little Saigon Corner Boutique Hotel was horrible – dirty and dreary and old. The Blue Diamond Hotel was much better, but not great. It was clean, but there were many smokers in non-smoking rooms, the hallways could use a new coat of paint, and the breakfast was not good. Items that should have been hot were stone cold. It was in a great location, however. Our driver, Kenth, was excellent.
We loved our stay in Chau Doc at Victoria Nui Sam Lodge. The view was spectacular, and the hotel was great. It was the perfect place to relax in the middle of a very busy vacation.
The speedboat to Cambodia was not great, but I assume it is the best way to get there. Our guide for the day in Phnom Penh, Chessla, was very good and easy to understand. Our hotel, Anise Hotel, was good. It was older, but the rooms were clean and the restaurant/lobby area was very nice. The food was also very good there.
Our last guide, Tola, was great. Easy to understand, very well-informed, and an excellent photographer who was very willing to assist us in getting the best pictures possible. We found the trip out to the floating village really interesting, but the trash lining the road to get there was overwhelming. We loved the bamboo train and our visit to Bayon. We also loved the Battambang Resort. Beautiful setting, delicious food, wonderful owners.
Our time in Siem Reap was well-spent. Tola and our great driver, Cheat, took us to everything worth seeing, with interesting explanations of the history of the Angkor area. I really feel that they were very thorough and that we did not miss a thing. Tola also suggested some changes to our schedule so that we would avoid the crowds and get the best pictures.
Our hotel, Centre Boutique Angkor Hotel, was in a great location. The rooms were fine, the grounds were very nice, and the food was good.
We had a great trip with very few problems, which is a compliment to your planning and organizational skills. I was glad we had a chance to meet you, and I will be sure to recommend your services to anyone who might be interested in travelling to your part of the world.