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21 days in Vietnam - is Kimkim a good travel company?

21 days in Vietnam - is Kimkim a good travel company?

Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 06:28 AM
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21 days in Vietnam - is Kimkim a good travel company?

My husband and I are planning a 21 day trip to Vietnam. We are both in our early 70s but very fit. In the past for other countries we usually booked our own accommodations ahead of time and day trips as we went along. But this time my husband has contacted a travel agency, Kimkim, who gave us a possible trip itinerary, including activities for each day, guides to take us there and transportation. My questions are:

1. Does anyone know if Kimkim is a reputable agency?
2. Is it a good idea to use a travel agency for Vietnam? I have done a lot of research already and feel we could do this on our own.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by oscar123
My husband and I are planning a 21 day trip to Vietnam. We are both in our early 70s but very fit. In the past for other countries we usually booked our own accommodations ahead of time and day trips as we went along. But this time my husband has contacted a travel agency, Kimkim, who gave us a possible trip itinerary, including activities for each day, guides to take us there and transportation. My questions are:

1. Does anyone know if Kimkim is a reputable agency?
2. Is it a good idea to use a travel agency for Vietnam? I have done a lot of research already and feel we could do this on our own.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
1. Never heard about this one before so I will pass this question.

2. Nope, you don't need an agency to travel. I booked flights and hotels on my own and that was quite easy. You only need tour agency for different activities when you are already in Vietnam (food tour, tour to historical sites,...). Here is my trip report, you can have a look in case some information is helpful:

My Vietnam Travel Itinerary: Done The Best and Seen The Worst
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Old Oct 23rd, 2023, 01:48 AM
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Kim Kim is one of a "new breed" of travel agencies that are using technology as a means to create "individualised" packaged tours. I think they will mostly engage with existing tour operators, guides etc in the countries in which they operate. In that respect they are no different to many other tour operators apart from there use of technology. The vast majority of tour operators in the US , Uk and Europe will do the same. How good or bad they are is hard to say without actually using them.

Vietnam is one of the easiest countries in Asia in which to travel independently. Very easy to book flights and accommodation online. Domestic travel via buses, taxis, trains etc. is easy to arrange when you are in the country. There are a few places where a short tour or hiring a guide or driver will enhance your experience, again these are easy to research independently or just ask your accommodation in country.

The hardest part of planning any trip to Vietnam is to choose where to go and what to see. I have been visiting the country for decades and have probably spend in excess of a year in total visiting many parts of the country though, unlike the previous poster, I would claim to have "Done the best and seen the worst" . Best and worst are very subjective what you may love, I may not etc.

As far as travel forums up such as this is concerned, the more information you can give about your likes and dislikes, travel style, budget and time available, the better. This will enable other traveller to share their experiences and provide more relevant information. There is no one size fits all.

One advantage of using a good tour operator is if things go wrong , they will (hopefully) sort things out. Others may be financial security, time savings etc. IME there is often a significant financial cost to these things.

Finally, a major part of the enjoyment of a trip can be found in the planning. You will also get the trip that you, not the tour company want. A major failing of tour operators whether they be in your home country or Vietnam is that they seem to think that the ideal trip comprises as many destinations as they can conceivably pack in to teh time available. Asia rewards slow travel. Take it easy and smell the roses ( or lemongrass!)
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Old Oct 23rd, 2023, 05:14 PM
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Thanks for your reply, tvsalphaaov. I will read your trip report. I don't recall seeing it before. In past I've found them very helpful.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2023, 05:57 PM
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Crellston. Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I agree that slow travel is the best way to go, and also that planning a trip is a big part of enjoying it. However, I have usually booked most of our accommodations before we left home. If we want to be flexible and take an extra day here or there, how easy is it to book hotels as we go along? I've always thought we might spend a lot of extra time lining up our next hotel. How easy is it to find accommodation that has last minute availability in Vietnam?

Our tentative itinerary:
Hanoi - 4-5 nights
Pu Luong Nature Reserve OR Sapa homestay - 2 nights
Ninh Binh - 2 nights
Ha Long Bay - 2 nights
Hue - 2 nights
Hoi An - 3 nights
Can Tho (Mekong Delta) - 1 night
HCMC - 3 nights

Is this itinerary too rushed? Perhaps we could drop the Mekong Delta and/or Hue. We're also wondering whether we should go to Pu Luong or Sapa. We have heard that Sapa is not to be missed.


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Old Oct 23rd, 2023, 06:57 PM
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You can use Booking/ Agoda site for accommodations in each place.
Your plan looks good to me.
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 11:53 PM
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It is perhaps a little bit rushed but not too bad. Bear in mind that 2 nights in any location only gives you one full day to actually explore that destination. Three night two and so on. In most cases it will take half a day to get from places to place, check in and out of hotels, flights etc.

Sapa is a long way from Hanoi and for me, two nights would not be worth the effort of getting there or back. Sapa town is not my favourite place in Vietnam (too many tourists) but some clearly love it. The scenery is great. Homestays out in the country there are a great idea as you avoid the tourism excesses. In the time you have, I would have thought PU Long was a better proposition. On one trip we went from Mai Chai to Ninh Binh via parts of Pu Long. There are lots of photos and details on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/ those posts are on the last page 4. That particular trip involved a lot of trekking but there will be lots of tours offering similar routes by car. We used Ethnic Travel.

I love the delta area. It makes a nice contrast to the north and is stunning but in a different way. A day is enough to see the early morning floating market at Cai Rang but longer would be better. Given the time you have I would probably skip it.

As long as you are not travelling during Tet, it is very easy to find somewhere to stay along the way. We often do this but our trips are usually much longer. On a shorter I don’t really see much benefit to this as it would just take up valuable time. IMO if you have decided on your route, book everything refundable and then if you do change your mind then you can cancel usually at 24/48 hours notice.

Finally, do check out teh timings of flights trains etc. as this can have a significant impact on your plans. I tend to avoid midday flights which screw up a whole day and go for early morning or late pm flights whic tend to give you more usable time.
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Old Oct 26th, 2023, 07:03 AM
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Thanks Crellston. We plan to travel next March (beginning around March 11) so Tet is not an issue, but I agree that on a shorter trip we might be best to book most of our accommodations ahead of time. We will fly from Hanoi to Hue and Hoi An to HCMC, so I will check flight times ahead. Thanks for all your useful tips.
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