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Eight-day Taste of Vietnam for $999 featured on the Examiner.com

As you probably picked up from my series of posts about my own Vietnam experience, Vietnam today draws thousands of Americans eager to fully understand the country, its people, culture, and ways of life — despite its controversial past.
But this remarkable journey has traditionally come with a high price tag, with tour prices easily exceeding $2,000. Until now. Last week, we unveiled our ultra-low-cost Taste of Vietnam vacation deal. The examiner.com picked up the press release we sent out last week with the full details. You can also read on below for more information.
The package, starting at just $999, visits two of Vietnam’s most dynamic and culturally awe-inspiring cities: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi.
The trip includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (with JFK departures available at a surcharge of between $150 and $200, depending upon departure date); all ground transfers; all intra-Vietnam flights; six nights in superior hotel accommodations; daily buffet breakfast; and comprehensive sightseeing in each city with a local, English-speaking Vietnamese guide, including entrance fees.
Travelers can also choose from an array of discounted optional tours, such as Halong Bay, which can be done in one day or an overnight stay aboard a deluxe river boat, the Emeraude, as well as an optional extension to Bangkok, Thailand.
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There’s no doubt that Vietnam is spellbinding, and allures travelers for so many reasons. Its exotic location has shielded it from throngs of tourists and trampled habitat, fast food chains, and strip malls that often accompany those groups.
The country’s pivotal role in recent history also draws many U.S. veterans who want to return to Vietnam to find closure, see how the country has changed, find old haunts, and even rediscover old friends. There are also many Vietnamese people who settled in the U.S. in the years following the war who are longing to return for a visit, and whose children have never seen the homeland of their parents. Before now, maybe they couldn’t afford it. But now travelers can do it all for $999. That’s a deal that I’ve never seen in my 30 years of travel experience.
Among savvy travelers, Vietnam has emerged as one of Asia’s most popular new destinations. The fascination for Vietnam comes from its extraordinary beauty; simplicity of life; and warm, incredibly approachable people. The tour, conducted by English-speaking, Vietnamese licensed guides, immerses vacationers in the country’s intense beauty and rich culture, starting with Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by many locals) and ends in Hanoi.
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Vacationers get a taste of life in modern day Vietnam, with the country’s floating markets, winding canals, sweeping rice paddies, and bustling cityscapes. They also take a step back to the country’s controversial past, including a trip to Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” and the Cu Chi Tunnels that were part of the underground highway of the Viet Cong.
For travelers with more time, Friendly Planet Travel also offers a 13-day Best of Vietnam trip for the low price of $2,399, with optional extensions to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Sapa Hill Tribes.
The 13-day fully escorted tour takes vacationers from south to north — with stops in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, and Hanoi. For both vacations, on sale prices include savings of up to $800 per couple if reserved before Aug. 28.
If you’d like more information, or want to book, please visit our online booking agent, or contact us.

Customer Testimonial: True love on Treasures of Thailand

Our Treasures of Thailand vacation includes 12 days of beautiful beaches and islands, exotic architecture, fascinating culture, and ancient ruins. And, as many of our travelers have attested, the country provides the perfect backdrop for an absolutely unforgettable honeymoon experience.
I was combing through our customer testimonials recently, when I came across two that particularly struck me because they were from happy Friendly Planeteers who had just returned from their honeymoons with us. At first thought, people might not consider a group tour the ideal way to spend a honeymoon, but if you’re looking for the perfect combination of fun, culture, nightlife, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a knowledgeable guide is the perfect person to show you the way. Plus, there is still ample time for couples to explore on their own and spend time with only each other.
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Have a look at what these two couples thought.
“We booked this trip instead of going to Hawaii for our honeymoon. It was less expensive to fly half way around the world and stay for 3 extra days than what it would have cost to go to Hawaii. As for the trip, it was by far the best trip of my life. Lek, our guide, is a wonderful person; very accommodating, friendly and seemed to genuinely care about making our experience enjoyable. Thailand is an amazing country that combines beautiful scenery, a unique culture, friendly people, a good nightlife, and is very inexpensive. What more could you ask for? We are looking to book our next trip (Africa) and are definitely looking at Friendly Planet.
– Wade Honeyfield, Denver, CO”

“Thank you for a wonderful honeymoon experience! The Treasures of Thailand tour was very well organized. Our tour guide Matthew was a delight. He was very knowledgeable and enthusiastically helpful. We had a wonderful time getting to know our fellow tour participants. We’re definitely very happy we chose the Friendly Planet Tours as our honeymoon vacation. And as you can see from the pictures, we had quite an adventurous time! P.S. Thank you, Friendly Planet, for the extra-special treatment, for us honeymooners, at all of the beautiful hotels we stayed at.
– Kunal & Leena Bhojawala, Jersey City, NJ”

Thailand’s tourism troubles (and deals)

The New York Times’ Practical Traveler published an article today about the state of Thailand’s tourism (and the subsequent deals you can now find) amidst some of the recent unrest in Bangkok. The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts the number of tourists will drop this year, in part because of the anti-government protests that have recently taken place.FP_NYTThailand.jpg
As a result, Thailand has become an even more ideal destination for finding great deals. Thailand is already established as the place to find affordable luxury, and now prices for "five star treatment" is dropping even lower than "three star prices."
When writing the article, Practical Traveler reporter Michelle Higgins asked what I thought about touring in Thailand, since our travel agency frequently books tour throughout the country.
As I said to her, we haven’t had a single cancellation to the Treasures of Thailand tour as a result of the protests (even to the tour that was over there in the middle of the action earlier this month), and we don’t have any concerns about sending tourists today. In fact, I’m heading out for my first trip to Thailand in a few weeks, and I can’t wait!
If you have an interest in international travel (as I assume you do, since you’re here), and especially if you have an interest in Thailand and Asia, the article is definitely a worthwhile read. So have a look!

Tickled reviews for Treasures of Thailand

A group of Friendly Planeteers recently returned from our Treasure of Thailand trip. The Thailand vacation includes 12 days of beautiful beaches and islands, exotic architecture, fascinating culture, and ancient ruins.
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And it looks like the author of this customer testimonial found the Friendly Planet Travel Thailand adventure as marvelous as we do. Here’s the e-mail, completely unedited:
"Dear Friendly Planet, I just returned from your Treasures of Thailand tour. I wanted to let you know that I was so impressed with every aspect of this trip! When I booked this tour I was honestly apprehensive. The price was so good it seemed too good to be true. I really expected to have problems along the way, but there were none! Our tour guide, Ms. Atchara, was outstanding! She took a personal interest in everyone on the tour. There were many times she stopped and bought small presents for our group, like local food to sample or tiger balm for sore feet. The one thing that I really felt was over and above was the fact that she personally picked me up from the airport on my return from Phuket! I expected a private car for a transfer, but she came along just to see me again and to make sure I had a good time in Phuket! I feel like I’ve left a friend behind in Thailand, and I wanted to make sure you know what outstanding people you have working for you there! I can definitely say after this wonderful experience that I would highly recommend Friendly Planet Travel to anyone looking to see the world at a great price. I will absolutely be traveling with you in the future! Thank you again!
– Jenny Gontz, Chambersburg, PA"

See the world, change your life

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I always say that seeing the world is the only way for people to understand it. And unless you experience a different culture for yourself, you’ll never truly grasp it. Traveling changes you forever; whether you’re touring ancient temples in Thailand, digging a well for a family in Borneo, or sipping wine in Italy.
And once you catch the bug — like so many of our vacationers have — you’re a traveler for life. That’s why I was thrilled when this particular customer testimonial rolled in last week. As always, here it is, completely unedited:
“I’ve been on six tours with Friendly Planet so far, and I have to say that those tours have opened up my understanding of the world. The thing about travel to foreign countries is that it changes you, leaving you with a much better understanding of the world, long after you’ve returned. Each tour I’ve been on has been exciting and different, even repeat tours to the same destination. One of the great things about the FP tours has been the amazing diversity of people on each tour; I’ve met everyone from newlyweds to retirees, all looking for adventure. Most of my fellow travelers on FP tours have tended to be well-read, well-traveled, and not fussy at all. They’ve come to taste the amazing foods and walk the amazing streets, not to buy trinkets and eat at McDonalds. Not surprisingly, many of us keep in touch long after the tours are over, and I’ve met more than one “repeater” on the trips to China. And I’m always surprised to find how nice the hotels are. One more thing is that going on these tours is really a good use of your time overseas, since you don’t have to waste time with paperwork, check-ins, deposits, etc. You just go have a drink or walk around the block and come back to pick up your room key. The guides are always funny, helpful, and go out of their way to make sure you have a good time. And there’s always plenty of time to explore on your own. Thanks again for the great experiences. I’ll be back in April to re-visit Thailand!
– Jeff Jenkins, Boca Raton, FL”

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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