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Our Testimonials Page (over 10 years worth too)

Years ago, the whole "Testimonials" page thing was about the only way companies like us could convey to prospective customers, an idea of the way we work & to show how previous customers felt about their time with us too.

Social media has in many ways not just put an end to pages like this but it's made things a lot more honest & transparent too.  Since the Social Media revolution came about, people considering purchasing a tour from us have any number of options to further explore how we do what we do.

Our many satisfied customers who've commented on Facebook for example can actually be contacted & there's our 3 You Tube pages as well as the many various travel forums too although travel forums sadly are awash with people promoting themselves & claiming to be genuine customers.

The problem years ago with pages like this was that we couldn't & understandably too, provide contact details for the various customers out of privacy concerns & the last thing we'd ever want is for us to be the reason any of our customers got inundated with crook Nigerian bank scam or even worse, dating site emails !!!

We've always been very proud of what we do & really do enjoy it as well, but then to receive comments like these, it really does make all the hard work seem worth while.  There's over 10 years worth here & we hope you enjoy the read and get some valuable info from it too.

 &   are a great way to see just what we do & how we do it too & we up date them regularly too.

Please Check us out on You Tube & Face Book !

(Click on these thumbnails, they were a really nice surprise)


From: Jonas Family
Sent: Sunday, 18 January 2012 12:15 PM
To: adam & clare
Subject: Jonases

Note: This was Jim & Marie's 2nd trip with us. The details of their 1st trip are at the bottom of this page. Thanks so much again for being such a really lovely family to us & everyone you met in Viet Nam.

Hi Griswalds,

We hope you had a great Christmas and New Year.
We have returned of course from our holiday, and it was amazingly good.
Our friends Di and Rob who were first timers, are sprouting your praises.
They are in awe that a tour so personalised and of amazing quality for the
money is obtainable!

Every aspect of care from our guides, Vinh 1, Vinh 2, and So at Sapa, was
fantastic. Transfers, venues, accomodation, meals, everything was just
great. And access to a guide at any time, and to benefit from their know how
etc is a godsend. They are also flexible and extremely personable. We feel
they are the most genuine people, and you feel a sense of loss once you have

But thanks to your patient efforts in all the planning stages, and the care
and assitance you were always prepared to give generously.
Much appreciated,

Cheers, Marie, Jim and Clare Jonas.


From: Grant Dawson
Sent: Sunday, 21 November 2010 4:50 PM
Subject: Dawson Vietnam Vacation

We write to let you know we had a fantastic holiday in Vietnam the tour service was fault less and our guide "Taew" was superb. Taew made us feel comfortable from day one and made our holiday enjoyable. Please pass our thanks on to Taew.
After our experience with the Kangaroo Cafe tour company we will have no hesitation in recommending you guys to any of our friends and family that may consider going to Vietnam in the future.
Thanks for everything,
Grant, Cheryl, Ted & Lek


From: Brian Thew
Sent: Wednesday, 9 November 2011 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: Receipt of Payment for your Vietnam Tour


We arrived back on Monday and I thought it only polite to thank you for your efforts for our trip.  We had a great time and all the guides were really wonderful, particularly Vinh who took us down the coast.  The side trips to Sapa and Halong Bay were terrific.  The hotels with one exception were excellent, particularly the Golden Lotus in Hanoi (amazing staff) and the Romance in Hue (best Spa!).  The exception was the Cat Cat View Hotel in Sapa which is not up to scratch (pun intended). 

Anyhow, no complaints, we really enjoyed ourselves and I was very impresed with how easy everything was made for us.  If you could pass on our thanks to those in Vietnam I would be very grateful.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Brian Thew


From: Michael+Melanie Cuthbert  
Sent: Saturday, 15 October 2011 8:16 AM
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Subject: Re: Revised Itinerary for Approval and a couple of questions.

Hello Griswalds

We all had a great holiday in Vietnam with everything going smoothly. Thank you for all your effort and help.

We will be recommending your company to our friends.

Please thank Coung our guide in Hanoi and Halong Bay, we did not get to thank him as he fell ill. Thuy who took his place was great as well.

We look forward to returning to Vietnam in the future.


Michael Cuthbert

From: Lance Black
Sent: Thursday, 28 July 2011 3:57 PM
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Subject: Thanks

Hi Max,

Sorry it has taken me so long to write, there's not enough hours in the day when you are retired!

Hope you, your family and all the staff at Griswalds/Kangaroo Cafe are all well and enjoying life.

The weather here has been terrible since we returned home. It has been freezing, (1 deg one morning) and it seems we are getting enough rain to make up for last year's dry winter. Give me Vietnam any day!

On the political side Labor is doing everything possible to send itself to the opposition bench for a decade whilst the little germ Abbott is going to walk into the lodge with a huge majority. I thinking of getting a boat and sailing to Vietnam and requesting refugee status. 

Nita and I really wish to thank you and all of your staff for what was a fantastic holiday. Everything went smoothly and the tours, hotels, transport etc, etc were all great. I have become a Vietnam travel ambassador telling everyone I see what a great place it is to visit. Also passed on your details to many people so hopefully they listen to me and book a wonderful tour through you. How's my mate Cuong? Hope you are not working him too hard, he was a fantastic guide and top bloke throughout the tour - please pass on my sincere good wishes.

I don't know when, but I will definitely visit Vietnam again soon. I tell everyone I would be happy to return next week. Hopefully I will do it in the not too distant future and look forward to catching up with you at the Kangaroo Cafe. Finally finished "Bright Shining Lie", thanks for your generosity in giving it to me. It certainly shows a different side to the conflict and answers many questions. Although a bit heavy to read at times I couldn't put it down.   

I have att a photo of Cuong, the "Iron Man" as he came out of the surf. Remind him to keep up the training as the London Olympics are 364 days away!

Once again my thanks to everyone who helped to make our trip so memorable.

Best Regards

Nita and Blackie


From: Geoff Brand  
Sent: Monday, 13 June 2011 12:01 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: re: 23 Grand Tour of Viet Nam

To the Griswalds

It is now over three months since we returned from our 23 day Grand Tour of Viet Nam and we wish we could have made it far longer. The memories of the trip will remain clear in our minds forever for we enjoyed every minute and look forward to returning some day. The Vietnamese people are indeed friendly and entertaining in a way we could not have imagined and everywhere we went we felt welcome and comfortable.

A big “Thank You” must go to all involved in organizing our trip, from Adam and Clare in Australia, to those in the Office in Viet Nam, our drivers, to all of our Guides and also to the friendly staff at the Kangaroo Café where the food was tasty, the coffee good and the beer cold. We have to say that the accommodation was better than expected; all transport arrangements were spot on and the Guides courteous and knowledgeable.

Special acknowledgement must be given of our main guide, Thuy, who taught and showed us so much of Viet Nam, its people, their history and beliefs and made each day of our Tour complete in every way.

Sue and Geoff Brand


From: Natalie Oliver
Sent: Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:17 AM
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Subject: Thank you from the Olivers (March/April trip)!!

Dear Griswalds

Quite delayed but I wanted to let you know we really enjoyed our Vietnam trip, our first there, and certainly not our last as the people and the country are wonderful in so many ways.

I would say we also enjoyed all aspects of the tour - food, accommodation, the itinerary. The accommodation was of a very good standard!

But most notable was the care and most friendly approach of our guide Quong from kangaroo cafe. He is truly a lovely fellow, was always organised and prompt, and always in a helpful mood. We highly commend Quong for making our trip a very happy one.

Thanks again and we will recommend you whenever possible!

kind regards

Natalie Oliver and Vincent Tay

(Chris & Geoff Oliver)


From: Michael Apollonov  
Sent: Friday, 1 April 2011 4:03 PM
To: 'Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations'
Subject: RE: Receipt of Payment for APOLLONOV (x2)

Dear Griswalds

A belated message to say “thank you” for organising the Vietnam tour for Stephen and myself.

I would like to compliment the whole process – from booking to the finish – we had a ball and we have no complaints about anything at all; from our itinerary to accommodation to transport to our guides. Great food too! 


Michael Apollonov


From: Faye Webb
Sent: Tuesday, 18 January 2011 1:07 PM
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Subject: Re: Receipt of Payment for WEBB x 1 

Dear Griswalds,

I realise Jan has already contacted you but I just wanted to speak on behalf of my family as well because as Jan pointed out, we could not have been more pleased with Coung.  He without a doubt made our trip.  He helped with many difficult situations particularly in relation to my mother-in-law's unexpected down turn in our health while at the same time endearing himself to both the adults and kids aloke.  Our children were particularly touched by how much he seemed to genuinely enjoy their company and as with everything, he went above and beyond to ensure they had fun on the trip.

He has a professional yet very fun presence that made him feel like part of our family.  Please give him our personal thanks and let him know the boys are trying to convert Australia to adopt Duc Ow (I know that's not how it's spelt!!!) as it's national sport.  Please also pass on out thanks to Max for both his hospitality and assistance also with my mother-in-law.  We tried to see him again but were not able to catch him.  We would like to send him a book we talked about one night so if he is happy to forward us an address we could send it to that wouls be greatly appreciated.

I thank you also for all your help in arranging the trip.  It was certainly the trip of a lifetime.

Thanks again.  Faye


From: Jan Forrest
Sent: Sunday, 16 January 2011 11:36 PM
To: 'Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations'
Cc: Faye Webb; 'Geoff Quinn'; 'Suzanne Forrest'
Subject: The Forrest, Webb, Quinn, Crummy holiday

Dear Griswalds,

We have just returned from our holiday yesterday and I wanted to drop you a line to let you know what a wonderful time we all had while in Vietnam. Without exception everyone enjoyed the visit and would have no hesitation in recommending Griswalds to anybody travelling to Vietnam in the future. One of the best parts of our visit was our guide Cuong, he was friendly, cheerful and accommodating even though that can be difficult with a large group.

He was very knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble he organised us all with a smile every day. The children in particular enjoyed his company and he assisted us with many of the local customs and games, in fact when we continued from Vietnam to Cambodia the children mentioned several times that our guide there was good but “he is just not Cuong” and as you know teenagers can be difficult to please so that is high praise indeed. I would ask you to pass on to the Hanoi office our appreciation of Cuong’s efforts on behalf of our group and it is not an exaggeration to say that our holiday would not have been as enjoyable without him. 

One thing that I would like to pass on to you is that we applied for our visas online before departure and everything was fine. As you may remember we asked your advice and we fully intended to send our passports to the embassy before we departed but Flight centre gave us the website to apply online before departure and everything went smoothly.

I just thought you might like to know because it is much cheaper to apply this way and I would like to stress that it is not a visa on arrival as I know that does not exist in Vietnam it is an online application before departure. You send your details and they send you a permission letter which you take with you to the counter at the airport and they prepare the visa and put it in the passport no problems. I just thought you might like to know for future reference.

I would also like to thank you for your efforts in organising our holiday it was a trip that we will not forget and we appreciate your efforts in organising it for us.

Kind Regards, Jan Forrest


From: John Erickson
Sent: Monday, 20 December 2010 1:10 PM
To: 'Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations'
Subject: Hi From the Ericksons

Hi Griswalds,

We have recently returned from our fabulous adventure in Vietnam with the Failes family.

To say it was a great program does not do it justice. The itinerary was well paced with fabulous excursions and excellent accommodation. People were friendly and the food was exotic.

We cannot thank you enough for all of the preliminary work you did to make this a trip of a life time. Your prompt and accurate response to our many queries reinforced our view that we had selected the right organization for our Vietnam travel plans.

We are now sorting through (and reliving our adventures) the 3,500 images (I think that equates to over 150 per day)!!!!!.

Best wishes for Christmas and I can assure you that you have 4 very enthusiastic ambassadors for your organization.

Kind regards,

Coral and John Erickson.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: K Dent and Family  
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Sent: Fri, 26 March, 2010 9:18:44 PM
Subject: A belated thank you.

To  everyone at the Griswalds

Our family of 10 - 4 Adults, 4 teenagers and 2 Grand parents had the best 3 weeks in Vietnam together, better than any of us expected.

The guides were wonderful.  Cuong for most of it and Cuu and her sister up in Sapa were lovely, funny and kind.   

The private boat trip in Halong bay was one of many highlights and Sapa, Hoi An and Buon Me Thot  with our Elephant were too.

Expect some photos after we settle in back home too.

The price was very reasonable and as mentioned less than most of the group tours that we're sure wouldn't have suited our sometimes very odd group of between 14 and 70 years old.

Thanks again so much.

Kidest regards,

The Dent Family


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Dianne King  
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Sent: Wed, 20 January, 2010 7:12:44 AM
Subject: Thanks


Meant to tell you last month....

Had a great holiday!!!

Cuong was absolutely wonderful
Nothing was too much trouble - he was always on time and always helpful even when Mum was driving us nuts!!!  He did say she was the oldest person he had had on the trip and she did really well!

Thanks for organising everything for us!!!

Dianne King

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Ron Beck
Sent: Mon, 11 January, 2010 8:02:05 PM
Subject: Thank you for a wondrful holiday

Hi Max, 

Just a quick note to let you know how much we appreciated the effort your team put into our into making our recent trip to Vietnam enjoyable.   

Adam and Clair were very supportive and patient in developing our itinerary;  The Kangaroo Café staff made us feel so welcome on several occasions;  the care and attention of the Halong Bay crew was appreciated; and particular thanks to our personal guide for the duration of our trip, Thuy.   

We were greeted at the airport by Thuy’s huge smile and throughout the trip we were able to share his enthusiasm and energy for Vietnam.  On a number of occasion Thuy went out of his way to ensure our personal interests and needs were met whilst we were on the tour.   Recommendations for restaurants,  places to explore on free afternoons and  responsiveness to individual requests were spot on each time. 

Our memories of our time in Vietnam are of all positive and we believe this is due to the great team that  you have put together. 

We were aware that there were differing opinions on how the Halong Bay leg of the trip should of been conducted.  However, for ourselves and the other family group (2 adults 2 children) on board we could not fault Thuy attempts to meet varying expectations of the guest.   There was a diverse mix of patrons with differing desires and we believe Thuy did his best to respond the environment set by the majority of the passengers.  

We welcome the opportunity to communicate in the future should you desire any further feedback. 

Kind Regards,

Ron, Cheryl, Joanna and Kellie 

----- Original Message -----

From: Kirsten Reid

To: The 1 & only REAL Kangaroo Cafe in Viet Nam, Ha Noi Office

Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 6:20 PM

Subject: Thank you 

To whom it may concern 

Last month we did the 3 day tour to Halong Bay (left 28th December) which we really enjoyed. I would like to say a huge thank you to Trung( I hope I have spelt his name correctly). What an asset he is to your company! He was a great tour leader and made our trip to Halong Bay. Trung went out of his way to accomodate everyone and ensure they had a good trip. He related well to all the people in our group and he was fantastic with our four year old son. I would make one recommendation to your tours that the tour leader can eat and be able to share a meal with the group.  

Thank you Kangaroo Cafe and Trung we loved the trip! 

Warm regards 

Kirsten, Glyn and Oscar Reid 


----- Original Message -----

From: Jeanne Connors


Sent: Saturday, December 19, 2009 1:51 AM

Subject: Our fantastic memories  

Hello to everyone at Griswalds Vietnam Vacations,  

I was putting together an iphoto book of some of our past trips and wanted to let you know that our Griswalds Vietnam vacation (August 2003)  was absolutely one of the best! We have such wonderful memories of Vietnam; the quality of our tour, the places we stayed, our meals and the great folks we met could not be beat! Our son's are all grown now (24 and 17) and the time goes by too fast, but we will always have memories of the great trips we have taken and our Vietnam vacation was one of the most outstanding.  Thank you.

We hope all is well and one of these days we will be back for an entire country tour. 

All the best - 

Jeanne, John, Jake and Collin Connors

PS: I have attached a few photos also 

----- Original Message -----

From: Dian and Steve Jahn  
Sent: Saturday, 28 November 2009 1:44 AM
To: Adam Griswald
Subject: Griswalds Vietnamese Tour- The Jahn's 

Hello Griswalds
Thank You to the Griswald organization, to Dzung our delightful guide, and all your partners who made our Vietnamese tour a great travel experience. The tour exceeded our expectations in every way: excellent and experienced guides and drivers; quality accommodations and tour vehicles; and a well planned itinerary each day. We were so glad to be on a tour with "just the two of us" and not herded in a large "bus tour". We were treated like "royalty" and  feel we received a great travel value with Griswald's. 
We were recommended to Griswald's by the Alan and Wendy Chappelow of Sale, Australia, and are happy to recommend your services to our travel friends in the United States. 
Steve & Dian Jahn

 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness", Mark Twain

----- Original Message -----

From: Martin Mallin


Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 5:57 PM

Subject: Greetings from Essex, UK 

Greetings to Max and your adorable staff at the one and only Kangaroo cafe from the old gits, Martin & Jean in Essex, UK.  Well we are back in the cold, windy, wet and recessioned UK with Hanoi a fond memory. 

We just wanted to say a huge thank you for your generosity – unexpected, very welcome, but to quote Python – You are a very naughty boy! 

The Kangaroo mug you gave me as a pressy is now a pen holder by my G5 iMac and will never see liquid again. It’s now a family heirloom. 

I wanted to say that having Kangaroo Cafe on our doorstep greatly enhanced our stay in Hanoi, now our favourite city. Your ‘tucker’ is the best we found anywhere and your burgers and mashed spuds a real comfort food treat.  As for your staff, I wish we could have adopted a couple of them, they were wonderful.  Your Halong Bay trip was a delight, despite the bloody awful weather.  

Five stars everything and a credit to your customer care policy, which I noticed also encompasses the café toilets.  As promised, I have sent my Vietnam log to Lonely Planet, singing your praises and damning the scammers and crap tour operators.

Lastly, I read the rather intimate interview you have pinned up and was pleasantly surprised to see that you are a bit of a lefty.  

I have been a trade unionist for about 40 years, and have been involved in numerous industrial actions - never on the winning side - and in one case on strike for over a year. So the red flag is a bit limp in Essex.  That’s it. I enclose a photo of us in case you’ve forgotten who we are already. Feel free to pin this email up on your notice board. 

Cheers for now, hope to return ASAP, but in the meantime many thanks and all the best for the future,

Martin & Jean

Rayleigh, Essex, UK 


----- Original Message -----

From: David Reid


Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 6:36 AM

Subject: At long last - pics  

Hi Max 

Have included some pics for you from our trip to Hanoi.

thank you for all your help and for the fantastic service we received. Couldn't have done it without you


David & Zelda


----- Original Message -----

From: David Jones


Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 1:16 AM

Subject: Many thanks 

Hi all who work in the Kangaroo cafe,
I have just arrived back in a very cold UK after a wonderful tour of
Vietnam. The people there are wonderful, helpful, kind and full of warm
Thank you for a wonderful trip to Ha Long Bay; even though it was only
1 night and 2 days we were very whol looked after, spoilt in fact and
saw the most amazing scenery ever. It was spectacular, even in the
rain. The tour crammed in so many things and everything was absolutely
perfect, just as it says it will be.
Many thanks and I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know who
goes out to Vietnam.
Enjoy the sunny weather.

Best wishes,
David Jones


----- Original Message -----

From: Thommo


Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:53 PM

Subject: Jason Thomas 

Dear Max, 

I would've liked to have been able to send you my thanks prior, but work has been so hectic since my return from VietNam that this is the first "free" time I've had to correspond. 


From both Samantha and myself, a big thank you to yourself and Cuong for giving us such a wonderful, fulfilling, interesting and impactful tour of VietNam that we will remember with fondness, for life.  Having you and Cuong involved made the trip so much more memorable, personal, easier and with seldom problems / hiccups. (With 18 days I wasn't expecting it to be 100% problem free, especially with the itinerary that I supplied!)

You should feel very proud of yourselves (you, Cuong & Sang), the Kangaroo Cafe and it's overall operation, it's ability to meet and maintain high standards and the deliverance of what's promoted and promised. 

The HaLong Bay boat was lovely, the private tours all well organised and professionally lead by the brilliant Cuong, the transport supplied throughout was comfortable and adequate, the accommodation available was all very good, and the flexibility within the tour was great!  In fact, 95% of the tour was exceptional, with the remaining 5% not being enjoyed due to a majority of external factors beyond your control.  (In time, even these few unfortunate events / circumstances will become funny memories.) 

It was so much fun, that i'm sure I will be back again and without a doubt I will use your services once more.  (Maybe November 2009????)  I will also have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone travelling to VietNam that may need your services or just a good "western" feed when in HaNoi.......vegemite even!!!! 

Anyway, for now, until we speak or meet each other again, stay happy and healthy, with best wishes to your family, and to Cuong and his family. 

Best Regards,

Jason Thomas

(Workshop Supervisor)


----- Original Message -----

From: Chris & Robin


Cc: betty Hummel ; John Gilstrom

Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 6:52 AM

Subject: Vietnam Tour 

Dear Max:  

We are home safe & sound w/so many wonderful memories of our time in Vietnam!   We particularly want to thank you for setting us up w/Dzung as our guide ------ he is fantastic & we wanted to bring him home w/us!   He was our teacher & our protector.  He was so dedicated to making sure Chris & John saw the places they needed to see ------ no matter how off the beaten path or how difficult to find the exact area ----- he was tireless in helping them find what they needed to see & doing whatever they needed to do to move on!   He seemed to understand & make the journey his own ---- we couldn't have asked for a better person to lead the way!   Our entire trip was so well organized & yet, he never lost sight of how we were reacting to the heat or if we were just getting too tired.   He handled the unexpected (my showing up in a wheelchair & Betty being 80 yrs. old) in stride & he made changes as we needed ----- always making it all look so easy!   He has a great sense of humor & is just a fun guy to travel with.

So, Thank you!   We had a wonderful time!   Please tell Dzung that we say Hello & we miss him!

Robin & Chris Lane

----- Original Message -----

From: Chris Regan

To: Kangaroo Max

Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:04 PM

Subject: Thank you 

Dear Max and all the staff at Kangaroo Cafe,

We  are about to leave Hanoi tomorrow after our 8 weeks here and would like to thank you for all your help and great service at the Cafe,

We thought the tours you offer to Sapa and Halong Bay were great and extremely good value,

Best wishes for the future ,
Chris and Daryl Regan

----- Original Message -----

From: Graeme & Sharon

To: Griswalds & the REAL Kangaroo Cafe - Ha Noi Office

Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:46 PM

Subject: Thanks to Kangaroo Cafe


Hi Max, and the Cafe crew, 

Just a quick note to say thanks again for playing a part in our wonderful Vietnam holiday. We had a fantastic time and specifically enjoyed our trips to SaPa and Ha Long Bay. We have some wonderful memories and photos to keep the memories fresh. 

We'll be recommending you guys to anyone we know who is going to Vietnam. 

Thanks again and best wishes!!

Graeme and Sharon Davies 


----- Original Message -----



Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 1:55 PM

Subject: Thanks for a great trip

    Many thanks for arranging a great trip. Everything went to plan and we were greatly impressed
    with the service we received from our guide Cuong who was always happy to fulfill any request of ours.
     The hotels and travel arrangements were all first class and despite Huey weather trying to drown us
    we had a marvellous time at all our destinations. We have happily recommended your service to our
    friends and hope one day we may return to enjoy another taste of Vietnam.
    Best regards.
    Malek,Brian & Allan


----- Original Message -----

From: Adele Christian

To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations

Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 11:45 PM

Subject: Feedback from Christian family holiday 

Hi Griswalds

I just thought I'd like to let you know what a fantastic holiday we had, and what a wonderful country Vietnam is.  It really has everything you could want in a holiday. 

The scenery, the climate (lots of variations) the warm, friendly, happy, proud people, the sights, the history, the culture, the sheer pleasure in sitting on a street corner and "people/bike watching", and great food and shopping, make this country an amazing place to visit.  Don't know how we're ever going to beat this one!!! 

We were very impressed with all aspects of your organization, and would like to thank you for all your efforts in coordinating everything, so that no time was wasted, yet we still had adequate free time. Our guide, Zoom (not sure how to spell it) was fantastic.  Nothing was too much trouble for him.  One day, he even had our driver pull over in traffic, so that he could jump out and buy us some fresh jackfruit to try, and the moist wipes and water that were provided whenever we hopped back into the van after a little adventure were most welcome.  Also, he would often ask the driver to slow down a little, if he knew we were trying to take photos.  It was these little touches that made us feel very special and welcome in his country.  The flowers at the airport for Georgina and myself were also a wonderful surprise. 

Since our return, I've been singing your praises to all who ask about our trip, and I think there might be a few people who'll make some enquiries shortly. 

I've attached a few of our favourite pics, which you're free to use in any way you want. 

Again, thank-you....... or should I say "cum mon". 

Kindest regards, Adele 

PS John and Zoom talked about exchanging email addresses, but never actually did it.  We're not sure if Zoom was really interested in this, or if he was just being polite.  If you are in contact with him, and he is happy to keep contact, can you please forward my email address to him?


----- Original Message ----
From: Pincus Family
Sent: Monday, January 26 2009 5:54 PM
Subject: Feedback on our trip

Dear Griswalds

We have been back in Australia now for a week, life is returning to normal. I have been back at work for a couple of days, Kathy started back at work today and our boys are enjoying their remaining days of freedom until the regime of school and sport resumes later this week.

Our family and friends have been inundated by digital picture slideshows and stories of our time and adventures in Vietnam. Griswalds, Kangaroo Café and Vinh have been featuring strongly in our stories getting great ‘wraps’ from all of us.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and so glad that we found Griswalds and so lucky to have had Vinh as our guide. His easy going and relaxed demeanor, fitted in well with our travelling group. His advice and recommendations were always spot on. He was invaluable for Kathy when she had to take Norm to the hospital in Hue. He developed a special bond with our boys particularly our youngest Riley. He became more like a friend than a guide indeed I would say he is now a part of our family.

Your help and guidance to Kathy in planning our trip has helped ensured its success, for any other clients considering a similar tour I would encourage them to also include the extra rest days. Our rest days particularly in the later half of the trip made a big difference.

The Kangaroo Café was our home away from home in Hanoi, particularly helpful when our group included a 10 year old who eats next to nothing through to a 74 year old. It was so easy to know that all we had to do was walk not much more than 10 mins around the lake to be at our little piece of Aussie. As we toured around Vietnam we found numerous other interesting and family popular eateries and some like Cargo came to match the feeling we enjoyed in Hanoi.  Our hotel accommodation and internal transport arrangements were all quite acceptable. Travelling out of season as such meant that we could not or did not do everything we might have otherwise done. At Ha Long bay only the bravest of our boy’s and indeed no well else from our boat took the cold and watery plunge.

Despite the unseasonal rains in Hue and Hoi An we enjoyed ourselves and we all would liked to have had more time in Hoi An.

Our time in Sa Pa was enjoyed by all, the evening power failure made for romantic if not slightly random dining as we picked our restaurant in the dark and enjoyed wood fired pizza, spring rolls and other fare by candle light. Koo, our guide in Sa Pa, was another success, she and Kathy hit it off. She reminded us of our French exchange daughter their personalities and mannerisms were practically the same.

In Nha Trang ‘Cyclo’ restaurant was a favorite particularly of Riley’s and another popular local find was the Real Italian ice-cream store, although it is interesting to reflect as one is enjoying a fresh cappuccino and their Italian ice-cream that it cost almost as much as the dinner consumed only 30 minutes earlier.

I glad we made the trip inland to Buon Me Thot it is fairly apparent that not that many western tourists do. I will confess that of all the hotels and towns we visited this was the least enjoyable but if we had not made this detour we would have missed the elephants.  The elephants and Ban Don Village provided more than adequate compensation for any failings of the Whitehorse hotel and Buon Me Thot.

In Ho Chi Minh City we enjoyed the outdoor dining at the night market, even Riley’s palette developed with a taste for Vegetarian Spring Rolls, BBQ Elephant Ear fish and BBQ Snapper. However we could not convince Kathy to try any of the hapless frogs strung up in the outdoor kitchen waiting for a customer to order.

In our final days in Vietnam we were spoilt rotten by the Rex hotel’s breakfast each morning, nothing beats relaxing with the Vietnam news and an endless supply of coffee and pastries. The boys and Norm were in breakfast heaven, each morning, as they explored the seeming endless array of food that covered almost half the room.

I have attached a few pictures from the Café, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

Thanks again for all that you do and did so that we were able to have a most enjoyable holiday and time in Vietnam.

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

Tony, Kathy, Mitchell, Nathan & Riley Pincus


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Fri 30/01/2009 3:00 PM
To: STA Travel Central Melbourne BSM
Subject: Re: Welcome home!

Hey Leonie,

Thanks! Yeah, we had an awesome time. Thanks especially for the tip about Kangaroo Cafe - they did a really good Sapa and Halong Bay tour, which was so well organised (especially when we traveled south and used other tour groups).



----- Original Message -----

From: Alex Bukarica

Sent: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 11:03:43 +1100
Subject: Thanks for a Great Holiday! 

Attention: Max Hart, Kangaroo Cafe, Ha Noi 

Dear Max, 

I wanted to send this short email to say that it was great to catch up and that Lisa, Ned and I had a wonderful time in Vietnam.

I am glad we took up your 23 day "Grand Tour of Vietnam". The accomodation, tours, food and guides exceeded our expectations throughout the trip. There were no serious hiccups and your guides were very receptive to our needs, particularly in regards to having an 11 year old boy in tow. 

I think your knockabout Aussie image is really a clever ruse to disguise the fact that you run a very efficient and professional operation. Or as we might say back at home, you do come the raw prawn, but you're really the cat's pyjamas! 

We have only been home for a day and a bit, so the sounds, smells and images of Vietnam are still vivid. If I get the opportunity to go back for another visit, I 'll be there in two shakes.  Can you please pass on our regards to all the people involved in helping us have a great holiday, particularly Ms Sang, Mr Truong, Mr Diep and particularly Mr Dung. I expect them all to have received big fat Tet bonuses comrade ! 

Anyhow, when you are next in Sydney give me a bell and we'll have a barbie.

Cheers and Happy Tet 

PS Ned thinks your burgers are the best he had in Vietnam

Alex Bukarica
National Legal Officer
CFMEU Mining and Energy Division 


----- Original Message ----
From: Steven Bliim
Sent: Friday, January 16 2009 5:40 AM
Subject: Recent trip

Max, Thuy and Crew

Thank you all, and particularly Ha and Da, for a wonderful holiday in your beautiful and exciting country. We have been back for some days now and while we enjoy being home we do miss Viet Nam. 

The standard of accommodation and service was exceptional. My wife’s sister and her family visited Viet Nam the Christmas before last and I am sure that we had a much better time due to the quality of your tour. 

While it was a difficult choice I think that Ha Noi was our favourite city but maybe we need to give the south a little more time. Sandy and I have decided that we will definitely be back and when we do we will arrange our trip with you. 

Looking forward to seeing you again.

Steven Bliim

Barrister at Law

Pitt St, Sydney


----- Original Message ----
From: Adele Christian
Sent: Wednesday, January 14 2009 11:45 PM
Subject: Feedback from Christian family tour

Hi Griswalds
I just thought I'd like to let you know what a fantastic holiday we had, and what a wonderful country Vietnam is.  It really has everything you could want in a holiday. The scenery, the climate (lots of variations) the warm, friendly, happy, proud people, the sights, the history, the culture, the sheer pleasure in sitting on a street corner and "people/bike watching", and great food and shopping, make this country an amazing place to visit.  Don't know how we're ever going to beat this one!!!
We were very impressed with all aspects of your organization, and would like to thank you for all your efforts in coordinating everything, so that no time was wasted, yet we still had adequate free time. Our guide, Zoom (not sure how to spell it) was fantastic.  Nothing was too much trouble for him.  One day, he even had our driver pull over in traffic, so that he could jump out and buy us some fresh jackfruit to try, and the moist wipes and water that were provided whenever we hopped back into the van after a little adventure were most welcome.  Also, he would often ask the driver to slow down a little, if he knew we were trying to take photos.  It was these little touches that made us feel very special and welcome in his country.  The flowers at the airport for Georgina and myself were also a wonderful surprise.
Since our return, I've been singing your praises to all who ask about our trip, and I think there might be a few people who'll make some enquiries shortly.
I've attached a few of our favourite pics, which you're free to use in any way you want.
Again, thank-you....... or should I say "cum mon".
Kindest regards, Adele
PS John and Zoom talked about exchanging email addresses, but never actually did it.  We're not sure if Zoom was really interested in this, or if he was just being polite.  If you are in contact with him, and he is happy to keep contact, can you please forward my email address to him?


----- Original Message ----
From: Belinda Chadwick
Sent: Monday, June 30 2008 11:53 AM
Subject: Vietnam tour

Hello all at Griswalds
I just wanted to say thank you for a fabulous trip to Vietnam!

Sue and I had the most wonderful time and even now 3 weeks after our
return we are finding it difficult to adjust to "normal" life after
experiencing, however briefly, the astonishing people and the culture of
such an amazing country. The 4 guides who looked after us at various
times were always knowledgeable, helpful and extremely considerate of
our needs. Mr Thao's ability to immediately make us feel at home when we
first arrived in Hanoi was greatly appreciated. We found his quiet
sensitivity to be a perfect introduction to Vietnam and there were a few
tears shed when it came to saying goodbye. We had Ms Hue for one tour
day in Hanoi and once again were treated to another day to remember. In
Sa Pa we were lucky to have both Mr Thao and Ms Yem (and quite a few
other "helpers" on our trekking days!) which made our couple of days
there a wonderful highlight of the trip. For the remainder of the trip
Mr Dat guided us with great stories and alot of humour.

I hope at least Max is enjoying the "Billy Tea" because I think the
taste is probably way to bitter for our Vietnamese guides. I am drinking
alot more jasmine and lotus tea now, also lots of lime, ginger and honey
hot drinks which we got a taste for in SaPa (along with the beer of

The only hiccup in the trip was arriving in HCM City to a hotel with no
window in our room so I was happy to upgrade to one with a window to
quell my claustophobic fears.

Thanks again to everyone. I would have no hesitation in recommending
Griswalds to other travellers and may indeed be talking to you again
next year - this time with husband in tow.

Best wishes

Belinda Chadwick


----- Original Message ----
From: Ron & Donna

CC: Viv & Tilly Withers
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 9.30 PM
Subject: Our recent trip to Vietnam


Hi Griswalds

Could you please also forward this email to Max and Mado as well.
Firstly on behalf of ourselves and Viv & Tilly, may we thank you sincerely for such a great tour!  The arrangements were superior to what we expected, the hotels really very good and the meals (with a few exceptions) really first class.  Every one directly associated with your organisation were polite,  competent,friendly and so helpful; 
Our greatest asset:  Son  - A really excellent young man, who was not only friendly and helpful, but also quite "caring" for the welfare of  his guests - three of us had some "discomfort" during the trip for various reasons but Son was always concerned  and mindful of the situation..  Son was exceptional and took care of any issues ..   .. Nothing was too much trouble, he was an excellent guide and quite knowledgeable and really interesting.  We were sad to leave him at the airport as he has become in a short time like one of our children ...   You do have a really valuable asset in him.
Our itinerary and Son's management of it gave us a lot to do balanced off with a goodly amount of time "on our own" so to speak.  It seemed that Son and the tour activities were there to put in as much as possible and then we had "free time "  to recuperate!!!
We are already thinking about our next trip to Vietnam and you can be assured that we will want to arrange it through your firm .  We have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Griswald's to our friends and acquaintances who are considering a trip to Vietnam.
Once again thank you one and all 
Au revoir!! 
Ron and Donna


----- Original Message ----
From: Corrie and Don Willoughby
Sent: Sunday, May 18 2008 1:40 PM
Subject: Thanks for the tour

We would just like to thank the team at Griswalds and the Kangaroo Cafe for our great tour we finished on the 5th.  We especially would like to thank Hue for the excellent cultural knowledge she added to our understanding of the Vienamese people and history.
I have enclosed some photos one taken of her risking the top of Rhodadendron falls in her mountain climbing sandles and another a candid pic taken with a sneaky long lens as she was chatting to Corrie.  I think this pic captures her well and would look good on your site.

Thanks again

Corrie and Don Willoughby


----- Original Message ----
From: David Coulthard
Sent: Friday, April 18 2008 8:10 PM
Subject: Trip Thanks


Just a quick note to thank you and to convey our warmest thanks for the sensational trip organised for us. Every aspect of the trip was simply great; from the wonderful accomodation to the transport we used throught Vietnam.

Our guide, Cuong was brilliant. A very funny and knowledgable person who was happy to answer all our questions, whether inane or otherwise in a most patient and courteous manner. We cannot thank him enough and he was a large part of our enjoyment of a wonderful country. Please give him our best regards.

We would not hesitate to recommend Griswald's to anyone wanting to visit Vietnam.

Once again our sincere thanks for our brilliant trip.


David and Glenda Coulthard and Peter and Carole Grant.


----- Original Message ----
From: Paul Pearce
Sent: Saturday, 12 April 2008 5:56 AM
Subject: Great Holiday

Dear Kangarooers
We have just arrived home from one of the greatest adventures of our life. We spent 2 weeks in Vietnam under your careful guidance. Despite a stuff up by our airline we were warmly welcomed, with flowers, by Than at the Hanoi airport at 11PM ( we were supposed to arrive at 7:30AM) and taken to the first of many great hotels. Around Hanoi and Ha Long Bay the two guides were really great and we thank them for their taking great care of us. How do you find such good people?
Then we were handed over to one of the national treasures of Vietnam, Mr Huyhn Thuong. When you award 10 out of 10 what next? Mr Thuong. What an asset for you to have him on board. His knowledge of Vietnamese history from way back when the Cham people had most of the country  right up to today was incredible. His personality fabulous and he was so relaxed with us so it was no time at all till we felt we were travelling with a family member or very dear friend.  I think he deserves a BIG bonus from Max.
Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful country with us and we hope to be back
Untill chúng tôi gap tro lai

Paul and Kate

PS I hope that translation is ok.


----- Original Message ----
From: Peter Clancy
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:43 AM
Subject: Congratulations - Well done

We returned yesterday from Vietnam after our 21 day tour. We are happy to report that we are extremely satisfied with all the arrangements made by Griswald's on our behalf. The welcome by our guide Mr. Dzung (Zoom) was both very personable and professional. He made us feel right at ease from our first moments of our meeting. All accommodation was first rate and in a number of cases exceeded our expectations. All travel arrangements including train, planes, cars, boats, buses and drivers were without fault. Provided meals were extremely good with interesting variety and more than adequate even for those with large appertites. The Griswald itinerary, with the added side tours, provides both an insite into the vietnamese culture and a good coverage of the unique natural and man made features of both North and South Vietnam.
At a personal level we would like to thank the minority guides from the Sapa area who were always happy, bouyant and keen to please. They made huge efforts to fulfil commitments impacted by the unseasonal cold and damp weather during our visit to Sapa.
We much appreciated the professionalism of all the guides with whom we had contact.They are a credit to Griswalds. Mr. Dzung, our guide, was most punctual and attentive at all times and is a credit to his country, his family and his employer. To him our most sincere thanks.
Griswald's Vietnamese Vacations is a well organised and well run organisation and provides good value for money. We would highly recommend Griswald's to anyone.
Please pass on our thanks to all involved in Australia and especially those in Vietnam.
Peter and Laraine Clancy
P.S. Where is the phantom? Where is the cafe? Due to the TET holiday we neither got to experience the Kangaroo Cafe nor did we get to meet Max. Is he a phantom? Does the Cafe really exist? Perhaps even the kangaroo is a myth? Please help us out. Send a cardboard cutout of Max outside the Kangaroo cafe. Then I'll become a believer.
Thank you again.
Peter C.

Here he is !!!

Max & Glenn A Baker, live & unplugged at the REAL Kangaroo Café in beautiful down town Ha Noi !!!


----- Original Message ----
From: Lynn Cowley
Sent: Thursday, 8 November, 2007 11:41 AM
Subject: Trip feedback


We have returned from our trip.  we had a fantastic time, managed to duck & weave between typhoons & landslides, copped some rain however.

We were very happy with our guides, Cuong was our main guide and he was great. we had Bee up in Sapa, she was georgous. Accomodation was top all the way around. we never made it up to Back Ha (or is it Bach Ma) the National Park so can't comment on that. It was very handy having our own personal guide and transport to get us around where the communication would have been difficult and also get those little bits & pieces done. also to take us to the good eating places and suggest what would be good to try.

I think if we were doing it all again we would not upgrade our accomodation. in hoi an our first night was at the lotus (that is the night we were meant to be in Bach Ma/Ha.) then we went to the riverside. we would have been perfectly happy to stay in the lotus - more vietnamese and less sort of touristy. also price of food & drinks were quite high. in HCM we found the Rex a bit upmarket and over the top. we loved the hotel in Han Oi, the Phuc Loi. had to be in room 201, 301 or 401. we had another little room way up the top one night which was very clean, but not as good as the others.

anyway I have 2 questions:

Cuong took us to a woodwork village. what would I have to do to get myself a dining room setting from there. they have a web site but I have lost it, unless it is coming in the stuff we shipped back from Hoi An. also I am not sure about customs etc. how would I go about the whole thing, from choosing what I want etc.

a couple of girls are planning a trip back next year - a girls thing mostly about shopping. probably only Hoi An and HCM. do you have any suggestions about that type of trip and other things we could do - between fittings and shopping.

Thanks for a really well organised trip.



----- Original Message ----
From: Margaret Hosking
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 8:09 AM
Subject: Back Home !

Well, we are back home now with so many happy memories. 

Thanks for making such a great holiday for us.  Dzung was a fantastic guide. He was quietly efficient and looked after us with great care. He also "read" us well and suggested fun and interesting diversions which made our trip extra special. He was very good at filling us in on all the extra bits which rounded out our understanding of Vietnam, its people and culture. The weather was not kind at times but he reorganised the schedule with no fuss.

We felt a bit spoilt at times having our own guide, but  really appreciated our situation when we saw large groups being herded about. It also made for great efficiency as we didn't waste time shopping for hotels, tours etc.

Up in Sapa, Bee and her Hmong friends looked after us very well, especially as some of our walks were more like mud-skating !  The pace was just right - we experienced plenty, but were not conscious of rush - we could savour each day.

We found all the hotels to be good. The only thing we would have changed (along with the rest of the Halong Bay group) was to have 2 nights on the boat on Halong Bay and skip Cat Ba island.

We loved Vietnam, with all its layers and contradictions. The people are lovely and very considerate. We'll be telling our friends, and we hope to back back at some stage - maybe when the Hoi An clothes wear out and we need some more!

Thanks very much,

Margaret and Maurice


----- Original Message ----
From: Todd Ransome
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 6:07 AM
Subject: Many many thanks

hi there,
i would just like to say thank you so much to Kangaroo Cafe for our trip to Halong Bay.

WE have travelled a fair bit around the world, and I would have to say that this was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had.

The staff and guides were magnificent and Halong Bay is breathtaking.

Thanks again

Todd Ransome and family inc baby Kooper...


----- Original Message ----
From: Patrick Kearney
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:20 AM
Subject: Back Home !

Hi Max, Vinh and everyone at the Kangaroo Café,

What a holiday! We've fallen in love - with an entire country!

We had a wonderful time in Vietnam, we both agree we enjoyed North to Mid Vietnam more than the south, although our trip on the Mekong River was fantastic (Jane's still showing off her muscles developed while rowing up tributaries). 

Everyone told us we'd love Hoi An, and they were right, our wardrobes expanded and I think our waist measurements did too.  The Banana Leaf Café was a hit in Hoi An and the Vegetarian Restaurant in Hie is top of our list for several repeat meals, although we must not forget to mention your very own Kangaroo Café - those banana crepes are definitely on our list.

Although we were disappointed that we were not able to stay overnight on the boat at Ha Long Bay, you certainly made us feel very special with a sail around the bay in our very own Junk, accompanied by a magnificent seafood lunch.

As you've probably guessed, we are already planning our next trip to Vietnam - naturally we'll be booking everything through Griswalds and The Kangaroo Café with a request for Vinh, the best guide in Vietnam and one of the nicest people we've ever met!  We can't imagine seeing the sights of Vietnam without Vinh's knowledge and humour!!

We'd also like to say a very special thanks to you Max, for your friendship, all your assistance, including taking us to a great Optometrist and most of all, making our 30th Wedding Anniversary extra special with Vinh's presentation of an enormous chocolate, cream and strawberry gateau!!!!!

We've included some photos for your wall at the Café and for Vinh, including a great shot of Vinh performing the "Flying Lotus".

Best wishes to all,

Patrick & Jane Kearney


----- Original Message ----
From: Lynda Leslie
Sent: Wednesday, 26 September, 2007 2:14 PM
Subject: Thankyou for holiday

Hi Max/
Just a brief note to say many thanks for providing me with a memorable experience on my two week Vietnamese Sojourn.
Please pass on my thanks to Son-Nguyen my guide who even though at times was confronted by a cranky and confused individual helped me with everything from the cuisine to the currency.
Kind regards
Lynda Leslie


----- Original Message ----
From: natasha pin abrantes
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 4:35 PM
Subject: Best experience in Vietnam !

Hi Max,
I had the pleasure to book some tours with Kangaroo in September 2007.  Both tours Ha Long Bay and Sapa were just wonderful! I'm traveling for 11 months now and I can compare and say there is a difference in service!
The tours were really well organised and the needs of tourists were taken into account.  Our charming guide Quy did a terrific job in answering our questions and make us feel at home on the Ha Long Bay tour. To see the huge rocks climing out of the see on a lovely traditional boat is a special experience!
I also would like to recommend the Sapa tour with the homestay: a nice trekking in the marvelous green mountains and a visit to the colourful market is a must!
Thank you for everything!


----- Original Message ----
From: Alma Schleider
Sent: Thursday, 7 June, 2007 12:30:18 PM
Subject: Vietnam Holiday

Thank you both for organising such a wonderful holiday for  Alma and Joan.  We were met at the airport by our guide Dzung with a bunch of red roses each and that was just a foretaste of what was to come.   Hotels were great - food was great - excursions were great and we had the added advantage of having our guide all to ourselves.  I would be pleased if you could pass these comments on to the Kangaroo Cafe people as we really had a wonderful holiday. 

Thank you again   Alma Schleider


----- Original Message ----
From: Denis Forrer
Cc: Kevan Porter
Sent: Thursday, 7 June, 2007 12:30:18 PM
Subject: Trip feedback

Thank you for the excellent trip you organised for us during May.  I rate this as one of our better holidays and would recommend Griswalds highly. 

The organisation was excellent from the welcome at the airport in Hanoi with flowers for the ladies ( 2 couples travelled together)  to being accompanied to the airport in HCM City for our departure.  Everything went smoothly and when there was a hitch (flights were delayed twice) we were notified early or other arrangements made.  The assistance with the planning and flexibility of the activities in establishing an itinerary were appreciated.  We got the holiday we wanted

We chose superior accommodation with deluxe in HCM City.  An excellent choice as the accommodation was generally very comfortable, clean and many had swimming pools, breakfasts were good and hotels were ideally situated.  The one exception was in Sa Pa where accommodation was pretty basic and our room remained unserviced for the 2 days we were there.  The women also found the climb to the hotel a bit daunting but what a view ! 

Halong Bay was a great side trip but the boat needs some additional deck chairs and upper deck shade would be an improvement. 

We found all the transport that was arranged very good.  Your drivers were always cautious and courteous.  The caution bit was really appreciated for the first few days until we became accustomed to the traffic. 

A highlight must be the excellent tour leaders.  To have Cuong with us from go to whoa (except for Sa Pa) was great.  He never got frazzled or let anything annoy him - at least from what we could see. 

Well done 

Denis and Llianne Forrer


----- Original Message -----
From: Anne Firkin
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 5:34 PM
Subject: Thanks!!

Hi Max
Just as we were settling back into life in Coffs Harbour and Vietnam
seemed just a distant memory, all was revived today when we saw you on TV  on The World Around Us - Train Journeys in Vietnam, and all the memories of our wonderful holiday came flooding back.

Thanks for your hospitality and to your wife and your staff for making our three weeks so enjoyable and memorable.  All our guides, especially Kien and Sho, were fantastic and nothing seemed too much trouble.

We have already given your card to a couple of prospective tourists (and an air hostess whose husband has applied for a job in Hanoi) and just today forwarded your web site details to friends who are contemplating a trip to Vietnam later this year.

Our best wishes to Hue in her new venture - our pampering experience
certainly indicated that she will do well.

Thanks again.

Anne, Geoff and Mitchell Firkin


----- Original Message ----- 
Paul Dudley 
Wednesday, May 09, 2007 6:24 PM
Our 28-day Vietnam Grand Tour

You would probably find interesting and useful things in my documentation of the trip you organised for us in April.  Use my pictures and comments as you like, but I would appreciate acknowledgment for the pictures.  It was a good trip thank you.  In particular, Dzung and Thuong were wonderful guides.

Look at:

Paul Dudley (and Frances Grant)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: John & Pam Doniger 
Thursday, May 03, 2007 5:58 PM
Please forward to Max @ Kangaroo cafe.

Max, Kein, Sho,Twe and all the staff at the REAL Kangaroo Cafe,

    John and I would just like to say what a wonderful time we had on our recent holiday. When my sister-in-law, Anne Firkin, first asked us to join her and her family on a holiday organised by Griswalds Vietnam Vacations, we were to say the least, sceptical. However I must say that the three weeks spent touring Vietnam, the itinerary which was organised by Griswalds, exceeded all our expectations. The little touches eg; late check-out 2100hrs, and booking the entire compartment on the train were  much appreciated. The guides we had, Sho in SaPa, Twe (sorry if spelling is incorrect) at Ha Long Bay and Kein for the remainder of the time, were not only very knowledgeable but their enthusiasm  made us feel that we were old friends, not new acquaintances. I'm sure that for Kein especially, to be away from his little boy for such a long period must have been hard. The cafe staff were, without exception, a pleasure to meet and the food "bloody beaut". We still think the spring rolls the best in Vietnam.

    Max, your hospitality and generosity will long be remembered, and Hue we wish you every success in your new venture. The massage, pedicure and manicure was another pleasant indulgence.

    Again many thanks for ensuring that our first trip to Vietnam wont be our last. Please feel free to use this recommendation.

    John & Pam Doniger


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Maggie Hayes 
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:50 PM
Subject: Recent Vietnam Holiday

I have recently returned from a 2 week guided tour which was organized by Griswalds. I was among a group of 9 Aussies  (7 female plus 2 husbands) , average age 50'ish with a 27year old male guide. We all wanted to take him home, our trip was sensational, every day ran smoothly and was a new adventure. Kien (our guide) was in tune with us and we enjoyed many laughs.


My best friend enjoyed her 50th birthday onboard a junk on Howlong Bay, and with little notification Kien had organized a magnificent cake and a bottle of bubbly - very memorable!  I would certainly go back and travel with Griswalds as the accommodation was more than expected and I woke up early each day eager to enjoy a new adventure - words on an itinerary turned into an amazing holiday !


thanks Kien and thanks Griswalds and Kangaroo Cafe.
Happy holidays - Maggie - Sydney - Australia October 2006


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Lynne Mitchell 
Saturday, July 15, 2006 3:56 AM
Subject: Remembering Vietnam

Hello Jo
I have been back in Toronto for a month and the wonderful memories of a very hot and humid Vietnam are still vivid.  Sara and I had a wonderful experience. The itinerary worked well, the accommodation also. The hotel in Hanoi was in a great location; but the room was a bit gloomy.
Sapa was definitely a highlight. The trekking, the accommodation, the view. Overnight train very comfortable.  Our guide was delightful and took very good care of us and was a lot of fun. Even if we did miss our plane out of Na Trang because he got the time mixed up. He was more upset than we were. Our schedule was rearranged with no problem and we carried on enjoying every aspect of the trip. We loved dinner at the kangaroo Cafe; a lovely touch that made us feel very welcome.  So thank you for helping us  acquire good memories for a lifetime, of a mom and daughter travelling together in a very far away and wonderful country. I Hope this finds you well. Please pass on our regards to our dear guide. Through him, we got an understanding of life in Vietnam that we wouldn't otherwise acquired because of language barriers. Our Sapa guide, Chai, was also a delight
I am anxiously awaiting Sara's return from Israel where she is under rocket attack in the northern city of Nahariya. Safety and security, such as we experienced in Vietnam, are precarious and precious  commodities indeed, while travelling on this planet.
Best Regards
Lynne Mitchell


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Peter West 
Sunday, January 29, 2006 7:34 PM
West Family Holiday 

Dear Max
I am writing to tell you what a fantastic holiday Jane and I and our three boys had in Vietnam.  It was a truly life changing experience.  Jane and I both agreed that the opportunity to live in Hanoi for a while would be great as it was our favourite place.  It is a beautiful, exciting country and its history reminded us how short our own Australian history really is.  All of us had a great holiday and learned a great deal.  As you probably know, it is pretty hard to cater for the varied interests of 2 adults and three boys of such disparate ages as ours (17yrs, 14 yrs and 9 yrs) but this one succeeded.  So much so, that we are already planning our next holiday around May 2007! 
Our arrangements were perfect.  Madeleine in Sydney is to be commended for communicating with us all through the period while we were preparing for our holiday and for responding quickly to every request for advice.  Taking a family overseas can be a pretty worrying experience and she made sure we knew what was going on and what to expect whenever we had questions.  Our guide, Vinh was wonderful.   He went to great lengths to make sure all our interests and needs were accommodated and that we were comfortable and happy all the time.  He took the time to make sure the boys had everything they needed and he was always patient and good humoured.  Vinh made sure that we had plenty of time to explore and he was always ready with explanations and assistance.  We saw so much and he made sure that there were no problems along the way.  We also appreciated his local and historical knowledge.  We hope to see Vinh again when we return to Vietnam.  Duin (I hope I have the spelling right) who was our guide at Ho Long Bay was great fun and made a wonderful effort with the boys.
We felt very welcome in Vietnam.  To tell the truth, we didn't know what to expect but we are very glad that we went.  We felt really sorry to leave!  We are busy recommending Griswalds, the Kangaroo Cafe and Vietnam to everyone!!  Thank you for a wonderful holiday and we look forward to our next visit.  If you would like some photos please just let me know and I'll forward them.
Kind regards
Peter and Jane West


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Wayne Cook 
Wednesday, April 27, 2005 4:54 PM
Subject: Thanks for the trip

Max and Cafe Team,

Just a follow up to express our thanks for your organisation and friendship throughout our Vietnam tour with your company. We were delighted with every aspect of the tour, from accommodation to the many sights we experienced.  We would like to express our sincere delight with having Kien as our tour guide, his attitude and attention to detail made our holiday easy, enjoyable and most of all memorable.

Thank you once again.

Wayne and Helen Cook, David and Karen Sturtridge


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Greg Dombkins
Sent: Monday, May 10,
2004 5:10 PM

Hi Max,

                            I'm sorry for being so late in my feedback to you regarding our 23 day Vietnam tour last Feb / March. In a word it was "fantastic" so thankyou both for facilitating a memorable holiday for us. Some general comments for your interest & then a favour .............

1) Our guide "Long", was excellent. Not only was he knowledgeable but also courteous, friendly, helpful, humorous, protective, etc, etc. He is certainly a "resource" you should appreciate, nurture & reward since he brings high value to your business

2) We had some contact with others in your office & they were also high quality. The only people caution comment is one regarding Kien who was our guide for Halong bay, & 2 Hanoi day tours. He is a lovely boy but is nowhere near the same class as your other staff. Maybe you should go on tour with him sometimes to gain a better appreciation of how he can learn to improve.

3) You must have scratched your head when I suggested we have a better class of room than you had planned for us since we were "blown away" by the accommodation standard. The Riverside Hotel in Hoi Ann was simply wonderful.

4) In retrospect, if I was to start planning again, I might reconsider our visit to Buon Me Thuot since it was a long way for predominantly 'an elephant ride' (even though we appreciated viewing the countryside)

5) We would also limit our stay in Hue to 2 nights / 2 days

6) Sapa was magnificent even though in the clouds during our stay & we should have stayed one more night to enjoy a home stay opportunity. The Bak Ha market was certainly a highlightWe are certainly recommending Vietnam & your company to all our friends so thankyou again.  Now for the favour........

Would you please pass on the attached photos to Long. He mentioned his family had not seen him with elephants & I promised to send him some examples via your Hanoi office. I've significantly reduced their size so if I have over-done this please let me know & I'll resend.  Thanks again. 

Kind regards 

Greg & Barbara  


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Adena
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 1:29 AM

Dear eam Griswald,

After fully recovering from some serious jet lag and culture shock, I'm am enthused to tell you that my trip to Vietnam was wonderful. From a practical standpoint, everything went smoothly and the organization was wonderful. The itinerary you put together was great. I enjoyed the range of geography and the urban and rural combinations. From a personal perspective it was an educational and fascinating trip, one that I will always remember. I like to highly commend my tour guide Hi. She was enthusiastic and energetic throughout our time together. He background in Vietnamese culture and custom were invaluable assets. On a personal note, I found Hi to be a wonderful travel partner. She was my gateway to Vietnam and my time there was much enhanced by her presence.

Thanks again for putting together a great trip for me.
With warm regards,
New York.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jeannine O'Brien 
To: 'Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations' 
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 9:42 AM
Subject: RE: Vietnam

Hi Max

Thanks for your e-mail, we left on the 28th Dec but I'm writing to say that Kangaroo Cafe is Fantastic. We went from the airport straight there on a wet Hanoi night and your staff organised accommodation for us which wasn't easy to find at the time and it was on closing time at the cafe. We were very grateful for their efforts. After that if became like a meeting point, a haven if you like for excellent coffee and food. The breakfast was a regular treat. We also did the Halong Bay and Cat Ba tour which we thoroughly enjoyed, again your staff and tour guides were fantastic. Kangaroo Cafe was a wealth of information and resources, we loved being able to go there and sit around over a fabulous meal to discuss what to do next, with the helpful input of the staff. I have done a lot of travel and it's always great to find somewhere like the cafe that is so geared to accommodate travellers, with knowledgeable English speaking staff that are willing to help out and have a bit of fun at the same time.  Can you pass on our heartfelt thanks to the staff at the cafe, and Congratulations to you for The Kangaroo Cafe.
Warm Regards

Jeannine O'Brien

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sue Wragg" 
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, January 19, 2003 1:20 PM
Subject: Thank you

Dear Max and all at the Kangaroo,

We had the best of intentions of contacting you sooner but have atlas got to it. Thank you all for such a wonderful two weeks in Hanoi and the north in September. From the time you met us at the airport until your driver took us back we had a great time. 

The MOD Palace in Hanoi was safe, clean, cool and quiet. What more could we want !  It is a great city to explore and we enjoyed spending a number of days there between our tours to Sapa and Halong Bay. 

The holiday was great value for money and you made sure that everything was arranged and went without a hitch. Your whole team from the cafe to the guides in Sapa and Halong Bay are efficient, polite and great fun. Our families and friends were amazed that two middle aged women travelled to the remote mountains but we felt safe at all times. Although the tiny hill tribe women were amazes at our well covered frames which caused great hilarity.

We recommend anyone travelling to Vietnam to book with you and have a great holiday at a reasonable cost. Only two suggestions come to mind to make it even better. Improve the ladder on the beautiful Halong Bay boat ( even the young fit ones found it difficult and remind guests of the departure tax. I
was 20000 dong sort so was forced to use a 100US note and was short changed by about $30US ! 

A number of snaps are attached, you are welcome to use if you want and I hope the girls in Sapa can see them.I will sent the rest in a separate email so file is not too big Again thank you all and we hope to return soon unless that bastard Bush prevents us..

Warm regards
Susan and Sue 
Melbourne VIC, Australia

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Nigel Scott 
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations 
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 4:25 AM
Subject: Return of The Scott's

Hi All

We made it back safe and sound, We already miss the horns and post card vendors!!!   I would like to thank you all both at Griswalds and the Kangaroo Cafe for a wonderful trip.  It really did meet all of our expectations and hopes for the perfect family vacation.  You provided us with the perfect mix of luxury and adventure and I can not say enough about the wonderful people who work for you and how well they looked after our family. Please give our best to everyone and We'll be Back!!!

Thanks again
Nigel, Anita .Laurel and Wesley
Victoria BC, Canada


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Barbara Dawson
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 2:23 PM
Subject: Our Vietnamese vacation

Dear Max,

We've been back a week now and have been really busy, thrown back into work again.  Our holiday was just marvellous!! The itinerary Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations came up with suited our needs perfectly and compared to all my friends who've been, I really think our time there was by far the most "valuably" spent! Kangaroo cafe and staff were faultless - it felt like a "safe haven" there each time we walked in the door. 

Everyone made us feel special and valued. We've both travelled heaps and regard this as one of our best organised and productive holidays. We couldn't sing your praises highly enough to fellow travellers we met on the way- many seemed envious of our itinerary. You certainly removed all "headaches" and uncertainty from our travels in Vietnam.

My friend Robyn, who lives in Saigon, was equally impressed with our itinerary and the degree of individual attention and care we received from your staff. She will certainly be commending your services to future visitors, as will we!!

I couldn't name a highlight of the trip Madeline - it was all fantastic. Your local guides were wonderful- Nghook (can't spell her name) felt like a close friend by the end and we really valued her input and services.

All credit to you!! Thanks again - if you want to quote me for any of your promotional stuff OR have me add more, please just say so.

Kind regards
Barbara DAWSON (and Brian!!)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Natalie Reid 
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2002 12:00 PM


Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for making our trip to Vietnam more enjoyable. 3 of us booked the Halong Bay & Cat Ba trip and all of us had a fantastic time. Staying overnight on the boat in the Bay was a definite highlight and it was good to visit Cat Ba also.  We also enjoyed visiting the Cafe a couple of times during our stay in Hanoi.  so thanks again and if I ever visit Vietnam again I'll come back for more.  cheers,

Natalie Reid
Harvey World Travel
Modbury SA, Australia


----- Original Message ----- 
From: angier 
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations 
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2001 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: Vietnam Holiday

Hi Max et al

Now that we are back home and settling into the every day routine of work I have at last found a moment to drop you a line to thank you for the wonderful tour that Griswalds organized for us we were pleased and really enjoyed it. Certainly would recommend you if we know anyone coming to Vietnam in the near future. A very special word must be said about Hung our guide he was wonderful and certainly made our trip as enjoyable as it was. Hope to come back and see the parts that we didn't get a chance to see on this trip. Take care of yourselves. Give our regards to Victor and Hung. Once again thanks for everything.



----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Jonas
To: Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 10:52 PM
Subject: Jonas Account

Dear Max,

I don't know where to start. I guess giving you a million thanks would be about right. Words cannot say how grateful we are to you and your companions, or how completely overwhelmed we are now we are home.

The people of Vietnam … absolutely wonderful, in every respect. The country, how natural, how beautiful, how sad in other ways, what suffering, I had no idea, and what resilience…But of course, my guess is you knew all that.

But our holiday was made so much better, by the careful attention and interaction with all of your staff The guides on the boat, mainly Cuong, were also the most entertaining, good humoured and most caring people.

After a week with Ngoc (our guide), and so suddenly having to bid farewell, we were reduced to tears…We had underestimated how much she had done for us and what she had meant to us.

We'll get back to normal, but it goes without saying that what Griswalds have given us is far more than we ever expected. The treatment by your personnel has given us an invaluable and rich experience, and has left even stronger impressions than otherwise.

Cheers, all the very best,
Jim and Marie Jonas.X
Adelaide SA, Australia


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Griswald's Vietnamese Vacations

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

& our REAL Kangaroo Café

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

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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  23/01/17

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.