Sanchi Dhalla, one of our Asia destination specialists at Goway Travel, recently visited Vietnam on a small group escorted tour. On her return, we asked her to answer some questions about her experience and to share insights about visiting Vietnam and selling it to your clients.
Where did you travel to in Vietnam?
I joined the Scenic Vietnam small group escorted tour we offer and travelled from the North to the South of Vietnam. This tour covers all the main highlights including Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Mekong Delta. Each place had its own unique qualities in terms of culture, history, and sights.
You got the opportunity to travel on a small group adventure style program. Can you give our agents any tips about this style of travel?
This immersive 15-day group tour traces Vietnam’s eastern coastline from north to south by road, train, bus, and boat—with hikes and bike rides along the way. It’s led by an expert tour leader with ample downtime to relax and explore. My only suggestion would be to definitely go for additional/optional tours as they really enhanced my experience. I took an extra biking tour while in Hoi An, as well as a Hue motorbike tour and a Vespa tour in Ho Chi Minh City. The motorbike and Vespa tours both had local drivers and were excellent. I felt completely safe the entire time and got to visit hidden areas of the cities that I would have missed otherwise.
What was your favourite experience?
Exploring Hoi An and its surrounding. I was glad to have a full three days in Hoi An, with lots of free time to wander. Here, the group leader took us on a fascinating walking tour of the old town, visiting landmarks such as the vibrant Quan Cong Temple and the historic Japanese Bridge. I also had the chance to explore Hoi An’s surrounding countryside on a bike tour that took us past peaceful rice paddies and streams (this is the additional tour I mentioned above). The city provides a feeling of romance after sundown, when its laneways and riverside are illuminated by vibrant paper lanterns. It’s the perfect time of day to pursue the night markets or check out one of Hoi An’s many bars and restaurants. Hoi An was my favourite destination in Vietnam.
What was your favourite hotel stay and why?
I absolutely loved the homestay I had in Hoi An: Riverside Impression Villa. It is a beautiful and serene property with a lot of bonsais (other pretty plants as well) and a scenic view of the river from the rooms. It has huge rooms and a lovely fresh breakfast. The property is walking distance from the pretty Hoi An market, which makes it ideal for a stay. It seemed to be more of a 4-star boutique hotel experience as opposed to what you expect from a typical homestay. The rest of the properties on this tour were mostly 3-star, with a basic guest house village stay and one night on the sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue.
Did you learn anything new on this tour?
This was my first time travelling to Vietnam so everything I experienced was new and exciting. Vietnam has a turbulent history, rich array of cultures, astonishing natural beauty, and world-renowned cuisine and I enjoying learning and experiencing all of these aspects. Vietnam should definitely be on every traveller’s bucket list.
Food is always a highlight when we travel. Did you have a favourite local dish?
Prepare to be amazed by Vietnam’s cuisine. I specifically loved the rice paper rolls. Fat goi cuon, a southern specialty popularly known as “salad” or “summer rolls,” contain shrimp, pork, rice noodles, and herbs, and are meant to be dipped in bean paste sauce.
We have some great Vietnam trip ideas to offer your clients. Aside from the 15-day Scenic Vietnam tour that Sanchi took, we also have a 13-day small group escorted tour called Heritage Vietnam and Cambodia. This tour uses accommodations that are a mostly 4-star and also includes Cambodia. For those wanting to travel privately, we have a 8-day Classic Vietnam. These tours can be customized according to your client’s preferences. And for those foodies, we have a new 12-day Foodie’s Guide to Vietnam small group escorted tour.