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  #1  
Old February 8th, 2011, 03:31 PM
djandbj djandbj is offline
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Default Private Tours in Vietnam and Bangkok

Does anyone have any recommendations for private tour companies in Vietnam or Bangkok? Many thanks.
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  #2  
Old February 8th, 2011, 04:50 PM
EmsMom EmsMom is offline
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Default Tours in Bangkok and Vietnam

We are using Tong in Bangkok, Zoom in Saigon and Mrs Ha (Vietland Tours) in Da Nang and Hanoi. They have come highly recommended. If you look on the Asia Forum, you will see information about them and how to contact them. We are on the March 7 Pride from Bangkok to Hong Kong.
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  #3  
Old February 8th, 2011, 08:22 PM
djandbj djandbj is offline
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Thanks for your response. Will check them out.

Last edited by djandbj; February 8th, 2011 at 08:31 PM.
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  #4  
Old February 8th, 2011, 11:55 PM
Alice1203 Alice1203 is online now
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We just returned from Vietnam and used Smile Tours in the ports orf Saigon, Danang and Hanoi. Every tour was wonderful. We were able to choose our own itinerary and Thi made last minute changes for us when our cruise schedule changed. I highly recommend Smile Tours. Alice
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  #5  
Old February 9th, 2011, 12:38 AM
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We used Tong in Bangkok and Ha for Danang, Hanoi and Saigon. We were very happy with all the tours. You can see lots of photos from our tours in our review on our website www.thepreismans.com. Links to their websites are also in the review.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:02 PM
cruiseduchess cruiseduchess is offline
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Recently back from Singapore, Bangkok, Vietnam and Hong Kong on Azamara Quest.

In Bangkok we arranged tours with Bangkok Day Tour: bangkokdaytour@hotmail.com. No deposit taken in advance. Danni answered all email questions promptly. Our guide "Kik" met us straight off the ship and was excellent; she went out of her way to accommodate us on both days and had a great sense of humour.

Saigon (HCMC) and Mekong we had "Zoom". dungzoom@gmail.com. Deposit by PayPal. Excellent guide, good English, extensive knowledge, and great "Pho"! (That's Vietnamese noodle soup with beef - he took us to Pho 2000 where Clinton went.) In the Mekong Delta he was joined by a local guide who was absolutely charming, and again, the included lunch was great.

Da Nang for Hoian we joined another couple who had arranged Smile Tours. info@smiletoursvietnam.com. Again, punctual, helpful and no problems whatsoever.

For Halong Bay and Hanoi we arranged with Mrs Ha; info@discovervietnam.com.vn: She asked for credit card details for a deposit but didn't charge it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful, with good English. It was Tet New Year's Eve the day of the Hanoi tour and the ship's tours had been re-arranged (they even re-arranged the ship's arrival time!). I emailed Mrs Ha from the ship to make sure all would be OK and she mailed back to say she had checked and all would be well. Our guide asked if we could start an hour early from the ship and the day went according to plan, we visited everything on the itinerary - he had planned the timing perfectly.

Be advised that the Vietnam tour guides require your passport details in advance to arrange Port passes.
We kept our tours to 4 people; plenty of room in the vans and tons of room on the Halong Bay junk which could have carried at least 30 or 40!

I would have no hesitation in recommending all the tour guides above.
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  #7  
Old February 15th, 2011, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiseduchess View Post
Recently back from Singapore, Bangkok, Vietnam and Hong Kong on Azamara Quest.

In Bangkok we arranged tours with Bangkok Day Tour: bangkokdaytour@hotmail.com. No deposit taken in advance. Danni answered all email questions promptly. Our guide "Kik" met us straight off the ship and was excellent; she went out of her way to accommodate us on both days and had a great sense of humour.

Saigon (HCMC) and Mekong we had "Zoom". dungzoom@gmail.com. Deposit by PayPal. Excellent guide, good English, extensive knowledge, and great "Pho"! (That's Vietnamese noodle soup with beef - he took us to Pho 2000 where Clinton went.) In the Mekong Delta he was joined by a local guide who was absolutely charming, and again, the included lunch was great.

Da Nang for Hoian we joined another couple who had arranged Smile Tours. info@smiletoursvietnam.com. Again, punctual, helpful and no problems whatsoever.

For Halong Bay and Hanoi we arranged with Mrs Ha; info@discovervietnam.com.vn: She asked for credit card details for a deposit but didn't charge it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful, with good English. It was Tet New Year's Eve the day of the Hanoi tour and the ship's tours had been re-arranged (they even re-arranged the ship's arrival time!). I emailed Mrs Ha from the ship to make sure all would be OK and she mailed back to say she had checked and all would be well. Our guide asked if we could start an hour early from the ship and the day went according to plan, we visited everything on the itinerary - he had planned the timing perfectly.

Be advised that the Vietnam tour guides require your passport details in advance to arrange Port passes.
We kept our tours to 4 people; plenty of room in the vans and tons of room on the Halong Bay junk which could have carried at least 30 or 40!

I would have no hesitation in recommending all the tour guides above.

It sounds like you had a great time. It is a wonderful and very different cruise experience in SE Asia. We were quite please with Mrs. Ha's professionalism and high service level. She is a gem.
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  #8  
Old February 28th, 2011, 12:53 AM
artisticone artisticone is offline
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Let us know how you like the AMA riverboat. We're looking at a trip from Budapest to Prague.
Thanks! Lynn (artisticone)
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  #9  
Old April 2nd, 2011, 07:58 AM
ksps cruise fan ksps cruise fan is offline
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Pakkapong Boonprasert -- called Tan -- was our guide on our recent visit to Bangkok. He was wonderful! He is very knowledgeable, pleasant to be with, prompt, and responsive to customer interests and physical limitations. His English is quite easy to understand as long as you remember the typical r/l pronunciation difficulty.

He was assigned to be our guide by a booking agency so we had no prior dealing with him before we met the first morning, but we were delighted with our luck. He works free lance so I'm providing his direct email: phakapong@hotmail.com

Here's an example of his going above and beyond: We had a land stay for a few days in Bangkok and the taxi drivers in the city tend to be from the rural areas. Even if they tell the doormen at the hotel that they know the route to the address, they may not. We got caught in one such situation and never found the restaurant where we hoped to dine that night. Frustrated, we returned to our hotel for dinner. For the two remaining nights in Bangkok, Tan prepared maps for us in Thai with landmarks that he believed even rural taxi drivers would know. We used the maps both times and the taxi drivers delivered us to the restaurants successfully. (One was the restaurant the first taxi driver never could find!)

Tan is expanding his services to include more than guiding so if you'd like help arranging a longer stay in Bangkok or even other visiting other destinations, he is likely to be able to help you.
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  #10  
Old April 5th, 2011, 03:18 AM
westcoastcruiser westcoastcruiser is offline
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Default Tour companies Bangkok & VietNam

We used Smile Tours in VietNam and were very pleased with Thi and Bangkok Day Tours working with Dennis. Both tour companies were timely, flexible, professional and provided excellent service.
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  #11  
Old April 7th, 2011, 05:02 AM
djandbj djandbj is offline
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Default Zoom in HHC

We were very pleased with Zoom in Saigon and the Mekong Delta and would highly recommend. If you are not interested in shopping he will tailor your tour to your interests. As others have noted, his fellow guides and his driver are top notch.
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  #12  
Old April 7th, 2011, 01:41 PM
EmsMom EmsMom is offline
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Default Drivers

I think that having a good driver in Vietnam is really important....the traffic is a mess. We used Zoom (who is an excellent guide) and his driver was excellent, thankfully. We saw other drivers in Vietnam that weren't so great...some of the ship's excursion drivers were passing into oncoming traffic....the passengers weren't very happy. The other drivers we had were also excellent (as were the guides).....Tong in Bangkok and Mrs. Ha in Da Nang and Hanoi.
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  #13  
Old April 10th, 2011, 02:14 AM
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We used Zoom in February. He was marvelous and we highly recommend him. His driver was also very good and we felt safe and very well cared for throughout the entire day.
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  #14  
Old April 14th, 2011, 04:20 PM
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little britain little britain is offline
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Default Zoom and Tong

This is taken from my cruise review:

We had a group booked through Zoom. This man is infectious in his enthusiasm and we had all been sent many reports on Vietnamese customs, cusine and history to read before we arrived. Zoom was waiting on the pier for us. We visited the Post Office, Reunification Palace, a Chinese market and temple; then we had coffee at the top of the famous Rex hotel, we had lunch at Pho 2000 which is where President Clinton ate when he visted; then we visited a lacquer ware factory (another purchase), the war museum and the Ben Thanh market. Visas were handled by the ship and cost $40pp. We had a small landing card which we had to keep on us at all times. Traffic was chaotic with motor cycles everywhere. As we were docked overnight Zoom had recommended that we went out for dinner at the Royal Court restaurant in the Rex hotel. They served local cusine and had dancers and musicians. We had his driver, and the evening cost $40pp total including transport, meal, drinks and tip for a group of 15 of us. I’m confident that all of us would happily recommend Zoom – his real name is Tri Dung Nguyen dungzoom@gmail.com. The ship ran a complimentary shuttle from the port to the Rex hotel.

In Bangkok we had a tour booked with Tong from www.tourwithtong.com. She was amazing! We were docked right in town at Klong Toey. The ship ran a complimentary shuttle from the port to the Central World Plaza shopping centre on Ploenchit which is just by the Siam skytrain station. Depending on traffic this could take anything from 30 mins to 1 ½ hrs. On the first day we docked around 11am and Tong took us straight to the Grand Palace. This was shutting at 1p due to it being a public holiday and the royal family were visiting. We also saw the huge reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. After a fantastic lunch we had a river and canal tour and then visited the flower market. The official name for Bangkok is actually the longest capital city name in the world and she had us all singing a song to remember it on the journey home.....altogether now....” Krung Thep Manakhon Bovorn Ratanskosin Magin thara Ayutthaya Mahadilokpop Noparat ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchanivetmahasathan Avatartsathit Sakkathattiya Visnukarmrasit”.....

On the second day we had a 7am start and Tong took us straight to the train market. This is an amazing experience where the locals sell their wares along the train track. Then the 3 minute whistle goes and they clear their goods, pull back their awnings and let the train go through....they do this 8 times a day. Then we went to the floating market which was amazing. Make sure you go in a boat where they paddle you instead of in one with an engine so you can see how peaceful the pace is. After a quick visit to a wood carving factory we were on the way to a fishing village. We set off in another boat to see the oyster beds, and then we had bought bags and bags of bananas to feed the wild monkeys. And there were a lot of wild monkeys along the banks and swimming along side us, and one even climbed onto the side of the boat! Lunch followed and this was held in a fishing platform built on stilts high above the water. A ladder up to the platform was not for the feint hearted but lunch was superb. Back at the ship we freshened up and then caught the shuttle into town. We headed straight for Jim Thompson’s shop which sells the most beautiful silk products in Thailand. After this we walked down Patpong which is famous for fake copies of designer products (and other things....) but I felt that the copies were not as good as those on sale at the floating market (and were not as cheap ). We caught a cab back to the port and this only cost 100THB including the tip – that is around $3.

Both tours were excellent and i would happily recommend both.
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  #15  
Old April 15th, 2011, 07:15 AM
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Just returned from SE Asia cruise on Azamara Quest. We too used Zoom in Ho Chi Minh. We had an associate of his the first day when we did the Mekong Delta tour. First rate all the way. On the second day we had Zoom himself for a City tour. Can't go wrong using Zoom in HCMC. dungzoom@gmail.com Zoom requires a deposit via PayPal. No big deal.

In DaNang we used Danang Kids. Actually students who do it free of charge to improve their english. We took the ship shuttle to the meeting point. We met our guide there, Mr. Khahn, who is the organization's leader. You pay for the taxi for the day and lunch for you and your guide. We did provide Khahn with a gratuity which he gratefully expected. The tour is up to you but the guide will recommend. We spent most of the day in Hoi An where we had prebooked a tailor to do some suits and shirts. We were able to get measured, go on tour, go back 4 hours later for a fitting, go back on tour and lunch, go back to tailor to pick up suits. Great day. Went like clock work. www.danangkids.org Tailor www.adongsilk.com Highly recommend

In Bangkok we used Bangkok Day Tour. There is also a Bangkok Day Tours company with an "s". Both were recommended. We used Danni at the one without the "s". Great price, great guide, great time in Bangkok. We had three tours there. First day was temples and canal tour including Royal Barge museum and Patpong market in the evening. Second day was train market and the fabulous floating market. Third day was morning tour of Grand Palace. Nina was our guide all 3 days and was wonderful. www.bangkokdaytour.com
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Old April 16th, 2011, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by little britain View Post
This is taken from my cruise review:

We had a group booked through Zoom. This man is infectious in his enthusiasm and we had all been sent many reports on Vietnamese customs, cusine and history to read before we arrived. Zoom was waiting on the pier for us. We visited the Post Office, Reunification Palace, a Chinese market and temple; then we had coffee at the top of the famous Rex hotel, we had lunch at Pho 2000 which is where President Clinton ate when he visted; then we visited a lacquer ware factory (another purchase), the war museum and the Ben Thanh market. Visas were handled by the ship and cost $40pp. We had a small landing card which we had to keep on us at all times. Traffic was chaotic with motor cycles everywhere. As we were docked overnight Zoom had recommended that we went out for dinner at the Royal Court restaurant in the Rex hotel. They served local cusine and had dancers and musicians. We had his driver, and the evening cost $40pp total including transport, meal, drinks and tip for a group of 15 of us. I’m confident that all of us would happily recommend Zoom – his real name is Tri Dung Nguyen dungzoom@gmail.com. The ship ran a complimentary shuttle from the port to the Rex hotel.

In Bangkok we had a tour booked with Tong from www.tourwithtong.com. She was amazing! We were docked right in town at Klong Toey. The ship ran a complimentary shuttle from the port to the Central World Plaza shopping centre on Ploenchit which is just by the Siam skytrain station. Depending on traffic this could take anything from 30 mins to 1 ½ hrs. On the first day we docked around 11am and Tong took us straight to the Grand Palace. This was shutting at 1p due to it being a public holiday and the royal family were visiting. We also saw the huge reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. After a fantastic lunch we had a river and canal tour and then visited the flower market. The official name for Bangkok is actually the longest capital city name in the world and she had us all singing a song to remember it on the journey home.....altogether now....” Krung Thep Manakhon Bovorn Ratanskosin Magin thara Ayutthaya Mahadilokpop Noparat ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchanivetmahasathan Avatartsathit Sakkathattiya Visnukarmrasit”.....

On the second day we had a 7am start and Tong took us straight to the train market. This is an amazing experience where the locals sell their wares along the train track. Then the 3 minute whistle goes and they clear their goods, pull back their awnings and let the train go through....they do this 8 times a day. Then we went to the floating market which was amazing. Make sure you go in a boat where they paddle you instead of in one with an engine so you can see how peaceful the pace is. After a quick visit to a wood carving factory we were on the way to a fishing village. We set off in another boat to see the oyster beds, and then we had bought bags and bags of bananas to feed the wild monkeys. And there were a lot of wild monkeys along the banks and swimming along side us, and one even climbed onto the side of the boat! Lunch followed and this was held in a fishing platform built on stilts high above the water. A ladder up to the platform was not for the feint hearted but lunch was superb. Back at the ship we freshened up and then caught the shuttle into town. We headed straight for Jim Thompson’s shop which sells the most beautiful silk products in Thailand. After this we walked down Patpong which is famous for fake copies of designer products (and other things....) but I felt that the copies were not as good as those on sale at the floating market (and were not as cheap ). We caught a cab back to the port and this only cost 100THB including the tip – that is around $3.

Both tours were excellent and i would happily recommend both.

Thanks for a very nice recap of your tours. Your experience with Tong was very much like ours. She does provide an unforgettable experience and probably one of the best tours we have ever had.
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Now Posted; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords; Panama Canal and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

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Old April 17th, 2011, 02:12 AM
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Default Tong is the best

Quote:
Originally Posted by MVPinBoynton View Post
Thanks for a very nice recap of your tours. Your experience with Tong was very much like ours. She does provide an unforgettable experience and probably one of the best tours we have ever had.
We were also on the same tours as Little Britain. Because of you, Mike, (& the great review which you posted), we personally booked this tour with Tong over a year ago. She was everything you said --- as a matter of fact, my DH and I think she is the best tour guide we have ever had. She was resourceful, energetic and full of laughs. She provided water to all of us and cool cloths frequently. We also said "hello" from you as you had requested we do in a previous post. She remembered you and even thought one of our tour buddies (Gary) looked like you (which she teased continuously)...I think being able to book "Tong" herself is key to having an outstanding tour.

Thank you again for writing a most complete review on these ports. It certainly has been helpful to us and other CC members to plan accordingly.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticone View Post
Let us know how you like the AMA riverboat. We're looking at a trip from Budapest to Prague.
Thanks! Lynn (artisticone)
Hi Lynn,
We love AMA. If you go to www.thepreismans.com you will find our review of our AMA cruise Budapest to Prague. It was a wonderful trip.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sailaway5 View Post
We were also on the same tours as Little Britain. Because of you, Mike, (& the great review which you posted), we personally booked this tour with Tong over a year ago. She was everything you said --- as a matter of fact, my DH and I think she is the best tour guide we have ever had. She was resourceful, energetic and full of laughs. She provided water to all of us and cool cloths frequently. We also said "hello" from you as you had requested we do in a previous post. She remembered you and even thought one of our tour buddies (Gary) looked like you (which she teased continuously)...I think being able to book "Tong" herself is key to having an outstanding tour.

Thank you again for writing a most complete review on these ports. It certainly has been helpful to us and other CC members to plan accordingly.
Thanks so much for passing this info along to me. Weren't those cool lemon washcloths the best? I am so glad we were able to help you find out about her. On our recent South America cruise, a couple on our roll call was saying how they had the best tour guide for Bangkok. I told here we had the best one. It turned out we were both right, since she also used Tong.

I will say that other CCers on our cruise who used Tong's other guides also raved about them; but I can't imagine anyone better than Tong herself.
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Now Posted; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords; Panama Canal and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

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  #20  
Old April 18th, 2011, 09:27 PM
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Default Great Tour Guide in Vietnam

My wife and I recently returned from a cruise through several Southeast Asia countries, during which we spent three days in Vietnam. After reading many excellent reviews on Trip Advisor about Ha Loung of Vietland Discovery Tours (info@discovervietnam.com.vn) we contacted her. Her prompt replies to our many emails were professional and very helpful. We were totally satisfied with Ha's services. Our first stop was at Danang where we only had about 8 hours in port. We only wanted a car and driver (no guide) to take us to Hoi An for the day. Ha provided a modern, A/C'd van with a good driver who not only took us to Hoi An, but stopped at Marble Mountain and China Beach along the way. We had a great time at Marble Mountain and purchased some exquisite marble pieces from one of the many stonecutters there. Ha's driver picked us up inside the port (there was a $40 permit fee required) but it was well worth it since the area outside of the port in Da Nang is not very inviting. Our day at Hoi An was lovely, and if you go, try the Brothers Cafe, a very nice restaurant right on the Hoi An Riverfront. Ha operates out of Danang so she did not accompany us to Saigon, but she provided us with a terrfic guide for our two days in Saigon. The guide's name was Hahn. I can not say enough good things about Hahn. She spoke excellent English and was a delightful and very professional guide. The driver of our van was a happy fellow who was equally pleasant. Hahn showed us all around Saigon including the Reunification Palace, War Museum, Cholon Area with it's very interesting pagodas and the Binh Tay wholesale market, and took us shopping at Ben Thanh Market and Dong Khoi Street. We had lunch at the excellent Ngon Restaurant which I highly recommend to anyone looking for great food in a totally authentic Vietnamese restaurant (very inexpensive also) and we had dinner at the Temple Club and later drinks on the roof top bar at the Rex Hotel before returning to our ship at about 10 PM. On day two, Hahn took us to Cu Chi to see the amazing war tunnels. We stopped several times enroute for photo ops at scenic rice paddies and once at a small shop where they make rice paper. Since our ship departed at 4 PM, we only had about 6 hours to tour, so we just went to Cu Chi. All told, we had a wonderful three days in Vietnam and I would very highly recommend Ha as your guide service if you are planning on visiting Vietnam. Ha's contact information is:

Ha Luong (Mrs.)

VIETLAND DISCOVERY TOUR

476/15 Dien Bien Phu - Danang, Vietnam

Tel: (+84 511) 6296 811

Fax: (+84 511) 3759 811

Mobile (+84 511) 982 759811

info@discovervietnam.com.vn
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