1. What makes the Shop Eat Love Our Vietnam Tour so special?
It’s about fun. It’s about discovering Vietnam and doing it in style with girls who know and love it so well. This is not a budget, “same same”, “copy copy”, “cheap cheap”, kind of trip.
This tour is unique because you are travelling with Judith and Kerry who have accumulated many years of travel experience and knowledge of Vietnam; its food, culture, products of sustainability, designer fashion and people. If you are into sustainability and authenticity, this is the tour for you without the hardship. It is a tour that focuses on the thing’s women love to do. Have fun, be pampered, discover new and interesting beautiful things, shop, eat and be merry. It is a tour with bespoke events and experiences we know you cannot get anywhere else.
2. Do you have to come from Australia to join this tour?
While we are Aussie girls, we are more than happy to have women from other countries join in the adventure. This is another reason why we decided to have the tour start in Hanoi, so we can all meet at the hotel and start from there.
Important Disclaimer: We are English speaking. We do not speak Vietnamese fluently, nor do we speak any other language fluently. So just thought we should mention that!
3. What cities will we visit on this tour?
This tour will focus on three main cities:
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences.
Hoi An – The former port city is a melting-pot of history reflected in its architecture. A mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colourful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.
Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) - Vietnam at its most dizzying:, A fabulous city full of hidden treasures if you know where to look.
Check back to our itinerary for detail HERE
4. Who will this tour NOT suit?
We thought long and hard about this. This is not a tour for the intrepid or adventure traveller looking to go into outback Vietnam. There are plenty of those kinds of tours out there already. While we can deliver those kinds of experiences for you as an adjunct to this tour, we have designed this tour with the “Shopper, community, ethically minded, foodie & fashion” person in mind. We are looking for like minded travelling companions who want to enjoy our ‘treasures and finds’, with us.
Don’t come if you don’t want to experience some of the luxuries of Vietnam. But equally if you're uncomfortable in humidity, or walking along pavements that are 'more Asia; than Sydney' then Vietnam may not be the place for you.
We make no apologies for the fact that the tour offers a unique and authentic Vietnamese cuisine experience. If you can't eat Vietnamese cuisine, or have severe allergies or intolerances against sugar, fish sauce, peanuts, soy sauce and rice, then the tour may not really suit you. We travel like Anthony Bourdain did - to integrate yourself into a culture and to really make the most of it - try and taste and eat like a local as he would have done.
5. What is the general age on the tour?
We envisage our travellers will fit somewhere between 40 and 70 year. Mainly due to the fact that in this age bracket you have your home life or career set up in such a way that it can survive for 9 days without you; and if you have any homeys or husbands, they are happy to let you go and do your own thing. We have costed it to deliver the best Vietnam has to offer, and for only a small group size. In fact, we don’t want more than 10 people.
We are not into herding cattle around cities, holding up flags, or travelling in ugly big buses for hours looking down on the world. We are creatures of comfort and we hope you are too! So, no matter if you are single, married, divorced, an empty-nester, professional; mothers and daughters, girlfriends, sisters, co-workers etc, if you have a sense of fun, you will love this tour.
6. What is the average group size for this tour?
Our tour is very much about having the personal touch; consequently the average group size will be 8-10.
7. I have special dietary requirements, can these be accommodated?
We totally get you. Yes, of course. All our restaurants can accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. In saying that, we do include some seafood in our tours so please let us know in advance so you can be accommodated. N.B The tour has been designed with the foodie in mind, the traveller who loves to immerse themselves in the local food scene.
8. Do you have to be a particular level of fitness or mobility?
We will not be climbing anything other than stairs on occasions. No mountains. No trekking. No bushwalking. This tour is designed for women of all ages and fitness levels. If you are into fitness, all our hotels are 5* and all have gyms.
Some days we will be doing plenty of walking, so make sure you come prepared with good footwear. Also Saigon in particular can be pretty humid at any time of year - so bear this in mind. Don’t worry, we will be having plenty of stops along the way to make each day manageable. Any excuse for a refreshment!
If you have any other questions in this regard, please contact us directly.
9. What will the weather be like?
This is a good question. We have picked March for a reason. That reason being it is the most temperate of months in Vietnam to travel from top to bottom. We expect it will be warm enough to swim and enjoy all our outdoor activities. Temperatures will range in mid to late 20’s, with a humidity in the late 80’s. It is the tropics after all. We do suggest bringing a light jacket or throw-over for the evenings in the North.
10. What clothes should I bring?
As each day will offer a variety of activities, we suggest for the days we are checking out special shops etc you wear good walking shoes and light comfortable dresses or casual wear.
Bring beachwear/swimwear for pool and beach time.
For our evenings, we suggest you might like to bring some smart casual dinner wear as we will be taking in some lovely dinners along the way. However even top restaurants don't have a strict dress code.
11. Why don't you include airfares and insurance in your tours?
This tour is designed to accommodate the traveller who prefers to buy their own flights, their own way. Whether you use points, like to travel first class, or may add in other cities and meet up with us; by purchasing your own airfare we think this gives you more flexibility.
We do suggest you keep an eye out for specials and deals for flights to Vietnam, as there are always discounts being touted. However if you want the most direct and quickest flight we will always recommend Vietnam Airlines as direct into Hanoi or HCMC is only 8.5 hours.
Travel insurance is a must. Once again, we suggest you use your normal provider. Whilst we will not be doing anything too risky, we do suggest you see your doctor prior to the trip to ensure you have the appropriate level of immunisation. Please read here for more detail on best vaccinations for Vietnam
Please Note: We will not be travelling into jungle or areas known for malaria mosquitoes so while you can take medication to prevent catching this disease we have not found a need to take anti malaria medication during our years of travel to this destination.
12. What happens if the minimum numbers aren't reached for a tour to depart?
If minimum number requirements are not achieved, you will be advised. We estimate that if final numbers are not reached 60 days prior to tour commencement, we will advise you of the situation.
From there we will discuss options to re-cost the itinerary based on the number travelling and decide from there. If the tour does not proceed we will give you plenty of notice and refund your deposit in full. We suggest you withhold purchasing your international air fare until the trip group is fully confirmed.
13. Do I need a Visa for Vietnam?
You will need a Visa to travel to Vietnam if you are travelling on an Australian Passport.
We suggest you apply for an Evisa online for a cost of $25AUD and refer to this link here for a full outline of your choices available should you wish to extend your stay in Vietnam for other reasons.
14. Can I extend my tour beyond the provided dates?
You definitely can extend your stay.
We are happy to provide anyone pre or post tour extensions. Certainly, if people would like to visit Halong Bay for instance prior to joining our tour in Hanoi, we can assist. Please contact Kerry firstname.lastname@example.org directly for any special requests of this nature.
15. Where does my money get paid to?
Shop, Eat, Love our Vietnam, is a trading name under the Business; Temples and Markets Pty Ltd, which currently operates out of Australia, as an online retailer selling sustainable goods from many of the places you will get to visit on our tour.
Temples and Markets is a licensed business in Australia with over $20million in company insurance. The company will take receipt of your deposit and hold your funds in their accounts until the group size has been reached, and the bookings confirmed with the suppliers. At this time the balance of the funds will be required and final payments made.
Temples and Markets is also a fully insured business in its own right.
Should the tour not reach its optimum number of attendees, by the set date, all monies paid to that point will be fully refunded.
16. Will I have my own room?
Yes you may have your own room if you pay the single supplement rate applicable.
17. How does the Share Twin option work? Do I need to bring a buddy to share with me?
Yes, you do need to bring a travelling companion you are willing to share the room with for the duration of the tour. We included this option for girlfriends, co-workers, mothers and daughters etc.
As this is strictly a very small group, we do not have the ability to match you with another solo traveller willing to share.
We hope you understand.
18. I have a few concerns, can I talk to someone about those?
We are hearing you. Of course. We know what it's like being sent off to a call centre in India for answers. Please email Judith and Kerry at email@example.com and provide your phone number. We will call you back soon after.
19. How do I pay for this as it is in USD dollars.
We ask for payment in $USD as our payments to Vietnam are in $USD. Therefore, as you make your deposit and final payment, those amounts will be paid to us in $USD as at the exchange rate of the day. Your bank can advise rates of the day.
20. What does the Deposit mean? And when do I need to make the final payment?
We ask that you pay an amount of 10% to secure your seat on the tour. This is essential. With only 10 seats on offer, they will go fast, so we stress the need for you to do this asap, to insure your participation. We suggest when you make the deposit, you take out travel insurance at the same time, in the case you need to cancel for any reason, as we will not cover cancellation of deposits any later than 60 days prior tour commencement.
Final payment is due 60 days prior to commencement of the tour.
To ensure we can deliver on all the accommodation in this tour, we will only offer cancellation 60 days prior to the tour date. Any earlier, we will do the best we can.
21. Do you do private tours i.e for a group of friends or family?
We'll be only too delighted to host an exclusive group tour. Please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss requirements.
22. How much spending money should I bring for the shopping?
That's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' type question. This will very much depend on how much you like to shop! Although we will visit some Vietnamese markets, the shopping emphasis will be on ethical artisan made
or unique designer products. We're all about supporting local businesses and hand made fashion and gifts not supporting the copy/fake culture found in the most popular tourist markets.
23. Can I use my credit card for shopping purchases and other expenses?
In the vast majority of boutiques and concept stores we will be visiting Visa and Mastercard is widely accepted. However it is advisable to bring cash with you as well for the smaller enterprises or markets we shop at.
Kerry Newsome will be happy to answer any questions you may have in this regard, as in a previous life she worked in Foreign exchange at Travelex and MasterCard. Please don’t hesitate to contact her directly by email.
24. How do I get my purchases home?
We know how tricky it is to want to shop up a storm but worry your purchases won't fit in your luggage or you will be over capacity. We don't want our guests to go home with "Buyer's Regret" ie. wishing you'd bought all those amazing unique finds home. We have a dedicated favoured shipping service in Hoi An who can help send extras home. Also many of the enterprises we will visit can assist with international shipping.
©Shop, Eat Love Our Vietnam
no buyer's regret
supporting ethical and sustainable businesses
The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they're all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”— Anthony Bourdain, Traveller, Chef, Writer
Q: Will we get a chance to eat Vietnamese dishes popular outside of Vietnam e.g Pho or Banh Mi?
A: Absolutely Yes!
We know that a cuisine is so much better when it is eaten in its own country, and nowhere is this more true than in Vietnam.
Can't think of a better start to the day than a bowl of Pho, or a better snack at any time of day than a Banh Mi!