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Michael Schwartz from USA

Good morning, Ha,  how very nice to hear from you.  This time last year, we were making final arrangements for my trip to Vietnam.  That trip is one of my happiest memories.  I tell everyone I can about how wonderful it was to visit your country, see the scenic wonders, the historical sights, the culture, the food–  just great.  For most Americans, at least those of my age, we have a hard time separating the Vietnam I saw from the memories of daily war reports and suffering on both sides.  So people are still a bit surprised to hear that I visited there, and so I take every chance to show them photos and relate how great it was to come there.  I have not run into anyone who sounded like they were ready to book a trip there–  but if I do I would not hesistate to recommend you and your company for arrangements.

I do wish you the best at this time of the year–  and may I wish you a very enjoyable Tet!

Sincerely, Michael Schwartz

  1. Guide (s):
  2. Mr. Tuan (in the North of Vietnam):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Mr. Vinh (in the Centre of Vietnam):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Mr. Le (in the South of Vietnam):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

Other comments:  Mr Tuan gets a good. His strengths include good english, reliable, plenty of knowledge.  Weakness includes his younger age, so most of his knowledge seemed more learned in classroom instead of from actual experience.

Mr. Vinh gets a good.  Strengths include high enthusiasm, practical experience as well as book based knowledge, reliable, enthusiasm, very much wants to please (repeatedly offered to have car stopped to take pictures).  Weakness includes the fact that he tends to talk quickly and his heavier accent could make him hard to understand at times.

Mr Le gets a good+.  Strengths include knowledge and experience, good english, and reliable.

 

  1. Accommodation:
  2. Van Mieu Hotel (in Hanoi):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. DMZ Hotel (in Hue):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Lotus Hotel (in Hoi An):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Duc Vuong Hotel (in Ho Chi Minh City):

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

Other comments:

VVan Mieu:  Good basic place, staff very polite and helpful (the desk clerk took the time to write out about eight VN words and their english translations to help me communicate.)  Room was OK, The hotel a bit tired.  The breakfast was fair to good quality, the lunchroom could have used a good cleaning.  I’ll call adequate +.

 

DMZ:  Again good basic place, again staff polite, I had some trouble getting the air cond working right and they took care of that immediately.  The breakfast was better than Van Mieu, partial from the menu and partially a limited buffet.  Rated it good

 

Lotus:  Excellent, a lovely place with beautiful grounds, picturesque everything, outstanding quality breakfast with VN and western offerings.  Staff helpful.

 

Duc Vuong:  Good +.  Very helpful, also I wanted to do refreshment after touring Saigon during the day and before transfer to the airport; they had a shower downstairs which they allowed me to use, which I appreciated very much.  Breakfast buffet was very good.  The room was fine.

 

All hotels (Can’t remember if this includes Van Mieu)  offered minibar water and sodas at very reasonable prices.  I really appreciated that because in the US, commonly minibar prices are terribly high and force you to go to the store to get such items.  Visiting a place such as VN with its heat and the uncertainty about local water–  that’s very helpful.. Also the Duc Vuong has free dispensers with cold bottled water on tap on each floor, next to the elevator.  That really is a nice touch.  Their motto “we are family” does show.

 

 

III.Transport (Land, water and air):

  1. Car in the North of Vietnam:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Car in the Centre of Vietnam eap:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Car in the South of Vietnam:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Mua Xuan Train:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Oriental Sails:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

  1. Vietnam Airlines:

Poor                                Adequate                                Good                                  Excellent

Other comments: All car transport was just fine.  The car in the center of VN was especially helpful in stopping for pictures.  Each car was totally reliable and on time.

Mua Xuan train:  That was the most difficult part of the whole trip to VN.  The car driver assumed that there would be no problem getting on the train and so dropped me off at the front of the station.  However, once inside I found that there was little English and it was confusing finding the proper gate for my train.  The fact that there were multiple gates was not immediately obvious.  Luckily there was enough spoken English to point me to the right train.  Train travel is uncommon, even rare in the US, except for in the northeastern states and so US visitors are relatively unfamiliar with trains.  The sleeper bunk was OK, but the linens are not changed between users, and I would recommend that you suggest people bring a pillowcase of their own.  Another problem was establishing which station to get off at, since they are not marked so as to be identifiable from the train.  They announce the stop in the hall of the train, but the person was hard to understand.  I found a schedule and was able to estimate what time the rain would be at Dong Hoi.  I set an alarm since missing my stop would be a real disaster.

OrientalSails:  Good, enjoyed.   They take you on shore excursions offering a private beach, hiking, kayaking, etc.  Just a note yes you do get those excursions however the time allotted for each activity is very limited.  The guide was not particularly good at interpretation–  he was more take you somewhere, cut you loose and pick you up.  The had a traffic accident on the way back to Hanoi, which was not the fault of Oriental sails;  they did an excellent of mitigation by sending a replacement van out to rescue us since the time needed for investigation by the police was becoming significant.

VN Airlines:  All good.

 

  1. VI. Design and management of your tour: Just great, got to see lots of sights and have plenty of experiences in a short time, all connections worked well;

 

VII. Are there any recommendations or criticisms of services, restaurants, shops, visit sites and so on that you’ve visited on your own?  Just the train comment above.

 

VIII. If it is possible, would you be willing to share your comments by posting them to our websites and other travel forum?

Yes, wll do when I have the time.  Thank you for  all of your hard work.  Incidentally the water puppett show was just great.

 

I do feel that the tip I gave my guide and driver in central VN was too  low.  Do you have a way of getting extra money to them if I send it by paypal?

 

Thanks Michael Schwartz

Yes                                                                 No

 

 

  1. If our clients in your country need a reference, would you be willing to help in this capacity?

 

yes

 

Yes                                                                 No

 

 

 

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