Meet Sales Supervisor Diem in Saigon: “The First Impression of Ha Long Bay is Still in My Heart”
Every month, we put the Spotlight On one of the key players that make it happen for your privileged clients. This month we spoke with Trinh Thi Ngoc Diem, Sales Supervisor, Khiri Travel Vietnam. Diem is a true Vietnamese in heart and blood, keen on exceeding traveler’s expectations – and, fell in love with Ha Long Bay
What keeps you occupied at Khiri Travel Vietnam?
I have worked for Khiri from September 2009 till now. I worked as a reservation officer, then I moved to sales. Listening to customer requirements, meeting their demands, making suitable itineraries and quotations for clients are now my main duties. Besides that, I cooperate with the operations department to support clients, especially during urgent cases.
What is your favourite destination in Vietnam?
This is a hard question for me because most destinations in Vietnam are beautiful and I love my country. But my most favourite destination in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. I have been in Ha Long four times and fell in love with the place. The first impression of Ha Long Bay is still in my heart. I could not believe that I was seeing a nature masterpiece with hundreds of mountains rising from the sea. Lying on the sundeck, freeing your soul and relaxing with a blue sky, clean water, mountains and wind was an unforgettable time. Doing kayaking in Lan Ha Bay area for a whole day was a great activity.
Can you explain about Vietnam traditions?
Vietnamese traditions are passed down from generation to generation and are in our blood. Vietnamese respect old people. There are many generations in a family because young people have to take care of old ones. We also commemorate our ancestors with assorted ceremonies and during the Tet holiday.
Our new year starts from the first day of lunar year. Everyone will go back to their hometown to enjoy Tet with the family. Tet is the most hallowed time of the year for every Vietnamese. We decorate our house and prepare traditional food and flowers to worship our ancestors. We wear new clothes and give money to each other to wish them a lucky new year. Buddhist people go to the pagoda in Tet to wish for a healthy, peaceful and prosperous year.
Do you see clear similarities or differences between your traditions and ones from neighbouring countries?
I saw differences between Vietnamese and Cambodian traditions during my trips to Cambodia. Khmer people live in stilt houses. Maybe living in the Mekong delta means they get more floods. Buddhism is the main religion in Cambodia and Khmer people are religious. Both counties use a different calendar for new year. But we also have some common points. Rice is our main food. There are many generations living as a family. Young people take care of older generations.
What new place or new hotel would you recommend in Vietnam?
The new place that I would like to recommend in Vietnam is Pu Luong Nature Reserve. This is an ideal place for people who like trekking and want to experience the local life of ethnic minorities. The Pu Luong nature reserve is about 25km from Cuc Phuong national park. Trekking here, you can discover caves and see immense terraced fields and learn the traditional farming methods of the ethnic people who use water wheels for irrigation.
What is the most interesting tour you have created?
Wow, the most interesting tour I have created was for the UTZ* Group. Officers from five countries came to Vietnam to learn about planting and producing coffee at the UTZ program in Bao Loc, Lam Dong province. They also visited HCMC and the Mekong delta. The hardest thing for this tour was to get travel authorization for Lam Dong province. It was not easy to arrange. But I was happy to get great feedback from the group. They were extremely impressed with Vietnam.
Another tour that was special was for the Wild Thing film crew from Australia. This crew was lead by Dominic Monaghan, most famous for his roles in Lord of the Rings trilogy and the TV show Lost. They shot a documentary about wildlife in My Tho, Vinh Long, Can Tho and Cat Tien national parks. The itinerary for this tour was always changing and our guides worked very hard. I helped arrange many of the extra services the group required.
Can you explain more about traditional daily life in Vietnam?
Having dinner with all members of your family is a strong Vietnamese tradition. Dinner time is so important because it is a chance for all family members to gather together after work to talk and for young family members to talk with the older generation.
*UTZ Certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.