G Adventures’ first FAM trip of the year kicks off in Vietnam

Greetings from Vietnam! We’ve joined a group of travel agents from coast to coast to embark on the first Canadian G Adventures FAM trip of the year. An epic nine-day adventure awaits the group, who will be sailing on a junk boat through the highly Instagrammable Halong Bay, exploring popular cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and tasting local delights like Vietnamese coffee first-hand.

“This FAM is our Classic Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a Classic style tour — our most popular travel style — and one of our Top Selling tours in Southeast Asia,” explains Jenna English, Global Purpose Specialist for British Columbia & Northern Territories, at G Adventures, who is escorting the tour. “It features a great mix of included activities to popular spots like Halong Bay, Hue, and Hoi An, but we also give travellers free time in these places to ‘choose their own adventure.’ By not structuring the tour hour by hour, travellers have the freedom to decide what activity would suit them best on the tour.”

After an orientation meeting upon arrival in Hanoi yesterday with the tour’s Chief Experience Officer John Tran, the group went out to dine at Hanoi Food Culture. The restaurant is a G Values Fund project, where former tour leaders (CEOs) can open their own businesses with low interest loans through the tour operator.

“These are funds that we set up for former CEOs. When they’re tired of guiding our tours but they still want to be involved with the company, they can apply for a low interest loan and start up a business of their own as local suppliers,” says English, explaining that the CEOs often see the need for what kind of businesses are lacking in an area through their tour experiences.

A key focus for G Adventures and its non-profit partner the Planeterra Foundation, is responsible tourism and giving back to the communities travellers visit. During this trip the group is headed to a G for Good project called Oodles of Noodles.

“It’s a project I’ve been looking forward to experiencing since I started working at G in 2018,” says English. “Sadly, approximately 20,000 Vietnamese youth are homeless and lack access to education, healthcare, and social protection. G Adventures and our non-profit Planeterra partnered with Streets International, a vocational program that helps street youth, and created Oodles of Noodles, a restaurant that helps Vietnamese youth develop employable skills that will prepare them for careers in Vietnam’s growing hospitality and tourism industry.”

Just like regular G Adventures travellers, the FAM group will learn how to make their own noodles from scratch while the youth benefit from interacting with travellers, practicing their English, and fine-tuning their cooking skills.

“It’s a really heartwarming project and I can’t wait to make my own noodles with them and donate money back into the project,” she says. “Donations received go into housing, medical expenses, schooling and more. Therefore, travellers can witness the Ripple Effect this one meal has on the youth community in Hoi An. And since Vietnam is one of our top-selling destinations, the Oodles of Noodles restaurant gets a healthy amount of business from our travellers!”

The advisors taking part in the FAM include Edwin Thompson, Go With Hippo Travel; Danielle Paree, Voyages Aqua Terra/Synergia; Kaylee Mitchell, Flight Centre Orchard Park; Jacqueline Hider, Marlin Travel Mississauga; Shane Dineen, Flight Centre Kitsilano; Carol Leung, The Travel Agent Next Door; and Rhonda Ennis, Fareconnect.com Inc.

“This is my first time in Asia so I’m excited to witness the beauty, culture, people, and food firsthand. I’ve been told by everyone who’s been to Vietnam that the people are what makes it special,” notes English. “This will be my sixth G Adventures tour and they’ve all been amazing in such different ways.”

More stories to come in a few days — after the group spends the night on a junk boat and experiences an overnight train.