We had an incredible time with Xuan Tu. For us, it was like travelling with an extremely well-informed member of the family. We knew very little about Vietnam before our visit and so had an endless stream of questions, all of which Xuan Tu responded to with enthusiasm, real interest and a perpetual determination to make sure we had completely understood. Also worth highlighting that we normally prefer to travel as independently as possible and so it did feel like a bit of a risk to commit to being with one guide for over a week!
If you’re looking for a conventional, ‘tourist route’ guide, I’m sure Xuan Tu would cater for that, but it felt like the way to fully engage her was to be looking for adventure and hidden spots. As a family of ‘foodies’, we were particularly delighted by the restaurants she took us to. There is no way that even the more adventurous travellers would have found the places she took us to and so we had the chance to eat plenty of very (!) typical food!
As for the route, Xuan Tu had a pretty clear schedule for us to follow so we left it largely in her hands but, again, we were keen to suggest a couple of extra places that we wanted to see. We are interested in history, and some of the sites, particularly the old palaces, were incredible and exceeded our expectations. Da Nang is not normally on the route but Xuan Tu was absolutely right in insisting that we visit. Similarly, Cam Kim island, suggested by her, was a trip highlight and our evening meal on An Bang Beach was magical. The fact that she chats incessantly also means that people know her, everywhere you go, from the owners of restaurants, to families who let you have a sneak peek in to their homes.
I could write an essay about her but a report wouldn’t do her justice. If you’re struggling with getting prompt replies from her before you get out there, don’t panic or find someone else (although there are plenty of people out there who would probably offer a perfectly adequate service for less money). Be patient and rest assured that she is absolutely worth it! You’ll feel like you’ve really understood the country and found yourself a friend for life. Take questions and a sense of humour and I guarantee you’ll be singing her praises for a very long time!
Traveller: ItchyFeet319 from Tripadvisor