One of the big advantages of taking this tour over the tour that includes Thailand is that this tour goes to Halong Bay, which has proved to be one of the highlights of the tour so far. You arrive there after a three and a half hour to four hour drive from Hanoi. The drive is a wonderful opportunity to see towns and countryside so I enjoyed the journey. We were on a fancier and larger boat than described in the Tauck publicity because it os usually only available for two night tours. So we lucked out. The Boat terminal area was a shock, it is full of half built but abandoned hotels and generally very built up. There are about 600 boats operating in the Bay, but they are strictly distributed throughout the area so it does not feel crowded. We took one excursion out on tender and row boats to a floating fishing village and another the next day to a cave with a collapsed roof. We were excited to see lots of monkeys clambering over the rocks and bushes to catch the chopped bananas that the guides were throwing their way. Generally l was so surprised at the enormous number of rock outcrops there were and how beautiful it was.

I am afraid I have had little time to keep adding to my review.
Other highlights—— Watching Mr B eat a fried tarantula.
In Saigon, we took another night time Vespa Scooter tour, again most of the group went along. We visited two street food restaurants, a great small bar which was down an alleyway and into a rundown building and in the room was a seating area with sofas and makeshift coffee tables. A piano player and electric violinist and three different fantastic singers, as singers ourselves we thought they were wonderful. Then on to another bar with rock music. Good time of year to see all the New Year lighting at night.
Hotels, all excellent, every type of bathroom toiletries from toothbrush to razor. All outlets can fit plugs from any country.
It is brutally hot in Cambodia. Our tour director hires extra helpers and tuk tuk people to help guests over rough terrains like at the temples or if they want to go back to the bus or hotels earlier.
Order of site seeing changed quite a bit but to our advantage plus extra things, so be cautious organizing extra site seeing before the trip begins.
On to Laos tomorrow.
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