Excellent variety of things to see and do. Small congenial group.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Overnight cruise in Halong Bay including sea kayaking through a rock tunnel to an enclosed bay with wild monkeys.
Exploring the Chi Chi tunnels - I knew about these of course, but experiencing them first hand and understanding the ingenuity and determination that created them and kept them functioning was fascinating.
Loved Hoi An - relaxing after the bustle of Hanoi.
Angkor Wat for its scale, Bayon temple for its artistry and doing my Tomb Raider pose among those incredible tree roots at Ta Prohm.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Dat was very personable and fitted in well with the group. He took us to some great places to eat that we might not have discovered for ourselves, especially the Night market BBQ in Ho Chi Minh City and the newly opened Little Menu restaurant in Hoi An. I'm sure a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make all the arrangements flow smoothly.
In Angkor, we had less social time with our guide but he was very knowledgable and made a good selection of 4 temples each with something different to offer.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Although guide books say you can get good coffee in Vietnam, I found it almost undrinkable. It was often like tar and the biggest problem was that I just couldn't find unsweetened milk. So if you like white coffee without sugar, suggest you take both coffee and some powdered milk (kettle in all hotels on this trip)
Don't take too many clothes; you will be packing and unpacking a lot. Laundry services are easy to find, very cheap (outside the hotel) and quick. Loose silk or cotton pants or tops are very cheap and there are lots of T shirts, trainers, sandals etc if you need them + you will need space in your luggage to bring stuff back.
Save your shopping for Hoi An; best quality, best variety and rather less hustle and bustle than Hanoi.
If you are in the market for a handbag (or belt, wallet etc) Siem Reap has lots of crocodile, snake, ostrich and sting ray leather goods - not cheap but certainly cheaper than UK for this quality.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
A couple of adjustments would have made an excellent itinerary perfect:
A little less time in Hanoi and a little more in Hoi An
The 'sunset' visit to an Angkor temple was a little underwhelming. An earlier start the next day to see sunrise over Angkor Wat would have been preferable. Although this would have meant an early start, it would have been preferable to the 40 degree + heat we expereinced later in the day.
You may want to give feedback to the Angkor Holiday Hotel (as a company you may have more clout than an individual) They decided to take over the pool area for a staff party on our last day which not only deprived guests of its use on a very hot aftenoon, but made a lot of noise until nearly midnight.