22 Jun 2016 - 05 Jul 2016
OMG I loved. I mean loved my first Contiki trip and SE Asia. I did the Asian Adventure with Contiki in June/July 2016 and loved it from start to finish. I was a bit nervous as this was my first solo trip to Southeast Asia, and being over 30. But I needed not worry. This is the best way to travel without worry about anything. All I had to do was turn up at specific times everything was taken care of. I'd booked a transfer from the airport to the starting hotel through Contiki and this was hassle free as I did have to worry about looking for taxi upon arrival in Bangkok. I was happy to see a sign with my name on it with the Contiki logo once I exited outside. The starting hotel was amazing. Even though I had arrived at 10am there was no problem with checking in early, my room was ready and waiting. The staff at the hotel was very friendly and helpful. The next 2 weeks travelling through Asia with Contiki was the best experience I could ever hope to have, even getting soaked in a thunderstorm was an amazing experience in itself. I can't find fault with any of the hotels or transportation that was used throughout this trip. Our tour leader Jazz was amazing. She was full of helpful information and knew nearly everything and if she didn't she'd get back to you. I met someone amazing people on my trip and can't wait to do it again. My advice if you're thinking of doing this trip do it. It's worth all the money. And do all the extras that are offered. I went on this trip alone but came back with 13 new friends from all over the world.
P.S don't pack too much. You can get all or everything in Asia.
Review written Aug 2016event 0.3
29 May 2016 - 11 Jun 2016
The Asian Adventure was without a doubt some of the most amazing two weeks of my life. Flying into Bangkok I was so nervous yet excited to meet my fellow travelers. When meeting them everyone was a little quite, and by the end of the trip we were treating each other like family. Just like our trip manager said we would.
Every single part of this trip is so carefully thought out and planned to a t just to ensure that we have the best experience possible and that's exactly what it was. Traveling to SE Asia was the best decision I ever made, it opened my eyes to things I had no idea happened in the world, to natural wonders you wouldn't believe actually exist and to a sense of connection with people around the world who are so so so extremely different than us yet exactly the same.
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are now some of my favorite places. Because of the $3 massages? Incredible food? Heart racing adventures? Or beautiful scenery? Of course because of all of those things. But most importantly because of the like minded, beautiful people I was lucky enough to meet and experience it with along the way.
Once you see the world on this trip, you return home craving to be back in a place like this. Everyone is happy, everyone is peaceful and everyone is so generous. Everyday I think about my experience here and long to be back. Because of this trip I will go on to explore more culturally diverse places just like it and I will go on to see each day differently because this trip opened my eyes and changed my life as to what really makes someone happy and what really matters.
Seeing Asia by myself would have been great, however the one thing I tell people about contiki now before anything else is how amazing it is to have a trip manager. My group and I lucked out by having the most warm hearted, fun spirited, generous, and hard working trip manager possible. Chamani Weerasekara became more than a manager she became a friend. She was up early morning taking care of us, and planning everything for us. She planned extra me time and special dinners, she planned fun games and parties and I speak for everyone else when I say that she is the reason this trip was so outstanding. She went above and beyond her job description for us. You could see the light in her eyes when she would see such amazing places and see her light up when she felt accomplished knowing we were all so happy. She was one of the kindest people I have ever met and truly has such a good soul. She cares deeply for each of her little ducks on this trip and it shows.
Honestly, I did not worry or stress one time on this trip all because of her. She made my trip memorable and there is nothing in the world I could do or say to thank her enough for that. This will not be my last contiki because of her.
Book this trip, you will not regret it. You will look back on this trip for the rest of your life and you will crave more.
Review written Aug 2016event 0.3
05 Jun 2016 - 18 Jun 2016
This trip was more than I imagined! It's a perfect mix of learning important things, seeing amazing sights, and having a great time! I was worried at first being that I can be shy but everyone is so nice you meet friends instantly. It's a great mix of people who want to head back early and others who want to stay out. So which ever you prefer doing you can! In other reviews people talked about the motion sickness and while people did get sick it was not as bad as what I was expecting! I would recommend doing all the me time options. They were great and definitely worth it. If there is something you want to do that isn't on the me time list ask your tour manager where they reccomend doing it and they will tell you. My tour manager, James, was amazing! He kept everything so organized and gave us a lot of great reccomendations in each town. When it comes to packing I would recommend lighter workout shorts for the days and a couple nicer shorts for going out at night. We had a couple big going out nights so something a little nicer, but you're in south east Asia where you will start sweating when you walk outside so nothing too nice. You do need temple wear on a couple occasions. I made the mistake of packing linen pants thinking they would be light and airy. They were hot and took up space in my luggage. Buy elephant pants there. They are cheap and do rip easily so you might need a couple. There are night markets in about every other town you go to so feel free to save shopping towards the end. Overall it's an amazing trip. Do everything you can and you will love it! My only regret was just doing the two weeks and not doing the big indochina and continuing to Vietnam.
Review written Jun 2016event 0.3
23 Dec 2015 - 05 Jan 2016
This trip is by far the best way to see this beautiful part of the world! Not only is the itinerary jam packed in the best way possible, you get to experience it with like-minded people who you become close with very quickly. I was generally impressed with the accommodation, most hotels had a nice pool for us to relax in after a big day!
Our tour manager, Margie was absolutely amazing from start to finish. She truly cared about giving us everything we wanted from our holiday and more. Margie was also extremely helpful when some of us got sick along the way.
The optionals were all very worth doing! And there was tons of stuff to do alongside these. Highly recommend going Zip Lining in Chiang Mai!
The transport ran very smoothly, but I do recommend you bring some motion sickness tablets with you. Many members of our tour experienced motion sickness on this tour, even though it had never happened to them in the past. I also recommend a good travel pillow for a nice bus snooze.
If you are unsure about doing this tour, just do it! You will not regret it. Whether you are the party type or not- there is something for everyone and never any pressure to do anything you aren't interested in! The tour is fantastic, the people are amazing, the destinations are breathtaking, what more could you ask for?
Review written Feb 2016event 0.3
23 Dec 2015 - 05 Jan 2016
No words to describe how amazing this trip was. It was honestly the experience of a lifetime; exceeded my expectations BY FAR!
I went on this trip solo, and I have to say this was the way to do it in my opinion. I met so many incredible people, and made connections and friendships that will truly last a lifetime.
I have nothing negative to say about my first Contiki experience. This was my first time to Asia, as well, and I am so happy that I went through Contiki to get my feet wet in this new culture. I studied abroad in Europe for 6 weeks, and I would say that the culture in Europe is comparable to that of the United States. The countries are developed countries, and it was easier for an American girl to make her way around. However, Asia was a totally different story. I was actually going to plan a trip on my own, but I feel that I would not have done as much as I did having gone through Contiki. I was able to enjoy the trip and experience the culture much more. Contiki took all of the stress off when it came to hospitality, traveling, language, crossing boarders, etc.
I was a little nervous about doing a "tour group"; I didn't want it to be like a stereotypical tour group where you are sitting on a bus all day viewing sites out of the window with a guide feeding you boring facts about stuff you don't care about. However Contiki was NOTHING like this, and I was so happy. We actually were IMMERSED in the culture, doing this firsthand, and it was amazing. I have to admit, I am one of those people who does love a good history lesson and I wanted to learn about Asian culture entirely while on this trip. Between the tour guides we had in each city, to our tour manager (Margie I t go out to the bar every single night. Seriously, no one will judge you for doing your own thing.
I recommend this trip to ANYONE. This was the best experience of my life so far- between experiencing the Asian culture, to the connections I made with everyone on the trip, Contiki has something for everyone. I would do another Contiki again in a heartbeat.
Review written Jan 2016event 0.3
27 Sep 2015 - 10 Oct 2015
This trip is an amazing way to see some of the best parts of South East Asia! Had such an awesome time on this tour, never a dull moment! We saw some amazing sights and ate amazing food and partied hard too! Came out the other end wishing it wasn't over and with a big family of friends from all over the world!
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
27 Sep 2015 - 10 Oct 2015
This was the first Contiki trip I have ever done and I was a bit apprehensive about it. It is pretty far outside my comfort zone and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it.
How wrong I was! This trip is absolutely amazing! I have genuinely had the time of my life and would go back in a heart beat. Not only did I meet some brilliant people but I also had so many once in a lifetime experiences.
This trip is very full on and your days will be jam packed but you will be astounded by the number of different things you will see and do. We had Courtney as our group leader and she was absolutely amazing. There was not one question she could not answer and she made everything so easy.
The days are all fully planned out and you really don't have to do any thinking for yourself which makes things so easy.
A few helpful tips if you are planning to do this trip...
1) It is a very full on trip and you will be up early every morning - even after a few late night party nights! There are also two mornings when you have to be up before 5am but believe me, both are totally worth it!
2) It is HOT! Very hot and very humid so be prepared to sweat! Bring clothes which are light and breathable.
3) You need temple dress for all temple visits (there are quite a few of them) which means you need to have your shoulders and knees covered. So bring long trousers/skirts and t-shirts. You can buy elephant pants everywhere when you are there but beware as they are not great quality and rip easily! I went through 3 pairs in just a few days!
4) Don't bring fancy clothes! We had 4 nights out on our trip, all of which were very casual - shorts and t-shirts.
5) Bring a good travel pillow - you will spend a fair amount of time on coaches. I got one called a "Travel Rest" which is amazing and meant I could catch up on some sleep during long journeys. Also, if you are prone to travel sickness then bring some medication as there are a couple of journeys along bumpy roads.
6) Bring an umbrella or rain jacket. We were there during rainy season and it rained a lot and I was so thankful to have remembered to bring my umbrella!
8) Money wise - everything is very cheap so you won't spend much money at all!
I'd suggest taking about £200 in Thai Baht to get you started. You can then change that into Laos Kip when you get to the border. You can then easily take money out at ATMs in Laos.
For Cambodia, everyone uses US dollars which again you can get from any ATM.
9) Bring insect repellant and bite relief cream. I had super strong insect repellant and I still got quite a few bites.
10) Beware of the Contiki cough! If one person catches a cough or a cold it tends to spread pretty fast so bring some cough mixture and cold and flu meds with you. Also bring some vitamin C and rehydration stuff to make sure you keep healthy.
11) If you can, bring a waterproof camera. There are many moments I missed as my camera wasn't waterproof.
12) Try to pack light and bring plenty of underwear! Also, i'd suggest bringing some travel laundry detergent so that you can wash stuff in the hotels yourself. There is laundry service available but only at a few of the hotels.
13) Say YES to everything! There are quite a few optional extras you can do on this trip. Do them all! They are not expensive and trust me you will love every single one!
14) Be prepared to make friends for life! I went on this trip with a friend from home but many people came on their own. Do not hesitate to do this trip on your own as I guarantee you will make so many new best friends. We were a big family and there were many, MANY tears when we all had to say our goodbyes.
Hopefully I have covered everything and made you change your mind if you were having second thoughts about doing this trip. Enjoy!
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
26 Jul 2015 - 08 Aug 2015
I don't have words to describe what I lived on this trip and the such amazing people and friends I made... Here is the link for the video that shows our amazing asian adventure https://vimeo.com/141276240 #noregrets
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
10 May 2015 - 23 May 2015
Asia is absolutely beautiful an amazing. Hot, but it's so worth it to go. Asian Adventure is a great taste and intro to 3 great cities and I can not wait to go back for more. The trip is a highlights trip - only twice do you spend more then 1 night in the same city. Laos is a huge surprise, it's now one of my favourite countries. The only downfall was free time was limited - you would get 1-2 hours at most in between contiki's planned activities which was never enough time to venture too far away from the hotel to go see/do something that Contiki doesn't take you to. There are a lot of temples, an temple wear in Asia is dreadful but each is different, and fascinating so go to them all! Do as much as you can as the 2 weeks go by super fast and you want to get as much in as possible. You can always rest and sleep on the plane back home.
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
04 Jan 2015 - 17 Jan 2015
This trip was my first time travelling overseas by myself and I honestly had never been so terrified/nervous/excited in my entire life! As quite an introverted person I was worried about going by myself and having to make friends, but going by myself ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made! I met so many amazing people on this trip, and it was easily the best two weeks of my life! Our tour guide Danny was amazing!! He had such extensive and helpful knowledge on everywhere we went - make sure to to go to his restaurant recommendations in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, they were off the beaten track and so delicious! Make sure to bring at least one jumper and pair of pants and some wet weather clothes, we had really unusual weather in Laos and we were all permanently drenched and cold for the majority of Prakbeng and Luang Prabang! Enjoy Vang Vieng, it was easily my favourite place on the entire trip. Go to Kangaroo Sunset and talk to all the staff there, they all have incredible stories to share, and make sure to write your name on the wall! Definitely do all the optional extras as well, like tubing and kayaking in Vang Vieng as they made the trip so much better! Also, on your return flight home, don't book it too early in the morning. Everyone gets absolutely crazy on the last night and I made the mistake of booking a 9am flight from Siam Reap and then having an 8 hour stopover in Bangkok airport hungover as hell without a wink of sleep. But most of all just enjoy it! It was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip and to see so many amazing places and meet so many amazing people. My only regret is not continuing onto Vietnam with everyone!
Review written May 2015event 0.3
17 Dec 2014 - 30 Dec 2014
This was without doubt the best thing I've ever done! I would recommend this trip to anyone! It's action packed and full of wonderful little surprises. Our Contiki tour manager was an absolute Gem, he was so knowledgeable, always willing to help and hilarious! Thanks Soki. Hint: Do all the optionals, it's well worth the small amount of dollars for the unforgettable experiences!
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
10 Dec 2014 - 23 Dec 2014
I originally decided to do a Contiki tour because it was an inexpensive way to travel through a country I was unfamiliar with. I had little expectations and large preconceptions before leaving. Despite this, I can honestly say that my preconceived doubts were blown out of the water. My Contiki experience was cultural, adventurous, scenic and exciting. Every day was something new and unforgettable. My guide, Kristen Schuster, was informative, caring and easily approachable. Kristen and her flawless organizational skills were impressive to say the least. All in all, I can’t wait to book my next holiday with Contiki.
Review written Dec 2014event 0.3
17 Nov 2013 - 30 Nov 2013
I loved this trip. I always knew I wanted to go to Asia. This trip was the best introduction into how amazing Asia can be. I'm definitly addicted and want to go back.
Our tour guide was Amazing. She went above and beyond every day. Always giving us ideas of what to do with our free time so that we did not miss anything.
Our tour mates were great - always cracking jokes and the puns. We still keep in touch and are hoping to travel together in the future. The age group was all over the place once group younger one group older. But we all got along. I think there were 30 of us.
Do all of the optionals - If you are like me then #YOLO - How often will you be going back to the same places in Asia? Asia's huge.
Also Asia is cheap - the hotels are amazing b/c they are cheaper then Europe, food is usually $10 or under for a meal. Getting around town is generally under $10. Anything you ever wanted to do - will be more affordable in Asia. Side note - Bring American dollars with you or use debt at ATMs for $.
This trip is jammed packed. If you want to only sleep and party - this is not your trip, sleeping is not part of the deal. Also make sure you sleep before this trip. You will want to go out every night to experience all these amazing cities.
If you want a play-by-play of what is on this trip read my blog: http://andreamcgrath.com/?cat=7
This trip will be one of the top 10 highlights of my life :)
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3
07 Apr 2013 - 20 Apr 2013
This trip truly is an adventure! A lot of fun, but also educational. I love architecture so that was a treat. The group I traveled with were great to meet and get to know. They helped make the trip. The tigers are hard to resist if you get the chance of course. I went during the water festival, and ended up celebrating a little bit w/ the owners of a closed restaurant I unwittingly wandered into. Definitely an experience I'll never forget. I would definitely recommend it.
Review written Mar 2014event 0.3
04 Sep 2011 - 17 Sep 2011
I went on this tour a few years ago in 2011 and I have just booked another Contiki because I had so much fun on the last one. My tour guide was Cam and he was a very knowledgeable guide but was also very relaxed which made for a really fun 2 weeks!
I met up with some fellow Contiki crew the day before the tour started at the hotel, which was a nice welcome to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Bangkok was certainly an experience, although I was very glad to make our way north on the overnight train to Chiang Mai in the country. The train was a very different experience but loved it, I did feel sorry for the 2 monks we had in our carriage though.This felt like the real Thailand! I loved the Thai cooking class, and making big flames with my cooking! The Tigers were absolutely amazing, scary at first until I gave him a big belly rub.
The Long neck people in Chaing Rai was very eye opening as I had never seen anything like this before, and they were so friendly. We had a nurse on our trip which was helpful to the locals who had a sick little boy at the time.
The boat was a nice relaxing time, being able to chill out was just what we needed to prepare ourselves for the next week, a great time to read a book!
Pakbeng was a really cute little place, and glad we got to stop by there.The accommodation was nice, as Cam said about the bathroom "you can sit on the toilet, have a shower and brush your teeth at the same time" that's how small it was :)
Luang Prabeng was great fun, the elephants, the water falls, and a night out a Utopia! Riding bikes around the town was super fun with our local guide Tooey! I did miss out on the giving of the alms which is the only thing I regret about the trip ( I turned my alarm off in my sleep ) So make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time for this activity! Once again the accommodation was nice, and they even have a laundry service so take advantage of this!
The bus trip to Vang Vieng was a very long and adventurous journey. It was supposed to take 8 hours it took almost 13!!! These roads were very very very rough due to the wet season and landslides etc. So be patient and remember its about the journey not the destination. We had a lot of fun singing to old classics and taking in all the local village life. We came to a section of the road that was literally a river! we had to stop and take our bags out of the bottom of the bus and put them into the bus as the water was going to go through the baggage area, it was an unexpected event but gave us a real insight into how the Laoation people live. The locals took the flooding as a chance to go fishing, drink beer and laugh at the tourists is the bus!!
After a very long day we arrived in Vang Vieng, this place is amazing! the accommodation is set right on the river amongst some beautiful mountains.
One thing you must do is Vang Vieng is to split up into some smaller groups and go on a local tour. It cost about $15 AUD, but worth every cent. They picked us up from the hotel and took us to a local street and talked all about their way of life, cost of building a house etc. They then took us into some caves and into a water cave on tubes that attached to a rope with headlamps on, meanwhile it was pouring rain, so don't wear anything you care about, buy a Lao Lao singlet or something! I also recommend taking some sandals such as Teva, that way you can wear them in the water without them coming off. Thongs were kind of impractical at times. The we had lunch in a hut by the river which was delicious! Our guides took all of our bags and followed us down the river tubing, making sure we were all ok. I know this part of the trip has been taken off the itinerary, which is unfortunate but I can understand. I am certainly glad I had a local guide with me when we did this for extra safety.
Vientianne was nice, I think we were only there for a night so I don't recall anything too crazy! We did go to a restaurant that had amazing local food that supported a charity.
We flew from Vientianne to Pnohm Penh which was a nice change to a long bus trip. Pnohm Penh was crazy! We hadn't even pulled up to our hotel and young locals were selling us thing through he windows, such as books and sunglasses. This is great if you want some bargains, but be careful, they wont leave you alone!! The tour to the Genocide museum was sad, but its great to have a real insight into their history.
From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap was also by plane! They save the best till last, I LOVED Siem Reap, the accommodation was just beautiful!! Visiting the floating villlages was unique, great photo opportunity here. Siem Reap had some nice shopping and cafes, I even bought and ipad there! I was envious of everyone else with one which made swapping photos with each other a lot easier. So having a computer or some spare USBs is handy at this point as the trip is about to end. Angkor Wat was just crazy!! Especially drinking champagne watching the sunrise up over the landmark. It made getting up early that little bit more interesting!
The last night in Siem Reap will be the best yet as you have made some really great friends. Believe it or not you only met them 1 days ago and you wont want to leave them :(
I went on this tour on my own and don't regret that at all. I am still in touch with some of the girls and guys 3 years on, and plan more trips together as they are all like minded people. That's why your on this trip right?! To meet people from the other side of the world, gain more contacts for your next adventure, visit them in their country!
All in all this was a life changing trip as I am still talking about this trip, it gave me such an unforgettable cultural experience and I still use the Language I learned on the trip on Thai restaurants here is AUS. I recommend using their language as much as possible, just to see the smile on their faces!
I'm sorry for the long review, once I got started i just couldn't stop, so I hope this was helpful - things may have changed from my trip to your trip though.
My next tour is the Thai Island hopper East in April!!
Review written Feb 2014event 0.3
12 May 2013 - 25 May 2013
Best time ever! First trip solo and it was so worth it. It was a wonderful experience throughout. Met wonderful people, learned so much about the history and the culture of all the countries I visited, and most importantly, made great friends. I've been back for over a month and can't stop talking about it. I would reccommend this trip to everyone.
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
23 Dec 2012 - 05 Jan 2013
The name says it all -- Asian Adventure. The whole trip is just an ongoing adventure. You see a different side of Thailand not just the party party white beaches. Laos is one of the most beautiful places and must be visited (even though the tubing has been shut down); you will be pleasantly surprised. Cambodia is so full of history and surprises. I definately didnt want this adventure to end and wish I had continued the journey onto Vietnam. Highly recommended tour. Accommodation, views, travel -- nothing to complain about.
Review written Jan 2013event 0.3
22 Jan 2012 - 04 Feb 2012
The Asian Adventure was by far the most exciting and amazing experience I have encountered so far. The culture, food, sites we visited and the people on my tour made the experience a once in a life time opportunity. Asia has defiantly become a favourite place for me because of the times I spent travelling and exploring the three countries on the tour, and I know have a new found respect for the local people. I am so thankful for the wonderful memories this trip provided me with and the lifelong friends I made. I had the absolute time of my life!
Review written Nov 2012event 0.3
24 Jul 2011 - 06 Aug 2011
By far best thing i have ever done. Trip was amazing, Tour guide was the best one you could of wished for. And the people i completed the tour with were all in the same state of mind as me, there to kick back and enjoy what Asia had to offer.
Would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to experience Asia first hand. I missed out on the extended Vietnam part due to lack of holiday time from work but wish i had done it aswel.
Hugely enjoyable, good price, and a lot packed in that was able to be experienced in enough time.
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
16 Jan 2011 - 29 Jan 2011
Absolutely amazing in every way. I am actually having a hard time considering other trips now - would go back and do this one over and over. The people in SE Asia are the most friendly in the world - I felt safer than I do in my hometown. I have recommended this trip to at least 20 friends and am giving the ultimate recommendation - I am sending my step-daughter in a few years when she's 18! I've also never had the post-vacation high last so long. I look at my pictures every day.
Contiki is just the best tour company there is with a perfect balance of sightseeing, relaxing, and, of course, fun! I'm American, but I met a possible cousin from the town that my family if from in Italy on this trip! Friends you make on tour are truly friends for life - and you will meet people with the same sense of adventure as you when traveling.
Review written Feb 2012event 0.3