Friday, June 24, 2011

Vietnam...the good, the bad(seldom) and never the ugly

Tran Thuy from Vietnam Tripadvisor who put our package together...We found this company on the Internet and were extremely happy with the service we got from them prior to our trip as well as during the 15 days we were in Vietnam...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


 Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon) - Kingston Hotel
 This was the first hotel that we stayed in.Our first night was verey noisy as there was a tour group of youngsters in.However once they left all was quiet. Our room had the best air-con of the entire trip as we could turn it down to 16 degrees C! Very useful when the outside temp is around 38C.Situated in the old French quarter, the hotel is close to the local market, park and a wonderful coffee shop that we visited on three separate occasions.Wonderful food shops close by as well as a laundry that did our washing in quick time.Very friendly staff and great breakfasts...we were introduced to Dragon fruit here and it was to become a staple at every breakfast on the rest of our trip.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Nha Trang- The Light Hotel and resort.
Situated right on the beachfront this hotel had the best view of all the hotels that we stayed in. Although it faced a busy main road the traffic noise did not bother us at all.Great breakfasts and friendly service were the order of the day here.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Hoi An...The Glory Hotel
When we stayed at this hotel they were upgrading the road outside,which meant that we had to carry our cases to and from the taxi which had to park away from the hotel entrance.However this did not distract from our stay there.Our room had a view over the pool and the breakfast room gave us a view of the city as well as the rice paddies to the rear of the building.
The hotel is within walking distance of the old quarter as well as a multitude of clothing stores that will make outfits in less than 24 hours! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Hue- New Star Hotel.
An interesting hotel, situated close to the Perfume River.What it lacked in 'WOW' it made up for with friendly staff and great breakfasts.Our room was utilitarian but the beds and pillows(like all the hotels we stayed at) were very comfrotable.They might not be to everyone's taste as they are very firm, but both my wife and I enjoy a supportive mattress so we were happy!HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Hanoi – Tirant Hotel
This hotel was only 4 months old when we stayed there...and we enjoyed every minute of our time there! Great breakfast, very friendly staff and very comfortable rooms.Situated in the old quarter of HaNoi it is in the heart of a thriving shopping area as well as being close to the Water Puppet Theatre.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 Halong on Dragon's Pearl cruise
Although our time on the Junk was spectacular, the way we were handled by the Indochina Junk company left a lot to be said about customer satisfaction...it seemed as if they were only to keen to get rid of us once the cruise was over...we would really like to spend more time exploring this stunning area, but we would try another company and certainly a minimum of 2 nights on the water! The excursion is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED but the company leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to customer interaction.


  HaNoi -Lao Cai...overnight train journey
The train on the outgoing leg from HaNoi to Lao Cai was very hot and noisy, but the return visit was the exact opposite! Although the stations are busy and seem to be chaotic, they are well organised and both trains departed on time.We had to share a compartment but I believe there is a more expensive option where we could have had the accommodation to ourselves.



Sapa- The Bamboo Hotel Sapa
We arrived hours before before check in time(got there at around 7am and check-in is only at 2pm) and were offered two options:
1] Early check-in at an additional cost of $30.00 or
2] Upgrade our room to a mountain facing suite and early check-in...at a cost of an additional $30.00
We chose the latter option and the view of both the mountain and part of the city was well worth the additional cost.
Great breakfast, which we ate on the balcony that overlooked the mountain(the highest in Vietnam at 3500m...not quite Everest, but stunning) The hotel is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 We decided to do our trip in the "off-season" for the simple reason that there are less tourists around! Yes, it was extremely hot and very humid...but the upside is the fact that I could capture images at the major tourist attractions without having people in them(unless I wanted them there)
There are more images available at david batzofin photography

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