ABOUT YOUR GUIDE

YOUR VIETNAM TOUR GUIDE

YOUR VIETNAM TOUR GUIDE
is
DWIGHT ZIMPEL

YOUR VIETNAM TOUR GUIDE welcomes you to Vietnam.

As Your Vietnam Tour Guide I hope my 20 years of travel experience and 8 trips to Vietnam will help you PLAN YOUR TRAVEL, PACK YOUR BAG AND PREPARE FOR A GREAT TRIP TO VIETNAM

My first exposure to Vietnam was a one year total immersion experience in 1967-1968 while in the US Army. I can’t say it was an enjoyable time, but even under those circumstances the country intrigued me.

Since 2002, I have made 8 trips to Vietnam, including 5 solo trips, 2 with a friend, 1 mini-tour with 4 friends.

My first trip began with a lot of research on the internet. I flew from Seattle to Bangkok, Thailand and then on to Danang. I was in this part of Vietnam during the war and figured it was a good place to start. I spent the first couple of days at a hotel on China Beach. I knew then I had made the right decision to return to Vietnam. I hired a guide and motorbike and he took me out to the area I operated in while with the US Army. I then worked my way south to Saigon visiting parts of Vietnam I had never seen. I met people that I visit each time I return to Vietnam. They consist of hotel staff, shop owners, tour guides and restaurant owners. I am proud to call them my friends. My first trip lasted 3 weeks and I recommend that as a minimum length time to visit the entire country.

Halong Bay is the favorite destination of Your Vietnam Tour Guide. The sites are awesome and there is nothing like watching the reactions of fellow travelers when they first see the islands rising from the sea.

My favorite community is Hoian. I have developed friendships there and always stop there for 3 or 4 days to relax and visit. Hoian is also the point of departure with my friend “Capt Dan” (Captain Dan’s Tour Boat) and 4 friends on a trip up river to see an area I operated in during the war. We had to make a “comfort stop” and stopped at an isolated village. The people flocked to the river bank all excited. Capt Dan said they had never seen white people before. The villagers were especially interested in the two blonds in our group.

Your Vietnam Tour Guide has flown from Saigon to Hanoi, and taken other flights in Vietnam. The trains are great places to meet Vietnamese and get to know the “average guy.” Open Tour buses are occupied by travelers from all over the world.

ENJOYING SOME SCENERY ON THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL

Your Vietnam Tour Guide on the Ho Chi Minh Trail – November, 2003

WATERFALL ON HO CHI MINH TRAIL

Here I am on a motorbike trip down the Ho Chi Minh Trail from west of Danang to Dalat in the Central Highlands. This may sound quite adventurous – today the “trail” is really a 2 lane highway with what should described as “Spartan” tourist accommodations in some towns.

HMOUNG CHILDREN ON WATERBUFFALO

MORNING – VILLAGE ON HO CHI MINH TRAIL

As Your Vietnam Tour Guide, I can assure you that one of my favorite things about Vietnam is the food. Yes, there are some “exotic’ foods in Vietnam. Restaurant food is “market fresh.” My favorites are traditional tilting towards the western palate. Nuoc Mam is the fish sauce that Vietnamese put just about everything – an acquired taste. Try Pho, the rice noodle soup, at least once for breakfast. There is a lot of vegetarian available due to the Buddhist influences. On five trips to Vietnam, I’ve always lost weight, enjoyed a fantastic diet and never suffered gastro-intestinal problems.

My overseas experience includes nearly 5 years living in the Middle East. That’s when I started to Southeast Asia as a tourist. In addition to Vietnam, I’ve been to Thailand, Hong Kong and Korea, with brief visits to Taiwan and Japan while on long layovers. I started traveling overseas in 1993 using Saudi Arabia as a jumping off point.

My GEAR LIST is the result of my own experiences of researching gear, buying gear, packing gear, carrying gear, dealing with gear in airports, using gear, and discarding gear when I found it didn’t work or I didn’t need it. I’ve even replaced gear when I found something that worked better.

I don’t know the name of the travel writer who said: “Lay out everything you’re going to take with you and count the money you’re taking. Then take half of the stuff and twice the money.” Anyway, this is good advice. One of the goals as a guide is to help visitors to my site make reductions in both areas, with an emphasis on spending less money.

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