Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Completed this trip in August 2013. I had a fantastic time and saw bits of Australia which I hadn't had the opportunity to do in the past.
Contiki made the experience hassle free and brainless. I maintained a blog of this trip and it can be found online
Hope that helps!
This trip literally had everything! Bustling cities, beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, lots of nightclubbing and drinks to be had, tons of fascinating history, loads of culture, delicious food and more. I would recommend it for a first time solo traveller as it was short enough to as to not make you too anxious but long enough to lose yourself! By the time we were done how ever it felt like I had been gone for months and my tour mates were my best friends! I was lucky enough to be placed with a fantastic group of people and our tour leader Tara was amazing! I would recommend this tour if you’re not opposed to running on little to no sleep as it was non-stop! I made a pact with a couple of guys that I had just met that we would go out every night and we did! I was definitely living on the philosophy of “I can sleep when I get home”. I would advise everyone to take up every optional activity on offer as none of them clash and it is worth every minute. The experiences are amazing and unlike anything you would see on any other country. Drinking shots of snakes blood and rice whiskey in a village, eating snake soup and rat, lying in the sun as you float down on the Mekong river (cue credence clear water revival), crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels, firing a machine gun in the same jungle where the Vietnam war took place, visiting the war remnants museum, (amazing, but will bring a tear to anyone’s eye) Snorkelling (and drinking) in the South China Sea, a hilarious lady boy show on the ocean, cycling through the beautiful little village of Hoi An, visiting the imperial city in Hue (pronounced “Hway” and Not “Huey”) and my personal favourite, the overnight junk boat on Halong Bay. I believe this is where one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was filmed. The water is beautiful and there are amazing little cliffs and islands that you have to see to believe. One of the simple highlights for me was the hot afternoon we spent jumping and diving off the top of the boat with everyone while a thunderstorm rolled in. (Might just add, can back flip.). Make sure you get off the boat and do the tour of the heritage listed caves they are breathtaking. We had a huge pirate theme party on the Junk boat that night followed the next morning with a very hung over kayak session. If you’re lucky there’s a little island you can paddle your kayak to where you can see a troop of monkeys, but the storm seemed to scare them off for us but we had just as much fun attempting to flip each others boats and splash the really hung over people (most still wearing their pirate costumes from the night before I might add). The scenery throughout the whole tour is to die for. I planned to catch up on sleep during the bus rides but found myself mesmerised by what ever was through my window. It’s really a beautiful country. I went in May and if you plan to go then keep in mind it gets really hot! Even the locals felt it was an extreme heatwave. The Vietnamese guides were lovely and it was devastating each time we left a city as we wanted to take them with us! This tour is the second half of the South East Asia tour and judging by the crew that did the first half, that’s definitely something worth looking into as well. I found the whole Country to still be quite untouched and not as commercialised and touristy as other parts of SE Asia which was perfect as it was what I was after and it’s definitely a place you want to be in a tour group for as your tour manager and guides will give you tips and tricks on where to go, what to do and what not to do! I really do wish I had of submitted a review earlier as I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention something amazing, so maybe you should just book the tour for yourself to experience it first hand! I would re-visit this country in an instant but I do think it’s only fair to see what the rest of the world has to offer! Until next time Vietnam xx
by far one of the best trips i have ever been on. great bunch of people on the trip, plenty of time boarding, and enough time to get drinking... the day off in the middle of the week was good, did white water rafting and the nevis bungee/swing combo (highly recommended), but should've stayed an extra day or two after the tour ended to do all the other things i wanted to do...
There's nothing more amazing than flying half way around the world and jumping on a coach with 50 like-minded strangers and travelling to some of the most beautiful, historic and unique places on earth.
I had the most amazing group of people; however we were all very different personality wise. Despite this, by day 4 we were all pretty much family!
All the places we visited were simply amazing, however the only criticisim I have of the trip is that the optionals were often a rip off (e.g. average food for crazy prices).
The Contiki staff and stop-over sites were awesome, definitely added to the trip a lot. I partiularly enjoyed the stop-overs where Contiki hosted themed parties and we got the chance to mix and mingle with other Contiki groups.
Loved my Contiki experience, will be back doing another trip as son as my bank account allows for it!
Thanks Contiki, keep up the good work!
Awesome tour! Saw a lot in 10 days! Very fast paced so you just get a "taste" of each city. Decent amount of free time to venture out on your own to explore. Our tour guide Emma was fantastic, very helpful and made the tour enjoyable. The accommodations were very good, most of them had air conditioning. The best optional was the salt mine tour near Krakow. Very little time spent in Rome (where the tour ends) so I would definitely recommend that you stay a few extra days after the tour ends to take in the sites the city has to offer. I would definitely recommend this tour!
This was my first contiki, I think it was a great introduction to contiki. Out tour manager was amazing, fun and very knowledgeable. I met so many great amazing people and the itinerary worked well and flowed. We had just the right amount of free time and the optionals were great. Just one thing that I was unaware of, this tour you are joining an existing tour, the group had been together for a week. But this wasn't too much trouble though, our tour manager managed to integrate us well with the existing group.
This was worth every penny, had a great time.
You join the Mexico Grande Tour in Mexico City and embark on a wonderful adventure for 6 glorious days. It is non-stop fun, very nicely organized. The food, the included activities, the down-time, the amazing TM, everything was great! I was worried at first, joining a group, but they welcomed us with open arms and we all became a big, happy familia! Our Tour Manager, Ismael, was perfect. He had a lot of historical knowledge, local history and fantastic time management skills. Made us feel like we were getting the best of the best. The hotel in Mexico City was a bit sketchy, and I wasn't a fan of having to switch rooms in the middle of the day, but the other locations and hotels made up for it. The longest time we spent on the bus was 3 hours. Again, a fantastic trip! If you do this trip, go for the optional activities and the nightlife Ish will set up for you, you will have the time of your life!
If you want an overview of the UK and Ireland, this tour is exactly for you! There is a mixture or urban and rural lands. The tour hits the main cities like Liverpool, York, Edinburgh, and Dublin but also hits other places like the Lake District in England and the Scottish Highlands. The best parts about my tour were my guide and driver, all the people I met, and all of the activities we got to do (including all of the optional activities)- do them!!! Food was great as well- a lot of meat and potatoes but the UK has incredible sweets as well! Best meal was the optional dinner in Edinburgh- so good! Hotels were all good too- it was a mix of hotels in the city and outside of the city. Overall- great tour! Would recommend it to anyone! Feel free to contact me if you want to hear more.
It's a very cool experience to say you've spent St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland. My trip was fantastic. My tour guide Michelle was great and knew all kinds of facts. We had the chance to be a part of the St. Patrick's Day parade and walk the parade route with thousands of others. That alone was an amazing experience. After that, as with any St. Patrick's Day, we found an awesome little pub called Dandelion. It was great, not a lot of tourists, more locals. Great food, awesome drinks, live Irish music ... it was a fantastic place to spend the rest of St. Paddy's after the parade. I met a lot of awesome people on my tour from all over as well. The hotel we stayed in was nice, it was about a 10 euro cab ride away from the city centre, which is not bad at all especially if your splitting a cab! Alone, or with friends, as a single or a couple, this tour is great for anyone as everyone mingles! It is definately a great experience that you could pair with another tour, or do your own thing after as it's only 4 days.
It is hard to put into words exactly how great this trip was, but I will have to try. My Asian adventure was comprised of the greatest group in travel history and was lead by the most wonderful man embodied in our tour manager, Nathan McBain. After having less then great tour experiences with others, Asia was easily the greatest experience of my entire life.
Our trip snaked from Beijing to Xi'an, then Shanghai, Yangshou and ended in Hong Kong. There is nothing to compare with the feeling of standing on the Great Wall, or taking a lap around the Terra Cotta Army, or seeing a gorgeous panoramic view of Hong Kong. Our attention was constantly being grabbed with the various shows and the me time activities were excellent. - Then you could wonder around the cities, as I did, and see the locals carrying on in a normal fashion. One of my tour mates and I found a temple and got amazing shots, and a view into the religious life of the region. There are so many sounds, smells and sights that comprise Asia that you have to pace yourself as not to miss a single thing. The local guides are all wonderful people and are there to explain and help you enjoy every city, every site, everything.
The hotels were all great. I have high expectations in general and was not disappointed once. The feel of the beds was a surprise, however we were kept so busy during the day that once I collapsed into it at night I slept soundly. Contiki REALLY outdid itself with the Metropolis in Hong Kong. That place was magnificent and to be quite honest I wondered if a mistake had been made. That fact became a light joke in the group. However the accommodations were extremely nice and I found my room a respite every night.
Finally, this was my first trip where I liked my tour manager. He made us feel special and was genuinely concerned about us as a group and as individuals. - I've never had that before as a traveler. I didn't feel like a number. I felt if I had ANY problem, Nate would work to try a rectify it, or direct me to where it could be rectified. I would travel with Nate anywhere.
I had the best time and met some amazing people. Great way to get a quick look at Europe. Accommodation was reasonable, you don't spend much time there anyway, your always out and about. The nightlife was so much fun. Most memorable was Venice and Switzerland. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who was thinking of doing it.
I stopped here on the way to Hawaii...some things I feel people should know.
1) LA is HUGE. The airport is super far from the hotel in downtown and cab rides not cheap. If you do take public transit, it takes awhile with multiple stops/getting off and on. Getting around, even on double decker bus tours, is long and slow. The downtown double decker that is supposed to loop to hollywood was either not operating that day and we spent valuable time waiting for it and it never came. We ended up waiting for 2 hours before finally grabbing a subway to hollywood.
I would recommend renting a car (if I ever go back, I will definitely do this so I can see more). Because it takes so much time, we didn't get to see as much as we'd liked to. For a stopover, the hotel was too far from the airport in my opinion.
2) The hotel is downtown...so most of the main attractions (hollywood, venice beach, santa monica, etc.) are again, FAR. Downtown is a definitely a seedier area but the hotel was nice, safe, clean and comfortable. Just at night I felt uncomfortable walking around down there, it was hard to find a nice place to eat...but we did get some great sushi as we (the hotel) was in the Japanese village.
3) Disneyland/City walk were super far away too. We went to citywalk on a wednesday and it was totally dead. All that travel for nothing really...Just felt like we spent a lot of time getting places for not much of a payoff.
4) Just a tip - so hot during the day, freezing at night in January :) bring a sweater if not a full change of clothes for nighttime.
Overall it was nice to see LA for the first time and we had a great time at the Chinese theatre comparing hand and foot sizes to the celebrities. We saw a few things at a glimpse/distance that were memorable (i.e. beverly hills) but I feel I need to go back and do it a little differently next time so I can truly get the LA experience I was hoping for.'
I would recommend this stopover to anyone. It was relaxing, in a great location on Waikiki, and tons of fun. Such good vibes and so much to enjoy. Great food, shopping, and friendly people. Would personally recommend being 21 at least if you go so you can enjoy some tropical drinks (they are strict about this at the restaurants/bars), but I didn't do much partying and still had a blast. Actually, the best times were getting a beer/drink (make sure to conceal) and bringing it out to the beach. Everything you need at your disposal. Nice hotel, not fancy but clean and they are very attentive. Get out there boogie-boarding...but know that it can be dangerous with some reef/sharp rocks at the break.
This was a great way to see Greece by land. If you're into seeing the old culture and seeing the little towns of Greece, this is the way to do it. Keep in mind you stop in small towns, so there isn't much of a night life. But the tour was great and I loved going to the old Olympic stadiums from Ancient Greece!
This is definitely the way to see Croatia!! It was awesome having our own boat with our own crew. The tour manager Emma was really nice and did her best to get everyone interactive with each other. The stops were amazing, Hvar and Dubrovnik was awesome. The clubs were really fun, and if you're a Game of Thrones fan, you will love Dubrovnik. Just keep in mind the recommended tip for the crew is 75 Croatina Kunas per person, and there were 6 of them on our boat, plus the tour manager. That was a little surprise for us at the end as we all scrambled to find ATMs to grab extra cash.
The tour manager Caroline was great in showing us around the islands and what tours to do. I was not too happy about being able to spend only about 4 hours in places, I wanted a lot more time on the islands. I was surprised that the cruise ship was a massive cruise ship that included families and elderly people. I chose to do Contiki because I wanted to be with my age group (18-35s), and not children and pushy old people. Based on a previous cruising trip with Contiki in Croatia, we had a boat just for Contiki that was awesome, and that was what I was expecting for this trip. Also, don't bother paying the higher price for an outer cabin, it's not what it sounds like, an outer cabin means a tiny little window and the only time you're in your cabin is when you're sleeping. The food on the ship was not great, the service on the cruise ship was slow and annoying. If you're into partying, the partying is clubbing on the cruise ship at night with children dancing around you, FYI. The tours that I did as optionals were good, and I'm glad I saw what I did, keep in mind, the optionals are expensive. I recommed doing your research about cost to do the tours on your own. If you're looking for a means to do the Greek Islands, look for another tour, I would not recommend this one, but I would do a Contiki again, just not this tour.
I found the Contiki experience an amazing one - a really good taste of Europe (my favourite places were Paris, Barcelona and Venice). You get so close to your tour group and tour manager, and that really makes a huge difference. The nightlife and parties were incredible too, especially as Contiki had a lot of connections in bars, clubs and activities. At 18, my friend and I were the youngest on tour with the average age being about 22/23 (oldest was around 26).
Just a few things. Contiki will try to milk you for your money, especially with optionals, so if you're travelling with a tight budget you might struggle - I spent a lot more than I intended (about 2000 AUD, and I didn't do all the optionals). Some of the optionals were really disappointing too and seemed to be a bit of a rip off.
Optionals to avoid:
- Flamenco show, Barcelona - boring and amateurish, especially for 30 euros! Would much rather have wandered Barcelona.
- Tuscan meal, Florence - really average food in a not-particularly-special restaurant. Would have been much better off finding food elsewhere.
- Electronic Space Disco - it was fun because everyone on tour went, but the actual club was disappointing.
- Vatican Tour AND Imperial Tour - these were both overpriced and the guides were horribly boring and uneducated.
- Bobbahn, Austrian Tyrol - I didn't actually do this, but I heard negative reviews from everyone who did, saying it was uncomfortable and at times painful, and not worth the money.
- JungFrau mountain, Swiss Alps - I didn't do this either, but from what I heard, the journey up the mountain was the main feature of the day (2 hours long) and the experience was quite overpriced and not particularly special.
Optionals that were amazing:
- Cabaret, Paris - very expensive but worth it for the real Parisian experience with your new group, one of my favourite nights in the tour.
- Parisian dinner - absolutely boiling when we went (no air con in the restaurant) but the food was delicious!!
- Venice walking tour - this guide was lovely and very knowledgable.
- Viennese dinner - a very eccentric experience but completely hilarious.
- Munich bike tour - the guides are hilarious and the tour was really fun.
- Whitewater Rafting in Austrian Tyrol - not very hardcore for professional rafters out there, but fun and a good experience.
- Tandem paragliding - expensive but INCREDIBLE, worth it.
- Wine tasting, St Goar - another really bizarre experience, hilarious.
Highlights of the whole tour were some of the nights out we had as groups, like in Paris, Barcelona, Florence and Amsterdam. Also the free days we had in each city to explore and go our own way - our tour guide organised maps and metro maps for us each time, which made it way easier. We also got to see really special parts of each city which you wouldn't necessarily find otherwise.
I thought the accommodation was fine for most of the trip - the hostels were comfortable enough and clean, which was fine, and the contiki properties served surprisingly good food. The issue I had was that in Italy we stayed exclusively in Contiki campsites in cabins, none of which had air conditioning (in 35+ degree weather) and all of which were quite far from the cities. Venice was ridiculous - to the point where we physically couldn't travel into the city at night because the transport cut off.
Another slight downer is that Contiki will try to sell you things at every available point, usually disguising it as a 'demonstration' or an 'opportunity', when really they're just informercials preaching to you about their products. Bit of a pain, try to avoid when possible.
You'll be on the coach for about 40% of the trip. The coach was pretty comfortable and we'd all sleep or socialise, but some days involved long drives so bring comfortable pillows and things to do!
Also, take as many vitamins and immune boosters as possible. You will get sick. The Contiki Cough is famous.
Overall an amazing experience, really happy I did it and happy to recommend the trip to others.
Well it was a mixture of everything that made this truly an amazing tour.
From the group dynamic, the enthusiastic and truly great english speaking local tour guides, combined with the amazing scenery, people and weather we were so lucky to be blessed with. We had a kickass tour.
From the start in Beijing to the end in Hong Kong, our tour guide steered us to all the best local bars and nightclubs, to the amazingly tasty cheap and cheerful lunch stops, cheers Nathan.
Every place you stop at has something different to offer, whether that be the amazing 'Peking' duck in Beijing and buying a beer on the 'Great Wall of China', the best morning wake up call riding a bike along the Xi'an walls before the 'Terracotta Warriors', the truly memorable nightclubs and full on bargaining markets in Shanghai, the intense out of this world 360 degree engulfing mountain scenery surrounding you in Yangshuo or the view from the 'Peak' in Hong Kong, China truly has a lot to offer everyone.
Incredible options including amazing Peking duck, and one that you would be incredibly idiotic not to see is the Chinese Acrobatic 'Cirque du soleil' style show in Shanghai, all I can say I motorbikes + Incredibly high blindfolded 'Astronauts' + women in a barrel = a show not to be missed or seen anywhere else but China.
Thank you Contiki, and thanks again Nathan for giving me a tour to remember and never forget, additionally to the people who made it that much greater than could of been expected.
As read above, heavily recommended.
Contiki first appealed to my friends and I because we had never been to Europe, and didn't know where to start. With this tour, we got to see all the main highlights in a quick 2 weeks! Yes the tour was super fast paced, but you saw the main things, and now we know where we want to spend more time!
Don't expect anything luxurious about the accommodation, it's called a budget tour for a reason! We actually preferred the Contiki campsites (because you got to mingle with everyone and they all had a bar), where-as the hotels were BUDGET!
As for the breakfasts, they were a continental breakfast, so it is exactly what you would expect: toast, fruit, cereal. Do the optional meals! I did them all except the one in Paris, and they were great! (Especially the one in Florence!!!)
Be prepared to spend a lot on the optional excursions. I thought it was going to be a lot cheaper, but I ended up spending around $350 CAD. (But most of them were worth it!)
My only complaint. For our Contiki stop over at the Chateau in France, we pulled up, did the wine tasting, and then were told we were not staying there tonight, instead we drove to Lyon, France. Contiki had over-booked and our tour got moved. My friends and I thought this was a joke! We were so excited to stay here, we had heard amazing stories about it. Instead we stayed in the dirtiest hotel ever with a noise curfew, and were given $10 euros for dinner. 10 EUROS IS SUCH A JOKE. That doesn't even buy you McDonalds in France! (We were given $10 euros because at the stop over that was one of our included meals).
Other than that HUGE disappointment, Contiki was good. Lots of great memories, met some great people, and got to see a ton!
I'm not sure if I would recommend Contiki to others just because of the hiccup in France that I believe was not handled properly, but I did have a good experience with the rest of it.
Amazing tour!!! Saw so many beautiful sites and had an awesome tour guide, Yannick. Highlights included relaxin with Sangria on the beach of Monterosso in the Cinqie Terre, picnicing at La Chateau in Nice & partying all night in Barcelona. Great trip with a great bunch of people. Thanks contikiiiiiii!!!!