World Travellers

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Vietnam 2016 and 2017 – by Steve Marshall

In my professional capacity as a “Travel Agent” I’m constantly asked questions or my “opinion” on various destinations around the world. I think the most frequently asked question I’m asked is – “What’s your favourite travel destination?”

I’ve been very fortunate over my travel career, to experience a number of AMAZING places, and it’s pretty difficult to pin down just one. When asked, it usually turns into a very long conversation about different countries I’ve visited. Alaska for the wildlife, Peru for Machu Picchu, Rome for the history, Mexico for the food and the beaches and so many more to choose from.

BUT – in 2016 I travelled to Vietnam for business, where we spent time in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Con Dao Island (all in Southern Vietnam) and fell in love with this country, its people, the food, beaches and the shopping.

People travel for different reasons and this is the most interesting part of my role as an agent – finding out what people want, like or expect to see and do for their valuable leisure time. Everyone wants value for money and this does not mean they want the cheapest price. This can apply to some, as budget is important BUT value for money is very different.

Vietnam is a very cheap country to travel in – you have every style from 5 star luxury (at very good prices) to 2 star rail travel for the backpacker market. Food and drinks are incredible value – a nice meal out including drinks could run you anywhere from NZD$5.00 to NZD$50.00 per person depending on your choice of establishment. One of the best meals I had was a lunch in Sapa, soup, pork, chicken, veges, rice including a beer was only NZD$6.00.

I was so impressed with my business trip in 2016 I went back in 2017 for a personal holiday. This time to experience the North of the country and see Hanoi, do some trekking in the mountains of Sapa, check out Halong Bay and relax on the beach in Hoi An.

Hoi An is world famous for the quality tailors, where they will custom make clothing, shoes and leather goods. I have to say that I was more than impressed with the selection and quality of the clothing, so much so that I had a couple of suits and a number of business shirts made.

One thing I would suggest is a few days here to get all the custom made items done but this is a bonus because this area is just stunning. I would suggest staying at one of the hotels by the beach, which is about 6km from downtown Hoi An and you can start your day with a swim.

So, to answer the question “What’s your favorite travel destination?” – Vietnam (at the moment) but it’s a big world out there so I’m sure there will be another favorite destination right around the corner.

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