TRAVELLING STORY 1
Enjoy a memorable tour with Smile Tours Service with your 5 strong senses.
It has taken a while, but now I found some time to send you the letter we promised.
Let us start by saying that we had a really wonderful time in Vietnam. You made a great trip for us and we loved every piece of it. Everything was arranged. We never once had to worry about anything! !
The first days in Cambodia were very worthwhile. We loved it very much. The guide (Ratanak Eath) was very friendly and had lots of information for us. The hotel (Casa Angkor) was very nice. Clean and a very friendly staff. Good breakfast. We didn’t have dinner there so we don’t know how that was. When people have the time to visit Siem Reap for a few days they really should do it. For us it was the perfect start of a great holiday. We visited a lot of temples in these days. But also the boat trip to the floating villages was very interesting.
When we arrived in Vietnam it took about 1 hour before we we’re through the customs and got all of the stamps and papers. The list we filled in from your site was not enough. We had to do it all over again they said.
But when we got outside the airport you were standing there and we felt so welcome!! It felt like meeting a old friend!
The first thing we did when we arrived In Saigon was going to the war museum with you. What an impact it had!! Especially all the pictures of the horrible things which took place. But it was the right thing to see first!
The first days in Saigon were ok. It’s a very busy city! The Empress hotel was again good. The rooms were clean, only a lot of noise from the streets. Very friendly staff!
The Cao Dai Holy See was very nice to see. Very colorful an interesting!
The Cu Chi Tunnels are very impressive. You can’t really imagine that people have lived like this. After you have been there you keep talking about it. Francesco walked only the first part of the tunnels and that he found already very scary. But at least he can say he tried it!
The boat trips in the Mekong area where the best. What a wonderful and beautiful area! We tasted lots of different, delicious fruits, meet nice people, listened to music, took a horse ride etc. So many different things on one day! The trip in the small boat we liked the most, between the huge palm trees, with the butterflies and king fishers!
And then the home stay. We didn’t sleep much there. The beds were ok, but all the strange noises kept us awake almost the whole night. The family was very friendly and the surroundings of the home very beautiful. It was pleasant that there was a little shower and a normal toilet.
The early bike ride in the morning to the little market was fun. You see how the people start the day and you feel a little bit part of it. We liked this very much. You are much closer to the people then when you travel by car.
We asked you to book a few days at the Whale Island resort. It was a really nice place to relax for a few days. The cabins have a private little garden where you can rest and enjoy the surroundings. After this we were fresh to go for the rest of our holiday!!
After a few hours’ drive we arrived in Hoi An. What a nice little town! We liked the beautiful hotel you booked for us! The rooms were big and clean. The nicest thing in the old town is that there are no cars. You can walk freely. The guide took a walk with us through the city and a boat trip after that. On a hot day it’s very relaxing.
In the afternoon we went on the bicycle to see a little of the country side and after that we cycled to the beach. When you ride the bicycle it’s like you are more part of your surroundings. You see much more than in the car. It was fun.
Our next place to visit was Hue. The Imperial City is very impressive!! What a beautiful place to visit. We liked everything around this area. The Tombs, The boat trip on the Perfume River and the bike ride to the country side. Our guide made us feel like home!!
When arriving in Hanoi after a short flight the guide was already waiting for us ( of course as always!!). Because our flight was rescheduled we were a little bit late in Hanoi. That’s why the program was also a little bit short. We went to the Temple of Literature for not more than 30 minutes, because we had to go to the Water puppet show. So that was a little bit hasty. After the show we had a wonderful dinner.
Then the guide took us to the train station for our trip to Sapa. The train was much better than we expected. The beds are pretty comfortable and clean. It’s a little bit noisy and bumpy on the way, but that wasn’t a problem. In the early morning when you wake up you ride through the most beautiful landscape! What a nice way to wake up.
After arriving in Lao Cai and having breakfast we were picked up by the guide of that day. He spoke very good English! He took us to the Sunday Market of Mhoung Khuong. It’s a beautiful drive to there. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t really good that day, but the landscape made up for everything. And then the market itself. What a place! All the different people who were very friendly. You don’t see many tourists and that’s also nice. It’s a place we can recommend everyone!
In the afternoon we drove to Sapa. There we had the suite in the Gold Sea hotel. What a nice room you chose for us. It was very comfortable.
The next day our very sweet guide picked us up for a 2 day hiking trip. She was so nice. We walked the whole day in the most beautiful landscapes you can imagine. The weather was very good with lots of sun. Late in the afternoon we arrived at the home stay. A very nice house. Another group arrived at the same day, so we had dinner all together and had lots of fun!!!
The second day of walking was much harder. Our muscles hurt from the day before and the road was much more difficult! Our toes were blue when we arrived back at the hotel. There we could relax in our nice suite, have a hot bath and sleep for a long time. But the trip was worth every bit of pain!!!
The last day in this area we went to the Red Dao. We talked to the people and saw how they harvest the rice. They were very friendly and talked a lot about their town. After this we had to say goodbye to our sweet guide Mao. We hope to talk to her again someday. Saying goodbye was hard.
After a cold night in the train we arrived in Hanoi from where we went to Halong Bay. Of course during the bus ride we had to stop at a gift shop. That’s one of the things we don’t like, but we know it’s always part of such a trip.
The boat was great! What a nice room, very friendly staff and good food. They made us feel like home for a few days. Of course the landscape of Halong bay is one of the greatest en most beautiful of all. Especially the sunsets! What a nice pictures you can make there. We liked the fact that we took a 3 days trip. Now you had more time to relax and go further into the bay where less boats are, so you have much more privacy! If you have the time we can recommend it to everyone.
And then unfortunately our trip is almost to an end. We met you for the last time in Hanoi where you took us to such a nice restaurant. The food was so good! And the room so cozy.
We want to thank you for the trip of a lifetime. It was our first time in Asia and after this certainly not our last. You made us feel at home in your beautiful country!!!
We send you our love.
Francesco and Saskia Grutters -The Netherlands