Fantastic helpful service. Like you have done over the last 15 years
Vinnie as always planned the trip perfectly.
Fantastic from start to finish, many thanks to Shelley and the team!
Travel plans were made very easy thanks to Jordan Fell
Philippa was excellent as always. Great using her and always a big help.
Wonderful service, very helpful and very patient staff. It can't be better. All excellent.
Edward was very helpful
As ever Roger was brilliant. On top of all communications at every step of the process .
Connie was very helpful and responsive... couldn't have been better!
Thank you Graham and your team
As always, a very good service by competent people
Graham was very helpful and got us a good deal
Organised our trip very well. Good choice of hotels and transfers faultless. I would recommend the company without reservation. Staff answered questions with confidence and reassured us over any concerns.
Very happy with my flight
I’ve recently returned from a 47-day trip to Queensland and Western Australia, with a cheeky six-night trip to Ho Chi Minh City in the middle of it. As well as flights, the numerous hotel bookings and three different car hires were all booked by Michelle. Everything was spot-on! It’s 20 years since I first rang DialAFlight looking for information for a trip to Hong Kong. Michelle answered the phone that day and since then I’ve used her for all of my long haul trips. I can’t imagine using anyone else.
A special thanks to Calvin Ali. Been superb.
As always with Megan Quesada it went perfectly, despite my having to change flight details. Megan took it in her stride. Her suggestion for me to upgrade to Premium Economy on the return flight was well worth it.
Thank you so much Darren and colleagues for your help to make sure everything ran smoothly for our first holiday in 3 1/2 years. Vietnam was incredible. We absolutely will recommend you and will be contacting you in the next few weeks to organise our Thailand flights.
Graham was brilliant as usual!
Professional and pleasant staff
Always answered the phone - well done
Monika Jain is so professional, efficient and friendly. I completely trust this company and have the utmost confidence that if a problem occurs it will be resolved. I wouldn’t book with anyone else!
Very helpful, can’t fault you
Very, very helpful team. One of our party had to change her date and Trevor and team were hugely supportive and helpful.
Seymour is an absolute asset to your company - he was brilliant!
Callum Patel is a credit to your company - he always makes using DialAflight a true pleasure
All as expected. Good communication.
Very helpful and prompt responses from you as always. I have already recommended you to friends
I have been with DialAFlight for a few years and I am always very happy and satisfied with them. It is the best service and support you can have.
Excellent as always
This was not the golden age of travel. Our soft-sleeper carriage had basic bedding and no shower – just a shared sink and one Western-style WC. On a table between the bunks was 'breakfast': cheesy crackers, crisps, a yoghurt drink and a tin of mixed kidney-type beans.
But what our train lacked in luxury was more than made up for by the raw experience of seeing Vietnam up close and personal, as the single-track line weaved through city centres and so close to houses and motorists that you could almost reach out and shake hands.
There were 40 of us on our rail tour from Hanoi to Saigon via iconic Halong Bay, then by speedboat up the Mekong Delta into Cambodia. We met as strangers – seven singles, one tour manager and the rest married couples – but friendships were quickly made.
On the way to Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, we passed lush rice fields, the 'hedges' a network of irrigation channels. Water buffalo still plough the land.
Our hotel was minutes from Hoa Lo Prison – the famed 'Hanoi Hilton' (now a museum) that held American prisoners of war in the Seventies, including 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.
A coach tour took in Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, modelled on Lenin's tomb in Moscow, and the humble stilt house where 'Uncle Ho' lived.
Travelling in traditional tuk-tuks gave us a close-up view of the narrow old city streets, where locals eat, drink and chat on little plastic stools, or have streetside pedicures in plastic washing-up bowls. Then there's the scooters. Vietnam (a little larger than Italy) is home to 88million people and 35million mopeds and scooters.
Crossing the road is not for the faint-hearted. Our guide joked that traffic lights were merely 'a suggestion'. The trick, he said, is to look confident and walk on: the traffic will weave around you.
From Hanoi we took a two-day cruise of Halong Bay, with islets of limestone karst pillars rising dramatically from a mist-shrouded sea.
Legend has it the bay was formed when the gods sent dragons to protect Vietnam from invaders. The dragons breathed out jewels, which formed into thousands of islands. Today, it's home to floating fishing villages, rare wildlife and cruise ships.
We visited a floating village, on a sampan rowed by a local girl. Then we boarded the Reunification Railway. You can travel the 1,070 miles from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in 33 hours, but Great Rail Journeys broke it into four days.
We spent one night in a privately run sleeping car aimed at tourists, a notch or two above the regular 'softsleepers'.
Tip: make sure you secure your door. A Vietnamese woman, seeking a free bed, frightened us in the dead of night when she tried to climb into our vacant top bunk.
But mostly we stayed in hotels along the way, all comfortable with great food. Vietnamese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, relying on fresh ingredients and simple flavourings. In the town of Hoi An, my friend Ruth and I went shopping. Ruth had four perfect copies of a favourite dress made in different fabrics, and a young shoe shop girl insisted I hop on the back of her moped – 'Don't worry, I'm a very safe driver' – so I could get another pair of shoes from my hotel while they copied the ones I was wearing.
Our last leg took us into Cambodia along the Mekong river in a speed boat, where we witnessed the harshness of rural life, with stilt shanty houses lacking both running water and electricity.
Elsewhere was evidence of a coming modernity, with the cities leading the way. Even on our train, we got a sense of what might soon be.
My advice is to catch that Reunification Train while you can – before the country changes beyond all recognition. It's charming now, just as it is.
First published in the Daily Mail - August 2016
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