Our advisor Kari Mollan crafted an exceptional journey through China and Vietnam for clients Karen and Austin.
Our dearest Kari,
As our jet lag subsides and we are back in the wonderful throes of work, we are forever changed + inspired by your exquisitely curated journey for us to Vietnam + Hong Kong.
Our experience in Vietnam was just incredible. The home visits were life changing. Halong Bay was everything. Our daily touring was exceptional.
Six Senses Con Dao (there’s really nothing like the Six Senses brand!), La Residence Hue Hotel, Hotel de Arts Saigon MGallery Collection + The Upper House in Hong Kong (Ohhhhhh The Upper House!!!!!!!!!!) totally rocked our world with outstanding accommodations, beautiful hotels + amazing service. Oh and the BREAKFASTS … THE BREAKFASTS!!!!!!!!!
We loved every city + island we visited, as they were all important in the bigger scope of our trip + experiences. We really connected to the city of Hue. It truly is the Vietnamese center of intellect, culture + education. It was such a charming + intimate place. The people of Hue are just exceptional (as were the people everywhere but there’s something about the smaller cities like Hue + Hoi An + Con Dao as an island that we adored).
The way you + TOI structured our touring – first taking us on city tours, visiting the more well known attractions. Then the next day or the day after, taking us on bikes or motorbikes into the countryside for home visits and touring local businesses was genius.
Our guide in Hue, who also took us to Hoi An, was beyond amazing. He was smart, sophisticated, kind, caring, communicative and just a lovely human being. We adored him. He reminded us of our favorite TOI guide in Bangkok, Chatcha.
Our sub-guides + tour company’s who took us on day tours (Vintage Minsk Motorbike Tour in Hanoi, Biking through the countryside of Hue, etc) were chosen perfectly. Each tour was so special.
The experiences we had on this trip were truly life changing. From discussions about Buddhism to the Vietnam War to food to politics to history to love + marriage + family … We connected with people of North Vietnam + South Vietnam … young + old … capitalist in mindset + communist in mindset … If there’s one reoccurring theme throughout the people of Vietnam, it’s that we are all one + we all have common ground.
Our visit with North Vietnamese war veteran Vu Cong Loc and his wife Nguyen Thi Lan on the Minsk motorbike tour in Hanoi was a day which Austin + I will never forget. Our conversations were so rich + lovely. Vu Cong Loc spoke of love + leaving the past behind after the war (he was shot 4 times by the US during the war). He talked about how “war is war” but after war, we are all just human beings living together in this wonderful world. Oh Kari, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
Finishing our journey in Hong Kong couldn’t have been better. Our TOI guide, Jupiter, was exceptional as was our driver, Andy. We were met by a great young man as we literally stepped off the plane + guided by him through the huge airport, through immigration + delivered directly to Jupiter. It was seamless + brilliant. The Upper House was, well there are no words for how great it was … The room was one of the best we’ve ever experienced … The customer service by the hotel staff was second to none … The entire hotel was beyond … We’ll dream of the view from the bathtub forever (or until we go back again!). Although we were only in Hong Kong for a few nights, Jupiter + driver Andy effortlessly guided us through Hong Kong – we felt like we saw + experienced so much in such a short time (although it didn’t feel like a short time at all). It was also perfect to end somewhere chic + cosmopolitan coming out of Vietnam prior to re-entering LA – it prepped us well. We may have been shell shocked to come directly from Vietnam to LA.
We continue to sing your praises to everyone interested in traveling there!
Okay I’ve done enough rambling for the evening but Austin + I just wanted you to know how much we appreciate the life altering journeys you continue to curate for us. We are forever grateful. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
With much love, Karen + Austin