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Does anyone know of any reliable travel agencies/operators that are in Vietnam? I'm working with one here in the US, but I would like to compare with one in Vietnam. Thanks in advance.
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kakoisle,
I think this is funny that I am talking about Vietnam at fool.com but I was a little bored of stocks for a bit.

I went to Vietnam (Saigon and Nha Trang) a little over a year ago. I am not sure what kind of trip you are looking to do but there are a lot of opportunities once you get in country. I had already bought plane tickets between Saigon and Nha Trang before I left but once you get there you will be amazed by the great deals and the abundance of travel agencies... I don't know any specifics unless you want a Scuba shop I went to in Nha Trang... but for example you can take a 3 day all expense boat/hotel trip up through the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam for roughly $20 USD. Its crazy.... I'd say plan little, and wait and see the opportunities you will have on the ground.

Have fun,
LP
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LP,

Thanks for the response. I was surprised to see something since it's been a while since my post, but I appreciate it.

Did you find there was a wide array of choices for level of comfort? We are not looking for backpacker's cheap deals, nor do we want to share a boat with 25 other people and proceed like sheep into some well-beaten tourist path. I'm thinking that working with travel agents in Vietnam may work out better, but I'm not sure about finding good travel agents.
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There is a huge assortment. My wife and I like to think we travel with the backpacker mentality but with a much deeper pocketbook. Basically, we go those places that backpackers go but stay in the good hotels. We like to rough it to an extent but then have somewhere nice to lay our heads.

You can stay in anything from the $1.50 backpacker dormitory to the $20 3 Star hotel equivelant, to the $150+ 4-5 Star Ritzy hotel. They have all different options. We stayed in the $20 brand and it was fine, had everything you need, and was clean, had AC, and comfortable.

I'm not sure, there are plenty of travel agents to pick up when you get there but they may be a little less dependable.

LP
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You guys sound a lot like us. My wife also likes to eat at the nicer places as well, but she will also eat at dives if the food is tasty enough.

As far as travel agents go, did you stick with one that you found in Vietnam mainly? My thoughts if we don't go with a stateside travel agent is to find a good one in Vietnam in Saigon, then utilize them mainly for our trip for transportation and possibly lodging, depending on where we go. Of course, in each town we might use the local agents for sightseeing purposes. Does this seem like a reasonable thing to do?

Did you go to Halong Bay? I've heard great things about the place, but some bad stories about being stuck with a boatload of people all following the same boats to the same crowded places. We want to avoid that.
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never went to Halong Bay. I actually didn't use a travel agent at all in Vietnam. I bought my flights on expedia or maybe another internet travel place that I can't remember.... including a flight to Saigon and then another flight to Nha Trang after a few days in Nha Trang. I also pre-booked all the hotels as it is necessary in order to get the Visa.

We actually planned out our Vietnam trip after reading the book ...... Up Country by Nelson Demille... for no other reason than that we decided on Nha Trang.

Anyway, I'd say use an outside travel agent to get to your initial jumping off point (Saigon) and then find someone in the Area to get around the country... there are plenty of options and they are much cheaper than anything you will find outside of the country.

LP
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Hi,

As a follow up, I can report we went to Vietnam for 2 weeks and had a wonderful time.

We used Tony at Ann's Tourist in Vietnam (www.anntours.com) for independent travel, with a tour guide set up occasionally on site. Tony worked with us very well, as it turns out he spent his youth in the U.S. before repatriating to Vietnam later. Ann's Tourist proved to be much less expensive than using a US travel agent, and we felt we got equal or even better quality for our money. We stayed in moderate to expensive priced accommodations and for the most part took plane flights between locations.

We went to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay. We also took a side trip to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, which was also set up by Ann's Tourist.

I'd highly recommend going to Vietnam. It is a great place, there is much to see, prices are very cheap from US standards and the people are overall very hospitable and friendly. The food is great and there is much to see and do, even for children if you plan it right.

I'd also suggest that if you want to see Angkor Wat, go soon. The Cambodians have figured out that people want to see it, but they have not yet figured out how to take care of it. It may not be in the same state later, there is not enough control over people being able to run uncontrolled over the ruins, nor IMHO is there a well-coordinated effort at restoration.

I'd be happy to provide anyone more information, just post a reply to me.
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I'd also suggest that if you want to see Angkor Wat, go soon. The Cambodians have figured out that people want to see it, but they have not yet figured out how to take care of it. It may not be in the same state later, there is not enough control over people being able to run uncontrolled over the ruins, nor IMHO is there a well-coordinated effort at restoration.

I'd just like to reiterate what kakoisle said. I was there two years ago (time flies...) and everything was getting so commercial. I figure in a couple years, it'll be overrun with tourists once they realize that it's pretty safe to travel there. I'd never been to a country that was so poor but the people were great and they really need our money. The Angkor area is well worth the trip! I think it was my best trip ever.

Durian Boy
who will go to Vietnam too sometime once Durian Baby is a bit older...
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