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Xin Chao! by Margaret Whale

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by Margaret Whale
Xin Chao!
We’re back for a rest!  Great holiday – worth all the effort of getting itinerary right.
Hanoi – Sofitel was THE hotel – they really looked after us and was worth paying the extra for Historic Wing. Left bags there at odd times and they gave us courtesy room a couple of times when we were transiting from one place to another.
Victoria Express train – bit cosy for four adults in one compartment! Couldn’t sleep much as train is noisy. However, it is the best and quickest way to get to Sapa.
Victoria Sapa Hotel – Very good and best in Sapa. Tours to villages very interesting even if early in morning! You ought to recommend this extension as we felt it was one of the highlights.
Halong Bay – Four hour drive to Halong from Hanoi and got misty as we neared the bay. Halong Violet Boat – very , very nice! Had lunch on the boat and then got told that the Port Authority would not let boats leave port due to weather so trip was cancelled! Fortunately our driver was still in Halong and Indochina rang to say they could get upgraded rooms in Sofitel Hanoi and would take us out for lunch the next day. So – there we were driving back to Hanoi for about ½ hour when phone rang – boats were being allowed to leave! Driver did a very quick U Turn and back to boat. Got upgraded to the suites as some people didn’t come back. Only difference between suites and deluxe rooms was the room was bigger. Everything else was the same so didn’t think it would be worth paying the extra for a suite. Stayed misty but it was worth going on the trip – must look fabulous in the sun.
Back to Hanoi – Water Puppet Theatre well worth a visit.
Livitrans to Dong Hoi – same as Victoria Express – cosy and noisy! Sun Spa Hotel – average 4* but was very comfortable. Cave trip was well worth it.
Drive to Hue – Quite sad drive as you drive down ‘street of no joy’ as full of cemeteries for civilians and soldiers of Vietnam war. La Residence Hotel – very, very good. Had tour of Hue and went on boat ride down Perfume River.
Hue – Hoi An – Drive over pass very scenic.  Victoria Hoi An Hotel – very good and right on beach (shame the sun didn’t shine until the day we left!) Hoi An old town very interesting (especially the silk clothe shops)
Saigon – Sheraton Hotel – 5* but let itself down with customer service. No courtesy room and no free wi-fi in rooms (ALL the other hotels had this).
Cu Chi Tunnels – excellent trip and Barry and I went down the tunnels.
Mekong Delta – great boat trip and super lunch in village.
Hotels in order of merit –1.  Sofitel Hanoi, 2. Victoria Sapa, 3. Joint-  La Residence Hue and Halong Violet boat, 4.  Victoria Hoi An  5.Sheraton Saigon, 6. Sun Spa Dong Hoi.
Altogether an excellent trip and would recommend Vietnam as the place to go. TravelIndoChina were excellent for the whole trip with guides, drivers and any help we needed.
Thank you for all your efforts.
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No, I'm not a Travel Guru, but I have loved travelling since I was five years old, and more than love travel... I love to share my experiences... and show you our Wonderful World through my eyes!

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