Build Your Own Trip

Personal service was outstanding; itinerary was personalized for our interests

Prior to booking, we communicated extensively with Miss Ruby about our preferences, which included a focus on area agriculture, culture, and history. The staff at Indochina created an itinerary that covered every area-every day. We were always on the move…by foot, on an assortment of boats on an assortment of waterways, by plane, by sleeper train, by luxury bus, by small (as in 4 cars) ferry across the Red River, in a tuk-tuk, and on bikes 6-10 hours a day. In 17 days we traveled from the Mekong Delta to Sapa (in the mountains 24 miles south of the Chinese border). Each guide excelled in his knowledge of the culture, industry, and history of every area we traveled. We even visited a small but phenomenal agriculture museum devoted to rice production that we had to travel to on one lane paths through rice patties and past water buffalo, cows, and fishermen to get to. We traveled by fishing boat through the Xuan Thuy National Park to observe shell fishing practices and migratory birds, capped off with a fresh cooked seafood lunch (featuring local fish and shellfish) eaten in one of the fishing huts built on stilts in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta and the National Park. We hiked through the rice terraces in Sapa. We visited an organic garden, a farm that harvests sea salt, a farmer who produces fish and shrimp sauce in barrels behind his house, a family who harvests coconuts and honey, a family brick making operation that still uses giant beehive kilns to dry bricks, and a family business where we saw a child assisting his grandmother in the weaving of a bamboo mat. We spent many pleasurable hours in a car driving from one part of the country to another. The guides never tired of our questions about what we were seeing, and the drivers were so accomplished when it came to any type of terrain that we always felt comfortable. My husband is 70 and I am 65. We plan to return for another Indochina tour. We think we have the energy to pull off another, although at times we did look at each other and say, “Do you think the guide will forget about the last thing in the itinerary?” No, that never happened, and we are happy it did not, because some of those sunset and evening activities were the most memorable. I should mention that our Home Stay was a wonderful experience and encourage everyone to add this to the itinerary.