Organizing a tour for 2 "seniors"
Replies: 12 - Last Post: May 18, 2012 10:13 PM Last Post By: GillesB
Feb 5, 2012 5:14 AM
Organizing a tour for 2 "seniors"Hi,
I travelled in Vietnam in 2003 (truly loved it!), and now want to send my parents there in April. They are both retired (70+). Two questions:
1. Considering their age and that they are not very expenrienced travellers, I want to go through a local agency, which means a guide taking them from the plane and putting them back on the plane... Well, and showing them a few things in between ;-)
Money is not a major concern (it should remain at an acceptable level, though, 4 stars is not needed)
What company can you recommand for tailored tours?
2. From everything that I heard / read, Vietnam changed immensly in the past 9 years ... So what I have in mind might be slightly (more than that) outdated!
My idea was:
Ho Chi Minh - 3 days
Cu Chi Tunnels - 1 day
Mekong Delta - 3 days
Dalat (2 days - I haven't been there myself)
Hoi An (3 days - with a bit of time to relax: is Hoi An still a nice place to relax?)
Hue (2 days)
Hanoi (3 days)
Halong Bay (3 days)
Perfume River / Pagoda (1 day)
Sapa ??? - Is it doable for seniors?
Any feedback will be grately appreciated!
And I hope the new Lonely Planet will be soon available ;-)
PS: we wrote shortly about Vietnam on our website
And a lot more about neighbouring countries like: Cambodia , Laos , China
Feb 5, 2012 9:24 AM
1My wife and I are avid fans of SE Asia and especially Vietnam and last year (2011) we for the first time booked a private tour of the Mekong Delta and there is nothing that could have made it better.
We booked through Hotels in Vietnam web site and they did an awesome job.
The tour guide we had was a contractor and he also does private tours and can be contacted. His name was "Bun"
Luu Thien Binh e-mail
Bun was just great.
Feb 5, 2012 7:48 PM
Feb 6, 2012 12:36 PM
3Can only highly recommend Haivenu Tours. My daughter and I did two recent tours with them in November&December 2011; the first- nine days to far north, Meo Vac, Dong, Van,Yenh Minh, Bac Ha, Sapa and Dien Bien Phu and second-three day tour Ninh Binh and Cuc Phuong National Parl. In addition, they handled some airport transfers, booked base hotel in Hanoi as well as train tickets. Deliver what they promise and more, excellent guides with local knowledge, experienced drivers. Extremely responsive to personalozing destinations, such as Sapa, so your parents should have no problems at all. Not the cheapest, but we got what we paid for and felt comfortable and in good hands throughout.
While we only did the northern half of Vietnam, they have standard and tailored tours throughout the country. Only our opinion, but a great company.
Feb 7, 2012 1:51 AM
4I have been considering the exact same thing for my Mum (78). That is quite a solid itinerary. Are you sure they can manage 3 weeks of travel ?
Travel insurance. Have you given it any thought? It will be a must. I have just been and ended up in hospital with infection, 3 days on a drip =$1500usd. Please suss that out.
My thoughts on my Mums itinerary something shorter. HCMC, Vung Tau (easy access by boat, something different and easy to get around, great food and hotels) 5 days for the 2 places. Flight to Danang. Hoi An 2 days. Flight to Hanoi and visit Halong 3-4 days.
IMHO to suggest Meo Vac, Dong, Van,Yenh Minh, Bac Ha, Sapa and Dien Bien Phu is bordering on ridiculous. (Unless they are extremely fit and healthy early 70 somethings).
I found a great music venue I hope to take mum too in HCMC. Carmel club on Ly Tu Trung St. They play Flamingo music and very entertaing. Lovely atmosphere there, all the time I was there I was thinking how much Mum would enjoy it.
Good luck with your venture. I hope it works out well for them. Keep me informed how they went. All the best HB2
Feb 11, 2012 2:25 AM
Thanks for your answers.
I will start actually planning and see where it takes me.
@ #2: do you have the eMail adress?
@ #5: Yes, my parents will manage the trip, at least that's the plan ;-)
I think it is important also to plan time to rest in between and maybe skip the 257th "highlight".
I for myself prefer quieter trips, where I only see half of it and have time to go more in depth, wander around in cities or village, get lost, ...
That is something agencies have trouble with, they tend to rush you from A to B to C to Z so that they can say you have seen it all.
For insurance: Visa or masterCard have great travel insurances, and ... It is free of charge!
That is how insurance companies make al lot of money: they sell you the whole story 3 times ;-)
But a good advice in the whole area: if there is a really big problem with health. Bangkok! You have some of the best doctors in the world there.
I will surely pop up with other questions, but sometimes later ;-)
Feb 11, 2012 6:57 AM
6Be very cautious of Visa/Mastercard insurances as their coverages may be very limited.
Do they cover medical bills in case of sickness or injury? Do they cover medivac in case of a serious long term medical problem? Do they pay for bringing family to them in case of an emergency that does not allow immediate evacuation?
We have never required our travel insurance but a nephew did after an accident in Bangkok. If he had not had the insurance his bill would have been over $260,000 U.S. and that cost was kept down as his dad is a doctor and was able to be the attendant on the medivac.
Feb 11, 2012 8:45 AM
7Well, you are right that some credit cards do have no or very limited insurances. Most of European ones get up to 1 Mio. USD or even 5 Mio., including flying you back on special planes (I don't know how they are called).
And once in Europe (at least continental Europe), the Social Security won't let you down. It might be totally different in other parts of the world, of course!
Until now, the only thing I used a travel insurance (credit card) was for plane delays, where all expenses were taken care of ...
Feb 19, 2012 10:35 AM
Feb 21, 2012 1:44 PM
Feb 21, 2012 3:11 PM
10I have beeen dealing with Vega Travel in Hanoi for many years ... for idependant travel as well as private tours .Bill is 76 ... they are respectful as well as organised... great value
The important issue for travel insurance is essentially about medical support ... and most importantly pre existing conditions . Bill is fit as a malee Bull but had a stent more than 10 years ago... we have to get doctors reports & pay a premuim each year to getthe cover ...expensive but foolish to ignore .
Everyoffer of free travel insurance I have investigated does NOT cover pre existing / other health issues .
Edited by: philistine55
Feb 21, 2012 11:09 PM
11Well, that is a good point I had not thought about.
But for someone over 70: any insurance will find something that is "existing condition" ... I am afraid.
I will check that one!
Good advice, thanks.
As far as agencies are concerned ... Well, I am closing the project, so I do not feel like starting all over again with a new one.
But thanks for the advice
May 18, 2012 10:13 PM
my parents just came back from Vietnam.
Check the new thread for those wondering if it is ok (it IS) to Vietnam ...
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$112.12 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.21 per night