November 2023 - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
. . . everything was pretty perfect! We never had one time where a guide was late or unprepared. We loved all our guides probably our favorites were Tony in Hanoi and Silen in Cambodia. The boat we were on in Ha long bay was absolutely beautiful and so well run we really loved those few days.
I’m so glad you and Sandy encouraged us to go to Laos. It turned out to be one of our favorite places. We also really loved Cambodia what a beautiful country and such friendly people. We really had an amazing time on this trip and can’t thank you enough for all your help.
November 2023 - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & Thailand
The trip was great! Thay and Jaya house in Cambodia were the best host and hotel. Jaya house service was the best of anywhere I’ve been. We really enjoyed the boat. Everything was good. We did get tired of seeing temples, so really limited that in Thailand. The food tour in Vietnam with Mike was awesome. Cambodia was wonderful. We enjoyed the night market and food in Laos. The jazz bar and food were good in Chiang mai. The hotel was nice . . . Krabi was a lot of fun. Andy dove there and said it was some of the best diving he’s done. . .
October 2023 - Vietnam & Cambodia
We had an amazing trip. Everything was so well planned. Our guides were terrific- they all spoke excellent English, were friendly and accommodating. The drivers were also fantastic as was the vans.
We loved all of our accommodations. Room size was excellent. The bunker tour at the Sofitel was well done (they weirdly have a thing for Joan Baez! ).
Our favorite for sure was the "Ginger"-gorgeous boat! The staff was helpful and bent over backwards to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. Loved the kayaking (the other girls did make it to the tai chi lesson), and the cooking demonstration of fried spring rolls was super fun. We were the only passengers on the boat with the exception of a young couple on their honeymoon who seemed to enjoy our company, as they had dinner with us! I do think that they need to improve their wine list, but we had fun.
The trip to the fishing village was interesting-a bit of off road biking, but the history lesson and the fish that nibble the feet (did that in Thailand too) were good. I am so happy that I finally was able to see HaLong Bay. the stop at the pearl manufacturer was great!
We enjoyed the tour of Hue and dinner at Les Jardins de la Carambole. Hoi An was probably our favorite city- it is so pretty at night. The eco tour we cut a bit short, but did the farming, water buffalo and biked back to the hotel. It was good and the people super friendly.
Ms. Thuy did an excellent job shuttling us around the sights of Saigon. The vespa tour was a kick if not initially terrifying. The drivers were great-we made one stop at a local coffee shop, and then I had them book our dinner at "Quince"-fabulous, and then a quick stop at Marou.
The tour of the Mekong was good. We had lunch at a French bistro that was terrific before heading back to the hotel and airport.
We packed a lot in, in a short period of time, but this group moves fast. Vietnam was our 5th trip together as a group. We have traveled to Cuba, India, Israel/Jordan and Morocco and now Vietnam. Ethan, you did an amazing job!!!! Of all the tour companies I have used for this group as well as my family, you and Sandy are hands down the BEST I have ever worked with. So thank you!!!
October 2023 - Thailand & Laos
We're back from Thailand & Laos and I want to drop you a line to say THANK YOU!
The travel plan/package you put together for us was amazing. Great hosts, fun tours, delicious food & drink, beautiful countries, and most of all, amazing hospitality!
I can't say enough.
July 2023 - Thailand, Laos, & Vietnam
Thanks so much for a really amazing trip! The boys and I had an incredible time and I’ve been reflecting on my experience with AsiaDesk and your local guides, who are the star of the show.
A few comments:
- the hotels in Bangkok and Saigon were exceptional, some of the best hospitality I’ve ever had. Great locations, beautiful properties and attentive but not invasive staff. . .
- . . . we really enjoyed Pillar House and our (short) stay in Vientiane, although a much different feel vs the bigger hotels, both were intimate and well maintained properties.
- each of our guides were fantastic and were awesome in accommodating our preferences while really making sure we felt at home in their country / city. I can’t say enough good things about Kat, Nikki, Ek and Henry.
- we loved the experiences that were arranged — from the Canal boat with Kat, to our outback hike and river rafting with Nikki, to the elephant reserve and family occasion with Ek and the Vespa tour and cooking with Henry. So many memories were made!
Thanks again for an awesome experience. . . look forward to sending many good friends and family members your way in the future!
April 2023 - Vietnam
Thank you so much for putting together such a special trip for us. It was so lovely having everything be so seamless on our trip and all of our hosts were just wonderful. We really appreciate the time you took to put together an unforgettable honeymoon. Thank you again!
Really all of the hosts were wonderful. We really enjoyed all of the activities planned. Some highlights would include the rowing tour at Nin Binh, the cruise along Halong Bay (and kayaking there), eating lunch in Hue at that couple's house (that was such a nice surprise), My Son and the motorbike tour in Saigon. I feel like we did a really good mix of things. It was very hot so I was glad we had transportation covered. We really didn't have to think or stress about anything on our trip which was just refreshing. The hotels were incredible. The food was so delicious- was really blown away. Between having the hosts and all of the information you sent us ahead of time (especially about tipping - that was super helpful), everything went very smoothly. Switching the hosts was no problem at all - we really enjoyed our time with all of our hosts!
February 2023 - Vietnam & Cambodia
I wanted to thank you for an amazing trip. You and your staff did a superb job of taking care of us, ensuring that all our needs were met, as well as explaining everything we saw and visited.
Each of the guides were individually wonderful and were able to tell us the history as well as the current views about their respective areas. Each of them went over and above to make this trip exceptional, and they were uniformly thoughtful and kind.
We had such a good time on this trip and we could not have have done it without all of your careful preparation.
February 2023 - Laos & Vietnam
The trip was fabulous! We loved Laos, particularly the pace of it. You were spot on with your recommendations to spend more time in Champassak and limit the time in Vientiane. We were lucky as we were able to join in on full moon ceremony in a temple in Vientiane. Luang Prabang was really a special place and somewhere that we would love to return some day. Again, thank you for steering us away from the Rosewood (we drove by the road to it way outside of town), and to Amantaka. Paan was truly an amazing tour guide- so knowledgeable, personable, and always helpful. She really made the Laos trip a unique, special experience. She and Ek were really such gracious hosts!
Hanoi was such a massive gear shift, but very enjoyable as well. The location of the hotel was great- right on the lake, and we were there Friday-Sunday which was perfect with no cars. Thang did a fabulous job taking us around town, and we switched the food tour to the morning which was great with lots of different varieties.
I told you when we spoke that I usually do all of the trip planning on my own, but we both couldn’t imagine enjoying this trip nearly as much if we didn’t have your guidance. Much appreciation for you and your entire team. We are already singing your praises to all of our friends!! We will contact you if/when we venture back to Exotic Asia!
January 2023 - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, & Vietnam
Our Asia trip was took three years to come to fruition and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! We were most grateful to be among the first visitors to many of the sites after the Covid pandemic. The entire experience of working with you and the Asia Desk team was a real pleasure. You accommodated our changes quickly and easily and we were thrilled that we added viet nam to this trip (missing from three years ago but a stupendous addition this time around). Even the last minute change, when all flights were canceled/suspended with us on the plane, worked out beautifully.
Each one of Our Guides were wonderful English speakers, knowledgeable, friendly and a true delight to be with. If we wanted changes they made them. The made stops for us to photograph and took shots for us. The entire trip was beautifully planned and included so many different, educational and unique experiences for us. It was without a doubt one of our most special travel experiences ever!
During this sojourn we traveled on every type of vehicle, (except for a TukTuk) available - be it a dragon boat, junk, Vespa, ox cart, ferry, rickshaw, kayak and ship. Our vans and drivers were terrific, each driver was prompt, friendly, punctual and they wore masks. Their vehicles were clean and always supplied with cold water and iced towels.
We got to appreciate the beauty, history and culture of each country. Our guides were informative and kept us safe, well fed and entertained. Their pride in their countries was evident throughout our tours. And I still can’t believe I actually safely crossed some of those streets! (Scared the bejesus out of me, same with riding on the Vespa where I mostly had my eyes closed.). We were also glad to be there during the new year. While most shops were closed throughout our trip (Gary thanks you!) the flowers, pageantry and beauty made it truly worthwhile. Perhaps the timing after Covid was a blessing because other than the shoppes being closed, we weren’t impacted. The cuisine throughout the tour was delicious and each guide (save the Vespa tour restaurant) took us to and recommended wonderful restaurants. (In fact my cousin’s wife who is Cambodian and going for a visit in March, took recommendations from me)
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My friends back home were enthralled by my postings, travelogue and pictures. Unfortunately I must have had a computer glitch because I can’t find any of that writing (except for the glorious photos). I can easily say that Asia Desk planned and fulfilled our January 2023 tour to perfection. I give you my highest and most heartfelt recommendation. You have spoiled me for any other trip.
Thank you for an exceptional travel time. Our tour through Viet Nam, Bangkok, Laos, and s Cambodia was phenomenal. You promised us a great trip but it was so much more, truly an experience of a lifetime!
February 2023 - Vietnam
Our Vietnam trip was outstanding. Aster was a delight and a wonderful guide. She was very knowledgeable and excelled at weaving the political/religious/economic history of Vietnam through centuries. We cannot praise her enough, as she also was alert to our comfort level with activies throughout our journey. The drivers we had were also excellent.
You also secured the best rooms in our categories at each hotel, and both hotels were wonderful. The Azerai residence and the Four Seasons, each beautiful, providing excellent atmostphere, service, food, and in the case of the Four Seasons, the best pools set-up of any resort I've ever visited.
Thank you again for a lovely trip. We will recommend AsiaDesk to anyone we know contemplating a trip to Asia.
January 2023 - Vietnam
The trip was truly incredible and we are so appreciative of your help, guidance and patience with our changing itinerary. Mike, Tony and Sue Ann were all so wonderful – we could not have asked for better guides to help us explore each incredible city. The accommodations were fantastic and we really feel like this itinerary and our experience with our guides gave us the opportunity to understand and appreciate Vietnam’s unique history, landscape and culture.
December 2023 - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, & Vietnam
The trip was unforgettable and just wonderful. You and your team knocked it out of the park. We were so impressed with your guides and how they were able to tend to us and cater the days to our best interests. I would say that all of them are perfect representatives of your company and did a lovely job at each turn.
We were impressed by their local knowledge, their attention to detail, their grasp of history and how it relates to the United States and the region, their promptness, and how they handled every single detail. We were struck by how they all had a way of communicating with the locals and were respected. Like they could just approach artesians, shop owners, restaurateurs in a polite and direct manner and get the answers we wanted. They are also a very devout group of people, each with their religious convictions strongly in place. It was fascinating to see this as we moved around. Also, the transport to and from airports/hotels and sites was great. You can obviously be much more efficient if you are dropped off at the west side of Angkor Wat and picked up on the east. And to not panic about check in at airports and how much time to leave. That was the reatl treat!
Thanks for all you did to make it a memorable trip we will be talking about with our friends and family for years to come. Everyone is asking for our pictures which we are still editing. There were some real winners!
December 2022 / January 2023 - Vietnam & Cambodia
All in all the trip was amazing. . . We didn't have any issues with flight, hotels or food. It was all seamless. We loved all the activities and all the things we saw and did.
We loved all our hotels and we had the most wonderful rooms. Breakfast everywhere was terrific. The boat cruise was incredible. It was so luxurious and the food was amazing. We met really interesting people and never wanted to leave.
Tran Ngoc in Hoi An was our fav Vietnam guide. He was amazing and we loved spending time with him. Can’t rave enough. The driver was also wonderful and the even picked us up for dinner and then brought us home afterwards which was above and beyond.
Our Cambodian guide, Silen, was our favorite. She was so, so great. We loved every moment with her. I could go on and on but just know she is amazing. Our driver was also wonderful.
The Jaya hotel was our favorite. It is so beautiful and they did our laundry and gave us massages for free! We loved it there. Highly recommend. They let us stay in our room until 4pm which was very very nice.
Thanks for planning an incredible adventure.
December 2022 - Cambodia
We had an amazing trip, and really enjoyed all aspects. Vatey did a fantastic job of accommodating our requests and working around the constraints we faced traveling with an infant.
We couldn't have asked for a better host! Thanks for all your work setting this up.
December 2022 - Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
Thanks for all you and your team did. It was a trip of a lifetime for us and you and the team made it feel just that way.
November 2022 - Vietnam
We had a great time! We saw everything we wanted to see. All 3 hosts made it very clear we could make any changes along the way, which we did in central Vietnam. . .
. . . All locations were perfectly located & beautiful, as promised! & the cruise on Ha Long Bay was so relaxing & our room was fabulous! We were very much appreciative of each of our hosts, especially Mike & Sue Ann. They went the extra mile to educate us about the country's history, local history & culture....not to forget the cuisine. It was great that Mike & Sue Ann joined us for meals - they helped us order, explained what we were eating (!) - we had a great time learning about the different cuisines throughout Vietnam. . .
Thinking back, & looking at our pictures I still can't believe how much we saw & did! Thank you very much for making this a very memorable trip!
November 2022 - Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand
“. . . First off thank you so much for an amazing experience for my parents and I. We had an amazing time and my parents told me to pass on that everything as really great. We really got to appreciate southeast Asian culture, food, etc so we feel we got the most of the trip.
I will start by saying that the guides were really great. They were all courteous, helpful, willing to help, and knowledgeable about the local sites, culture, etc. They really were of great help and a great resource for me and my parents.
The hotel recommendations were also all great, amazing rooms and amenities, great location. The suggested plans were all really nice and guides were flexible if we wanted to change of modify anything, which in the end was very little from the initial suggestions.
Again, all in all it was a great trip and experience for us!”
October/November 2022 - Thailand & Laos
“. . .We felt fortunate on our trip to Thailand & Laos that we were able to travel as independently as you provided with gracious hosts and enchanting destinations. Paan of course in particular made a serious effort to provide the interpersonal experiences that were memorable... she never met a stranger and was effortless in her ability to introduce us to the uniqueness of her country. We appreciated her willingness to include us in some wonderful family moments, including an engagement party for her cousin in Vientiane along with the blessing ceremony with her Aunts in her home in Luang Prabang. She effortlessly guided us through our Laos journey and made sure we were comfortable and well fed throughout our travels. All of the drivers in Laos which I assume she had arranged were courteous & prompt, able to navigate some incredibly challenging roads & always ready with water and a cool vehicle to return to after our activities.
Regarding our few days in the Bangkok area with Kat, we also enjoyed her choices for an itinerary and we learned a lot about the area that we had missed in previous visits. We liked the flexibility of driving around Bangkok and hopping in & out of the vehicle during the two very hot & humid days of the trip. Just arriving from the cool, dry Park City weather made the 'comfort' adjustment difficult & it was so nice to be whisked around & to efficiently use our short amount of time without melting too much in the heat! Kat was a pleasure to meet & took great care of us. . .”
"We never felt crowded, never had to wait, and often had sites entirely to ourselves."
We had a terrific trip to Vietnam and Cambodia arranged by Sandy Ferguson in early May 2022. Our original plan was to go in March but Vietnam was still getting its act together regarding visas. As it was, we got the visas a few days before we left. So we were among the very first American travelers to arrive in Vietnam after 2 years of Covid closure. They were very happy to see us. We went to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Hue, and Saigon, and then to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Having come of age in the Vietnam War protest era, we were especially interested in history. Although our guides were born after the war, they shared family stories and experiences with us. We were also invited into the homes of former North Vietnam soldiers, sharing tea and rice wine. Their perspective was that the war was between governments and not people. As with all of our WOW List travels, the guides were intelligent, educated, interesting and personable. It was a pleasure to get to know each one of them and to have an ongoing information exchange about our respective countries and cultures. Being the first tourists was mostly a good thing. A few things were closed. But we had many places practically to ourselves. Angkor Wat draws thousands of visitors daily, during normal times, but we were able to see the temples with just a handful of others.
People were very conscientious about masking in Vietnam. In Cambodia it was optional. The food was excellent. We learned that coffee is big in Vietnam, and Vietnamese iced coffee is an amazing treat.
Sandy and team did a wonderful job of coordinating everything on the trip and juggling the few Covid-related snafus (couldn’t fly into Siem Reap, so we were picked up and driven 5 hours from Phnom Penh).
We LOVED our trip, all your hosts were excellent, the choice of the hotels perfect. Needless to say, I am ready to recommend you to any of my friends or acquaintances who would be interested to visit this part of the world. We loved every host, each one with his different personality, but all with their warmth and care, as well as their knowledge and sense of humor. What made a big impression on us was the special care that they took of Dimitri, who although not incapacitated, needed some extra attention. He never asked for it, because he is a very independent guy and avid traveler, he only needs to take it easy sometimes, but all of the hosts (and especially Ngoc, who treated him like his own father) never left him unattended and showed such respect and care that we all admired.
I am sure the culture and upbringing of people in this part of the world also makes a difference! We appreciated and enjoyed the experience of the private lunch we had in the village after our return from Halong Bay. The people were wonderful and they did so much to please us! We loved the extended family (our hosts), their hospitality, and the food! We were glad we had the opportunity to be accompanied by Khong, who was a wonderful companion and helped us in everything. We were also glad to meet his wife in Hanoi. Charming people, both of them! Hue was very beautiful. Hoi An is so interesting! Siem Reap, what can I say about our experience with the monks? You were right in mentioning that it would be the high point of the whole trip! Sophea was so good and helped us enjoy this memorable day.
Thank you for including it in our schedule. If you ever visit our country, we would all like to meet with the person who contributed to such an interesting and well prepared trip for us!
We had a wonderful experience on our trip from start to finish. Each of the guides made our experience very personal, and gave us a view into the daily lives of the people that we could not have accomplished on our own. The people of Thailand and Laos are so open and warm that it makes spending time in their cities/towns/villages so easy and rewarding, such an ideal escape from our daily lives here in Boston. All the services that you and your guides provided suited our needs perfectly and there were no hiccups along the way. We were very busy and on the go for the majority of time, but the diversity of our daily activities was such that it never felt like the pace was too much. Accommodations that you recommended perfectly suited our travel style, smaller more intimate properties that reflected the culture of their respective locations, and the splurge at the Oriental in Bangkok was special primarily for its ideal location on the river. All in all, there is not a single complaint that we could think of, and we already miss all the wonderful food, tropical fruit, flowers, people, and the friendly attentiveness of our guides, Tong, Ek, and Suree. Thanks again for a memorable experience. We will return to SE Asia, hopefully frequently in our lifetimes.
The Chang Mai accommodations were phenomenal - a lifetime memory for all of us. You planned a wonderful trip!
The trip overall was a really great, unforgettable experience. Very illuminating for the kids. As you know, we had not traveled in this fashion before, through an outfitter such as yours, but doing it that way turned out to both significantly enhance the experience and provide much-needed comfort and flexibility. The guides overall were really good, but we have our favorites. Thanks again very much. Look forward to talking with you.
After being back one week now, recovered from jet lag and caught up at work, I am happy to report we had a wonderful trip. Our favorite places were Halong Bay, Siem Reap and Bangkok. Our favorite guides were Kat, Ngoc, Kien and Cam. My new favorite hotel BY FAR is the Oriental, WOW! But we also loved Hotel de la Paix and Sofitel Metropole. In fact the Queen of Denmark was at the Metropole at the same time. All in all, it was fabulous and we have many great stories to tell. Thanks for your help and suggestions and planning! We really appreciate it!
When you have traveled a lot, to say that a trip may be the most remarkable you have ever taken is a pretty big statement. Wondrous aptly describes the countries we visited, but it was the high caliber planning and quality of the local hosts (guides) that resulted in 16 spectacular days. The level of detail of the itinerary is exemplary and includes information about not only where you are going, but also photographs of each of the guides with their cell phone numbers and bios. There is a definite willingness and flexibility to change the itinerary at a moments notice depending on your desires or energy level on a particular day. We are so pleased with Sandy and Asia Desk that we already recommended them to friends and family for recent trips to Thailand and Vietnam. All returned raving about this team.
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