Smartours Vietnam Discovery

Mar 9th, 2003, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Smartours Vietnam Discovery

If anyone out there has taken the Smartours or Friendly Planet Vietnam Discovery tour (identical tours)I would appreciate some feedback. Also, if anyone began the tour out of LAX, what routing did Korean Airlines give you and how many hours did it take you to get to Hanoi? The KAL website shows anything from 24 to 34 hours depending on the number and length of layovers. The tour seems to offer a lot for the money, but 34 hours en route!! I don't know.......
Bo2642 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 04:02 AM
  #2  
 
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We took the Smartours China trip. We used our ff points to book our own flight to China. We went a few days before the tour and stayed an extra week. On the tour we traveled with very nice, very well traveled people. Several had taken the Smartours Vietnam trip and spoke highly of it. One couple had previously taken 6 other Smartours trips. But we were the only ones who had taken our own flights. Nobody else realized that you had that option. Smartours does not give much of a rebate for not taking their flight, but it was well worth it. We took a much better routing and also went business class. Most important, when the tour began, we were rested, adjusted to the time difference, and "knew the territory". The other folks got off the planes after endless flights, were given a city tour until the hotel was ready and then proceeded to have very full tour schedules for the rest of the time. Nobody complained and eveybody was a great trooper, but I'm glad we did our own thing.
Elainee is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 08:34 PM
  #3  
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Thanks, Elainee, for your feedback. I'm glad to know that Smartours offered a quality tour in your opinion. And also that that was the consensus of the others in your group. Regarding arranging our own air, I'm wondering how complicated this might be. The tour starts in Hanoi and ends in Bangkok. That might not be hard to arrange as long as the Vietnam domestic flights. the flights from Vietnam to Cambodia, and from Cambodia to Bangkok are covered in the body of the tour. I'll get back to Smartours regarding this. Hopefully they will be able to answer that question. When I called them the other day regarding KAL routing, they were pretty vague.
Bo2642 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 03:44 AM
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Smartours did not provide any information about our own flights. The airlines were very helpful. I think Smartours is able to give such excellent value by not doing any individualization. If you want to be different, it's up to you. But it wasn't hard to get the help from the airlines. We flew into Beijing and out from Hong Kong. The internal flights were part of the tour and they were included in the tour price. We just had to get from the airport in Beijing and to the airport in Hong Kong on our own. But if we had gone at the same time as the tour group we would have taken the bus with them. Not a problem.
Elainee is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 07:53 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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A friend and I took the Smartours Vietnam Discovery and Cambodia extention in late December. The tours were wonderful - hotels were mostly 5 star, but sometimes a little out of the way. We went LAX, Seoul, Bangkok - stayed 2 nights, then Hanoi, Hue/Danang, HoChiMinh. We had long stopovers in Korea both coming and going. With Cambodia, it was 10 flights, but I'd still recommend the trip. There are just no other easy ways to travel in Vietnam. We had one guide who stayed with us the entire trip and local guides everywhere. People on our trip ranged from 24 to 74; all were interesting travel junkies. Hope this answers some of your quetions.
mvpl is offline  

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