Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
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.
Just an awesome time with an awesome bunch of people.
Become a multi-national family!
Fantastic 12 days! Saw so much of Italy, learnt about the culture, ate some truly amazing food and met some great people from all over the world! Got to see the big cities like Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence but also the smaller places like Lake Garda and the Island of Capri. It was well organised and our tour manager (Erica!!) went out of her way to make sure we had the best time!!!
The trip was amazing – really the best time of my life. Our tour manager Blake made the stay fantastic. All dinners and transportation was arranged and organized on time. The surprise was awesome. We visited best clubs in Vegas and limo ride was amazing as well. If you have any questions about LA to the bay tour – happy to answer. Cheers.
This trip was truly amazing. Even though we passed through countries quite quickly, it was just enough to see the sights and kept everything interesting. When we were in Paris, I fell in love with the city. It is truly amazing and beautiful, so much so that when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the group, two people got engaged and it was amazing!
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone that is thinking of traveling around Europe!!! Five stars!
It was alot of fun!! Needs an extra day in Barcelona tho for sure. Do the Florence dinner and nightclub (space) it is well worth it!!! The dinner in Monacco do not do, not worth it and over priced.
I would suggest going a day earlier as the tour starts that day, sightseeing and all!
Beware the contiki cough!!!
This trip is amazing and well worth the money. Our guide Roland was very knowledgeable and able to answer almost all of the questions we had and showed us the best places to visit in every city we went. There are a couple longer bus rides (6ish hours) but they are broken up well and the stops along the way, as well as the destinations, make the rides worth while.
There is plenty of free time to explore the larger cities you go through. The optionals are also a lot of fun (except for the "Mountain Biking" is Cusco, not worth the money). You get to check out many nice restaurants, eat local foods (alpaca, guinea pig, ceviche), and explore the nightlife in the different cities. The hotels on the trip are quite nice, especially at the Jungle Lodge. The ruins we explored were very interesting with incredible views and Machu Picchu alone makes the trip worth while.
If you have time in Lima try and go surfing. Its a short walk from the hotel and super cheap (Lessons, wet suit, and board for about $20 USD)
I highly recommend going on this trip.
El tour abarca muchos lugares diferentes de España, muchos lugares únicos, diferentes. Es una buena forma de conocer muchos pueblos en un mismo tour. Los desayunos buenos las cenas algunas un poco flojas, muchas tapas y no todo el mundo ama las tapas.
Hace mucho frío en invierno, lleven ropa adecuada. Las excursiones opcionales también estuvieron bien, las recomiendo. sobre la seguridad muy buena en toda España, el transporte también excelente, los hoteles todos muy buenos, y céntricos menos el de Barcelona un poco lejos y había que subir una gran cuesta para llegar al hotel.
Recomiendo este tour a todo aquel que desea aprender la cultura española.
El guía estuvo bien, y el chofer también. Muy buenos .
Yenny from San Juan PR
Esta ruta abarca muchas cosas interesantes para ver. Cada pueblo es una atmósfera diferente donde podrá ver y hacer muchas cosas diferentes. Los hoteles son grandiosos, principalmente las Cabañas en el gran Cañon y el Bass Lake. La comida muy buena y los desayunos, algunos variados. Las excursiones opcionales todas son muy buenas, principalmente la del globo en Sedona será una experiencia única. Las Vegas fabuloso, gran Cañon inolvidable, san Francisco único. Recomiendo este tour a todos disfrutarán mucho y aprenderán nuevas costumbres y cultura.
Mi guía Jonh Rammel excelente, el mejor guía que he tenido por mucho tiempo, responsable, organizado, fue excelente!!! 100% recomendable
El chofer Adrián O. Fue también excelente, siempre puntual, siempre todo limpio, organizado, alegre, compartía con todos, excelente chofer. Siempre llego a la hora estimada y a veces antes.
Fue un viaje inolvidable!!! Gracias Contiki.
Yenny from San Juan PR
This trip was easily one of the best weeks of my life. We had 15 people on the trip plus 3 crew members. Everyone was incredible and we bonded so well. We had a range of people from ages 24 – 32 with some who partied hard and others who were more low-key. The crewmembers were fun and joined in on all of the action with us. They even did a midnight jump into the water with us! ALL of our meals were included, and delicious, which made the trip affordable and so easy. The weather was nothing less than PERFECT. While the views from the boat were amazing, every time we dropped anchor we saw essentially the same thing.
The optional day trip to the Mud Baths and Turtle Beach and the night trip to Marmaris were SO WORTH IT. It was a full day out, but after spending so many days just hanging out on the boat, it was great to get out and see some historical sights. The nightlife in Marmaris was incredible and unexpected. Don’t forget to try some waterpipe when you are there and grab a late night Doner Kebab!
What to bring:
DON’T pack a large suitcase. There’s little room for “extras” on the boat. All you need is bathing suits and a few “going-out” outfits anyways, so you don’t need too much.
Make sure to bring a towel, sweatpants/sweatshirt (it can get cool at night, especially if you sleep up on the deck like we did), and sunscreen. A great mix on your ipod is good too – the boat has speakers!
I would recommend tacking on a few days in Istanbul before or after the trip as the city is not to be missed. I had the greatest week ever and I am already planning my next Contiki! I only wish I discovered these trips in my 20’s so I didn’t get aged-out so soon!
I wish the trip went longer. Made some best mates and had the time of my life. Could not ask for a better driver (Marco) and tour manager (Bec). Really helps when the contiki crew want to make the most out of our trip. And all 49 people were ever so greatful
This was the most amazing time of my life! Saw all the major sites in the big cities, had some beautiful relaxing days in Corfu and Dubrovnik, learnt so much, was surprised by some of the cities I knew little about. Camping really wasn't that bad, in fact it helped our group to bond that little bit more. Our road crew was simply amazing, best manager, best driver and best cook! I loved hanging out at the Contiki Campsites, Rome was a highlight with the Whiteboard party. Ate so much amazing food I cannot even comprehend. I will never ever forget the friends I made, la familia for life! If you're looking for a tour that does everything, leaves nothing out and has the most amazing environment, I recommend the Big Chill 100%
This was the best trip we've ever been on! We made so many good friends and are still feeling post-holiday blues 5 months after our trip ended - wish we still on the bus! It is a fast-paced trip, sometimes covering two states in one day - but this is what you must do to see more in the time-frame (and to get more for your money) - I wouldn't change any of it. We had plenty of time at the main locations (my highlight was the Grand Canyon with it's first snowfall for the year).
The optional extras were great - especially snowmobiling, some optionals are dependent on month and/or daily weather. Accommodation was great in most places, all were hotel rooms. Our bus driver and tour guide absolutely rocked and made our trip.
This was our first organised trip where we let someone else take charge and it was worth it. We are now looking at Contiki again to do Europe in 2014. P.S. If you're feeling extra adventurous, get hitched in Las Vegas like we did on Day 2!
It's actually incredibly hard to actually put into words my true feelings towards my Simply Italy trip that I've just come back from. Especially as right now, I'm back home in the UK and having some holiday blues. But let me take it to the beginning.
It's fair to say that most people going on this tour must have been a little nervous beforehand. And I certainly fit the bill for this. The apprehension that you might not really get on with your room-mates / fellow tour members was certainly one that was strong in mind.
Our tour manager, Erica, gave an introduction - and her bubbly, energetic personality just got absorbed by the room. Before long, we started to meet our fellow travellers and within a few minutes, I knew that this trip was going to be perfect. And it was.
My roommate was probably the craziest/out going guy on the tour - which is far from my personality. But I wouldn't have changed him for the world. We clicked within a few seconds of our introduction - and I feel privileged to have spent 12 days with him.
The way that our tour worked was that within a few days, natural friendship groups formed around the travellers - which was great. As exploring each city/place as a big group of 40+ was always going to be a no go. So in your friendship groups, you generally go off together and see the things that you all want to see. But at the same time, there are enough group activities going on (and on the coach) to really get to know everyone else at the same time.
There's not one person out of the 40+ members of our tour group that I didn't like. I felt there was a lot of like-minded people to me there and it was great to have spoken to every single one of them throughout the 12 days.
It’s hard for me to give you a flavour as to my favourite day – because I feel like it would be unfair on all of the other days! Florence was probably my favourite place to visit, peaceful and completely beautiful. But having said that, every single place we visited had something different to offer and gave another unique perspective on the fabulous country which I now know Italy to be. I feel content that I’ve seen the major highlights of Italy and really got a great flavour for the culture – thanks to the trips and from our Italian tour manager Erica (who gave us helpful advice; speaking Italian, gestures, recommendations of places to see in our free time).
I purchased all of the optionals on the tour. And generally, a large portion of the group did as well. My only initial concern with the optionals was for the prices of the meals. But in hindsight – the places we went were excellent, the food great (although a set menu) and usually unlimited wine. I’m honestly glad I paid for all of these as it was another great way to spend some time with my new ‘Contiki family’.
Without a shadow of doubt, I would urge anyone who is even remotely interested in seeing Italy to book the Simply Italy tour with Contiki. The Contiki motto is 'No Regrets' and I can promise you, there will be no regrets if you are lucky enough to get to go on this tour.
As for me, I'm already looking at future Contiki tours and how I can fit that into seeing my new found friends from around the world!
I loved having Erica as my tour guide. She went above and beyond with her efforts to make sure everyone was comfortable and having the time of their lives. Her happiness and enthusiasm was contagious and made the trip unforgettable. She is the reason I am so many others on the Italy tour had the best trip of our lives.
This was the best holiday ever! Met so many lovely people on this trip and had great tour manager and driver who helped out with au problems.
There was lots of free time for things we wanted to do by ourselves. Do the extras on this trip they are definitely worth it and get the group photo!!! We had so much fun on this trip with lots of things to do! The hotels were all beautiful.
Travelling to rome without a tour manager was I little daunting but our group all stuck together and we got there fine! Our local guide in Rome did barlely anything and couldn't even recommend a good restaurant but the reception at our hotel was very helpful with anything that we needed.
Overall amazing tour and would definitely recommend to anyone!!!
We spent the first 2 days learning skills at pro dive it was a mixture of theory and practical. Some of the skills we learned were assembling our tanks,filling our masks with water and emptying them while underwater in the pool, losing and recovering our regulators. On day 3 we were taken to the pro dive retail shop where we could store any extra luggage then we were taken on the bus to the wharf. Our boat was called scuba pro and it was our home for the next 3 days.
On day 1 we went diving twice and it was amazing, the water was a bit rough but once we were under the water it was spectacular. After the second dive on day 2 we were certified open water divers and we are now able to dive to 18 meters. On our third dive we went diving by ourselves in buddy teams without instructors, it was such a different experience. The fourth dive was an optional night dive i was too sick to do it but everybody loved it. On day 3 you did another 3 dives unless you had an early flight then you couldn't because you can only fly after 24 hours of not diving. I went snorkeling 2 times and i saw so many amazing fish and coral it was so beautiful. We had an amazing cook who was so nice she even prepared separate food for me because i have coeliacs, it was nice because it made me feel like i was normal again. The staff and instructors were all so nice even when you struggled with something for example i had major issues with the stairs to get back on the boat they were so patient and they saved me numerous times. The staff did such a great job at keeping the boat clean, it was such a great environment to live in. I was lucky enough to be with the people i was and i would not change a single thing about my trip except for i wish it was longer. It was so sad to say goodbye to the new friends i had just made including the staff, to me we weren't students and instructors, we were family.
This tour was an experience of a life time! We had an amazing group with an awesome tour manager and driver. We got taken to all the cool places in all the cities we went to and then got set free on our own to explore. I really enjoyed Munich but wish we had more time there. Austria was awesome with the adrenalin activities. Over all it was a great time and I have met some friends for life I I would recommend it for anyone looking to see a fair bit in a short time! And partiers are always welcome!!
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.
Everything from start to finish with Contiki impressed me. I had a bit of confusion with pricing and deals when booking and it was handled so well and efficiently.
The tour was everything I had imagined it to be. My tour manager and driver were amazing and were so knowledgeable and passionate about everywhere we went! I was lucky to have incredible weather for the whole 16 days so it felt as if was living in a postcard. The included meals were great, all breakfasts included made it easy and convenient. The accommodation was okay for the most part but expect to pay a small fortune for wifi at a lot of the hotels/hostels. The coach was super comfy and beautiful. Would recommend a pillow and a blanket!
The only elements of the trip that disappointed me were time schedules. I know this is to be expected on such a short tour that spans the whole East Coast. Some places listed on the itinerary that you "see" you don't even get off the coach for.. you just drive by, which I found frustrating. There were lots of times when we wouldn't arrive to a place until it was dark then we'd leave early the next morning. Which left me feeling like I never even experienced the place at all.
Another thing.. Australia is so expensive! The me time optionals were very pricey, since I was on a student budget I couldn't afford to shell out another couple grand on things that weren't included. So a lot of time I was left to my own devices while others went out and did other activities. My advice... Plan to spend an extra grand AT LEAST on extra activities.
Overall, I would recommend this tour! Everything about it was fabulous and the only complaints I have are in the hands of the time frame not our fabulous Contiki team.