I go by Joe.
I’m 35 years old, and I came from a rice farming village, 40 miles to the south of Hanoi. I was born when my Mum with riding on the buffalo! She was pregnant with me for 8 months, and riding the buffalo to get to a temple when my village was flooded after a big typhoon. And when we were enjoying the ride, I just crawled out of my mum, right on the back of the buffalo, and shocked everyone in the family. So, Buffalo is really how my family call me at home.
I grew up in the countryside with lots of fun playing in the fields with other kids, riding buffalo, fishing, and swimming in the river every summer. I often caused troubles when leaving home for our own trips with my school friends without permission from parents, we just wanted to see other provinces.
Graduated from a Hanoi hospitality college in 2008, I started to work full time as a tourist guide. I quickly enjoy the job, and enjoy working with people and working in beautiful surroundings with good foods. Guiding is natural, and food is my life!
Please give us a general introduction about your skills?
I went to the college for 5 years to learn to become a tourist guide, and I was trained well with many guiding skills, such as communication, flexibility, problem solving, and so on.
I think the fore of skills are people skills, which I am really good at. I like people, and I get on with everyone naturally. Many of my clients say I have good people skills, so they feel easy and relax to be around with me.
Where have you traveled to private & professional?
I took people on tours to almost everywhere in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as a tour guide. I privately traveled to Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. I am looking forward to travel more to see the world.
List your favorite places to visit and why are they special to you?
My favorite places have always been the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Lan Ha Bay, and Mekong River Delta.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is hypnotic, full of brilliant colors, and the aromas from pomelo blossom, mint, and cinnamon. It’s lively, and truly a maze that tempts you with spices and foods, local drinks and other handmade things.
Lan Ha Bay is the southern part of Halong Archipelago, and the water area of Cat Ba National Park. I used to guide lots of kayakers paddling to almost every cove there, so I know the area well and it’s my favorite kayaking place for years. Not only kayaking, everyone can cruise, camp, rock climbing and swimming on small sandy beaches without too many tourists.
I always miss exploring the villages and fruit gardens in provinces of Mekong River Delta. I did 6 biking tours in the area, and I enjoyed every part of them. The area is home to many fruits that I like the best, such as rambutan and mangosteen. But what I like best is the friendly people, and most importantly it’s always warm (I hate winter!).
Your home town…?
It’s a village in the countryside of Hanoi, which is surrounded with rice paddy fields and lotus ponds. The beautiful river and the nearby mountain give it a nature look, you can enjoy fresh air and sunshine. What I like best about it is that, it’s got a really nice sense of community being such a small village, everybody knows my name.
Tell us why you are the best guide and safe to travel with?
I have been always recommended by my clients ever since I started my guiding job, it means I am good at what I am doing.
How many languages can you speak?
Two: Vietnamese, and English. And, I wish I could also speak Spanish, French, and Italian.
What are your unusual and interesting hobbies?
I like cooking and reading, especially history books, hence I surrounded myself with a lots of book, one of my favorite book is “The Perfect Spy” by Larry Berman. I am a foodie and want to eat good, so I love cooking too. When I am not on tour, I often go to the market early in the morning and buy things to cook my favorite dishes. When the stomach is full, it is perfect time to read.
I studied in the Faculty of Tourism, Major in Tour Guiding at Hanoi Open University, which is said to be the best guide training school in Vietnam. And I have been doing the job for more than 12 years, meaning a lots of guiding experiences.
Tell us about your best features.
Well, I don’t have much to look at, so I will have to go with “nice personality”. I have always prided myself on being honest and happy. Regardless what I do or who I meet, I assume the best in people, and be nice to everyone.
I would rather be wealthy, handsome, or attractive… but those jobs have already taken. I am stuck with my personality, and that’s ok with me, it’s who I am.
“Joe was probably the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had. He knew every thing about Vietnam’s history. He was amazing. He was very conscientious and humorous….an excellent guide.”
– Rita M., Box Elder, NY –
“Buffalo Joe did a terrific job well beyond what I was expecting and in many ways throughout the trip.”
– Nancy D., Sydney –
“Mr. Buffalo Joe, Do Sy Quy, was amazing. His knowledge as a historian and comedian was the best and his passion and excitement was contagious. He made the trip so interesting. Nice to see someone who loved their works and respected it.”
– Shelley W., Sorrento, BC –
“Buffalo Joe is tops. I was extremely impressed with him in every way.”
– Ann., Los Angeles, CA –
“I was beyond impressed with Joe. He is such a dynamic Hanoi tour guide – incredibly knowledgeable about what he does, as well as the Vietnamese culture and government. I was enraptured with all the information he shared with us about Vietnam War.”
– Laura K., Boulder, NY –
“Joe was simply ‘off the charts.’ Our group declared him a Vietnam’s national treasure.”
– Elizabeth D., San Jose, CA –
“Buffalo Joe is a great tour guide, passionate about Vietnamese foods and engaging. Couldn’t be better.”
– Andrew P., Melbourne, AU