Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
The 12 day tour of Vietnam Experience is a fantastic way to see the country. We were told it is a more in-depth Contiki tour, because we spend so long on one country. It is definitely time well spent, because while it is not a big country, it is incredibly diverse, and there are big differences between the north and south, in culture, buildings and food. It is definitely worth booking the experience ahead of the Vietnam Highlights, as we thought the Mekong Delta homestay experience was great fun, and the Cu Chi tunnels very valuable in our understanding of the Vietnam War. The optionals, I think, are worth doing, and all of them. You will find the weather varies across the country, because it is so long, so you can never pick a time of year where the entire country has perfect weather.
Things you will see: Ho Chi Minh City - the cathedral, post office, Ben Thanh Markets (though I suggest do more of this in your own time, because we actually didn't really get a lot of time actually in the market if you want to do some shopping), War Remnants Museum (if you like history, and want to read it all in-depth, you may need to see it again, or in your own time, as we had enough time to read about two levels of stuff, but I had to skip the end)
Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels
Nha Trang - we were supposed to go on a snorkelling trip, but didn't due to a typhoon warning. We went to Yang Bay Tourist Park - it's a really weird place, and some may find it a bit uncomfortable there. It seems to be built by the Vietnamese, specifically for the large Russian population that visit Nha Trang and surrounding areas
Hoi An - this place is beautiful! The tailoring shop that is recommended to us by Contiki is very reliable, and better quality than most places here. Linh Shoe Shop for shoes and bags was also quite good, though if you are looking to emulate a particular design, the lady didn't really pick up on specific details. You will see My Son Temples, but I didn't go because I was hungover and tired from a big night before, so I can't say how it was.
Hue - you only spend one day here, and the day is jam-packed and well spent. Our bus broke down between Hoi An and Hue because the driver didn't fill up, but that was the only issue we had. It was also the wet season in Hoi An and Hue.
Hanoi and Halong bay - Halong Bay is definitely one of the big highlights of the trip. In Hanoi's old quarter, there is so much shopping to be done, so if you don't get to go to the Ben Thanh markets in Ho Chi Minh City, don't worry. Apparently The North Face stuff is cheaper in Hoi An and Hue than Hanoi though. Egg coffee at Cafe 39/Friz Coffee at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan St is really good. Pho 10 and the Banh Mi lady just up the street there are both really good. Hang Dieu St. had Bun Bo Nam Bo, which was an amazing dish! So much good food to eat!
All accommodation was good, the Vien Dong hotel was the most basic, and probably what we were actually expecting, but the other hotels exceeded expectations.
Everything was organised by our tour leader perfectly and everything ran smoothly. I would definitely recommend this tour!
It was my first Contiki and I am so glad I did it. I met so many interesting people and my fellow travellers were really friendly. Our driver and tour guide were awesome and looked after us really well. Some of the amazing things I did on the trip include Speed boating in Miami, Hot Air ballooning in Albuquerque, Visiting Graceland in Memphis, A limo ride along the strip in Las Vegas and Universal Studios in Orlando.
Made so many new amazing friends.
Really worth doing this tour!!
First Contiki trip and must say it was a good one! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable of the cities we visited. The amount of time spent in each city was perfect to get a feel for it. Awesome group and awesome time. Looking forward to my next trip in 2015!
Such a great tour! Good balance of sight seeing and partying. The tour guide was great and very knowledgeable. Only regret is stopping at Vegas and not going to Bass Lake etc with some of the others.
I would HIGHLY recommend the Egypt tour to anyone. I felt safe and taken care of the entire time and think it's time tourism come back to Egypt (the negative media attention is really overblown I found after visiting myself).
Contiki does it right with visits to the pyramids, camel rides, train rides, a nice cruise boat, and time spent at the beach on the Red Sea (snorkeling was amazing).
I can't say enough about how excellent the guide Sherif is and he has 15 years experiences; he's also a genuine person who just adds to the fun of the group. The people I was lucky enough to travel with also made the trip.
Would highly recommend the village tour (opt for the camel, not the donkey in my opinion).
Dendera, an addition to the tour, was one of the main highlights-it was so well preserved.
THANKS for the trip of a lifetime!!
Absolutely loved this trip. Photos definitely don't do New Zealand justice. Weather at Franz Josef is a little unpredictable and can be rainy/foggy. We weren't able to do the helicopter/hike options as a result, but many of us did the kayaking instead and spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Loved the Canyon Swing in Queenstown, absolute highlight. I highly recommend doing multiple jumps if you have the option! I did the K-Bridge Bungy Jump, which was a fun experience as well.
The accommodations in Lake Ohau are rad! Toga party and a hot tub. There's a lounge area by a fireplace as well. Too many cool places to cover 'em all!
I was worried the weather might be a little cold traveling in August (Australia's winter), but I had such a pleasant experience. And huge thumbs up for the Sailing! Highly recommended when you're in the Whitsundays.
Very moderate weather, with some rain in Sydney at the tail end. Watched some beautiful thunderstorms off the coast in Coffs Harbour, after spending the afternoon taking surf lessons at sunset. Definitely the highlight activity of my trip! Not to mention the bonfire that evening.
This trip has exceeded my expectations in the best way possible. I went alone, but came back home connecting with more great friends worldwide. I've kept in touch with some of them from this Contiki group. The highlight of the trip was in Florence. I fell in love with that city. Would highly recommend first time Contiki travelers to take the Mediterranean Highlights tour. You really get a big bang out for your buck!
If you are looking to have a good time and looking to see a lot of Europe in short amount of time, this trip is for you.
What can I say? Costa Rica is a beautiful place to experience! My trip was in late September, also known as the "rainy season", however the majority of the trip, the weather was absolutely perfect. I went zip-lining, rafting, hiking, repelling, horseback riding, and SO much more. The sunsets in Costa Rica are breathtaking, especially in Manuel Antonio. The Costa Rican people are all very hospitable and welcoming, I felt very comfortable and safe everywhere I went. My favorite part of the trip (besides the unreal sunsets and food) was going to the Elementary School and watching the local school children perform a dance for us.
Edward was our tour guide, and he was great! It seemed like everyone knew him everywhere we went, and so that made for a smooth transition into each city. Our coach driver was really nice too. I left feeling like I got a true taste of all Costa Rica had to offer, and I can't wait to go back one day.
You must do this tour, you will be so happy you did!!
It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't what I expected. We didn't get much time in each city. But thats alright, because it is a very fast paced trip. Also, we arrived at each city so late in the day, that all that was left to do was bar hopping and enjoy the nightlife. If thats what you enjoy, this is your trip. If you want more of a cultural experience then go on your own. Its not really hard to get around anywhere in Europe. It does take time to plan everything, but it might end up being cheaper than Contiki trip.
Also, it was surprising to me me that the tour manager offered to hook people up with drugs and prostitutes, if they needed. Because he strongly believed that it was part of his job to encourage people to have a good travel experience.
If you've always dreamed of waking up to the warm sunrise from another country after a night of partying; or getting lost in the back streets of a foreign city with just a translation book and a fold map and great new friends who feel just as compelled to have a time of their lives traveling abroad as you, then this is the trip for you. Be warned: this is a fast-paced trip; you'll barely spend a day or two in most of these countries so make the *most* out of every moment, do not go lightly. I had an unbelievable time, made so many amazing new friends, learned some much stuff culturally and historically during this trip. Our guide (Sara) was extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and lots of fun (Contiki if you're reading this she gets an A+ recommendation)
Message me for any tips. Or check out photos and videos from our August 2013 trip. Enjoy! #noregrets
It's hard to put into words how amazing this trip was. There was countless moments when I felt like pinching myself because I didn't believe I was there. I really recommend this tour if you want to see a great snapshot of America. I would love to list all my favourite moments but I would be typing an absoltute novel. Big shoutout to my amazing tour manager, Jack Larsen and our driver Marcel "E" - who helped make the tour so incredible!
Our Contiki trip through Vietnam was such an eye opener, and so different to any other tour I had previously been on. My boyfriend and I went on the Vietnam Experience tour from 4 Nov-15 Nov 2014, I think there were about 24 of us in total when the Vietnam Highlights group joined us on day 3 back in Saigon. Everyone clicked really well, and the homestay in the Mekong Delta really helped us bond quickly and brought our group together. Definitely worth the extra money to add those 2 days to your Vietnam trip! Our tour was a special one, as 2 girls from The Bachelor Australia were on our tour, along with writers, bloggers, and 2 big bosses from Contiki to manage them along the way. It was a unique experience having this on our tour (both good & bad points!), but made for some very memorable moments! The Contiki boss Katrina was super lovely & amazing- so glad she came along for the ride! Our tour manager James was really helpful & definitely knew his stuff, powering on even when he felt sick, & was kind enough to give those of us traveling on afterwards many tips on where to go & what to see in Laos, Cambodia, & Thailand as well!
Crossing the road in Saigon is an experience you will never forget, you will never again see so many scooters in your life! The markets throughout Vietnam were awesome for picking up a bargain (Hoi An probably had the best shopping), just keep in mind that Asian sizes are much smaller than Western sizes! Our accommodation was of good quality at each of our destinations (though a little more basic at our Mekong Delta homestay). We were treated to so much delicious food over the 12 days, we were spoilt for choice. So many yummy soups, spring rolls, savoury pancakes & fresh seafood!
Nha Trang was one of our favourite spots, we easily could have stayed here longer! Gorgeous beaches, mud baths were great, snorkeling trip was amazing & dinner at The Sailing Club was one of the best meals of my life! The passionfruit mojito was the best drink I've ever tasted & the mushroom gnocchi was to die for!
Hoi An is World Heritage Listed & I already can't wait to go back & visit it again one day. Had so much fun riding bikes around the old town, exploring the markets & lounging by the pool and visiting the hotel's spa. We all got suits or dresses made there at Yali, I'd strongly recommend having pictures of what you want with you on your phone before visiting, so you can be really clear & specific with them on what you want, to save time and confusion.
By the time we reached Hue we were getting pretty tired, but the Perfume River showed us an amazing sunset & the nightlife there is pretty fun! When we reached Hanoi we were all exhausted & couldn't wait to sleep! Was probably our least favourite destination in Vietnam, the weather was cooler here & overcast, and the city felt like many others in Asia. We also didn't do as much together as a group here. Halong Bay was stunning, although the water was a little cooler this time of year (but not so cold you couldn't swim or kayak). Was amazing to see monkeys close up in the wild on the islands and the scenery was stunning. The pirate party on the junk boat was pretty incredible too!
I'd recommend staying an extra night in Hanoi once your tour ends, as you're bound to make new friends who you'd like to spend more time with! Our group was a mix of (mostly) Aussies, Canadians, South Africans, Brits, a Kiwi and an American. The average age of the group was mid-to-late 20s, which was perfect (no 18yr olds getting crazy silly, or old nanas holding us back), and was of a slower pace & a bit more luxurious than European Contiki tours. I'd definitely recommend an Asian Contiki tour- you money goes so much further in SE Asia and for people like us who had never been to Asia before, it was a great introduction to the culture, and gave us the confidence and knowledge to then travel on in the region by ourselves. I had a blast, & so did my boyfriend (who was initially quite reluctant to do a Contiki tour, but was definitely surprised!). Save your dollars and give it a go- you'll have an amazing time guaranteed! :)
Amazing! Best trip ever and met some awesome people. Perfect length for a tour with Contiki. Our tour guide, Kristin, is so knowledgeable. I think I learnt more about the history of Europe from her than I did in high school :/ however, be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for all the extra's! (if you're on a budget).
New Zealand is such a beautiful place! The people are very friendly. The entire country looks like Middle Earth.
I have been on other tours before, but this was my first Contiki tour, and it ran differently from other tour companies. There are different trips which overlap with each other on the tour; for example, the Big Tiki and Northern Explorer were on the tour first. I arrived two days later and joined everyone else then. Some people left in Christchurch while others joined the coach. In essence, the group you start with will not necessarily be the group you end with; people will leave and join throughout your time on tour.
Being from the US, I had a lot of sticker-shock while in New Zealand. Currently, the USD is stronger, but the prices are more expensive for what you get (e.g. food is about twice as much), so I felt that a lot of the optionals didn't have enough value for the money spent. With that said, the Me Times were still a lot of fun and absolutely made the trip.
Be prepared to spend a lot on the extras, however. I spent about $1400 for Me Times for 13 days.
One optional activity I would not at all recommend is the Milford Sound cruise. It was a 4 hour drive from Queenstown one way with only 1-2 hour cruise, and the scenery on the cruise is what you see on the coach riding around the island. Milford Sound is a pretty place, but I don't think it was worth the money to spend most of the day sitting on a bus. Other than that, the optionals were fantastic!
Overall, the accommodations were pretty nice. I had paid for a quad share, but most of the time there were 3 to a room. It felt pretty cramped because the rooms were made for 2 people, so having an extra bed meant shuffling sideways around some corners, but the beds were pretty comfortable, the rooms were clean, and there was adequate space for 3 girls getting ready in the morning.
The lodges on the other hand felt like I was back at summer camp. There were bunk beds and small showers, and there was no counter space at all. However, there was a total of 4 nights spent in lodges, so it wasn't a big deal overall.
In Franz Josef, the Rainforest Retreat was a major disappointment. The top bunk was pretty low, so I hit my head a couple times when I wasn't thinking about it. There was a lot of mold growing all over the bathroom, and the shower didn't have any temperature controls, you take whatever you get. There was an awesome spa pool there, so that was a plus!
Food-wise, I really enjoyed myself. I am a vegetarian, and I always had options at different places whether it was a vegetarian patty on a burger or a non-meat sauce on pasta, New Zealand is great at accommodating vegetarians without needing to eat salads the entire time.
I was lucky enough to have Soap and Ricky as my Contiki team. Soap worked very hard to make sure everyone had a good time and made everyone feel like a friend of his. There were a couple of times when Me Times were cancelled or room assignments got messed up, and Soap made sure everything worked out well in the end. He knows a lot of people around the country, and a lot of people know him, so he has ins to special requests and accommodations.
Ricky was a great driver. Never once did I feel uneasy about him being behind the wheel. I guess he was voted best New Zealand driver of 2014, and there was a reason he got that award.
I know this is cliché, but the best part about the trip was the group of people I went with. Everyone was very inviting and friendly and had a lot of fun. In the US, cliques are very popular and very strong, but on the tour, there were people who had groups of friends but never blocked anyone out. The majority of the group went out to clubs and bars each night, but never made others feel obligated to come if they didn't want to. I love the people I traveled with and I thank them for making my holiday absolutely unforgettable.
Even though there were some disappointing times on the trip and not everything ran perfectly smooth, the trip was still amazing and I whole-heartedly recommend it if you're up for a fast-paced, adventurous tour.
Had a great tour with a great group of party goers and the trip was made all the better with Jack Larsen as our Tour Manager!