Overall 14-day Holiday Vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia: Exceptional! We went through VGT for our two-week North to South vacation to Vietnam (Sapa, Hanoi, Hoi An, Saigon) and Cambodia (Siem Reap) and it was without a doubt, one of the best trips we have every been on! If you want to go on vacation to SE Asia and don’t know where to start, all you need is VGT. They take care of everything down to the minor details. Essentially, all you need to do is email them outlining where and what you want to do and the dates of travel and they take it from there and within a couple days will send you a detailed itinerary breaking down each day. VGT also makes the hotel reservations for you in which you approve each one beforehand.
Holiday Vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia Overview
It was so nice to know there was someone waiting outside the airport waiting to take us to the hotel and a guide waiting for us in the hotel lobby each day. The guides we had were absolutely amazing! They spent the entire day with just us and were experts in the history and culture of the area. Basically we had our own expert with us all day long. The guide for our Cambodia portion was a local professor, humanitarian, and a “Master” in the local culture and he trained most of the other tour guides. We were continually told by passing guides how lucky we were to have the Master as our guide.
We traveled with our teenage kids (16 and 19) and they absolutely loved the trip! Our trip consisted of Hanoi, Sapa, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, and Siem Reap.
Hanoi is spectacular.
Our hotel was right outside the market and multiple food vendors which was really nice.
Sapa is nice.
The small town is undergoing a lot refurbishment which detracts from the overall experience. It seems every building in the town is being worked on causing the streets to be filled with construction vehicles and workers and it also causes the air to be filled with dust and a wood burning smell. The highlight was visiting the small town Tin Thang right outside Sapa. We did several walking tours near the town going through the rice fields, waterfalls, and river running through the valley. We staged at a local family homestay that provided one the best lunches we had on the trip.
Ha Long Bay is a must.
Staying overnight amongst the small islands was simply amazing. We walked on the beach of one of the islands and toured a cave. We also went kayaking amongst the islands and took a boat ride through the fishing villages.
Hoi An was our favorite location. There’s a vibe in the city that makes you feel at home and wishing you could just move there. We highly recommend a vespa tour that allows you to feel like a local and immerses you in the culture. The tour took us to My Son, a historical Cham site and we stopped a few times along the way where our guide describing the local life and allowing us to take pictures of the countryside.
Mekong Delta was amazing too.
The best part was visiting a coconut candy processing plant. A visit to the War Remnants Museum is also recommended–it provides a really good insight into the Vietnam War. We thought 45 min would be good to see everything but you get lost in the pictures and displays and we stayed almost 2-hours.
If possible, a trip to see Angkor Wat is a must. Pictures simply do not portray the awe-inspiring feeling of seeing it in person. Walking through centuries old structures is breathtaking…unbelievable!
We stayed in ‘deluxe’ hotels which were all very nice. US equivalent would be similar to Marriott but on a smaller scale. Each hotel provided a very robust breakfast/brunch that exceeds anything you can get in the states. Also, the hospitality is unparalleled–the staff will go out of way to ensure your experience is the best. One of the best things the hotels did was to allow us to hang out in the hotel after and use their facilities while waiting for transportation to take us to the airport of train station. One day we returned to the hotel after our excursions and for $8 USD we got a room for four hours in which we took showers and got cleaned up for our trip to Sapa. One hotel let us eat breakfast and even stored our luggage for 2 days even though we didn’t even stay there.
– VGT organizes everything
– VGT oversees your travel throughout the trip (through the guide)
– Relatively low cost
– Personal guide throughout
– Personal transportation throughout
– Food and souvenirs are inexpensive
– Locals are extremely friendly and accommodating
– Really scrutinize the itinerary to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing/seeing that day. We visited Cuc Phuong National Park and did not know we’d be climbing up ~40 flights of steps on the trek. Also, in Cambodia the itinerary mentioned a biking to Angkor Thom but we thought it would be a short bike ride but our guide said it was about 20km total. Given the number of vehicles on the road, breathing in the exhaust was not much fun. To VGT credit, there was a van supporting our excursion so we easily transitioned to the van for the remainder of the day.
– Have US currency on hand for Visa costs. It cost us $540 USD for 4 of us to get into Vietnam. I did not have it on hand so I had to make multiple ATM withdraws in Vietnamese Dong in order to clear immigration. Minor but it delayed our exit a couple hours.
– Immerse yourself in the food and culture!
VGT did an unbelievable job organizing our 2-week trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. Mr Billy Tran handled all of the logistics and was attentive to our requests. Our son turned 20 at the beginning of the trip and Mr Tran gave us a birthday cake which we ate on the train ride to Sapa. He also provided us a cell phone should we need to get a hold of him during the trip–I didn’t need to use it at all. It’s these small things that let you know you’re in good hands while on the trip.