A 20-year-old student Nghiem Ngoc Anh excitedly took a group of foreigners to visit Guom (Sword) Lake, showed them Turtle Tower, a strange structure in the middle of the lake, and told them the story of why they got their name.

The second-year student from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam believes that she is not only representing a group of Hanoi Free Private Tour Guides (HNFTGs) but also acting as a tourism and cultural ambassador for Hanoi.

In 2015, a group of Hanoi students founded the Hanoi Free Private Tour Guides (HNFTGs) with a desire to enhance their English communication skills, deepen their historical knowledge, and serve as goodwill ambassadors of Vietnamese culture and history to tourists from all over the world. The club operates under the slogan "Hanoi's Little Ambassadors."

The club members give tours of Hanoi's famous tourist attractions and share the historical significance of each site.

The club has over 2,000 active members after nearly 8 years.

The unique aspect of HNFTGs lies in their strict policy of only accepting small groups of tourists, ensuring that the tour is of the highest quality and that there is a maximum interaction between visitors and volunteers. This also ensures privacy for visitors.

Depending on the specific preferences of each tourist, these individuals stand ready to accompany them on an unforgettable journey through the vibrant streets of Hanoi, where they can experience the authentic lifestyle of the city's people and indulge in its rich street food culture.

The club members are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism and to achieve this, they will undergo an extensive training program that will last for a period of 5 to 7 months. The training courses will include approximately 15 hands-on practical sessions. During this event, the members will be able to gain valuable knowledge and insights into the cultural history of Vietnam as a whole, as well as the popular tourist destinations in the beautiful city of Hanoi. The ultimate goal of this knowledge is to be able to showcase it to tourists who visit the area, providing them with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the country and its rich history.

During these lessons, new members will be divided into small groups to practice simulating leading foreign tourists to famous locations. At the end of the session, the new member will make a report for assessment.

Tran Van Khoi, 28, led over 30 tours and gained English skills and positive insights from tourists. Khoi understands more about the lives of tourists, thanks to which cultural and historical exchange becomes easier than ever.

“HNFTGs helps young people who love English learn about different cultures and become more confident in connecting Vietnam with international friends,” Khoi said.

HNFTGs have done a good job as ambassadors of the Capital. They have brought the knowledge of culture and history of Hanoi closer to foreign tourists with a spirit of charity and hospitality.

As a member of the club for 6 months, Nghiem Ngoc Anh believes that she is contributing to promote the beautiful images of Hanoi to international tourists.

"We have had personal experiences that we can serve as a bridge to bring the culture, history, and beauty of Vietnam closer to tourists from other countries. Moreover, during each journey, we strive to establish a sense of camaraderie with our fellow travelers, enabling us to exchange thoughts on life and creating an intimate atmosphere for our visitors," said Nghiem Ngoc Anh.

HNFTGs have received many excellent reviews on travel websites like Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor. This has helped the club have more international tourists choosing to use the service. The guides in Hanoi are friendly and know a lot about the history, culture, and landscapes. They will share their own experiences with visitors.

"Even though they were not paid, the students were still very enthusiastic and friendly instructors and brought me a lot of useful knowledge,” Shannyn Nasser, a foreign tourist said, adding that it's very admirable how students spend their free time to teach others about Vietnam's history.

"I'm very grateful for this 0-dollar trip, because I learned a lot of things that I thought I couldn't find on my own. It's great to can meet dynamic young people to understand more about Hanoi through their point of view," Shannyn Nasser said.

Yaprak Gulessonmez, a German tourist who has traveled to many countries around the world, was greatly impressed when she visited Hanoi. Yaprak learned about Vietnamese culture, history, and people through the HNFTGs Club's activities.

"I understand more about the history and culture of Vietnam after visiting famous places. I extremely like to visit The Temple of Literature because this place is so ancient, it makes me feel like I'm going back to the past. It helps me to know about the importance of education and learning in the old days. I feel the flow of history there," said Yaprak.

With the help of their tour guides, Shiokawa Takahiro and Takumu Hosoya, a pair of Japanese travelers, could fully immerse themselves in the fascinating culture and history of Vietnam.

They shared: "After the visit, we were immersed in the history and nature of Vietnam. Vietnam has unique things like egg coffee and sticky rice nuggets that are not found in Japan. We are really impressed with these food and beverage."

Source: Hanoitimes