Miss. Arabella Isagon - Israel

  • Group: 4 persons
  • Impression: Along the Mandarin Road
  • Date: 24/06 - 02/07/2016
Write to Miss. Arabella Isagon
  • aisagon@...
  • We hide the tail of email address Miss. Arabella Isagon to protect our clients' privacy online.

Dear Linda & Linh,


On behalf of my family and myself, our sincerest thanks for organizing a smooth and pleasant trip to your beautiful country.  It was a great introduction to Vietnam and we are all so very grateful.  We left with a lot of good memories.  Here are my thoughts in general of the entire trip and Asiatica.


Booking and scheduling:

- Booking and scheduling were very easy, response time was very fast and communication was excellent.  I like that I could tell you the things I wanted to see or do and you were also able to plan each day with activities based on that.  You also made some excellent suggestions which were very much appreciated because I would not have known otherwise.  Meeting you both in person was also a good idea - it makes for a very good first impression and allows for building a good business relationship should we decide to travel again to anywhere in the region.



- I like that the schedule was optional and while we were on the tour everything was flexible - if we were tired that day, we didn't have to do something, or if we wanted to try something local, that was also possible.  We enjoyed all our activities and those we didn't, I have listed below.


- We did not enjoy walking through the market in Hanoi, I don't think it was what we were expecting and I felt there wasn't much to see (however we very much loved the market in Hue!).  Hue was probably the city we enjoyed the most and there was nothing there that we did not enjoy.  In Hoi An, we did not like the various workshops.  The introduction to the houses by the people operating them were brief and quite similar so I feel one would have been enough.  We also felt pressured to purchase their crafts.  By nature, we love to shop - but I think we would have enjoyed shopping on our own personal time as opposed to part of the tour. If we had to do it over again I think I would have stayed an extra day in the other cities instead of Hoi An - I don't think we enjoyed the activities there as much.  We only had one day in Saigon and everything we saw we enjoyed - I think we should have stayed longer to fully appreciate the city. 


- I would have liked a short food tour (due to our scheduling upon arrival at Hanoi, we had to skip this as we ended up repacking at the hotel before we could go out which took away time from our planned activities - not the fault of the guides, but it was my fault).  I think an option to just walk around tasting various local snacks from street vendors would have been good.  The food in Vietnam was very tasty and unlike the other countries we visited, so I think we missed out on a few things.  If a casual one was offered at night, I think we would have chosen it - we tried one in Thailand and very much enjoyed it.   


Guides & Drivers:

We thoroughly enjoyed the company of our guides as you can tell from my pictures.  Everyone spoke good English which was very important because explaining the background stories to the sites helped us to appreciate everything more.  They were all very pleasant and professional and my family especially have developed affection for Ms My and the driver Mr. Bao who were with us in Hue.  Mr. Bao was excellent and very skilled and patient on the road.  


- Mr. Thanh in Hanoi was excellent in communication and English, and he guided us promptly so we could see more.  He and a lot of knowledge and background in both history and culture and politics and we learned a lot from him - he gave us a good introduction to Vietnam.  My mother was a little slower on the tour than the rest of us and I noticed that Huy would stay behind to talk to her which I very much appreciated.  There was never one of us left behind.


- Ms My was very warm and funny and endearing.  She really knows how to engage us in conversation and her knowledge was also good.  She is part of the reason we loved our visit in Hue so much.  Unfortunately, she wasn't able to join us in Hoi An and Mr. Minh took over.  Although he was knowledgeable, I think he was not as effective in communicating his knowledge so there was more effort from both him and us to try to get the full story of the various sites we saw.  I think with more time and with more exposure to English clients he will be able to fully relate his knowledge.  He made a lot of effort which we acknowledge and are thankful for.  Ms My was also always on the phone with Mr Minh to make sure we were ok and that the schedule was going well, so we were very grateful to her for checking up.  She is indeed very responsible and took her task seriously and went above and beyond to make sure the trip to Hoi An and our departure were smooth and pleasant even if she wasn't there with us.  


- We only spent one day with Mr Thong but its very clear that he has a passion for his job.  His English is good, his communication is excellent and his interest in history is very obvious.  We also learned a lot from Mr Thong.  



We very much enjoyed all our hotels - the service was excellent as was the location.  La Siesta and the Red Bean restaurant were very good for an introduction stay to Vietnam.  We found fault with nothing - everything was great!  We loved the Eldora hotel it was just a little harder to find restaurants to eat at within walking distance and would have appreciated suggestions.  But still a great hotel and we would go back again if ever.  The Grand Silverland was also a great choice and it's location to the market and to restaurants was very good.  Hotel service was prompt when they weren't busy - but still very good.


- The hotel we liked the least was the hotel in Hoi An.  It does not compare to the other hotels.  The Emerald Vinh Hungh is in a great location however the rooms and bathrooms were not as nice as in the other hotels.  I felt there was less effort to make it look presentable.  Our bathroom door did not lock or close properly, the air conditioner in my parents room was ill placed so it was very cold directly above my dad's head.  The lighting was also dim and very much unlike the lighting in the other hotels.  We were also placed a part from each other instead of closer together, not sure if this was because of availability.  Upon arrival, I found the lady at the front desk a little less welcoming which possibly started out our stay wrong - but everyone else was very warm and pleasant for the duration of our stay.  Our first breakfast, I felt a waiter rushed us out so that he could accommodate a Korean family seated behind us who needed an extra chair as opposed to finding a spare chair at a different table.  We are all guests, all the same, so it left a bad impression on me.  Other than that - everyone else was pleasant and courteous.


Overall though, we are all very happy and very grateful for the experiences you have allowed us through your excellent service.  We hope to see you all again at some point.


We wish you continued good business and growth with Asiatica and good health and good fortune in your personal lives.  


Our sincerest and deepest thanks and appreciation for everything.


Arabella & Family



Detailed program


Day 01 24-June Hanoi arrival – visit

Upon arrival at National Airport FD642, 8:30AM Air Asia, you will be warmly welcomed and transferred to the center. 

We will pick you up to visit Hanoi by cyclo (tricycle). We then head to Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple dates back to the 13th century, and the lake itself is the picturesque heart of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. 

Then take a small food tour with a coffee with terrace with view to the Hoan Kiem lake. Then go to have Steamed Rolled Rice Pancake (Banh Cuon). Then come to discover the Bun Cha (grilled pork vermicelli soup), Crab Spring Rolls then a cup of Che (sweet beverage with peas…). 

Then join the Water Puppet Show. 

Night in hotel.  

Day 02 25-June Hanoi – B, L  

You will be picked up at the hotel at 8:00am. Starting the day trip will be a visit of the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which compromises Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays), his former stilt-house residence, One Pillar pagoda and Ho Chi Minh Museum. We will then visit the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius, which served as the first Royal National University in Vietnam. The site also honors 82 Vietnamese doctorates who passed a number of rigid exams in the feudal ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in 82 headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its peaceful green compound with its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. 

In the afternoon, we will visit the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays, the alternative being the History Museum), which offers informative and well-documented displays of the country’s 54 ethnic groups, including elaborate and colorful hill tribe costumes. The display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses of numerous minority groups, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. Go to the Dong Xuan market. 

Day 03 26-June Hanoi – Hue– B

Transfer to the airport with our guide and driver for the flight to Hue VN1541   0900  1010      . Pick-up by guide and driver and go to the center of Hue.

Visit Hue Imperial City, the last royal city of Vietnam with various beautiful structures including the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and the Forbidden Purple City or Tu Cam Thanh and then Khai Dinh Tomb with its special architecture. 

Day 04 27-June Hue– B, L  

Start the day with a leisurely boat trip on the poetic Perfume River. We will stop at Dong Ba Market to buy ingredients for the evening cooking class. En route you will visit Thien Mu Pagoda also known as “Heavenly Lady Pagoda”, the symbol of Hue city. 

We will then continue the cruise toward Thuy Bieu eco-village, an ancient village overlooking the most pristine part of Perfume River backed by Ngu Binh Mountain. 

Arrive in the village, and join our cooking class to prepare Hue’s signature dishes with our chef’s instruction, then enjoy your creations in the open air riverside restaurant surrounded by lush trees. 

The afternoon is reserved for walking through the peaceful village, visiting several communal houses, ancient temples and the highlight: the garden- house, a typical and unique feature of Hue. Soaking your feet in medicinal herb water followed by an excellent blind massage will refresh them after a day of sightseeing. 

We then visit the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, which was built between 1864 and 1867 by 3000 soldiers and workers. It includes 50 monuments surrounded by a 1500m long wall and covers an area of 12 hectare. 

Back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Hue

Day 05 28-June Hue - Danang - Hoi An – visit– B, L  

Drive to Hoi An via Danang with stops at Lang Co fishing village, Hai Van Pass, Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Take a tour of HoiAn upon arrival to visit the towns most famed sights: Japanese Bridge Pagoda, Phung Hung Ancient House, various workshops.

Day 06 29-June Hoi An– B, L  

In the morning, our guide and car will pick you up at your hotel and take you to My Son Holy Land, once the capital city of the Champa Kingdom, between the 4th and 12th century. My Son is a large complex of religious relics that comprises more than 70 architectural works. They include temples and towers connecting to each other with complicated red brick designs. The major structure of the Cham architecture is a tower, built to reflect the divinity of the king.

Then back to Hoi An and free to shopping or make a “Ao Dai” – traditional clothes of Vietnam. (your charge)

Day 07 30-June Hoi An – free – B 

Free time to relax in this town.

(no guide no driver)

Day 08 1-July Hoi An - Danang – Hochiminh– B

7h30,  the driver (no guide) will pick you up to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon or “Pear of the Far East” VN 109 0935  1105  . The whole day will be spent exploring this vibrant city situated on the banks of Saigon River, famous for its wide boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. Visit all must-see attractions, including: Ton Duc Thang and Nguyen Hue Avenue, War Remnants Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral built in 1877 and the Central Post Office.  The tour ends with a bit of shopping at Ben Thanh Market, the busiest business centre in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Overnight at hotel in Saigon.


Day 09 2-July Hochiminh – departure

9h30 the driver picks you up to depart to the airport for the flight BR0392, 12:50PM, EVA Air. (room available until 12h00).