Everything we asked for – and more…
We are last-minute travelers, everything except flights and visas are left until we are on our way out of the door. We like it that way…
We prefer to do our own planning and make our own arrangements, but after doing the essential research for our trip to the northern part of Vietnam (we visited the south in 2011) and following advice from a traveller friend, we decided to “outsource” the logistics to Indochina Pioneer, who came recommended by the same friend.
Ms. Quyen Nguyen started work on our itinerary about three days before we departed. Time zone differences and “normal” office hours did not apply as alternatives were evaluated (SaPa vs. Ha Giang province) and practicalities resolved (being somewhere on a specific date, like your wedding anniversary.) We left for the airport with an itinerary that promised to tick all the boxes we asked for, and it did.
– The online (pre-)payment system worked like a charm. Once we arrived in Vietnam, everything we paid for was reserved and paid for;
– Where Pioneer recommended alternatives to what we asked for, they were spot-on and added value to our trip;
– The logistics, from airport transfers to “off the beaten track” travel, we flawless and safe;
– Our English-speaking guide, Mr Duc Duong, and our Vietnamese-speaking driver, Mr Huynh, became our travel companions and immersed us in Vietnamese culture in all aspects of life (special mention on cuisine and rice/corn wine!) We couldn’t ask for companions that better matched our style of travel (exploring, immersing and taking thousands of pictures.)
– Other than Ha Long Bay and Hanoi, we spent the rest of our 2 weeks in Ha Giang province traveling the “Ha Giang loop”. Like Pioneer promised, it was far less touristy than SaPa (we compared notes with travelers we met that chose to go there.) – The home-stays Pioneer recommended in Ha Giang province provided an unforgettable experience and “made” our trip.
Throughout our travels Ms. Quyen stayed in touch to make sure everything was according to our expectations and one-one occasion immediately resolved an “issue” which turned out to be a misunderstanding on my side.
Would without a doubt go straight to Indochina Pioneer when I plan a trip to any part of Vietnam.