Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
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!!
The tour manger and the coach driver were real real good. I could not ask anyone else to guide me like them. The group was best of all and i had a great time with them. The extra actives were fun and the night life were really good and all the fun we had.
I absolutely adored this, it woke up my travel bug, my tour manager was amazing, one of the best people i've ever met. I met people on this tour who are now life long friends
London and paris was amazing, I absolutely loved the people I was with and my tour manager and bus driver were amazing people and they both helped all of us greatly. I decided to follow the tour to Amsterdam so I could stay in Europe longer and that was the best decision I ever made. Amsterdam was simply incredible. I highly recommend this trip.
I recently returned from my trip doing the Grand Southern (LA to NY) - this was honestly the best time of my life! It was my first time overseas, so I travelled with my sister and we had a blast! Of course we were nervous going but once we were there and met everyone on our bus we lost all our nerves. Our group became family. We were blessed to have such amazing people on our tour and a great tour guide Andy. Since we have been back everyone has organised multiple contiki catch ups and we are all heading to Brisbane for Australia Day next year together! I have definitely made friends for life. From the very start it was a lot of partying and socializing. There were always moments to wind down and catch up on sleep on the bus. I wouldn't recommend doing this tour if you are under 21 as it would be extremely difficult to watch the rest of the group go out almost every night and be stuck in the hotel room. I am happy to answer any specific questions if you would like more info. My advice is to JUST BOOK IT! You will have #noregrets :)
This was a fabulous trip and I had an amazing time over the 25 days. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who would like to get a good feel of what Europe is like, it was just the right amount of time, anything shorter and I don't think it would of been as enjoyable. Do as many of the extras as you can, they really make the trip.
As a concept tour, you agree to pay a little less, to stay in lower grade accomodation. Do it. Choose this option. You can drink more, buy more and eat more.
Accomodation: Yeah, it's mainly hostels and you bunk with a few of your new friends, but after the first night and day with your group of around 50, it'll feel almost natural. Most breakfasts were included and continental. Take advantage of this, it's free and why buy food when you don't need to?
Locations: Every country was different and every city was more beautiful than the last. Make sure you have a good camera and a large memory card, because you're going to want to take as many pictures as you can because it's that fricking pretty.
People: I travelled with my sister, and a lot of people travelled either alone or with another friend. It takes a while to remember everyone's names but I guarantee you will be friends with most if everyone by the end of the first week. Spending an entire day on a bus with them all kind of forces you to, but you know #noregrets.
General review: I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Even though we only spent 2 nights in most places, I know exactly which places I want to go back to. This is a great all rounder trip and there's plenty of oppurtunities fro everyone no matter what you're in to. Solo exploring, making friends, museums, parties, culture, whatever it is, there's plenty of it.
My two top tips for this tour are
1) Sleep the first night in a new city, rest up and explore during the full day, then party hard (if that's your style) the second night. The next day will be mostly spent on the coach, so as long as you're on there when the bus leaves the hostel, you're free to sleep your hangover off.
2) Eat as healthy as you can. If you're young, and in Europe, chances are you're gonna do your liver a bit of trouble. Even if you're not a drinker, make sure you eat fruit and veg and as balanced of a diet as you can get jumping between cities. Try new foods, but make sure you don't only eat pringles and drink vodka. If you get sick on this trip, you're gonna have a bad time. If one person gets a cold on the coach, it'll spread pretty quickly.
This was my first contiki on my first big trip. My tour manager Caroline was awesome, she knew the answers to our questions before we even knew what our questions were. She knew her way around, and made it her sole priority to organise the best time we could have. The people I met were awesome.
Pros: All meals included, choices of buffet or restaurant setting. Choice to get unlimited drinks tab for 80 Euros I think it was. Good crew on the ship
Cons: Shared giant cruise ship with old folks, not enough time to completely explore each place we went to. That being said, I looked at this trip in terms of a taste tester. I didn't know where I wanted to go, but now I've been to them, I know where I want to go back and discover more of.
If you're planning on partying hard, and turning every stone this isn't the tour for you, but if you want to experience a bit of everything, this is perfect. It really does take the hassle out of organising the trip yourself. The optionals are a little pricey, but you won't want to do all of them or else you wont have any free time because the boat's got to go between islands at a certain time.
This trip was really wonderful, met some amazing people and cant believe how much I saw in 10 days, would definitely recommend it, be prepared to stay out late and wake up early! It's all worth it!! :)
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From dancing on bars to sipping beers in ancient courtyards this tour is a mix of the old and the new. Plenty of opportunities to party and so much history to appreciate. This tour does go into more somber areas and history of Europe but it is history to be remembered. Going to Auschwitz and Birkenau was incredibly hard but so moving. All together the tour was amazing and our tour manager made the whole trip something to remember forever.
This tour was my second Contiki, and considering that I had an incredible first tour in the summer I decided to do another. I loved the cities themselves, Berlin is a wonderful, liberal, laid back city with a loaded history and many interesting sites and good food. Prague is simply enchanting and is a lovely city with well preserved medieval buildings. However, I was not happy with the accommodation, as we stayed in the Hotel Ibis in both cities, which I was taken aback by considering this was not one of their budget tours. I knew from day one it was not going to be as enjoyable as the summer Contiki I had gone on. The tour guide and bus driver were awesome, and they tried their best but the group dynamic was poor and awkward at best. The people on your group can effect your experience for the worse or better and in this case it was the former. A lot of weird people who were really cliquey kind of had something to do with these poor group dynamics. On top of all this the weather was horrible.
The first word that comes to mind was WOW! Traveling to Ireland was the first "real big" trip I've taken. I'd been dreaming of going for years and since I'd get going alone I thought a tour was the best way to see it all....and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
My tour manager was Roxy. I can't begin to say enough good things about her- she's funny, knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on her face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Mark who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
A Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons (I highly recommend doing EVERYTHING). We saw Dublin, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Derry, Galway, Aran Islands, Blarney Castle, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery, Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Kilkenny, trad bands, Irish dancers, cows, sheep...lots of pubs and it was ALL magical!
Last but not least- the people! I met so many new friends that are part of some of the best experiences of my life. I won't forget the Auzzies, Canadians, and fellow Statesmen who I shared an amazing adventure with! They all helped make the trip what it was!
I will definitely be taking another Contiki tour in the future!
I could not speak more highly of Contiki if I tried. It was an absolutley fantastic trip. Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Francisco. It is all incredible, I could not rate it better. This trip is the best and easiest way of getting round this part of America. I would really recommend. You make so so so many friends from all over the world and you will have the best time.
I travelled by myself, like most and had the best time ever. I would really recommend it.
Our guide Korrie was amazing and she was so helpful, like a cute older sister! Somene you want to party with, but you know they will have your back.
If I was giving some advice, I would say do the baot trip in San Diego, it is a good way to meet people and get yourself established.
I would say if you are travelling from the UK, give yourself a few days to get used to the time difference.
At the start you will hate '#noregrets' but by the end, you will be living it and loving it.
Prepare to spend about $200 a night in Vegas.
Don't do the walk about dinner in Scottsdale.
On the other hand, prepare to have the time of your life.
IT IS AN INCREIDBLE TRIP! BOOK NOW!
Luke was a great and fun guide. Thailand is beautiful and the people in our group where a lot of fun. So glad i discovered Contiki.
Its a safe easy way to travel to new countries. Lots of infomation and activities provided.
The best trip of my life!
amazing group and awesome places...
New York is a confusing yet exciting place that you need to see to truly understand. Listed on most travellers 'must see before you die' lists, once you get there you know why. New Year's Eve is probably the biggest and busiest time of year to be in New York - but what a time it is! Approximately 3 million people merge into one small space to count the new year in. Talking to a couple of New Yorkers on the subway the day before New Years I asked them if they go to time square to celebrate to which they all laughed and the woman said to me, 'no it's too cold and crowded we leave that to you crazy people'. Cold was the last thing I felt when my group made its way to Planet Hollywood - the destination of our celebrations. Contiki took all the worry and hassles out of my trip and let me simply enjoy where I was and the people I was with. Security is insanely tight all over NY on new year and some people spent the whole day waiting out in the cold for a prime spot to celebrate the night - not us! We partied and felt like rock stars for one epic night of our lives.
The rest of the tour we spent being show the sights and smells of NY some places we would have never even have thought to have seen.
Though this tour is short it is amazing and certainly is my favourite so far.
The hotel used was a great location, one hotel back from the beach. however I found the rooms too small for me and my friend to fit in, especially when we had been travelling for 6 weeks and had 2 bags each. Pearl Harbor inclusion was great, well worth doing. Included breakfast was more than enough each morning, nice food and plenty of options to chose from.
I loved every minute of this tour, great locations and the places you stay are quite central and close to everything. my only regret is not doing the grand southern tour and getting to continue on for the full 26 days with all my awesome new friends. would recommend this tour to anyone
Words cannot describe how amazing the European Horizon Summer 2013 was. I went into the trip with a lot of Anxiety, and I didn't know what to expect. On our first night in London, we met up with everyone at the Hotel Pub, and after that night it was clear to me that it was going to be the trip of a lifetime. Everyone was so friendly, and I quickly became friends with everyone on the tour. I think the main reason why It was such a good tour was because there was a huge group of us who would spend all of our nights & days together, exploring the cities, and then partying at the Hostel Bar's. The one thing that I wasn't aware of before the trip was that we would have to share rooms with either 1 or 2 other people. I was a little worried about that at first, but ended up being paired with 2 other ladies who I quickly became best friends with. The only bad thing about this tour was having to say goodbye to everyone. The tour was not long enough, and we all agreed that it should have been a 20 day tour. I am so happy that I chose to do a contiki tour, it honestly changed my life. Our large group of friends from the tour are still keeping in touch to this day, and I am content to say that I have made life-long friends. I highly recommend this tour, as well as any other contiki tour. I just hope you are as lucky as I was to have so many amazing people to enjoy the journey with.