When we received a request from the Tour Operator to organize the Thanh Toàn rural immersion for a VIP Family in mid August, we were a bit worried. It was because this group is very demanding. They had specific diet requirement by religion. They were travelling in big family with 10 persons and 4 are from 6 to 12 years old, and were staying at a luxury resort about 1 hour south of Huế. Their Travel Agent requested to just provide a “short tour for some hours and skip the home cooked lunch with farmer so that they can go to the city to have lunch at a European standard restaurant”
We knew it was challenging but we had to convince the Agent that our concept was SLOW TRAVEL, valuing the authenticity of the rustic rural life, and the lunch was part of the connectivity. Moreover, if they spent 2 hours driving just to have a quick 2-hour cycling tour because of the lunch, our tour would not bring any impression and value. We tried our best to show them (by photos) how other clients had experienced, and proposed a special menu with organic dishes, kid friendly food. Finally, we got the “OK” and had a week to prepare ourselves and our community to provide guests the best experience.
On that day, our guide came to the resort early to wait for guests though they did not expected a “transfer with guide” to city center. The guide made use of this one-hour transfer to make the connection and engage the family, children and parents into our stories. They arrived at the village around 10am. We brought the bikes to the village entrance so that the children just cycled on short distance and shadowed lanes, along the nice landscape. The family went for fishing, getting excited at a sampan race before coming to an organic farm to prepare the lunch by themselves. For them, it was not an ordinary day, it was much more enriching to stand byside the locals and learned how they live, eat and work. All praised for the meal, excellent and felt well taken care of.
They took time to relax, indulged with a herbal foot bath. Before leaving Thanh Toàn village, the children popped into another local house and for the first time, they made and tasted the nicest “Bánh Chưng, Bánh Tét” (sticky rice cake). Probably they were so inspired by the legend that our guide enthusiastically shared.
Our team was so relieved when seeing the big smile and heartfelt thanks from Mrs. and Mr.Amar and the children. For family AMAR, it is 5 hour of real immersion and happiness. For TCP Slow Travel Hue team, it is a fact finding that if we are sincere, dedicated and well connected with all hospitable locals, we all can satisfy any demanding travelers. They put on the evaluation form all excellent mark and commented.
Très accueillant. Circuit très intéressant, authentique loin des classiques touristiques. A faire et refaire. Merci!! (Very welcoming. The tour is very interesting, authentic, far from classic tourist trails. To do and to do again. Thank you!, Family AMAR, 10 persons, French, 19.8.2015)