Last week, I wrote three articles about tour organizers/operators in Vietnam. In reading those articles, it is important to revisit why I went through that effort. I wanted to see if it was more cost effective to use a tour operator.
So, when investigating tour operators, I wanted to make sure that they hit the places on my itinerary. I am not interested in remote places or undiscovered towns. I did not want to stay with locals and I did not want to backpack. I have backpacked through Europe and once was enough.
After dealing with Kensington Tours, I decided to only contact agents that had offices in Vietnam or were local to Vietnam.
In early 2015, ExoTravel, Tonkin Tours, and Buffalo Tours were offering tours at the price I mentioned. This may not be so in future years.
ExoTravel is used by high-end tour consolidators They are used to working with your travel agent and being behind the scenes. Unfortunately, you can tell they are not or were not ready for direct customer contact.
Buffalo Tours might be great if you are in Vietnam for a day and want to join a group tour. They have a lot of group tours that are already organized but they don’t seem to organize unique tours for a specific traveler.
Tonkin Travel was the best at organizing a tour and dealing directly with an American solo traveler.
As you know this site is really about planning because I rarely go on the exact trip that I plan in the year I plan it. So, I will probably go to Vietnam and Thailand this year or next.
In 2015, I ended up taking a Royal Caribbean cruise of the Middle East.