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Joanne C

Fantastic trip to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An

I’m so happy that we chose to work with Exotic Voyages. I’m a firm believer in working with in-country travel agents, and this experience confirmed the advantages. When beset by bad weather in Halong Bay literally 15 minutes prior to departure of our boat, Exotic was able to confirm a room back at our Hanoi hotel of choice within minutes, and extend the driver and guide into the late evening, so that we could still have a quick excursion on the Bay before turning back around to Hanoi.

Their private guide “Ngoc” in Hanoi was extremely punctual, knowledgeable and flexible. He responded to our interests and was able to modify plans. We learned so much from Ngoc about the history of Vietnam and we will never forget him. The same with our guide Andy in Hue and Hoi An. He squeezed in 1.5 days of activities into 1 day, so that we could have an extra half day at the beach. We made several very last minute changes to our itinerary, such as changing the order of activities, changing the restaurant choice for lunch in the morning, and canceling one excursion altogether since we wanted some “down time”. Exotic was able to refund us for one excursion and explained fairly when a refund was not possible.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and all three of us had a great time. Andy Carroll, the agent we planned with, was extremely patient and professional. He listened to my feedback and provided revisions to the itinerary in the planning phases, always with ample amount of details. The hotel recommendations were all perfect, and we were especially impressed that Andy got in touch with us one week before the trip to offer a different hotel in Hue, since other travelers had complained about the construction noise from nearby the hotel. We ended up deciding to stay with the original, and were very happy with the lodging–we were out all day anyway, so the construction noise was not a bother. After experiencing the bustle of Hanoi, Hue was quiet!

Excursions we highly recommend are:

Hanoi:
– Walk through Old Quarter the first day, so you can learn how to cross the street and get your bearings!
– See the My Village show at the Opera House
– Museum of Ethnology tour

Halong Bay:
– Private luxury junk boat tour with Indochina Sails
– Walk up TiTop Island for the panoramic view

Hue:
– Citadel tour
– Tu Doc Mausoleum tour

Hoi An:
– walking tour of old town
– Lantern making
– Bike ride through country side
– River boat net fishing
– Bamboo boat paddle through water coconut grove

Visited April 2018

This review was originally posted on TripAdvisor

Joanne CSan Francisco, California

Unforgettable Journeys, Carefully Crafted For You