Vietnam Road trips attract adventurous tourists
Touring through foreign countries in a caravan of cars is no longer out of reach for Vietnam's more adventurous men and women.
A recent caravan tour that would travel through Cambodia and Thailand departed from the Moc Bai border gate in southern Tay Ninh Province, and attracted the participation of 24 tourists. Travelling in eight cars, the youngest traveller was two-years-old and the oldest was 62.
This was the first tour of its kind organised by the Volunteer Youth Tourist Company this year.
"I was excited because this is the first time I took part in a convoy of cars carrying Vietnamese flags travelling through foreign countries," said participant Truong An Nguyen. "It was also the first time I drove on the left."
Through specialised walkie-talkies, members in each of the cars were able to inform each other of traffic situations and routes. The car in the front led the others and assisted in passing, and those who sat next to the driver played their role as navigators.
"Women are able to take part in caravan tours because we drive just as well as men," said driver Nguyen Thi Hanh.
As director of the Lua Viet Tourist Company, Nguyen Van My believes this new form of tourism will turn out to be extremely profitable. Few tour companies offer the service, which adds greatly to its potential.
His company has even organised a caravan tour of 40 cars for Vietnamese businessmen who want to visit and survey the Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Battambang markets.
"Although the costs of putting together a caravan tour are higher than those of regular tours, mere are still customers for it," My added.
Tran Xuan Hung, deputy director of the Volunteer Youth Tourist Company, said caravan tours cost US$580 per person to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Stem Reap, and Bangkok over eight days and seven nights.
In addition, caravan tour operators need to be selective about their customers. Long-haul driving tours are only suitable for people who like adventure and are in good health. Currently many Vietnamese people are still unfamiliar with long-haul tours, and for many the costs are prohibitive.
It is also important for caravan tour organisers to guarantee the safety and health of their customers. To further develop this form of tourism, organisers are investing in infrastructure facilities such as rest trailers and other comfort amenities.
Despite difficulties in immigration procedures, tour operators are beginning to see that overcoming small hurdles can lead to big profits as the profile of caravan tours rises.
Cambodia - Thailand Caravan Tour pre-requisites:
Automobiles with four or more seats that are able run at a speed of 120km/h, Drivers must have a driver's licence, and passport and passport pictures are required to enter Cambodia.
(Source: Viet Nam News)