Looking for recommendations for best tour companies to Vietnam and then an extension to Bangkok. Your experiences appreciated as there are lots of companies out there.
In the 1960's the US Army provided an all expenses paid tour of these areas.
I hear it's changed since then.
But I don't want to know.
Yes. My husband was there twice. We were married in Bangkok in 1975, thus the desire to revisit there.
I don't know how valuable this recommendation will be to you due to the length of time that has passed since I traveled with them, but back in 2008 I made a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia coordinated by a Vietnamese travel agency: Gia Linh Travel. I was one of a group of teachers on a trip arranged by a global studies center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was sponsored by the Freeman Foundation. I mention this because I assume that with all those involved in coordinating the trip, someone (or many) must have conducted some type of evaluation. My trip to Cambodia was a follow-on that I arranged separately, and it was as well run as the tour of Vietnam.
If you've traveled independently in Europe you can do it in Vietnam and Thailand. The major cities are easily visited on your own with a good guide book. Once on the ground in Vietnam, there are lots of reputable travel agents who will help you arrange single and mult-day tours much cheaper than what you can get from overseas. Land travel is slow in both countries, flights are cheap, frequent, and save lots of time.
I always prefer to travel independently myself, but sometimes an organized experience can offer you a lot more comfort.
Websites I prefer to use are Klook for 1-3 day activities or Tourradar for 1-3 week tours.
Travel independently requires a little bit more effort, but with the right planning, you can create a perfect trip with all your favourite activities. An advantage of travelling in Vietnam is that it is quite easy to travel by train or bus if you know your options. The online travel guide Geckoroutes can be a great help to compare transport options and check how long the travel to another destination takes.
If you want to visit Halong Bay for example, you have many options, you can choose from several bus companies, take the train, taxi or even a helicopter flight. Another option is to book an organized tour with Klook, which will include transport to Halong Bay.
If you rather be part of an organized tour, you can compare many tour operators on Tourrader, incl reviews.
Hope this info helps!
After our Vietnam tour ended, we flew Air Asia to Bangkok for five nights on our own. We chose an international hotel on the river with a good concierge service and we enjoyed being there. Hotel prices are very reasonable.
Since you asked about tour companies, Odysseys Unlimited has a 17 day tour through Vietnam. Their extension is to Angkor Wat, but it sounds like you could arrange your own trip to Bangkok.
I have not used Odysseys Unlimited yet, but will be going on a trip with them in a few months. They seem to get good reviews from people on this forum who have used them. The group size is limited to 12-24.
We did a tour in Vietnam this past Feb. with Imprint tours. The itinerary was impressive and we had a local guide named Bonn who was beyond wonderful! I can recommend this tour company for its itinerary and choice of hotels. Looking at the upcoming 2020 Vietnam tour they have added a second night at the Homestay which many of our tour members had recommended. From what I have read this coming year Trish, who was on our tour, will be leading this tour. She is a very experienced, enthusiastic guide who gives each tour member attention. We do enjoy independent travel as well as guided travel, but are glad that we chose to see Vietnam on a tour. I'm sure that we could have traveled the many miles from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City on our own, but feel we got so much more having Bonn there to add his knowledge and insight.
An excellent resource for visiting Bangkok is Nancy Chandler's Guide to Bangkok. It's very detailed and really helpful!
We were just there this last February. While I didn't book everything with a tour company there were parts we did. We did a tour of Halong Bay with Classytravel. They were excellent and I noticed they offer other tours. I will say it was very easy to get around and do everything on your own. Wherever you are staying people are willing to help however they can. We booked little day trips with companies I found on TripAdvisor.