Vietnam, up close
Costco Travel escorted
tour gives members
a front-row seat
By T. Foster Jones
IT’S HARD TO think of a more historically and
culturally polarizing country than Vietnam.
However, over the past two decades, the country has become a hugely popular destination,
drawing thousands of visitors each year. Host
to an exclusive Costco Travel escorted vacation in 2009, Vietnam offers far more than
just superb accommodations and services.
Here’s a brief overview of the fascinating and
exotic culture and adventure that await.
Costco’s escorted vacation to Vietnam
includes a visit to Cambodia (top) and a
private cruise through Ha Long Bay (inset).
Sail round-trip from Hong Kong
for 14 days aboard ms Volendam.
Discover temples, pagodas, cathedrals,
palaces and gardens in the exotic Far
East. This adventure offers experiences
that will delight, inform and inspire even
the most seasoned of travelers.
Sail round-trip from Hong Kong (China) and
call at Nha Trang (Vietnam), Phu My (Vietnam),
Da Nang (Vietnam), Sanya/Hainan (People’s
Republic of China), Xiamen (People’s Republic
of China) and Shanghai (China) overnight.
Costco members receive a $100
per-stateroom shipboard credit!
from $2,099 per person*
Valid for 10/26/09 sailing.
The new ’Nam
With its incredible natural beauty and
rich ancient heritage, Vietnam has evolved
from a war-torn country to one of Asia’s most
sought-after vacation spots.
One draw is the sublime beauty of the
country’s natural settings—patchworks of
brilliant green rice paddies along the Mekong
Delta, divine beaches along the coast, incomparable coastal scenery, soaring inland mountains and dense forests.
For instance, Ha Long Bay—whose name
translates to “where the dragon descends into
the sea”—is often called Vietnam’s eighth
wonder of the world. Three thousand spectacular limestone outcroppings, cliffs, arches
and coves make up this extraordinary area,
which is considered one of the most beautiful
in the country.
The multitude of pagodas, temples—
such as Angkor Wat in nearby Cambodia, the
largest temple in the world—and other examples of unique historic architecture are
another reason travelers come.
The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is a verdant mix of traditional and modern, with
pockets of ancient culture along the narrow,
shaded streets, the French colonial architecture of the Old Quarter, espresso and Internet
cafés, fine dining and luxury hotels.
South of Hanoi is the city of Hue, the old
royal capital, which offers a glimpse of how
Vietnam’s last royal dynasty lived. Farther
south, Da Nang’s rich cultural history, proximity to the extraordinary ruins of My Son,
atmospheric riverfront promenade and
world-famous Cham Museum all continue to
draw visitors. And Ho Chi Minh City,
still known as Saigon to many, is an exhilarating jumble of cobblestone streets, shops, sidewalk cafés, stands on wheels and vendors
selling wares spread out on sidewalks in lively
“The Cu Chi tunnels [the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a
defense against the French, and later expanded
during the American war] are a primary reason visitors come to Saigon,” says Henry
Kartagener, president of Kartagener Associates,
which offers tours throughout Vietnam and
Cambodia. Visitors have the opportunity to
marvel at the ingenuity that allowed hundreds
of people to live underground, with secret
trapdoors and underground kitchens, living
areas and meeting rooms.
“The history of this area, good and bad, is
absolutely fascinating and captivating,” says
Costco Travel’s escorted vacation to Vietnam
is offered one time only and is limited to just
40 people. For details, visit Costco.com or call
Costco Travel at 1-877-849-2730.
Call Costco Travel toll free at
*Price is per person based on double occupancy, is valid for
select stateroom categories only, is true and accurate at time
of printing, and might not include government taxes/fees, a fuel
supplement of $126 and gratuities. Restrictions and blackout
dates might apply. All offers and inclusions are subject to
availability, may change or be terminated without notice and are
valid for new bookings only. Unless otherwise noted, offers are
not combinable with select rate codes, coupons or other offers.
Travel purchases are not included in the Executive Membership 2%
Reward program. Offer shown is cruise-only and is valid on select
dates. Cancellation and change fees might apply. Costco Travel
disclaims liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors.
Ship’s registry: The Netherlands. Costco Travel is registered
as a seller of travel in each of the states listed: California
registration number: CST 2054248-50 · Florida registration
number: ST 32555 · Hawaii registration number: TAR 5595
· Iowa registration number: TA 620 · Nevada registration
number: 2007-0060 · Washington registration number: WST
602042600. Registration as a California Seller of Travel does
not constitute approval by the state.