When we travel we usually do it all ourselves. When I started to plan I noticed that John from Sapa Sunshine was very generous on the Vietnam forum on... read more TA answering questions and giving suggestions to I contacted him about our trip. I told him when we were coming, generally what our interests were, our physical limitations (nothing serious, just some wonky old age stuff) and said we wanted to see as much of Vietnam as we could.
John came back with an itinerary that was more thorough and interesting than anything we could have done ourselves. We saw Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Nam Dinh, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Min City. We were always met at the airport/train station by a guide and checked into our hotel. Our guides, set up by John, were excellent. We were checked in to our hotels and never for a moment did we wonder if our guide or driver would show up when expected. They were always on time.
We travelled 3* hotel and all of them were wonderful. (arranged by SST). All were easily accessible to town and in most cases in town. Our reservations were always correct and although we did live out of suitcases travel was eays.
I honestly cannot say enough good about Sapa Sunshine Travel and John. When we left a piece of equipment in a vehicle in one city he managed to get it delivered to us before we left the country. We thought it was gone.
We had a few questions and slight changes to make while we were travelling and a quick email to John had things arranged for us (we got a day hotel room in Hanoi after the night on the train, before we headed to the airport).
If you are going to Vietnam, talk to John at Sapa Sunshine Travel. Your trip will be better arranged than you can imagine - your personal interests will be covered (we did lots of food tours), and the price will be reasonable - worth every penny.