Richard Chivers review 27 Nov 2018
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Loved the countryside and the absence of other tourists for the most part of the destinations. The initial driver and guide were entertainers and good
company as well as informative and helpful, (I understood this more and more as we bumped into other couples to share thoughts, and changed driver and
guides later in the tour) which makes or breaks the experience. Loved the personal treatment.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be careful about packing the right clothing. It was much warmer and humid than I ever imagined. Travel as light as possible due to all the changes of venue.
Don't worry about the food so much as many might concern themselves with, it's good and it's an experience...even the fried insects. Keep the driver and guide
close to you, as they will show you better food, better sights. They will make or break the experience. Don't be squeamish, especially in the countryside.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Maybe benefited local people, but certainly benefited the local people in the "party", which is something that the company should review. One of the things I learned was that services in some instances were clearly chosen due to status of an individual within the party, not the community. I don't believe I
exaggerate. I don't really believe that environmental issues or conservation was high on the agenda.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
What I asked for was delivered...credit to the tour operators. There are things that I would have changed in hindsight, mostly to do with the timings and the agenda, and I would be happy to explain this further. We took away many great experiences and sights, and would certainly book through this operator again.
Read the operator's response here:
Hi Richard, thank you ever so much for your fantastic and productive feedback - we are always looking at ways of improving our services and the experiences we offer, especially in the more regions we operate in, and your comments are invaluable in achieving this. We strive to ensure all of our trips benefit the local community as much as possible, such as working with a number of local families to host homestay experiences so that it is not just one party that benefits. We are also working closely with our local partners to raise the awareness of environmental issues across Vietnam. For example, we have chosen to no longer operate cruises to Halong Bay due to the negative impact that the mass of tourism to the area has had and instead now sail in Bai Tu Long Bay, a far quieter bay with fewer licensed boats. Nonetheless, there is always work to do and rest assured we will continue to strive for better standards so future travellers can enjoy a meaningful adventure safe in the knowledge their presence is having a positive impact. We look forward to hearing from you in the not so distant future for your next trip!