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The Kids Are All Right

Last Saturday, the whole VVA team cruised out to Saigon's District 2 where we set up a booth and a dazzling display of promotional materials at The Deck for their quarterly Bazaar @ The Deck, where a horde of regional vendors decamped on the swank grounds of the riverside restaurant/bar to ply their wares in front of the local Anh Phu and Thao Dien residents. We rubbed elbows with custom tailors and adventure trek services, makers of gecko-shaped refrigerator magnets (bought one) and handbags crafted from recycled plastic shopping bags (bought two), vendors of T-shirts bearing images of historic Vietnam…
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Fall Promotion for Anh Phu Neighbors!

Many thanks to everyone at Saturday's Bazaar @ The Deck who took a free Vespa ride courtesy of Vietnam Vespa Adventures! We spoke to scores of you about the half-day and evening tours we offer in Saigon as well as the multi-day trips we provide to Mui Ne, Nha Trang, and (soon) to Hue. It was a pleasure meeting you all! Many of those we spoke to Saturday accepted a coupon from us good for 15% off any of our local tours. We only regret we weren't able to give out more of those vouchers. Therefore we'd like to extend…
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Picture This

Love this video posted last week from Mark, Sin, D, and Chris of their July 6-12 Nha Trang Coastal & Highland Adventure. Guys, we're totally using this in our marketing materials! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ15QlXcRSI&list=PLF73EFF82D4683A51&
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Travelfish.org Gives Us a Great Big Blog Hug

We've long been fans of online travel guide Travelfish, which specializes in Southeast Asian destinations. In fact, Travelfish is our own first go-to resource whenever we're doing any exploring in the region. We've used it in Bali, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Thai islands, and of course here at home in Vietnam (if we ever get to Laos, we'll use it there, too). So we practically wet ourselves with excitement last week when Travelfish Vietnam editor Angela Schonberg contacted us about joining one of our Saigon After Dark tours for a possible write-up. She and her boyfriend joined us on a…
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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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Comme ci, comme ça

Last Tuesday evening we were joined on our Saigon After Dark tour by Christina and Danny from Richmond, Virginia. We've got to hand it to this über-cool couple, who described themselves right away as "very laid-back," which was a huge relief to us as it was pouring rain like the end of the world for most of the night. What's more, we quickly learned that both Christina and Danny are strict vegetarians - as in they eat "nothing that moves." This was their first evening in Vietnam, so these two had not yet learned that in Vietnam, anything that moves…
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Cu Chi Tour Development

Last Saturday, Steve and Phuong and I took a spin out to Cu Chi District to research possible activities for our new full-day tour there. Cu Chi is well-known for its maze of underground tunnels, which Viet Cong used as an ingenious (and very unpleasant) military base from which to mount raids on Saigon. The astonishly tiny tunnels (which have been widened for all those porkish foreigners) and a handful of on-site military accessories make for an interesting couple of hours, but virtually everyone who visits Cu Chi overlooks completely the fact that the tunnels are located in the middle…
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Fallen Angel

Seen at our second stop, in District 4, during a Saigon After Dark tour last weekend. Angelic lottery seller with a rather naughty T-shirt. To be fair, I don't think she spoke a word of English.
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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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East & West Traveler magazine pours on some love

Aw, snap. East & West Traveler magazine features a phat feature about us in their August issue. This is the kind of press that we love - where we can really tell the whole story of what we do. That requires a double-truck color spread in the feature well, 1500 words minimum. Thankfully, that's just what we were given. Hats off to the friendly & classy folks at East & West Traveler, especially Ms. Nga. Go pick yourself up a copy! Or, if you're not in Vietnam, click through the embedded link and read it online. Have a look at the…
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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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Look at the Size of this Group!

Last night was a doozie for us - three groups on our Saigon After Dark tour. One of them was this group of 10 Aussies who'd ridden Down from Hanoi. That's a lotta Bia Hoi!
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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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Day 1 Orientation

Tour manager Josh Baker runs through orientation with the members of our July 17 tour after an intro to the Vespas at Steve's house. "Watch out for cows, chickens and water buffaloes "
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