My husband and I booked our 2-week trip using Exotic Voyages and were quite pleased with the experience. I would give a 5-star, but there are some minor things we would do differently and would suggest that others consider when booking such a trip. The communication between us and Nhung was always quick and informative, but there were questions we didn’t think to ask. Please know that these suggestions are only what we would have done to tailor our trip more to our style, but we were very happy with the service we got from Exotic Voyages.
1) How many hours will we spend on each excursion, and by that I mean each stop per day? There were a few stops we would have excluded (Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh Square, enamel art workshop). We sometimes asked our guide how many hours a trip would be, and they would leave out driving time round-trip. We had a few rides that were over an hour each way, some more than 3, either due to traffic of distance.
2) If you have trouble with strong accents, be sure to request a guide with exceptional English skills. Keep in mind that our languages are very different, and even if their English is good, the accent can be very difficult to understand.
3) We did the bike ride in Siem Reap to Angkor Wat. Fortunately we’re in good shape, but the road is very rough and the temperature hot and humid. Couple that with about 8 miles of riding, and we would have enjoyed a tuk tuk more and been able to see the surroundings instead of watching for potholes.
4) If you want a special view of Ha Long Bay, request the seaplane ride between Hanoi and the port, at least in one direction. It was a beautiful way to see the entire bay, and it was nice to avoid the 3.5 hour non-scenic ride back to Hanoi. Nhung did a great job of booking this for us at the last minute….while we were on the boat in Ha Long we talked to her via WhatsApp and she made it happen for us.
5) Getting to the airports much earlier than 90-minutes prior to your flight isn’t necessary. Your guides will help you at the ticket counter, security was pretty quick, and the gates don’t even open until then. By our 3rd flight, we changed all our hotel departures to a later time.
A big thumbs-up for the guides and their help with the airports and visa process. One of our guides managed to get us on an earlier flight (because we were at the airport sooo early) without us being charged for the change.
As for the overall trip, we really loved it and wished we had more time to just observe this unique place. We had so little time and saw so many places that we wish we’d shortened some of our guided excursions and spent more time just watching their world. The people were some of the warmest we’ve ever experienced, the food delicious (try the chef-guided street food excursion in Phnom Penh!), and more history than you can possibly consume in only 2 weeks. Thanks to Nhung and the EV family for all your efforts!