The two roads taken by 90% of people who visit Vietnam
Backpacking Click here to go back

Being in our thirties meant that the backpacker gig had really lost its lustre for us.  Today's backpackers, with their bottle of warm water in one hand and guide book in the other, are kidding themselves if they think they are doing things on the cheap.  What it really represents to your average Vietnamese shop keeper/hotelier is someone that is not only lost, but likes to carry warm water. 

In Vietnam backpackers are often called Nguoi Ga Tay or "Foreign Chickens".  In a land where being polite and sensitive to others is the norm, trying to beat someone down by 5 or 10 cents (or even less) for the price of your lunch is unacceptable to say the least.  Back-packing is  supposed to conjure up a sense of freedom and of getting the most out of your dollar. 

The constant stops at traveller cafes to find out what to do next from people who, like you, have never been to Vietnam before can be very time consuming, and the information is often wildly inaccurate.  Western tourists often love to sound authoritative on all subjects, especially those they know nothing about.  Ring any bells ?

Package Tours

"OK everyone back on the bus."  Make your skin crawl?  It does mine.  On the standard, run-of-the-mill package tours, it's a bit like a lucky dip:  just how many people will you be travelling with? 15, 20, more? 

What on earth will you have in common with them?  How many of the desperate and dateless will there be?  Who knows until it's too late.

In Vietnam the main mode of transport is the xich lo (cyclo) which is similar to a rickshaw.  It's a great way to travel around.  We often see the treadmill tour groups, with the name of the hotel on the back of their cyclo, travelling in single file, going around the streets of Vietnam.  It really does make you stick out like a sore thumb don't you think?  

If that's your cup of tea, well, go ahead, we wish you all the best. 

We try to be part of, rather than apart from, the local surroundings.  

So where does that leave those of us who like a bit of independence, are willing to pay a little more, but don't like being ripped off?

It's a case of extremes, and that's where Griswalds come in.  

We're offering a different way.  Affordable, safe, practical, responsible and interesting holidays in Vietnam. 

Isn't that what it's all about?