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Mr. Michael McCreight

This response is long overdue and I apologize for it being so late. Here is an evaluation and feedback of our trip you coordinated for us on 18 November - 1 December 2007 in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
First of all, we had a wonderful time and the arrangements you made for us worked out very well..? Here are some feedback questions we thought might assist you. They are rated on a scale of 0 - 10 accordingly
1 - Highly Dissatisfied/Unacceptable
2 - Dissatisfied/Below Average
3 - Satisfied/Acceptable/Average
4 - Very Satisfied/Above Average
5 - Highly Satisfied/Highly Acceptable

ITINERARY:
How well did the trip follow the agreed upon itinerary?
*4 - We experienced many sites/activities on the itinerary and some that were added to the itinerary. We expected but were not able to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to see Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam Ethnology Museum as they were both closed on the day of our visit. However, several other sites and opportunities were made available throughout our trip by each Tour Guide.
What were the top three sites/activities you would recommend?
*Angkor Wat - spectacular architectural preserved site
*HaLong Bay - Natural beauty, unique setting, and relaxing boat ride
*Luang Prabang - Historical significance and ease of exploring
What were the top three sites/activities that could have been improved to enhance the experience?
*Doeghmkogery Hotel - very remote, beds were only box springs, no heat in hotel.
*Additional activities in the Xiengkhouang region. Since this area is remote, perhaps an activity that involves interaction with locals to experience local customs and everyday life activities. Or, learning more about the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) activities in the area.
*Adding a trip to the Buddha Park outside of Vientienne might be nice, but not necessary.
How would your rate the value of the trip?
*5 - It was priced fairly and competitively.
Would you recommend ICT to friends and family?
*Yes
How adequately prepared and informed did you feel about the trip (how to pack, money to bring, recommended tips, food, etc?)
*3 - Experienced travelers will research and learn of the climate, foods, customs, etc. (Which we did) However, a nice addition would be to provide the client after finalizing the booking with a listing of suggested clothing to pack, what to expect from traditional and typical dining, ease of use of credit cards/traveler's cheques/local currency (what is best), and a suggested range of gratuities for tour guides, drivers and those in tourism service. The exchanges of gratuities are always awkward not knowing local customs or adequate compensation.
Would you recommend this itinerary/trip to friends and family?
*Yes, but only to those who are experienced travelers and flexible.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS
We were impressed with how friendly the people we encountered were to foreign tourists. I was amazed with the number of small children playing about. We also commented on how nearly all the employees in the tourist industry (guides, hotels, restaurants) were in their twenties. We found Hanoi to be a vibrant and busy city (the busiest on our tour). HaLong Bay was relaxing, but the number of boats/junks was surprising. We thought it would be more secluded. It was a nice treat to be in Vientienne during the Festival of the That Luang. The city was very easy to explore on our own. Phonsaat was very rural and remote and did not warrant two nights, but we understand the need due to the transportation logistics. Luang Prabang was an easy city to visit and explore. It also had many interesting natural and historical sites within near proximity. Siem Reap is a fast growing tourist destination. The Angkor Plain was fascinating. The lack of restrictions on climbing and exploring the temples was quite a surprise. We expect that within a few years this will be much more regulated and restricted.
We shared our experiences and photos with many friends and family and each one expressed how different it was than they thought it would be. Many feared for our safety or thought that as US Citizens we would not be welcomed. We shared that it was a wonderful educational experience.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
Overall, how satisfied were your with your accommodations?
*4 - Duangkeomany Hotel was very basic, did not have heat, and beds were uncomfortable. All other hotels were very nice.
How well did they meet your expectations?
*5 (Duangkeomany Hotel - 2)
How satisfied were you with the cleanliness and amenities of the rooms?
*5 (No heat in Duangkeomany Hotel)
How would you rate the hotel staff courteousness and assistance?
*5
How satisfied were you with the location of the Hotel?
*5
How was the food/breakfast at the hotel?
*5

TOUR GUIDES:
Overall, how satisfied were you with the tour guides?
*5 - The attentiveness of the guides throughout the trip was excellent. They were most accommodating and always available, punctual, and reliable. We had several guides assisting in the tours and transporting us to the airport. I did not get all of their names, but our main guides in each country were:
Mr. Dong - Vietnam
Phonepheth Vilaihong - Laos
Mr. Mam Samnok - Cambodia
Each of them was very attentive and really made our trip memorable. I would highly recommend each of them.
How would your rate their knowledge?
*5
How would you rate their ability to communicate with you?
*5
How would you rate their courteousness and assistance?
*5
How would you rate their punctuality and availability?
*5
How would you rate their flexibility?
*5
How satisfied were you with the guide's pace through the itinerary (i.e. did you feel rushed at sites)?
*5 - In many of the sites it is good if after the tour/explanation of the site the guide provides some brief time for the tourist to re-explore a bit, read posted descriptions, or take pictures. The guide's narration is informative and tourist will want to listen, but will also want to read placards and experience the site. Several guides recommended ideal photo spots and offered to take the photo of the tourists. This was very much appreciated.
How satisfied were you with your guide's information and recommendations on free time activities such as dinner and self-exploration?
*4

TRANSPORTATION:
Overall, how satisfied were you with the transportation during your trip?
*5 - The drivers did not have it easy! But, they were all very accommodating and capable. We felt comfortable in the vehicle and with their abilities.
Was the transportation reliable, safe and clean?
*5
How would your rate your driver's ability?
*5
How would you rate your driver's courteousness and assistance?
*5
Thank you Mr. Dong, and also thanks to Mr. Vilaihong and Mr. Samnok for all your assistance in making this a memorable holiday.
Kind regards
Michael

Nationality: USA | Email: mccrem@insight.rr.com

 
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