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Tram Phan Tram!

On Monday night, Steve and Josh were both out of town on a Mui Ne tour and a Nha Trang tour, leaving Bao and Phuong and I to mind the house and the local tours that cropped up. These included a birthday group of five (happy birthday, Rafael!) and a separate tour of mostly locals. Among them were District 2 residents Rachel and Rupert, hosting Singapore compadre Dmitry on his last night in HCMC before returning to the world's largest city/state/shopping mall. But we also had the media with us - namely Angela and Max, Americans who are the local…
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Vietnam Vespa Adventures Nails 100 Reviews at TripAdvisor

04 September 2011, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – Custom scooter tour provider Vietnam Vespa Adventures today reached a milestone for customer satisfaction that puts them in a class of their own: 100 total customer reviews at social media-powered online travel website TripAdvisor. The achievement places VVA in a singular position among Saigon-based tours of every type, as no other tour operator in the region can claim so many positive reviews on the popular site. The  overwhelming response from satisfied guests of the company's five tours places them among the preeminent custom tour providers of any kind in the city.…
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100 TripAdvisor Reviews! To Infinity and Beyond!

For the past several weeks, our team here in Saigon has been a little distracted. The source of our distraction has been the social media-driven travel site TripAdvisor, on which we've been listed since last February. We've been marking the progess of those (incredibly flattering, blushworthy) reviews toward the number 100 like a kid watching a Christmas calendar. Like a pot that's being watched for a boil or that red light that just seems to go on forever (in Vietnam this is admittedly not much of a problem), it seemed like the closer we got, the slower time dragged on,…
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We’re at 99 TripAdvisor reviews and counting!

One review to go before we hit triple digits. We've been waiting a long time for this - since February of this year, when we first signed up for TripAdvisor. And all the party plans are in place. Will it be today? This weekend? We're all atingle over here.
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Lonely Planet: World-Class Cycling in Vietnam

Lonely Planet: love it or hate it, there's no denying the Aussie-birthed empire of travel guides, which was recently snapped up by BBC Worldwide, is among the most influential sources of travel information in the world. Despite that the leverage Lonely Planet guides once wielded to shape not just individual travel experiences but the destinations as well, is slowly waning in this age of social media and TripAdvisor, a word from LP still packs a wallop, even with its Web-only features.  So it's worth mentioning that, earlier this summer, Lonely Planet revealed its subjective list of the world's 10 best…
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The Century Mark Approacheth

No, we don't have a lisp, we've just that darned excited about how close we're getting to 100 TripAdvisor reviews. The latest post yesterday, from Ira in Singapore, puts us within a mere 5 reviews of the Big Number. Heck, we can count that high on just one hand! The icre cream cake is in the fridge, the bubbly is chilling, the party hats are on order (which is just as well, as a crowd of tipply lisping people in party hats might result in a mistaken impression). Wheverever you are, Ira, thanth!
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Vietnam Among Top Places in the World for Deeelish Coffee

Writer Jo Lane, reporter at AsianCorrespondent.com, writes today about her five favorite places in the world for a good cuppa, and Vietnam is right at the top of her list: Coffee drinking in Vietnam is magic. I love the slow drip drip of the single-cup filters, the strength of the brew and the sweet thickness of the condensed milk (introduced because of easier storage in a tropical climate). You can also get the coffee brewed onto ice. In Vietnam coffee is normally served while it is still brewing and on my motorbike travels through Vietnam last year it was blissful to…
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Riding Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh trail

The Guardian U.K. drops a lovely read today about the adventurous scooter riding to be had along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We couldn't agree more! Our own route through Southern Vietnam is rather more comfy than the one the author of this article took, but the adventure and the scenery are of a piece. The mountain paths of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail offer visitors to Vietnam an adventurous alternative to the well-worn coastal route - especially if you travel on the back of a motorbike."    
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New Zealand vs. Oz

It was a little testy at first - two Kiwis and two Aussies on the night tour, each cracking jokes about the other's motherland. But very quickly the spirit of the evening (and, well, the spirits) overcame the niggling little differences of nationality and questions over what one may or may not do with sheep and everyone united in their love of Banh mi.
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Streetside Views

Two weeks ago a longtime friend celebrated his departure from Saigon & return to London with one of our Saigon After Dark tours. Nhu Vo, one of our Vietnamese friends who was along to say farewell, posted a blog about the experience on Facebook. A lovely meditation on being a Vietnamese watching visitors experience the unseen Saigon (and learning a few fun things about her city along the way). Saigon does not offer the natural beauty or flocks of birds except for the flow of bikes, ever-growing high-rise, French-colonial buildings, war-memory spots and one of the famous cuisines in the…
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Vespa Club Of the Philippines: Four Months and Counting

Several members of the Vespa Club of the Philippines will be joining us in November for a one-week Nha Trang Coastal & Highland Adventure, which should be a blast; we love having Vespa enthusiasts on our tours, and Steve can talk for days (and days and days) about the old Vespas. Today we saw a Tweet pointing to a new image club members had created to convey their excitement over the coming trip. If these folks aren't enthusiasts, nobody is.
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Our Favorite New Review of the Week

My group of 4 friends (all early 20s) spent 4 days & 3 nights in the city. While we visited the usual attractions like Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Museum. This Vespa Tour was the highlight of the trip, for all of us! My experience first started about a month before the trip, when i emailed Vespa Adventures to ask about the availability of their night tour. Steve was especially helpful and patient as i clarified all the nitty gritty details about the tour. He even agreed to send Vespas to pick us up from our hotel (which they…
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Video Goodness from Amsterdam

Two of our guests hailing from Amsterdam last month enjoyed the Saigon Insider's Tour and After Dark Tour so much they made three videos that they shared with us. Have a peek. And thanks, Albert & Claudia!
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“Brilliant Tour”

Here's a lovely new review today from a guest writing on TripAdvisor: We booked an afternoon tour for 4 adults and 4 children,(aged 16, 12, 12 & 5 1/2) . The youngest in our group was only small so Steve organised their most experienced rider for her. Also being fair haired she attracted a lot of turned heads as we rode around Saigon and became part of the throngs of motorbikes zooming through the streets. It was so much fun. We were picked up outside our hotel in the heart of the backpacker district and whisked off for lunch at…
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Winter (Such As it Is) into Spring

With the beginning of June's rainy season just around the corner and the slow tailing-off of high visitor's season, things have become slightly less frenetic around Cafe Zoom and the Vietnam Vespa Adventure offices (a couple of tables in the back of Cafe Zoom). But that doesn't mean we haven't been busy - or that we're not running around like ants at a spring picnic preparing for upcoming tours. Two weeks ago we hosted a big group for our seven-day Nha Trang tour -- three Australian couples and a pair of Americans from San Francisco. The six Aussies -- Peter…
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Two Weeks on the Road

Josh and Walter are just back from a pair of back-to-back, week-long tours to Nha Trang, and we're not sure we'll ever walk entirely straight again. I flew into Dalat Saturday evening to join up with groups, this time a crew of seven who were doing the full Vespa Adventure -- seven days worth of scootering from HCMC to Nha Trang. By the time I met up with them around dinnertime, they'd already been riding for three and a half days, having traded the the pang of sea salt and drying fish for the fragrance of fir needles and wood…
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