I have used DialAFlight on many occasions and I wouldn’t use anyone else. Your team is superb and Dominic is an absolute gem. Many thanks from a completely satisfied customer
Keep up the good work. Emma Pearce was very helpful and I will use Emma and your company for any future bookings. The hotel was excellent - one of the best I’ve stayed at.
Fantastic service! Always keeping me updated and fully informed. I felt that Amelia was on holiday with us, making sure that we had the best possible experience at all times! Thank you so much
Very enjoyable holiday
Gordon is a massive help. No issue with changing flight dates - he couldn't be more helpful. A great asset for DialAFlight
Jerry is the consummate professional
Always someone on the end of the phone that you can talk to
Ryan, our travel adviser, was excellent !
Dominic and team, thank you so much. I will come back to you soon
Ryan always very helpful and knowledgeable.
As ever, Theo worked hard to get us the right flights. His level of communication is excellent and it made our journey very easy.
Once again another great service with my booking - would highly recommend
Yet another perfectly organised trip. Thank you
As smooth as ever
Great advice on flight choices, itinerary and price. I will definitely use DialAFlight again
As usual, Connie at DialAFlight came up trumps for our recent trip to India. From finding a complicated itinerary of flights that worked brilliantly for us, to ensuring we had all the necessary documentation and informing us promptly of any changes to the schedule. The security of knowing that you have a contact 24/7 in case of flight issues whilst away is invaluable. We would never use or trust any one else to book our flights
Amazing holiday and the transfers all worked perfectly
Charlie was great especially looking after so many cancellations prior to actually going in the trip
Vinnie, great service as ever.
As always, first class!
Never used an agent to buy airline tickets before - despite having flown extensively for four decades. DialAFlight were excellent and will definitely use them again. Highly recommended.
From the quote stage right up until we travelled Leah Jessep was fabulous
All good, thanks Arthur.
Niall, is a superstar. He has been super helpful. I appreciated the window seats in business on right side of plane from Kathmandu to Doha. Views of the Himalayas were amazing.
Excellent service. Fast and efficient
Vinnie does an amazing job in sourcing and booking flights for me. The whole process is made so easy by him. Top service
A huge thank you to Francis for his patience and finding us the perfect multi destination package. Also a big thank you to Gordon for sorting out some issues during our holiday with some transfers whilst Francis was on holiday. Great personal service as always and very much appreciated.
The flights were not so good but we booked BA which was a mistake. Hotels were excellent and well located. Weather overall very good. Once again Mr Peterson delivered. Thank you very much
Ho Chi Minh City, known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War, is a vast contradiction. Despite communist rule, its teeming residents are enthusiastic capitalists offering an Aladdin's cave of goods from tumbledown shops.
Whole families work night and day preparing mouth-watering food in thousands of impromptu pavement restaurants, providing the most delicious street food in the world.
As it happens, the last days of the city under its former name was recently highlighted in Britain, when Miss Saigon the musical celebrated its 25th anniversary with a nationwide cinema performance of the West End show.
In Ho Chi Minh City there is a wonderful range when it comes to choosing where to stay. Not-withstanding its ramshackle appearance, anarchic traffic and jumbled shops, the city has benefited hugely from investment in hotels from the former enemy America.
The colonial Saigon Grand Hotel has added a 20-storey new wing but I was happy to stay in the old part, for the atmosphere.
Similarly, one's spoilt for choice as far as eating and drinking is concerned. A good start is to whizz to the 20th floor of the Saigon Grand and get an outside table at the Terrace Café. Here you can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail for 100,000 dong (about £3.50) and admire the view of the Saigon River far below.
For a sublime Vietnamese meal, you can do a lot worse than to book a table at Maxims in Dong Khoi Street, where you will feel more of a native. The trendy Vietnamese younger set congregate at The Deck on the west bank of the river.
The city turned out to be some-thing of a shopping heaven too. A visit to the My Hoa Night Market on Cao Thang Road is an essential part of the itinerary. With 250 stalls lining the street there is an amazing range of cheap designer goods. But don't forget, you must haggle - even if you're a committed non-haggler, this is one time you must be brave and put on a good show.
A friend and I decided a pincer movement was the best tactic, so we joined forces to bring down the cost of three Mulberry purses to 2.2 million dong - that's £25 each. It was a fearsome display of no-nonsense negotiating.
Were the purses genuine Mulberry? What do you think? But they were certainly genuine bargains.
There are some unusual options available for getting about. One of them is to take a tour aboard a former U.S. military Jeep. The powerful vehicle seemed to scythe effortlessly through the extraordinary suicidal stew of motorcyclists.
Near the top of the list of what to see are the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Re-Unification Palace, built by the French. The latter became the HQ of the country's beleaguered puppet presidents that were installed by the Americans.
Nearby is the former U.S. Embassy, where thousands of terrified Saigon residents shook the gates, begging for entry as the last U.S. helicopters fled in 1975. The world looked on in fascinated horror at the images of desperate people attempting to scale the walls and fences of the embassy compound, as communist forces closed in on the city.
U.S. Marines held back the terrified crowds as helicopters took Americans and many Vietnamese who feared reprisals from the communist forces first to the airport and later to ships of America's Seventh Fleet in the South China Sea.
The capture of the city on April 30 was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation in history.
The contrast now in some parts of the city with those frantic days is poignant in the extreme. For calm and peace you should make your way to the Jade Emperor pagoda, where Buddhists offer incense, food and prayers.
And close by is the Vietnam War Remnants Museum, which provides a harrowing chronicle of the death and destruction inflicted on the Vietnamese.
Cu Chi Tunnels
It's possible, although those who suffer from claustrophobia should be warned, to explore the Viet Cong's tunnels. Viet Cong guerrillas hid and fought in a warren of tunnels just outside the city.
You can go underground and see how they evaded the might of the U.S. Marines. On display are the horrific man traps used to kill the enemy, including hidden pits filled with razor sharp pointed bamboo sticks. You can also indulge, if you wish, in target practice with M60 carbines and machine guns used in the war.
This is a city that has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence. But it is right that, while celebrating its vibrancy and warmth, its traumatic recent past should never be forgotten.
First published in the Daily Mail - February 2017
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