Most Inspirational Moment
Halong Bay has got to be up there as an all time highlight, the kayaking was brilliant too!
Along with the guest-house in the Mekong delta and the cycling tours through the countryside Hanoi on a Saturday night for tired, jet-lagged brits who had only been in the country a few hours was a bit overwhelming but Saigon was a dream!
Thoughts on Group Leader
Unfortunately this is where the trip fell short of 5 stars.
Having travelled with exodus before and only experienced amazing, intelligent, organised and inspiring guides full of knowledge and humour, perhaps I was a little spoilt. Linh was both disorganised and overly-regimented in his planning. He constantly failed to tell us vital information regarding the days structure ahead which meant that an already packed trip was full of confusion. He was indecisive but at the same time failed to take on suggestions from the group about what they wanted to do. We were given very little freedom or flexibility with regards for activities and he had a very odd idea of time eg City tour in Hoi An was supposed to take 1 hour, ended up taking 3 hours then straight to dinner then another tour after dinner = very tired tourists. He also showed no interest in conversing with any of the group and preferred to lecture us in the coach (very interesting if a little egotistical at times) yet was not open to any two-sided discussion over dinner. In my experience, exodus guides have been quite the opposite and this is just a one off (for anyone reading who has now been put off!). I was also under the impression that Linh did not often take the 'trails' group and usually did the cycling tour - perhaps that is his real forte!
Advice for Potential Travellers
When going to the home-stays with the village tribes, pack lots of clothes and socks (you will need them) and also all the young girls in the villages were desperate to have their nails painted! So bring a pot, it won't take up much space and will really brighten their day! (Wish I had had this advice before going)
There won't be many opportunities for buying souvenirs etc so make sure you take time in Hoi An to do that.
If you're at all travel sick then stock up on pills - the coach journeys have wonderful scenery but that comes at a cost!
You don't need to bring many clothes either, laundry services are cheap and quick and so are the clothes if you need an extra t-shirt or something.
The food has a reputation for being dirt cheap, however the places we were taken to were cheap compared to British standards but don't go expecting dinner to cost £5
If you go in August it is constantly hot and sticky, lots of sun cream, lots of DEET, expect to be a sweaty mess most of the time!
The trip overall was incredible. We got to meet the local people and see some amazing sights and eat the local food, really get stuck in to the Vietnamese culture. The high pace was really tiring but worth it to get everything squeezed in to two weeks.
The only thing that let us down was a very poor guide, however as it is such a crucial part to any holiday that's why I had to give 4/5 :(
Thank you exodus and thank you Vietnam!