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We Recommend Our Guides! Saigon, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Angkor

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Just got back from our trip and wanted to post the contact info for 4 great guides we had. We found these guides independently during our trip, after having several poor experiences with guides assigned to us by Tonkin. When really in need, we would listen to other guides leading tours throughout a site, and if their English was great, and they seemed really knowledgeable, we would pull them aside discreetly and check their availability or if they had any friends they could recommend. For our guide in Hanoi, we got him through the Sofitel Metropole.

Saigon: Tim, Email: [email protected], Phone: 0937866697

Tim sounded like an Oxford trained Rhode scholar after dealing with two other guides assigned by Tonkin. His English is very good, he has very interesting analogies when comparing Eastern and Western cultures, and is a class act. He is also very honest. He is a freelance guide, but also works extensively for Buffalo Tours.

Saigon: Ho Sy Long (First Name is Long) , Email: [email protected], Phone: 84-912-918-066

Long was actually my favorite guide. His English was exceptional, and he was a firecracker of energy. He is extremely knowledgeable and social, and seemed to know all of the guides and tourist agencies in Vietnam (as he has worked for most of them). He works freelance and he was recommended to us by the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi. We spent 3 days with him in Hanoi, but after our last day with him, he was moving to Saigon. Long seemed almost like a New Yorker . . . he seemed to be very adept at multi-tasking, answering our millions of questions, while at the same time, reserving or cancelling the many things we asked him to check for us. He also took me for new sunglasses after my bag was cut in the night market, and also postponed his trip to Saigon to take me to Halong Bag on short notice when all of the travel companies told me that all guides, boats, and cars were booked for that day. Long also has quite a personality and his bubbliness really added to our stay. In fact, if you are going with more than two people and are spending alot of time in Vietnam, I would suggest even considering have him take you through all of Vietnam. The additional cost will probably be marginal considering the convenience of booking one person with flawless English who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Phnom Penh: Sun Veasna (First Name is Veasna); Email: Khaieng_[email protected], Phone: 855-12910029

Veasna was an amazing guide. His English was exceptional, and he also had some very interesting political views about Cambodia and Vietnam. His father was taken by the Khmer Rouge when he was two years old. His knowledge of the country was incredible . . . when he took me to the prison, he sat me down and told me the history for about 30 minutes before we even entered the prison. He answered our millions of questions about the Khmer Rouge and the genocide with incredible patience and a real enthusiasm for getting the story out, no matter how difficult it was for him personally. Veasna really made our trip to Phnom Penh worthwhile. Veasna is also a freelancer.

Angkor Wat: Luon Vanna (First Name Vanna, Email: Vanna_[email protected], Phone: 855-12-799412

Vanna has a little bit of an accent, but is really a class act. His knowledge of all of the carvings was expansive, probably even more so than we wanted to hear! At the beginning, I had a little difficulty understanding some of his descriptions of the various legends surrounding the place, but I quickly realized the legends were pretty difficult to understand anyway. As we heard more and more of the guides speak in the region, we quickly realized how strong Vanna was. He was also great at planning our time there in the most efficient manner, considering the incredible heat, our extensive itinerary and our short time there (2 days).

I hope this helps anyone looking to schedule their own guides. We found it extremely time consuming finding these people while we were on vacation. I strongly recommend setting things up beforehand, especially during busy season. We were there over Christmas and New Years, and the pickings were very slim on short notice. Good luck!

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