17 Dec 2014 - 10 Jan 2015
Thinking about doing the big indochina tour? DO IT.
It was the best adventure that I've ever embarked on. I was the youngest on the trip (19) and trust me, it did not stop me from having the time of my life and meeting some of the best people that I still stay in contact with.
Here are my tips for you that I wish I had when going on this trip and just tips in general that I can give to you:
- Take a backpack not a suitcase. It's especially helpful on the overnight train ride as a suitcase is too big to fit under your bunks so you won't have to be stepping over a suitcase from point A to B and it's just easier in general.
- See your clothes? Split them in half. I suggest bringing only one dress or formal clothes (for the boys) as there is really only one formal night on the trip and that's on the Vietnam part of the trip when you go to the Sky Bar. The Asian Adventure part is really casual. I wore board shorts and singlets around the clubs and I wasn't the only one who did so. A big point to make is that make sure you bring temple pants. At Angkor Wat they WILL NOT let you up the top if you're just wearing a sarong. You MUST wear temple pants.
- Bring some sort of playing cards, whether it be uno or just normal playing cards. On the over night train ride and the boat ride you'll get good use of them.
- At the Laos border make sure you get your money! I cannot stress this enough. I made the stupid mistake of not getting any money at the border and when I got to Pakbeng I found out there were no ATMs.
- The boat accepts all currency, so don't worry about spending all your kip on beer Lao.
- Bring a neck pillow! You'll be thanking me on all of those bus/plane rides around everywhere.
- Be prepared to spend money in Cambodia and Vietnam. So budget carefully. I came very close to running out of money multiple times.
-Laos has a curfew and the only place that's open after that curfew is bowling. GO! It's really fun and a really cheap tuk tuk ride away from Utopia bar or whichever bar your leader takes you to.
-Bring an adaptor. If you're from Australia like I am, you will need two adaptors for this trip.
- Take a couple days break from drinking. As much as you're going to come to love drinking around 10+ beers a day starting at 7am in the morning (as they're $1.50 in most places.) You need that break as you'll start getting run down like I was by the end of the Vietnam part. It's completely up to you if you take a break but I recommend it :)
- Be prepared to get the Contiki Cough. It doesn't hit you until you least expect it.
- If you get more than 5 hours sleep each night on this trip. I applaud you. Expect sleepless nights especially if you were like my roommate Amanda (love you!) who got awoken by me most nights at 3am.
- Go to the Ping Pong show in Bangkok. You won't regret it (enough said).
- DO ALL OF THE OPTIONALS. TRUST ME. They're all so great. From memory, the cooking classes were exceptional. No complaints. For someone who has no cooking history and can only cook pasta, I cooked some good food on that trip. The hill tribes were so much fun. IF you get to participate in their activities, do so. It's literally the coolest feeling banging wood on logs with the other musicians (just to name one of the activities). The Mud baths were so much fun, embrace your inner mud monster.
- Be prepared to get two songs stuck in your head. Every morning we listen to the Contiki song which is chosen by your leader. Ours was "Rather be - Clean Bandits and Jess Glynne" and "MMBop - Hanson".
Afraid to go by yourself? Don't be. Honestly I was in the same boat as you when I first went but when I met everyone it was like we knew each other for years. Don't be afraid to rely on your leader for advice on where to go and what to do as they'll help you every step of the way.
Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and do something. Do everything you can. I guarantee if you do everything that is given to you on this trip, you will have the best trip of your life.
I will always remember this trip and everyone on it. You won't regret choosing this trip.
Any questions that you may have? Feel free to message me and I'll help you out :)
Review written May 2015event 0.3
09 Nov 2014 - 03 Dec 2014
If you are looking at this trip thinking if you want to do it or not... let me tell you do it you will not be disappointed!!!!! it was seriously one of the most memorable experience of my life also the same for everyone we met on our tour! this was my first Contiki and so glad i did it! i have made friends for life! all the places you see is amazing! Laos would be my favourite country and goes for pretty much everyone in our group we had the best local tour guide mr Khammy or call him mr me! best time of my life!! i never wanted to leave if i could keep rewinding it i would!
Review written Dec 2014event 0.3
26 Oct 2014 - 19 Nov 2014
Check out more about my trip and tips at www.sageoftheworld.com
I initially chose to go to South East Asia because I wanted to travel to a tropical location for my winter holiday. Other then wanting to catch some rays, I had no other aspirations. But I now have a new love and appreciation for asian culture and solo travel.
This trip introduced me to a completely foreign culture, new (amazing) foods, friendly people, peaceful cultures, exotic adventures and stunning landscapes. This trip put me out of my comfort zone and completely emerged me in different ways of life. I can honestly say I have returned as a stronger, braver and more confident person. I recommend going on this adventure alone. You will meet many like-minded travelers and you will discover so much about yourself.
When I booked this trip I expected to stay in mostly hostels and cheap hotels...expectations were blown out the water. We stayed in mostly 4 and 5 star hotels. Every place was nicer then the last. But my favorite places we stayed we not the 5 star hotels. We stayed at two charming guest houses and on a beautiful junk boat in Ha Long Bay. Every place we stayed had free wifi, water bottles, safes and hot water!
I couldn't have asked for a better group of fellow travelers. I will forever be friends with many of the people I met. Especially my tour manger Lee (Hailey). I can safely say she made my trip. Lee is super cool, chill and fun. She showed us the best bars, hangouts and foodies in town. She was familiar with the locals and even spoke most of languages. I told her initially I planned on turning my brain off for most of my trip. So it was awesome having her plan most excursions and helping me have the time of my life.
The coolest thing about this trip is you're not stuck on a bus all day long like many other contiki trips. Don't get me wrong there are bus trips. The longest was 6 hours. To get through the different countries you will take an overnight train, boats, tuk tuks, buses, vans and jets. I loved our overnight train ride. It really gave everyone a chance to bond.
My favorite things I did on the trip were the Wat Phrathat in Chiang Mai, Thai cooking class in Chiang Rai, Elephant riding, "Kangaroo Sunset" bar and kayaking in Luang Prabang, causing a street dance party in Siem Reap, jumping off our boat in Nha Trang and sailing in Ha Long Bay.
I would recommend this trip to everyone. I always felt safe, culturally submerged and had a blast.
Tips I wish I had been given:
-Bring temple wear (Long pants, t-shirts)
-Pack your bag and then take out half. It's super easy to do laundry.
-Bring only one swim suit. There are water activities, but not consecutive ones. You only need one suit.
- You should not need more then $25 a day if you don't plan on doing much shopping.
- Invest good pair of flip flops. You have to remove your shoes a lot and they're easier to get on and off then sandals.
-Don't bring a huge suitcase. A back pack is better.
-You don't need to bring makeup. Most of the girls on the trip won't wear it. It will just sweat off.
-Bring your own bug spray.
-Bring or be prepared to pull out american dollars. You will need to pay for most excursions with USD. Also Cambodia widely prefers USD over Riel.
-If you're coming from the states you don't need an adaptor. All outlets take the US plug!
-Wifi is everywhere. Turn your phone on airplane mode and don't bother getting a plan. Just Skype and iMessage people using wifi.
-Pack playing cards!
-Pack your own portable charger!
Want to read more about my trip? Check out my blog:
Review written Nov 2014event 0.3
29 Jan 2012 - 11 Feb 2012
I loved this trip. I took it two years ago and it was my second contiki I had ever done. The first contiki I did was the big European Adventure five years ago. I would absolutely recommend this asia trip to all of you. I LOVEEEED it!!!!!
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
07 Jul 2013 - 31 Jul 2013
This tour was absolutely breathtaking! Worth every single penny.
Our tour manager, Phoebe was great. She was very laid back and extremely helpful with whatever problems or questions we had. I ended up getting sick in Vietnam and had to see a doctor and she went to the Pharmacy for me and picked up the medications that he had prescribed.
Asia is fairly cheap, however I found I spent a lot of money in Cambodia, since they use the american dollar, my bank account depleted a lot faster than the weeks previous.
Do as many optionals as you can, I did everything that is listed on the website and more, since our TM organized additional add-ons for us. It's so cheap to do, so even if it turns out to be crap you've spent less than $30 dollars on it at the very most.
Make sure you pack a travel pillow/neck pillow! I had one, but forgot it in the hotel in Nha Trang, it was the saddest day of the entire trip!
Overall, a great experience for my first solo trip and my first contiki tour! I'm hooked!
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
27 Nov 2013 - 21 Dec 2013
Amazing, incredible, insane. This trip changed my life forever! And it can't be explained unless you experience it. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is thinking about doing it. The experiences I had, the people I met and the things I saw will stay with me forever. My tour guide was unreal, professional during the day and partied with us at night. I met the most amazing people from all over the world and some of these I will regard as friends for life. I could not say one single negative thing about Contiki or this trip. Do it!
Review written Mar 2014event 0.3
15 Jul 2012 - 08 Aug 2012
I can't even begin to explain how amazing this trip was from beginning to end - everything you could imagine and more!!! Wild ping pong shows in Bangkok, hanging out with tigers, riding elephants, tubing in laos, swimming in waterfalls and exploring beautiful Vietnam..this trip was unforgettable!! Met the most amazing people from all over the world, and our tour manager was the best! If you're thinking about going to Asia, book this trip now - you will have the time of your life!
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
06 Jan 2013 - 30 Jan 2013
This tour was absolutely incredible. My mum did a similar tour with Intrepid a couple of years ago and always went on about how amazing it was over there, so I knew I had to go. I did this tour in January of 2013 with one of my friends who I met on my Europe Contiki tour. We had such an amazing time and the tour just made us even better and closer friends. The other travellers were all so amazing. One thing that is certain when you travel on a big tour like this, is that you will meet some really great, interesting and entertaining people. We made some friends who (as I said about my last tour) I know we will be friends for a lifetime.
A lot of people joined the Contiki meet up online for our tour, so we got to talk to a few other travellers before the tour actually started. My friend started up a Facebook group so that we could talk and get to know each other even more easily, which I found was really good. For the first couple of days that we were there before the tour started we were able to get in touch and meet up with some people early.
Our tour manager, Rory, was a little seedy to be honest. He never made a move on me (he wouldn't dare!) but I know that he did on a couple of the other girls, and they found it really uncomfortable... which obviously sucked. He did however give us a 'Rory's Tips' page in each of the more major destinations we went which I did find to be fairly helpful and all the local drivers and tour guides we got in each location were very knowledgeable and friendly.
South East Asia is so cheap, so it's really easy to find nicer accommodation at reasonably cheap prices. All the hotels we stayed at were in excellent locations, clean and comfortable (some were actually really fancy! - Chiang Rai for example).
It is winter over there during that time of year, so the weather was perfect! It only rained once the whole time we were there, that was one morning in Hoi An. Other than that it was blue skies and perfect temperature. Bangkok was pretty humid, but where I live it's like that all the time so I'm used to it. In the more Northern regions it was a little chilly, but all you needed was a cardigan or a light hoodie.
As the weather is so nice that time of year, all you really need to pack is shorts and t-shirts (and a cardigan). Oh, and a few casual dresses for night time. It's is so casual and chilled out over there, so don't take anything fancy because chances are you won't ever wear it. For shoes, thongs or sandals are fine. I lived in my Country Road jelly sandals.
I did all the optional extras. There aren't that many and they are all pretty cheap so I recommend that you do them all. The cooking class in Vietnam was so good. We all cooked up a storm and the marinated chicken we made was to die for! The Kuang Si Waterfalls was also another must. It was so beautiful there. The water is an incredible baby blue and the waterfalls cascade down one another. The water absolutely freezing. It's like that all year round, but it's so worth going in, you'll regret it if you don't. Honestly, you can't go all that way and not go in! There is a rope swing and a higher waterfall you can jump off into the main swimming area, but you can even choose any of the other more private ones to swim in. Also, the day trip out snorkelling in Nha Trang was another great optional extra.
In Vang Vieng we did a couple of extra activities that weren't apart of Contiki's optional extras. We got Rory to organise them for us. We had one of the funnest, funniest, action packed days every. In the morning we went for an 11km kayak (not as bad as it sounds - we are beginner level kayakers), which included a little caving (which was so scary… he made me go first into a pitch black cave with water up to my armpits and just said 'Go! Walk until you reach the shore!'... Excuses me, mate, I've seen Anacondas! I know what happens next). After that we had some spare time so we went and hired scooters and cruised around doing mainies (for anyone who isn't Australian - that basically means driving up and down the main street. We're so cool, I know!). We ended the day by going hot air ballooning, but I swear our balloon driver didn't know what he was doing because we crashed into 2 trees and then crash landed in a bunch of trees! That was one of my favourite days of the whole tour.
The food everywhere was amazing. I love Thai curry! I couldn't get enough of it. Although, I am a pretty fussy eater and I think I may have gotten the whole way through Laos without eating any of the local food. All the food and drink is extremely cheap. It really hurt when I got home and tried to order a cocktail only to remember it is $18, not $2 like over there. That truly broke my heart… and because it is so cheap I came back with pretty much all my spending money I went over with.
This tour was spectacular. The only thing that was slightly annoying about the tour is in a lot of the main sights you didn't get nearly enough time for photos. However, I still would 100% recommend this tour to anyone. It is so cheap and there is so much to see and explore. With all the sights, smells, and sounds you can't help but appreciate the culture. I have gained so many fond new memories and friends and I couldn't be more grateful. I'd say this tour is ideal for anyone looking to travel, you can do it on a budget or go all out, it's up to you! I will definitely be back to South East Asia, you can count on that.
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
22 Jul 2012 - 15 Aug 2012
This was a great tour overall. Awesome tour manager. Great locations, different from anything you see around here. Really mixed aged groups which is great. I went as a single traveller and made so many life long friends. Accommodation was really nice, Mostly hotels. transport was good, did not spend too much time on planes or buses. Definitely do it all over again.
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
24 Apr 2011 - 18 May 2011
The best contiki experience for me ever. The people are much more mature and down to earth than the folks I met during my past euro tours. From the first day to the last, the experiences shared and friendships forged are forever. I still talk with my tour mates, met up with a few since then also.
Unlike most people, sadly, I don't really go over the brochure, I simply pin point the package that works best for me and looks fun, then simply go for it. So everyday was pretty much an enjoyable surprise :D. Laos for me was the most unexpected delightful surprise for me. Loads to do there.
Vietnam, was quite an experience, got sooo many clothes made, that I still wear till date. Great food, Ha Long Bay was divine!! Good times!
Review written Apr 2013event 0.3
30 Dec 2012 - 23 Jan 2013
I strongly recommend this tour! This trip has so much to offer... Culture, Adventure, Night Life & so much more that words cannot describe. Our tour guide Paddy was amazing. I've had great tour guides in the past but he is number 1 in my book! After finishing in Hanoi I decided to extend my trip & go back to Laos for 12 more days because I absolutely fell in love with the country. I can't imagine anyone not having the time of their life. I will definitely be back & I thank Contiki for this awesome fantastic experience!
Review written Feb 2013event 0.3
10 Jun 2012 - 04 Jul 2012
Everything is a little bit different in Asia, sometimes things don't go as planned (for example an overturned truck in the middle of the road in Laos that caused some delays, music videos being shot at the Bangkok train station etc..) But those are the things that make for fun experiences! (You never know what you are going to get with Asia)(But I guarantee you will love it!) This trip was so much fun! Be prepared to do a lot of sightseeing in a short amount of time. You will love Thailand- everything is so cheap, and it is a fun and exciting place to start your trip. Laid back Laos is AMAZING. Seriously, Laos is the best! Cambodia gives you insight to Southeast Asia, and the culture there is truly unlike any other you will experience. Vietnam is fast-paced, adventurous and Halong Bay is well..... You will have to take the trip to experience it!
Don't take this trip if you just want to check off boxes to say that you have been to Southeast Asia. Don't take this trip just because you want to go where they filmed the Hangover II. Take this trip if you have ever wanted to experience Southeast Asia for the amazing sights, scenery and way of life. A truly awesome experience.
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
I had an unbelievable time with Contiki, met some amazing people who I spent Christmas and New years with. Great way to travel as everything is planned for you! Our guide was so much fun and we saw some amazing places. There are a lot of temples and culture to take in, but still plenty of bars by night. The hotels were all beautiful and was blown away by Laos, if you love to party, prepare yourself for Laos! Would go back in a heart beat!
Review written Apr 2011event 0.3