There's nothing like hitting the road with Frommer's fans. They're an intelligent, gregarious, open-hearted bunch, people who are deeply enamored with travel, and who have been broadened by their own wanderings.
I'm also quite careful to only partner with tour operators who put value first. That's certainly the case with World Spree, the operator of this tour. Not only is the price jaw-droppingly reasonable (more on that below), but owner Wilson Wu and his crack team also don't cut corners. They hire true experts to lead the tours, put their guests up in lovely and luxurious accommodations, and, most importantly, create really smart itineraries.
For this 13-day adventure, that means that, unlike other Vietnam tours, we won't be wasting any time doubling back to fly into and out of the country from a single airport. Instead, our group will fly into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon). In between, we'll amortize our time by taking a logical itinerary from Hanoi to Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, and finally Saigon.
Unlike most tours of Vietnam, we'll have an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, rather than one that's over in a few hours. That's a blessing, as this will allow us to see far more of this ethereally beautiful place of towering karst outcroppings rising like skyscrapers from the silvery water. And the tour is structured for independent souls. It offers a mix of guided half-day tours, optional excursions, and free time. So we'll get our grounding, and then have time to explore on our own, reconvening to share our adventures.
Here's the nitty gritty:
- Starting price: $1,899 including air from the United States, all accommodations, some meals, and tours. The lowest price is from California gateways, but other gateways aren't much more expensive (you'll pay $100 more from New York, for example).
- Dates: Depart February 17 from the United States, return March 1
- Details: Land-only packages are available for those who prefer to make their own air arrangements. Solo travelers pay an additional $699 supplement, unless a roommate can be arranged (ask if you're open to that). Book soon, as airfares will rise the closer we get to the dates, increasing the starting price.
- To learn more, or to book: Go to www.worldspree.com/frommers