Beds on wheels

Waitresses at the Texas Bar

I saw a friend live on Facebook last night and I told him where I was… He wished he was here… so I took a couple of snapshots of what was in front of me. Rick…the first couple of photo’s are for you.

The  Open Tour is a concept that the Vietnamese have come up with to move people, especially tourists around the country. There are many companies

Playng pool

 that offer this service, but I imagine that most of them are the same. An open tour is a bus that runs the length of the country everyday. A ticket can be purchased for about 40 dollars that will allow you one month to travel in one direction, with unlimited stops to the end destination. For example, from Saigon to Hanoi is 40 dollars. You can get off at NhaTrang, Hoi An, Mui Ne, Hue, Danang or many other destinations. A

A sweetheart and Brother

person can spend a night or a week.. it does not matter. Just continue on your way to the next destination. If you book a shorter distance, say for example NhaTrang from Saigon, the ticket may only be 9 dollars with you being able to stop anywhere in-between. A pretty good deal huh? I think so. A warning though. If you travel by these busses you will be on Vietnamese time. That means there will be siestas and coffee breaks along the way that will extend the trip by hours. The buses are comfortable

Boiled snails

 enough. A trip that takes 8 hours by express bus will take 11 or 12 hours by open tour. The sleeper bus is how I am getting back to Nhatrang after going to Saigon. I tried to book a flight or a train, but there is no way. I might be able to slip a few bills in to get a seat, but it would be so crowded, it would not be worth it. Luckily I have these little blue pills the doc prescribed. I take one and 30 minutes later I am in a deep sleep for exactly 7.5 hours. I wake up refreshed and ready to go. I use these pills when flying here to adjust my body clock and am happy to say they work

Saigon traffic circle

wonderfully. There are many other alternatives to travel here but it is very hard for a foreigner to find out the exact information that you are looking for. After spending a few minutes on open tours, I got to thinking about travel companies that are here offering tours and booking services to the tourist.

I think that some tour guides and publications have given the tour companies a bad rap. I was sitting in a tour company’s office today. They

NhaTrang beach

 had asked for my help with a computer issue that I am able to help them with. While I was there, they had a number of potential customers come in to inquire about services or tours to different places. I watched as the young lady did her best to satisfy every whim of the person asking questions. The customer however, seemed deeply suspicious of the advice being given and was writing everything down to compare to the next company. She told me in Vietnamese  “ a lot of customers… no money” I understood exactly. These people will go to find a better deal, and when they do not they will simply book with whoever they are sitting with at the time. All the work this young lady did was for nothing. A word people……  Most of these companies are not trying to rip you off like the forums say. They will do their best to help you. The language barrier cane sometimes be an issue. Also, their understanding of what you want might be totally different that you expected, but they are doing there best. The days of the Vietnam tour companies trying to stiff the tourist are over. Traveling in Vietnam is still sometimes a hard and frustrating thing, but the people transporting you are really trying the best they can in a situation where resources may be restricted.

Our Hotel in the center of the shot

If any of you ever want to do a tour or have pre arranged destinations and need hotels, just contact me. I have some very good people that I know who will custom build a tour for you for much less than you could do it for yourself.

Hey!! The reno’s are done. The Hotel looks good. Some details to fix, but all in all OK. I have many readers chomping at the bit to see photo’s… you will, but after a few days.

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

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