Durations: 12 Days - 11 Nights
Travel consultant: Van Anh
Customer name: Uma Raghavan
Start date: 2018-12-25
Finish date: 2019-01-06
2. The hotel accommodation in Phnom Penh was two different rooms for our family. We would have preferred single room family suite such as in Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho. Feedback to Van Anh is to check with the family before making accommodation in two different rooms. Van Anh quickly booked us in single room suites after I sent request seeing the itinerary - Phnom Penh alone for 5 days we stayed in different rooms.
3. Hotels were in great locations in all cities. In Phnom Penh, though It would have been nice to be closer to Royal Palace for sightseeing and restaurants.
4. Tour guides were above excellent. Every one of them went out of their way to accommodate our needs. Mr. Vitchett in Phnom Penh came an extra day on our free day to take us to Killing Fields since the day Killing Field was on our itinerary we couldn't do it due to delay in arrival from Siem Reap by private vehicle.
5. Manith Pich felt like family. He guided from the heart. When we went to Kbeal Splean, at one point our 17-year-old special needs child did not want to hike down anymore. He gave her piggyback ride for some time. He felt the needs of the family for breaks, for food and showed us everything in the itinerary in a different order to accommodate our needs. On the last day, we wanted souvenirs made from local people and also wanted to see the Siem Reap floating market. He and the driver Mr. Sopeap (another amazing person, had water ready each time we came to the car and had the step stool ready each time we got out of the car) accommodated that need and took us to those places before taking us to Por Cuisine for dinner. Mr. Manith is the best tour guide for his knowledge, enthusiasm of the temples to share with us, accommodation of the family's needs, etc.
6. Mr. Tsuy and Mr. Lang came all the way to Chou Duc from Ho Chi Minh city to receive us and spent three days with us as we made our way back to Ho Chi Minh city. Mr. Tsuy introduced us to Vietnamese pancakes which helped us a lot since we are vegetarians. Mr. Tsuy and Mr. Lang also took us to My Tho temple on the way upon our request even though it wasn't in our itinerary (suggestion to Van Anh is to check with the family and add this to the itinerary. Also, add gondola ride to the top of the mountain on the way from Mangrove forest to Can Tho after checking with family in the itinerary since we had plenty of time left in Can Tho in the evening). Mr. Tsuy hurriedly showed us a restaurant from the car itself where we could walk from the hotel in Chou Duc to eat. Finding vegetarian food was challenging in that restaurant. Since we had mentioned earlier to Van Anh about being vegetarian it would have been nice to get a list of vegetarian foods and nearby restaurants from Mr. Tsuy.
7. Mr. Thien Quang is another gem of a tour guide. He connected with my son so good that my son is inspired to be a tour guide. So much history to share and explain where our tour started in Independence Palace. At Cu Chi tunnel Mr. Quang watched our special needs daughter so that we could go in the tunnel to see. He also went out of the way to take us to the souvenir shop to support local people upon our request. Even though we were out of time, he still took us to Notre Dame and Old Post office upon our request. He was willing to come to the market with us and since the market was walking distance to our hotel we said we will see it on our own. He is a positive, inspirational person.
8. Grand Ibis bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap worked very well. It was much better and more comfortable than the Mekong Express that was booked from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. We would have preferred to take the Giant Ibis bus back from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. The private car even though it was comfortable, the driver was not friendly or accommodating at all. It was okay that he didn't know English, he could have held a card giving us pointers on how to request restroom stops, how to request vegetarian food stops, etc. He stopped by at a street-side restaurant which had no vegetarian food. So we waited while he ate and then the next stop for us was only a few hours later for food. He stopped at a restroom stop with Indian toilet and we found a picture of a western toilet on the internet to request him to stop at a place that had western toilets. Language is not a barrier of the person introduces themselves, is friendly, shows us a card on how to communicate with him, etc.
9. We really enjoyed the countryside rice plantation, krolan, making rice noodles, basket weaving, ox cart ride, etc. Beautifully shown and glad it supported the local people. But we did not like the Bom Thom homestay at all. We felt isolated. Food was quickly set up and we had to eat by ourselves. The stay was isolating too. We thought homestay meant we will be staying at a local person's home and eating with them or staying in a village setting (like the resort next to it) and eating in a common kitchen. It was neither.
10. The speed boat from Cambodia to Vietnam was comfortable even though it was delayed by one hour to depart from Cambodia. Again here we could have missed the boat since there was no announcement and even though the ticket person mentioned he will come to find us when it is time to board the boat, no one did and glad we checked it out ourselves. Here Van Anh had done the paperwork and getting the visa done was easy due to that.
Overall excellent itinerary, excellent tour guides. Thanks for making our stay in Cambodia and Vietnam very memorable. Uma Raghavan from USA.