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Trip Report 16 days in Vietnam

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We recently returned from a 16 day trip to Vietnam. By way of background, my DH and I are both retired, have travelled extensively, both independently and with tour groups, and have enjoyed every trip we have been on. I do extensive research before deciding whether to go with a tour group or on our own. As we get older, we like the idea that on a tour, all of the luggage and logistical concerns are taken care of,. However, I would not consider a tour unless the itinerary matched the itinerary I would have planned had I been travelling independently.

As I was deciding whether to let Tonkin Travel make our trip arrangements, NeoPatrick posted a trip report of his Vietnam trip with OAT. It sounded like the kind of trip I would be happy on-16 people, some intersting off the beaten path experiences, as well as covering the major sites I wanted to see. I had travelled with OAT to Tunisia and was happy with that trip, so I decided to consider going to Vietnam with OAT. I check the hotels OAT used on TA, and found that they some were not the quality of the hotels I would book on my own. However, other things trumped the hoitels so we signed on with OAT to leave on Feb. 26 and return on March 15.

We flew BOS-ORD-HK-SGN on United, a truly awful airline. Fortunately, the middle seat between my DH and myself was unoccupied for most of the legs of the trip so we could spread out. We left our house at 5:30 am and arrived our Saigon hotel at 1am, making all of our connections despite some delays along the way. I decided to get a looseleaf visa from the Washington Embassy rather than chance the possible line for a VOA at SGN airport. As an aside, at 11:30 pm the VOA line at the airport was pretty short and could have been gotten through in about 30 minutes, I would guess.

Anyway, we were trasnsported to our first hotel, the Asian Ruby 1 hotel, got to our room at about 2am. This was an overnight stop only, before leaving for Hanoi the next morning. We had a very nice, spacious room on the 10th floor. After finally falling asleep at about 2;30am we were awakened at 4:30am by furniture being moved in the diningroom overhead, as the set up for breakfast. The screeching of wooden chairs against wooden floor ended any restful sleep. However, when checking out in the morning, I spoke in a semi nice way to the manager and strongly requested that when we return to this hotel for the last three nights of the trip that I be given a "quiet" room where I would not be bothered by either street noise or hotel noise.

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