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“Cooking course could not have been better”

Vietnam Awesome Travel
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Halong Bay 2-day Royal Palace Cruise
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Private Halong Bay Cruise to Thien Cung Cave and Ba Hang Village from Hanoi
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3-Day Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay Explorer Tour from Hanoi
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Awesome Travel for Awesome Travelers, specializing in some private as well as customized tours to suit your desires and expenses. Come with us you will enjoy our local charm in Vietnam.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 6 August 2014

We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed cooking course with an excellent guide, Yen, whose lovely personality and excellent English made the session a pleasure. We got 4 hours for around £25 per person for just the two of us. The company were recommended by our hotel (Tirant), who said they would give us a better experience than the course we had seen in the window of the local restaurant. They were right.

Collected from the hotel, we went to the family run tour business based at their lovely large house in East Hanoi overlooking the Red River and Long Bien Bridge - beautiful. We began with a discussion of what we had enjoyed eating/would like to cook, and as long as it could be done in the time and the ingredients were in the local market, she was happy for us to make it. We hopped in bikes for half a mile or so and went shopping in the fascinating local indoor market. Yen answered all our questions about the strange ingredients and we were also instructed in the language and given money so that, with a little help from her, we bought the ingredients. Back at the house we helped her prepare the 5 dishes we had requested, plus the rice and two condiments - a feast! We chose dishes based around fish, pork and chicken, a mango salad and the best spring rolls we have eaten in Vietnam and then ate it overlooking the Red River.

We learned some of the background to the dishes we had been eating in the north on our excellent Ethnic Travel 5 day back woods trip which explained a lot that our guide there had not managed to convey due to the language barrier. Yen is emailing us the recipes and we bought some specialist dry ingredients at the market. Then we were back in a taxi and whisked off back to the hotel 9am to 1.30, just perfect.

Thank you Yen, I wish we were staying longer to sample the street food tour or the cycling tour out to the countryside, and particularly the motorbike tour (as pillion), further out to the countryside.

1  Thank Thoughtful100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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468 - 472 of 1,079 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2014

I have been travelling a lot in my life and used to organise everything myself but due to lack of time I asked Awesome Travel to organise our Summer trip (beginning of July) of 3 weeks to Vietnam. The way Mr Anh (the owner of Awesome Travel) organised our trip is just incredible. It was perfect! We are a family of 4 (2 children of 17 and 15) and we wanted the 'traditional' tour of Vietnam: Hanoi, Sapa, HaLong Bay, Hue, HoiAn, HCM and Mekong delta.
I found Awesome Travel on Tripadvisor and based on the reviews I decided to challenge Mr Anh to create a great holiday. I must say that from the first contact I had per email with him until the last telephone call he gave us just before leaving our hotel to take our plane on the last day, everything was perfect (yes, he called us in the hotel in HCM just before we left to check if we knew when the van was going to pick us up to the airport and to wish us a safe trip back). And perfect is not a word I use often.
The guides were very professional but also had a lot of humor and very knowledgeable. They were interested also in us, ALWAYS on time (incredible) and e.g. constantly tried to let us try new things to eat (as they knew that we were looking to discover new tastes and food). Always there to help us (even when my daughter had an ear infection they found the perfect doctor/specialist).
We started by doing the Food Tour by foot (do this as the first thing when you arrive as it will vanish the fear you might have of eating at food stalls on the street: it was 3AM for us Belgian time but we enjoyed it incredibly). We also did the motorcycle tour behind a guide which was awesome. We went to Sapa with the night train (OMG what an experience) and did a 2 day trekking and slept with local people. If you need a guide in Sapa, ask for Duong. He is so funny and so knowledgable. After that we did Ha Long bay of course (I recommend doing 3 days and not 2 as you will see more and it is really worth it: you can kayak, do some cycling on the islands, do some swimming...). Then fly to Hue which is a beautiful city with the Imperial City. Then relax a few days in Hoi An and make sure you have a suit or shirt made (we even had shoes made). To be on the safe side, I would recommend that you take a model from home that you like and let them copy it. They do it in less than 24 hours ;-). From Hoi An/Danang we flew to HCM and visited the Mekong Delta and stayed at a Homestay and then went to the Cambodian border. This is maybe the only I would not do anymore (although the food was incredibly good) as the road is very very long and there is not a lot to see. And then back to HCM to rest a few days and do some shopping.
Mr Anh organised the whole trip based on what I asked him: no big toursit busses, eat local, visit local people, see the culture, some days relaxing, internal flights from Hanoi to Hue and then to HCM to win some time. I cannot thank him and his guides enough for this perfect trip.
After we had agreed the trip and the price I had of course to pay some cash advance. This happened without problem.
And when we arrived in Hanoi, after settling in our hotel, we paid the rest in his office. Well, I thought Mr Anh would have a big office, well no it is a very small office where he organises everything with his PC and 2-3 mobile phones. So contradictory to what we find here in Belgium.
The guides also told me that Mr Anh like to re-invest in local people, ie disabled or people not having a lot of money, so e.g. he buys those bicycles where you can sit in and provides the poorer with a job as bicycles driver for tourists. Really cool!

Mr Anh and the girls (guides), thank you very much for making this a trip that we will never forget. We fell in love with Vietnam thanks to the people, the food, the culture and everything you and your guides did for us.

7  Thank Knarf_from_Gent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

I picked this tour after reading TI reviews, and booked my trip online from Thailand two days before I arrived in Hanoi. The replies were quick, and the rendezvous in my hotel agreed at 5.30pm. I was a little put out that a Cylco driver met me and cycled me to the meeting spot. I hadn't been asked if I wanted this mode of transport, and to be honest I didn't really - trying to cross the road in Hanoi had been traumatic enough for me! However, once I had met up with my three 18yr old walking colleagues from London, and our tour guide Yen had welcomed us with a drink and the start of many dishes, I started to enjoy myself. We walked the streets, and ate what we wanted and what Yen suggested we try (Pigeon, Quail eggs and much more). Nothing was too much trouble for Yen, who spoke excellent English and was both knowledgeable, honest and fun to be with. I thought the $25 price was worthwhile, for the cost of Yen's time and knowledge and for the food we ate and the experiences we had in the various street restaurants we visited which I certainly wouldn't have entered left to my own devices. At the end of quite a long evening for Yen (we talked a lot, both with her and amongst ourselves!), Yen insisted on walking me back to my hotel (about a 25 minute walk), and laughed when I hesitated to walk into the road where the traffic was most dense and, to me, chaotic without a moment's hesitation nor apparent care in the world. As she promised, we crossed safely, and I am here alive typing this review. A Hanoi experience in itself! I have no hesitation in recommending this walking food tour, as we learnt so much from Yen about life in the Old Quarter and life for a woman in Vietnam, in addition to trying so many foods which otherwise probably would have passed us by. In one small, narrow restaurant, she told us that 24 people lived upstairs, pointing to an entrance in the roof with iron footsteps in the wall. Thank you Awesome Tours, and thank you Yen! My advice: Take this trip early in your stay, as it will open up Hanoi's street life to you and build your confidence to try things yourself independently.

1  Thank Robin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

We had such a brilliant day with Ms Lily and Ms Trang on the Tho Ha village tour. They met us promptly at our hotel in the morning and we made the drive over to the ferry. Never a dull moment in the car, the girls were full of information and were interested in our travels too.

The short ferry ride took us to Tho Ha village, where the predominant industry is making rice paper. We had a good walk around and arrived at the house of a very welcoming family. We shared tea and rice wine with them and the owner of the house (a former Vietnam war veteran) answered our questions through the girls translating.

We then walked around the streets of the village and were told we would be visiting a family who make rice crackers and sell them on in the city of Hanoi. The lady displayed how to make them and we had a go ourselves. A fun experience!

We then finished the half day tour by having a delicious lunch in a restaurant on the edge of the city owned by Awesome Travel. A great end to a great day.

Would encourage people to go on this type of tour, it really gives you an excellent insight into the daily life for Vietnamese people living in the countryside. They are kind, open people. An experience not to be missed!

Thank Ciara2403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

We called like the day before for a food tour. It was arrange on last minute and we had a great walking tour through Hanoi. Our special request was to go at the end to snake village to eat Cobra; also greatly arranged!

Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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