My family and I spent 8 days in Da Nang. Altogether there was 4 of us. Xuan Tu organized a 6 day itinerary for us, and 2 free days for us to do our own thing. On our first day they had someone to come to the airport to pick us up and drop us […]
My family and I spent 8 days in Da Nang. Altogether there was 4 of us. Xuan Tu organized a 6 day itinerary for us, and 2 free days for us to do our own thing.
On our first day they had someone to come to the airport to pick us up and drop us off at the hotel. Later on in the afternoon we started our evening food tour around Da Nang. My and 3 other team members came to pick us up at the hotel and we each got on a scooter and began our tour. We stopped at 4 places trying foods such as banh mi, Vietnamese pancakes, rice flour dishes and dessert. They then took us to the night market, where we had a chance to buy souvenirs and food, the dragon bridge and merdragon statue. The highlight was definitely riding on the scooter and being able to see the Da Nang night view and lights, while feeling the buzz as many other scooters pass you.
Day 2 was a full day tour in Hoi An. We visited local families that made rice paper/noodles and bamboo mats. We were able to try making them ourselves and it was a very enjoyable experience as we were able to learn more about their culture and understand their hardships. We made our own rice paper/noodle and ate it afterwards. What I also liked about Xuan Tu’s company is that instead of visiting commercial places like the silk village and pottery village, we are visiting rural families, and a part of our money that is paid for the tour is given to these families as a way to help them. We were able to stop by at some shops to make a customized leather jacket and backpack and they did not make us feel rushed for time. Our tour guide, Lam, also helped us negotiate with the seller so that we would be paying a fair price. We also stopped for a brief lantern workshop even though I had suggested it last minute. Though we felt it was a bit rushed as the ladies were wanting to close up the shop so we were only there for maybe 20min. At night we visited the Japanese bridge and set some paper lanterns onto the river.
Day 3 we visited the marble mountain and Bana Hills. We arrived in Bana Hills at around 1pm and left at after 7pm. We were on the cable car and visited the Golden Bridge, the gardens, French village and the amusement centres. We paid 750,000vnd for the entry ticket, but didn’t realize that it included unlimited rides and games in the amusement area until near the end of the day. There is a luge we went on once which we enjoyed very much. If we had time we would have loved to go on it a few more times. If you enjoy amusements and games I would suggest spending a full day at Bana Hills to make the most of the ticket. We saw videos on their TV of live performances within the area but we were not able to watch any ourselves. Also, Vietnamese working hours can be a bit casual, so you might find them closing earlier than the actual time stated if it gets quiet. If you wish to visit everything including the pagoda, Debay Cellar, Fantasy Park, Try Vu tea corner and Spiritual zone at a comfortable pace, come earlier. For the price of the ticket it would have been nice to be able to see everything. By the time we rode the cable car (about 20min one way) and queuing for the rides and the luge, we did not spend too much time around the whole area. However, we did find it helpful to come with a tour guide as there are multiple cable car stations and various levels. I think we would have spent some time getting lost if we had came by ourselves. Our tour guide did not rush us when we wanted to spend some more time at the amusements. It was not as busy when we arrived in the afternoon, which was their plan, however, that also meant that we lost a lot of time that could have been spent around the rest of Bana Hills.
Day 5 we had a full day tour in Hue. Lam was very knowledgeable of the history behind it so we found it very interesting. We also made a stop at the Hai Van pass along the way to take beautiful pictures of the mountain view.
Day 6 we returned to Hoi An for a basket boat tour along the river which we thoroughly enjoyed. Afterwards we got to meet a farmer and his buffalo and he allowed us to ride it. We then went to visit My Son late afternoon, which was great as it was less busy and less hot.
Day 7 they had a driver to come pick us up and drop us off at Nui Than Tai, which we spent around 7hrs there. The driver had waited for us the whole day and only came to collect us at the entrance when we told him we were finished.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our trip in Vietnam with the help of Xuan Tu and her team. We were able to travel at our own pace and in comfort. Our tour guide Lam was very knowledgeable of the history of the architecture, great company and made sure we had a relaxed trip. For lunch each day we were able to try the local area’s delicacy such as the Hoi An banh mi, Cao Lau, Hue’s Bun Bo noodles, the best place for Quang noodles, and even salty coffee in Hue. Other tours would have you eat a buffet of generic European/Vietnamese food that tasted mediocre, but we loved that we were eating food that local Vietnamese would normally eat, which tasted delicious. On top of that, Lam went the extra mile to take and collect our laundry for us when we asked where we can get our clothes washed. He also helped us collect our tailored jacket to save us the money for taxi to Hoi An. He became our personal photographer and we enjoyed his humour. He would regularly WhatsApp us to keep us informed and answer our questions promptly. He even went to take us to buy coffee beans as soon as he finished his tour with other people. Xuan Tu’s team was also very flexible throughout the trip, in which they took us to the best place to get our currency exchanged and also a short trip to Con market to find things we wanted to buy. The drivers each day were also brilliant as they gave us water and wet wipes multiple times when we returned to the car. The tour guides always arrive on time each day and the drivers who collect us to and from the airport always arrived a few minutes before the scheduled time. On the last night of our tour Xuan Tu had personally came to meet us, to thank us and gave us a small gift. It is great to learn about Xuan Tu’s vision and philosophy, and even more rare to find a team who shares her passion and serves with all their heart. When we first met Lam we were tour guide and guests, but on the last day we both left as friends. We highly recommend Xuan Tu and her team to anyone who wishes to visit Vietnam.