TLC Travel Journal: Vietnam
Written by Heather Hanan
As The Language Company’s Director of Marketing and Sales, I am afforded the opportunity to travel to many wonderful destinations around the world. Most recently was to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for student recruitment.
A travel partner was chosen, Heidi Eidem, Director of Admissions, TLC-Stephenville in Texas. Arrangements were made and we were off. The only thing that we knew for sure is that the trip to Vietnam was LONG, approximately, 30 hours of travel time to our destination. Heidi and I met at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport sleepy eyed but excited for our trip. We took a 13 hour flight from San Diego, Ca to Tokyo, Japan and then a 6.5 hour flight from Tokyo to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Upon arrival, delayed until around 11:30 pm, we finally ended our journey tired and fuzzy from our long travels, exiting the airport to a mob of people and hotel representatives waiting for loved ones, no English to he heard. We searched the crowd for our hotel representative, not to be found, and looking lost, were desperately pursued by a taxi driver who followed us up and down the sidewalk. After several rounds, we decided to go one more time to the opposite end, and VIOLA! There were our representatives who had been waiting for us in a less busy location! We were so happy! They gave us cold water and transported us to our hotel.
It was so refreshing to enter the Silverland Sayko hotel, even and 1:00 am, the staff was pleasant, accommodating, and they even gave us and ice-cold fresh, fruity drink upon check in. It was like an oasis! We were escorted to a very comfortable room, where we had a good night’s sleep.
There were so many memorable and spectacular things about this trip, I’m going to try to narrow it down to our favorite moments. Our first day included a meeting with Dai Thien Son agency, where we presented to a group of students. The staff and students were delightful and inquisitive.
Upon leaving, the owner of the company Karen offered to pick us up the following day for lunch, which we happily accepted. Karen took us to a lovely restaurant, where it is rumored that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie dine when they are in Ho chi Minh. Here are a few shots that the paparazzi snapped of us. This meal was truly one of the highlights of our trip.
Over the next days met with many agents, all of which were so kind and welcoming, UNILINK, Pacific Ocean Study, and Duy Tan Study Abroad. We were fortunate to be able to lunch with the counselors and Director of Duy Dan Study abroad. They arranged a tasty and entertaining lunch that we couldn’t possibly forget. VNIS Vietnam hosted a very beneficial student fair, where we made many potential student connections.
The War Remnants Museum was a must see in Ho Chi Minh City, we spent a few hours touring the museum, It’s a somber reminder of the history of Vietnam. During our lunch before the museum visit, one of the representatives learned that we would be visiting the war museum later that day, he apologized for the things that happened between America and Vietnam. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about the Vietnam war. After our tour, I was especially touched by his kindness and words, particularly amazed to see how a country and people who had gone through such struggle and sadness, could be the same vibrant, alive place that I was visiting today.
On Saturday, we decided to get out of the city on a Vespa tour. I can assure you this was a good decision and something that you will want to try if you ever visit Vietnam. On our trip, we met a group of delightful and interesting travelers. A couple that was especially warm and fun, were Vaughan & Lauren, originally from South Africa, working in Asia, on holiday in Vietnam. Check out their spectacular travel blog, The Travel Manuel.
In closing, some things that we absolutely fell in LOVE with on our journey were Vietnamese coffee, the amazing selections of day spas, our hotel, the city itself, and every single person that we met. This was truly an amazing trip both personally and professionally. We made wonderful memories, strong partnerships, and an awareness of a beautiful culture that we will carry in our hearts always. Every place that I visit leaves an impression. Vietnam was an impression that will not be forgotten. I hope to visit again soon!