Mr MASSEY Tim – From Australia

Mr MASSEY Tim (Four people, August 20th – August 25th, Big North loop of Vietnam, Motorbiking)

From: Tim Massey <tim.massey@basecode.net>Mr MASSEY Tim
Date: 09:35 06-10-2006
Subject: Recommended company – vietnam.
To: talk2us@lonelyplanet.com.au

Hi, I’ll keep this brief – I can only imagine the number of emails you get…

I took a motorcycle tour through the north-west of Vietnam with a company who should be included in your guide (www.voyagevietnam.net).

I found them through the Internet and had several email conversations with them before arrival. All correspondence was professional and served to give me the best experience possible.

The way they work is by connecting like minded people and providing exceptionally experienced and talented guides for the group. Basically there are no set tours, they only happen when there are enough interested parties looking to depart at the same time. As you can imagine this makes it tough on the companies. They advertise who wants to go where and when, then its a matter of communication. Take a look at the website and you should be able to get the idea.

I was lucky enough to hook up with a tour leaving around the same time I arrived in Ha Noi. I actually had to kill about 4 extra days in the area, but after speaking with the guys I made a judgment call that it would be worth it.

The main instigators of the tour I took was an Australian guy who had used the company a few years ago and was coming back for more. Cameron and his girlfriend wanted to take a 10 day journey through the remote parts Vietnam. I saw this through the companies EXCELLENT web site and got in contact. I am a professional web developer so this statement is not given lightly. I only could afford about a week and spoke over a few meetings with the company in Hanoi about taking the tour then returning to Hanoi myself after 5 days.

I have never ridden a proper motorbike before and was obviously concerned about my skill level. The guys picked up on this and offered support and understanding.

I was given a free afternoon’s training in riding a motorbike which was excellent. I must comment on the commitment of the staff to ensure client satisfaction. I only hope that this will continue as I experienced several cases of terrible service from companies listed in your book, This is the subject of another email.

I spoke to a few other operators about safety and my skill level and VOYAGE VIETNAM was the only ones who insisted that they judge my skill level and would provide me with top quality safety equipment on the tour. One of them said “yeah, we provide safety gear” then I asked what type. He responded “gloves and a helmet”… I actually fell off the bike once and would have broken my collarbone or at least been out of action if not for the safety equipment. For this alone is worth putting them in the book.

The guides were incredible mechanic’s too. Along the way they tuned the bikes to perfection. I totally stuffed my clutch through inexperience one day and found it completely replaced in the morning. They are truly dedicated guys and I have a great deal of respect for the team of guides.

You currently list one motorbike company in ‘the book’ who I spoke to. They are located practically next door to VOYAGE VIETNAM and I found them to be less professional.

I don’t know how you qualify any leads you get but I honestly feel that you should at least speak with these guys.

I only hope that if they are included that they are geared up to cope with the influx of business… Speaking with Anh Tuan though, he has several trainee guides and mechanics in the pipeline and I think he will not sell-out to the profit monster. The guys are all genuinely really cool. I was sad to leave and wish that I could have stayed with the group longer.

http://www.voyagevietnam.net/eng/10-73.php – these are some of the photos I took in China on the way to Vietnam… The guys backed up my memory card when I got back to Hanoi for free and uploaded these photos.

I was honored!

I’m back in Aus now and writing this email has made me wish I could turn back time. At least I have the memories : )

If you have any questions please contact me. I really believe that these guys deserve a mention.

Hopefully you read all this.

Cheers,

Tim.

You could also read his comments on our tour here.

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