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We sent 4 Influencers from India on a Contiki to Thailand to experience social travel and this is what they discovered

Thailand trip with Influencers

We constantly rave on about social travel here at Contiki and why we think it’s the best way to get out and see the world. But to some it’s one of those “believe it when you see it” kind of things, right? If you’re on the fence about the idea of social travel read on because these influencers will put you onto the next best thing!

Given Thailand’s proximity to India, it’s a very popular holiday destination, yet none of our influencers had been before. They got their very first taste of beach life with Contiki and a bunch of new friends. We got together to chat about their experiences and expectations, and whether they would recommend social travel or not (spoiler alert, they would!).

Meet our Influencers

In order to make this the best trip possible we brought together an absolutely star studded cast and our four influencers included Agasthya Shah, Aqeel Hydar, Kareema Barry, and Tarini Shah. With social niches ranging from comedy, lifestyle, and fashion, these four talented and like-minded individuals made up a well-rounded cast and were the perfect candidates for a Contiki to Thailand. 

When I sat down to chat with them, they were an absolute delight to speak with and each enthusiastic about travelling and discovering the world one corner at a time.

Contiki travellers in Thailand

Image source:Contiki // Agasthya Shah

Hey guys, so tell me about your Contiki! Did any of you know each other before going? 

Tarini: “I had met Kareema and Agasthya before, but we only knew each other a little bit, and it was my first time meeting Aqeel. We were relative strangers when we all met, which was nice because we all got to know each other really well on the trip, as well as all the other travellers.”

When you guys go on a personal holiday, do you tend to travel alone or in a group?

Agasthya: “It depends. If it’s a work trip then usually I go alone, or at least not with people I know very well. In the past two years I would say that most of my holidays have been family trips, so it’s been with other people.”

Aqeel: “I agree, I’d say it’s a bit of both.”

Tarini: “For me it’s the same as I don’t travel solo much unless it’s for a work trip. Most of my planned holidays have been with friends or family.”

As you know, Contiki is all about social travel. Before travelling to Thailand, had you guys ever experienced social travel before? And if not, what did you think?

Agasthya: “So, I did actually go on a social holiday before in Indonesia, but it was a few years ago and I was still quite young so we didn’t really get to go out much. Thailand with Contiki was about 2000 times better! I met loads of other people and we got to go out and about in Thailand and participate in some very cool activities.”

Aqeel: “I had never been on a social trip before, but this one really changed the whole narrative for me. I would 100% do it again and again and again, the whole trip was great. It just broke the barrier for me. I used to feel a little iffy about travelling to unknown destinations with unknown people, but the trip to Thailand with Contiki really made me feel a lot more confident in that aspect.”

Kareema: “Actually, this was my first international trip. I was a little overwhelmed at first to be honest, but in the end everything had such a positive twist to it and all my initial worries went away quite quickly. There are so many sweet and happy moments that I’ve committed to my memory.”

Contiki travellers in Thailand

Image source:Contiki // Kareema Barry

What does travelling mean to you?

Tarini: “I feel like Contiki definitely changed my perspective on that. I used to travel places just because I wanted to learn about the culture, but this time it became about the people: the people that I was going with, and the people I ended up meeting. We got to learn so much about each other and different cultures as well, and we were learning it all together. So, I think travel for me is always going to be about meeting new people and actually talking to the locals and learning from them.”

Kareema: “Similar to Tarini, I think it’s about people. I used to always look at travel as a separate thing from my main life, almost as just something to do. But, I’ve realised, being in a group, that it was just nice to just exist around so many new people and feel like both myself and a completely new person at the same time.”

Before your trip, had any of you ever been to Thailand before?

Aqeel: “I had been to Thailand before but it was during a family trip, so this time around it was completely different. I was travelling with all these people I didn’t know, but the fact that I got to share seeing a new country with them really made this trip a lot better. It actually exceeded my expectations as well!”

Tarini: “I had never been to Thailand before, so it was very new and exciting, and the thing is I’m a sucker for beaches. It was all so beautiful and new to me and it was the first time I got to snorkel as well. In India it’s not really that common to go and swim in the ocean, so that was a different experience but it was really fun.”

Is there anything that you learned about Thailand that surprised you?

Agasthya: “The markets that they have in Thailand are very similar to the ones we have in India, though they sell different things, and actually I was surprised to see that there were so many Indian people in Thailand because they’re all on holiday! But mostly it was nice to see how relaxed everyone seemed, both the tourists and the locals.”

Kareema: “There was no traffic and it was such an out of body experience for me! And also Tarini and I loved going to the 7-Eleven [an American convenience store chain] , I don’t know why, it was different to the ones in India, and she and I were just obsessed.”

Tarini: “I don’t know why, I think Thailand has the most delicious 7-Eleven! But jokes aside, what I learned about Thailand was similar to Agasthya, it seemed like the locals were much more connected with each other, and they were very helpful to one another. They were also really kind to tourists and very patient to try and understand what we were saying. I had to use Google Translate a lot and each time they waited and that was really kind of them.”

Contiki travellers in Thailand

Image source:Contiki // Aqeel Hydar

A lot of people travel because they want to experience different cultures, and when you social travel you get to experience the culture of your destination, as well as the cultures of the people travelling with you.

What do you guys think are the benefits to interacting with and learning about different cultures?

Tarini: “The difference in perspective. One night we all sat together in a circle and we all had an honest and open chat with each other. We realised that we have different perspectives on a lot of things, but actually we also have so many similarities as well. It was a really big moment, realising that actually we’re all so similar and different at the same time. The world is so big and that’s kind of the beauty of it.”

Agasthya: “Yeah, I agree with Tarini, and I feel like because we were travelling with Contiki and we were with people from all over the world, we got to learn not just about Thailand but about their cultures and perspectives as well. That really opened up our horizons.”

When you got back home, what did you tell your friends and family about your trip to Thailand?

Agasthya: “I would tell them that I was happy because I was travelling with new friends and we were all just allowed to unapologetically be ourselves. That’s what stood out to me the most.”

Kareema: “I tell them that I can’t even describe it. I had never solo or social travelled before this and now I think the only way I would do it again is with Contiki. Everyone we met was so nice and that made me feel more confident and comfortable. Everyone was there to help and have a good time.”

Aqeel: “My first answer is this: I always say that Contiki has an ‘iconic spirit’, it was just that great. The trip made me like things I didn’t think I would like and it made me experience things I didn’t think I’d experience. But every time someone asks me how my Contiki was I tell them that they should just do one themselves and find out!”

Contiki travellers in Thailand

Image source:Contiki // Tarini Shah

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