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Meet the Griswalds
 

Our History

 

The Griswalds and their families have had a long history with Vietnam.  During the Vietnam war it was hard not to become involved.  For people of our age it was probably one of the biggest events in modern history.  The war was ended in 1975, but tragically the second war started, only this time it was an economic war.  The Trade Union movement of Australia thought the people of Vietnam had suffered enough. 

They ignored the American embargo (as did most of Europe) and tried to help rebuild this war-torn country.  Max, with his trade union background, became (very happily) involved in the breaking of the embargo.  With the generous help of the Maritime Union of Australia, ordinary people were able to help this wonderful country begin to rebuild itself.

On their first trip to Vietnam in 1990, Max and Mado continued to break the embargo by delivering a large supply of medicines donated by a very kind doctor in Australia to Bach Mai Hospital in Ha Noi. 

Whilst there, an eyewitness told of the terrible Christmas bombings in 1972 that resulted in the death of 64 "innocents" ....... patients & staff.  All were unarmed civiliansThis was the 2nd time that year that Bach Mai hospital had been bombed & on both occasions it was claimed to be an accident

It was at this point that Max and Mado decided to become even more involved in Vietnam and its people.  With their various trade union and governmental connections, opportunities presented themselves and the idea of Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations was born. Mado had worked in the film, music and arts areas for many years before moving into the travel industry.  She began by working for other people before setting up Griswalds to offer people more than just the same old, same old.

Max has been living in Vietnam, more on than off now since 1994 managing Griswalds tours on the ground.  Somehow he also found time to have leading roles in a number of films there and to produce the first Australian music show on the Voice of Vietnam.  With their backgrounds and interests Max and Mado have made lots of friends in Vietnam from many diverse walks of life.  Not only trade union and governmental people, but also artists, musicians, film directors, doctors, lawyers, soldiers and sailors.

The decision to start a tour company came about as a result of being bitterly disappointed with what was on offer.  There seemed to be only two choices:  backpacking or package tours.  Both weren't very appealingWe're not cheapskates, but we're not mugs either. 

 

The Griswalds way of doing things:

 

We're the only foreign tour operator with our OWN office in Vietnam.  Our home in Vietnam is the Kangaroo Cafe & regardless of what you may have read in some of the guide books, we're not affiliated with anyone other than Griswalds. 

Over the years we’ve had various outfits trying to claim some sort of association or relationship with us in various ways & by various means.  Whilst it’s completely untrue, it is of course somewhat flattering & is most definitely a positive indicator that we’re obviously doing something right.

We're old fashioned enough to still believe in direct employment, job security, training & advancement. That's why we don't subbie out your holiday to some other mob who don't really have much of an interest in you or your holiday.  

We take care of you ourselves & are very happy to do so.  

 

Our Guides & other staff

 

Our Guides are quite simply the best.  They're people we know well and have been friends with, in some cases, many years.  They're Vietnamese nationals who speak English fluently and work exclusively for Griswalds.  Our guides have all the necessary accreditation & have studied & graduated from the Tourism institute of Ha Noi.

Griswalds guides are like good friends, not employees.  They are not receiving commissions from the various shops, restaurants or retail outlets.  Our guides & cafe staff are the highest paid in Vietnam & we're very proud & happy to be able to say that.  They get all their public holidays (& some of the Aussie ones too), sick pay, annual leave entitlements as well as their end of year (Tet) bonuses.  

Our staff all get a special bonus on their annual anniversary as well.  They're the best & it's our pleasure to share our success with them.  When you're with a Griswalds guide you'll pay a fair price and get what you want.  The Griswalds guides genuinely want you to enjoy your time in Vietnam.

 

Tipping

 

In Viet Nam tipping is not expected, not the done thing & as is the case in any other civilised country, something that you may or may not wish to do.  Tipping is entirely up to you because a tip is something that we give because we want to, because we want to show our thanks to a particular person but when it's compulsory it's a scam, no more no less. Compulsory tipping is when the greedy boss refuses to pay his workers a living wage & that's where our unions come in very handy indeed.

 

Commissions, kick backs etc

 

Unfortunately the tourism industry in Viet Nam runs on commissions, kick back, nods, winks & say no mores !  We never did, don't now & never will support this stupid & ugly practise.  The assumption that the "stupid western tourist will never know" only goes to show how stupid the people who go in for this racketeering are.

When you're with us you won't be over charged because we're supposed to pay some kind of kick back to the various touts etc.  We never give or accept commissions of any kind.

Griswalds never engage in these kinds of desperate measures to drum up a bit of business.

We simply don't have to !  

Eco tourism, the Green rave, ISO & all that stuff ! !

The thing about this whole eco or environmentally friendly rave that we can't stand is that it's all become so very groovy & fashionable.  There's little & in most cases nothing past the words on the web site or brochure to back it up by most of the players & it's all become very shallow. Try raising something with them that they don't want to talk about. You'll get the crook look out of them & not much more.

With Griswalds, it's you who decides if what we do is OK & we're constantly talking with our customers about the environment, politics, cricket & all kinds of other stuff as well !

If there's anything you want to discuss, praise, complain about, tip a bucket on us for, or simply have a chat about, then please feel free to do so.  We'll shout the coffee !  All of the Griswald's staff are keen "have a chats" & can be contacted, as we've said, every day of the year.

Now there's a welcome change !

 

Home The Griswalds Travel Services & Tips Vietnam Tours Maps of Vietnam Spectacular photos of Vietnam Happy Campers Links Kangaroo Cafe Thumbnails of Other Vietnam Photos


 

The best way to receive more information about us &/or our tours, is to E-mail us.

Our Email address is: griswalds@vietnamvacations.com.au

(Please check your spam folder for our reply !!!)  

Griswald's Vietnamese Vacations

P.O. Box 501, Leichhardt N.S.W. 2040 Australia

& our REAL Kangaroo Café

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Only at 18 Bao Khanh St, Hanoi

To chat, person to person (always better & it only costs a $1 or $2) please phone us direct.

Our Office Number in Viet Nam - +844 382 899 31

Our Mobile Number in Viet Nam - +84 913 506 183

Australian Company Registration Number: 107 709 384 

Aust Govt Travel Agents Licence Number (your international protection): 2TA5568

Doing business with companies over the internet still makes some people, understandably, nervous. Australian Travel Agents, like us, are licensed by the NSW Government Dept of Fair Trading & all our bona fides are available online through the Department's web site.

Only REAL Travel Agents can offer you this security & protection.

 

This page was last updated on  06/05/11

Griswald’s Vietnamese Vacations & our Kangaroo Café in Hanoi have been operating good quality, reasonably priced tours to Vietnam for over 20 years.

Griswald's specialise in tailor made tours to Vietnam, travel in Vietnam, holidays in Vietnam and private tours to Vietnam. 

For those travelling independently to Vietnam, from our Kangaroo Cafe in Ha Noi we can assist with Tours to Halong Bay and Tours to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island as well. 

We're well known for our signature Halong Bay Tours & our tours to Sapa & our focus is on genuine, small group travel in Vietnam.

  Sapa Tours start with our 2 nights on the train & 1 Night hotel, Tour to Sapa. We also have Sapa Home stay tours & our mixed Sapa Hotel and Home stay tours too.

For more about our tailor made Vietnam Travel, Vietnam Tours, Customised Vietnam Tours and Vietnam Holiday packages, please email us.


Griswald’s Vietnamese Vacations & our Kangaroo Café in Hanoi have been operating good quality, reasonably priced tours to Vietnam for over 20 years.

Griswald's specialise in tailor made tours to Vietnam, travel in Vietnam, holidays in Vietnam and private tours to Vietnam. 

For those travelling independently to Vietnam, from our Kangaroo Cafe in Ha Noi we can assist with Tours to Halong Bay and Tours to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island as well. 

We're well known for our signature Halong Bay Tours & our tours to Sapa & our focus is on genuine, small group travel in Vietnam.

  Sapa Tours start with our 2 nights on the train & 1 Night hotel, Tour to Sapa. We also have Sapa Home stay tours & our mixed Sapa Hotel and Home stay tours too.

For more about our Tailor Made Tours to Vietnam, Vietnam Travel, Vietnam Tours, Customised Vietnam Tours and Vietnam Holiday packages, please email us.

For all other information on Vietnam like tours to Ba Be Lakes, Hoa Lu & Tam Coc, The Perfume Pagoda, Mai Chau & of course Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Island & Sa Pa, The Kangaroo Cafe is great.