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Reasons to book a tour rather than plan it on your own… Grove Travel’s 12 Day Guided Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia: Blog #2

Our tour leader Nikki Zimbler from Insider Journeys

Why choose a tour for your multi-centre holiday to Indochina than plan your own trip? You might simply think that one of the great things about a guided tour is that you don’t need to worry about getting to and from every destination, or waiting in line for tickets for all those must see sights on your to do list. All these certainly make for an easier trip, however I also found that one real advantage on my tour with Insider Journeys was the unexpected extras which only come from someone to guide you and knows the local people and area well.

My favourite example of this was when, having had a bit extra of time en-route to the airport from Ha Long Bay, we made an unscheduled stop by the side of the road where Nikki led us into a rural village to have a look around. An unspoilt community where the locals, only some of whom knew Nikki, either greeted or stopped to talk to us and were very friendly and curious as they rarely come across tourists.

Early on in the walk two smiley women came up to me and one complimented me on my fair hair, skin and eyes which was so different from her rich dark colouring, she then put out her arm next to mine letting us compare our very different skin colours of which we had a good giggle. She had beautiful long dark sleek hair which was a far cry from what had become my wet frizzy humid mop as hers didn’t seem to be affected by the weather! We could barely speak each other’s language but we had a lot of fun admiring each other’s differences. IMG_4244

As we continued our walk we came across people carting rice husks to dry in the heat of the afternoon having just come from the surrounding paddies, whilst others were preparing dinner at home with the doors wide open letting the fragrant smells waft through the air, the local kids were out playing in the sun rolling around with adorable puppies. Later on I sat down with one family for a while who seemed to just love poking me… not your average experience on holiday! Overall we were given a special insight into a side of the country not everyone gets to see. How else would I get an opportunity like this if I had planned everything on my own? IMG_4258

Insider Journey’s only run small group tours and as a result I found there was a wealth of support when you needed it. Nikki Zimbler is originally from the UK but has a deep understanding of both countries being a resident of Vietnam, however appreciates the needs of western tourists and what we have come all the way there to see. As well as her expert help and support we had a local guide at each destination who came with us into each attraction and told us lots of extra stories giving us far more insight than we would have had on our own!


Want to know which hotels are best for a relaxing beach break on the sun lounger in Hoi An, or a city hotel right in the lively streets of Hanoi? Find out in my ‘Best hotels for…’ blog coming soon for Grove’s top picks on the hotels we reviewed on our tour! Next up though, find out my favourite things to do in each city starting with- Top 3 Things to do in … Hanoi!


Rosie x

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