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Why do most Tour Companies begin their Vietnam tour in Hanoi?

Why do most Tour Companies begin their Vietnam tour in Hanoi?

Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 07:27 AM
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Why do most Tour Companies begin their Vietnam tour in Hanoi?

We are planning a trip to Vietnam in 2015 for 30 days. We wanted to begin our trip with a tour for 2 weeks and then explore other areas on our own for another 2 weeks.
Since we are going in March, we thought it was better to begin in Saigon (HCMC) where the weather is warmer but not too hot and then move north to Hanoi and SAPA in April. However all the tour companies -- OATS, etc begin their tours in Hanoi and then move South to HCMC. This would mean we would have to fly back to Hanoi to take in Sapa.

Any suggestions? Thank you
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Why use a foreign group tour company? Contact a local company in VN and they will make the arrangements for any itinerary you choose. And it will be a private tour just for you and your travel partner. They will supply guides as you wish (mostly, you don't need guides in VN). The price will likely be less than for the canned group tour you get from OAT and other companies.

There are zillions of tour agents in VN. Two that get high recommendations here are Tonkin and Vietnamstay.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 01:43 PM
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no need for a tour--VN is easy on your own..

Tonkin travel in Hanoi helped me
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 03:21 PM
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What bob said. Vietnam is one of the easiest countries to travel on your own. And both Saigon and Hanoi are overloaded with local travel agencies.

Also, it's not true that all tour companies start in Hanoi. Intrepd Travel and Imaginative Traveller, for starters, have tours that begin in HCMC.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 03:56 PM
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I was considering Intrepid for our upcoming trip at the end of March. Decided to check out Tonkin instead and saved a significant amount of money to do it on our own.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 04:52 AM
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Last year, we did almost exactly what you want to do. Since this was my first big international trip, I was more comfortable getting my feet wet with a tour before embarking on my own. Despite all the posts about how easy it is to do independently, I wasn't ready to do it.

We did a Viking tour that started in Saigon and ended in Hanoi before going off on our own. We went March/April, which was the very last tour they offered for the year, so that might work for you. It was totally on the beaten track, and it was a good introduction to a country that we came to love as we left the beaten path for the last two weeks.

It also served to really up my confidence for future travel. As a recently retired person, I'm not the seasoned traveler that so many other posters are, and am happy to figure out my own style as my explorations evolve.
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Old Feb 24th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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I agree with Kathie's recommendation re Vietnamstay/Aurora. That company, and particularly, its travel consultant, Xuan Hao, provided excellent service for our recent trip to Vietnam, Luang Prabang, and Siem Reap.
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Old Feb 24th, 2014, 11:09 PM
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Well, Vietnam is very easy to travel and there are no restricted areas here. I think you can self arrange the services when you are there. Very easy to tailor your trip with the cheap cost.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 05:21 PM
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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and response.
I appreciate folks like you submitting comments on all sorts of questions on Vietnam and other travel spots. All have been very helpful
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Old May 29th, 2014, 09:00 PM
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Could I just make a comment?

I noted it; most of them display classic tours with big cities only. But it’s only the case of foreigner companies. I was very surprising about the diversity of programs from local agents. They work on 3 and 4 countries Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and more; propose very original places as well.
If I have time to prepare and search information about the destination before traveling, I book with local agents automatically.

As Fatboy and others says, I've got serious and interesting email exchanges with Vietnamstay.
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