Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rick Simons | Halong bay & Sapa tours | Vietnam

Itinerary: Trekking Sapa & Halong Bay tours - Vietnam
Date: December 05, 2006
Nationality: United Sate of America

I'm back from Vietnam trip with Active Travel Vietnam and have some review as below:

Where we traveled: At the Duongs' house in the small village of Ban-Ho, a six-hour trek outside of Sapa. Sapa is in the northwest, just south of the Chinese border, a place many hill tribes call home.

About meals: We had dinner at the Duongs' house, where our guide Hoa was the chef. The different courses (spring rolls, fish, tofu, soup, beef, rice) kept flowing until we were satiated. However, the most pleasant experience was drinking the homemade rice wine made by Mr. Duong. He continued to pour it until we finally had to say "no more." We did learn that "took saquaya" is the equivalent of "cheers" for the Tay people.

How to get best deal: We booked a three-day trip to Halong Bay and the four-day Sapa trek with Active Travel Vietnam. Every aspect of the trip was perfect; the English-speaking guides were informative but not overwhelming. The price was inexpensive. Reach them at

Best time to go: November was a perfect time, but it was hazy everyday, so pictures did not have blue skies in them. The temperature was pleasant; no rain and no crowds of tourists.

Best travel tip: Don't be afraid to go to Vietnam because of the war in the '70s. I found the Vietnamese people to be among the friendliest I have ever encountered, and not one of them had any animosity toward American people.