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Vietnam or Turkey on Odyssey Unlimited tour

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Apr 9th, 2011, 12:46 PM
  #1
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Vietnam or Turkey on Odyssey Unlimited tour

So here's the problem: we are torn between Vietnam and Turkey using Odyssey Unlimited. If you've been to both countries, what say you? If you've been to either with this tour company, how was the trip? As you think about the countryside, the food, the culture, the historical sites, which appeals more to you? Opinions always vary, but we would love to hear them!

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Apr 9th, 2011, 03:30 PM
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Not knowing your interests or where you have traveled before, it is hard to recommend one trip over the other. We have been to both Turkey & VN and they are each fabulous in their own way.

As for the particular tour company you are looking at, while I don't have experience with the company (we always travel independently), I am more impressed with the Turkish itinerary, although I think that both itineraries are lacking. In Turkey, you will miss Cappadoccia which was one of the great highlights of our trip. The VN itinerary seemed very rushed and you will miss out on Sapa, another highlight.

VN is easily done on one's own and is fairly inexpensive. There are many trip reports on this site which will give you invaluable information.

We rented a car in Turkey and loved the convenience of having our own vehicle and being on our own time table, however, the driving distances were great, the roads very mountainous at times and the signage not always the best. The scenery though was spectacular and we did not mind the lengthy drives.
Of the two trips, if you do not like to drive on your own, then Turkey is the one that would be better to do on a tour. VN is easily managed on one's own.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 09:14 PM
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I've been to both. I agree with dgunbug that if this is your first visit to Turkey it's unusual to skip Cappadocia. I also note that the Vietnam tour does a day trip to Halong Bay rather than an overnight - it's really not worth the LONG drive unless you overnight. Worse, Odyssey's advertizes a tour size of "12-24". There is a very big difference between a tour with 12 people and one with 24.

I also agree that Vietnam may be easier to do on your own - although Turkey is reputed to have good long distance buses.

It's really up to you whether you want to visit east Asia or eastern Europe/western Asia. Not a decision someone else can make for you.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 09:38 PM
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We considered the Odysseys Vietnam trip but crossed it off our list when we read that Halong Bay was a day trip from Hanoi.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 05:56 AM
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Didn't realize the Halong Bay part was not an overnight. I would never go on a day trip. We stayed 2 days at Halong Bay and even then, hated the long bus ride. We were so tired of driving after that, that we opted to skip the trip to Nihm Bihm which we later regretted.

Turkey does have a great bus infra structure that many independent travelers use, however, the buses usually leave people off on the outskirts of town which is not the most convenient. If you do a tour, then Turkey should be the one, although I'm not certain I would use this tour company. Vietnam is so easy to do on ones own.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 10:14 AM
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Friends of ours liked The Odysseys Unlimited Turkey trip.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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I have been to both and I easily recommend Turkey over VN.

You asked about a couple of things

countryside - there is beautiful countryside in both countries
food - I would reather eat at a Turkish place than Vietnamese
culture - I can't compare the cultures and only can say they are different. In Turkey, we were treated like honored guests which was not the case in VN.
historical sites - Vietnam does not have much to compare with the wealth of cultural and historical sites in Turkey that span thousands of years. Turkey has Istanbul.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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"food - I would reather eat at a Turkish place than Vietnamese" - that's definitely a "your mileage may vary issue". Lots of good food in both places
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Apr 10th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Food - I prefer the Vietnamese food. Thought the Greek food was far better than Turkish
Culture - We were treated well in both countries. IMO if you smile and act friendly, people will act friendly back no matter where you are.

If you love ancient archeological ruins, then I would go to Turkey. We thought the ruins were even better in Turkey than the ones we visited in Greece.

If you have not been to Asia, then Vietnam will be an entirely different experience for you. It is more about watching the daily lives of the people, the traffic and tasting the foods. The beauty in Sapa and Halong Bay are hard to match. Hue and Hoi An are rich in history. Hanoi is delightful.

Whichever vacation you choose will be wonderful. I suggest you check out some guide books and look at the pictures to help decide which you would prefer.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 03:13 PM
  #10
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Many thanks to all of the above good folks for your opinions! We will ponder pros and cons for a little while.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 03:45 PM
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If you think you'd prefer a smaller group (I definitely would), Gap and Intrepid are worth looking at. I've used both (although not for Turkey or Vietnam) and can highly recommend them. They're kind of on the budget end, but if you do one of their "comfort" tours, they're pretty nice. They limit their group size - I think 12 for Intrepid and about the same, maybe up to 15 on some trips, for Gap. We had 8 in our group in India and it was fantastic (Intrepid). In Egypt with Gap, we had 12, and that too was really nice. Much larger than that and I wouldn't like it as well.

Turkey's next up for me - planning a September trip with either Gap or Intrepid. Vietnam is also on my list, but a few other places are ahead of it.
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Apr 10th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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OAT has small groups too. There is an excellent report on this forum of Neopatrick's Vietnam tour with them.
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