1. How many guides & porters are employed for the expedition?


There is usually one tour leader and one local guide for each phase of an expedition. We will recruit all of our porters from the local community. The number of porters we use will reflect the size and ability of the group, as well as the type and difficulty of the adventure.


2. Sufficient number of trained and experienced staff?


Yes, Footprint has the capacity to do any tour. Our staff our well trained, with years of experience. Staff will be selected to meet the specific needs of your group.


3. Guides can speak English to what level?


All guides speak fluent English and have excellent knowledge of the areas we will visit. The porters and drivers may not have apt English skills, but they are selected for their vast knowledge about the areas we are traveling in, and have a proven safety record. Often we will employ local hill tribe people. All of our guides and support staff have done the treks countless times and have suburb communication skills. Nevertheless all of our staff can speak fluent Vietnamese and any communication can be translated by your personal guide / tour leader. 


4. What training has the leader / guides received?


All of the Footprint tour leaders and guides have graduated from a university in Vietnam (the majority have graduated from Hanoi Open University's Faculty of Tourism). They have ample experience in the hospitality and tourism industry and University level guiding skills. The average work experience (as guides) of our tour leaders is three to five years. Further, the Footprint team is constantly updating and improving our skills by getting involved in extra courses, workshops and activities.


5. Are any of the leaders guides first aid trained?


All of your tour leaders will be first aid trained and have a first aid kit with them. In some cases, such as in Halong and Bai Tu Long Bay, our guides will have also had kayak rescue training.


6. How long has the guides been doing similar tours?


The number of years the leaders / guides have worked in the areas vary from guide to guide and area to area. The average is about two years. We do have some guides who have gone to areas for five years or more. If you are concerned about the guide’s level of experience please inform your travel consultant and we will be happy to find a suitable guide to meet your needs. 


7. Does the leader / guide hold any formal qualifications?


First, all of our guides have a University degree, majoring in tour guiding, more than often granted from Hanoi Open University. Further, all of our guides have successfully completed the Sustainable Tourism Training Course which was supported by WUSC (World University Support of Canada) and the Canadian Embassy, and was taught by international teachers. Other courses Footprint guides have taken part in include an Eco-tourism training course offered by WWF- Vietnam, and responsible travel courses offered in-house and by RTC Vietnam. All of the guides have at minimum a basic first aid certification.


8. Does the leader / guide speak the local language / dialect? 


The guide / leader can almost always speak the local language / dialect at least at a minimal level. Similarly the local people can speak and understand Vietnamese.


9. What languages can your tour guides speak?


Well that depends on what you speak; but, all can speak English. French and German are also spoken by many guides, as well as other languages. A guide will always be present that is fluent in the local language. Please contact us if you have specific language speaking requirements.


10. Do your local tour guides speak English well?


Yes, our guides speak English very well! They are well trained with English being a compulsory subject for five years at a University level. After graduating from University, they must also take part in a 3 month course in practical English training before they are offered a tour guide license and a position at Footprint Travel.


11.  What is an on-site tour guide, tour guide and tour escort / leader?


An on-site tour guide is the one who is working at a selected site. For example: the guide assigned to work at the historical site of Cu Chi Tunnels or the Imperial Citadel of Hue, or on some cruise trips in Halong and Bai Tu Long Bay (join-in tours).

A tour guide will take you on an excursion from one to a few days, away from the main cities. For example, a 2 day trip to Halong Bay or a three-day trip to Mai Chau. This tour guide will meet you at your hotel, often in Hanoi or Saigon, and be with you the whole trip till you finish your trip back safetly at your city hotel.

The role of a tour escort or tour leader, is to meet and greet you at the airport, and to travel with you during your whole trip (in many cases this is a package tour). This is convenient for you because he / she will be with you at all times, helping you with translations, tips and answering questions. This type of guide is covered in the cost of your tour / package with Footprint.


12. How does tipping work in Vietnam? Do you tip in Vietnam?


Through the time, tipping is now becoming a part of tourism culture and it is enormously appreciated. You should consider tipping tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, boat crews, etc. There is no standard amount for tipping, but if you do find reason to tip someone, a tip from $3 - 10 USD should be okay for a day trip. You might want to tip more if you found your tour or services beyond your expectation or your tour guide, driver and other staff are exceptional.