2017. It’s been big, it’s been real and are we the only ones who think it went WAY too fast?! At the end of the year there’s nothing better than reflecting on all you’ve achieved, or for us looking back at the absolute best stories from the road! From proposals, transatlantic reunions and the coolest flash mob… this was Contiki 2017.
From: Trip Manager Rachel Calleja, Vietnam Highlights
On the first day of the Vietnam trip I literally met this pilot from London and he introduced himself when his girlfriend was preoccupied as ‘Hi, I’m Martin, can you help me propose on this trip?’. It was a wild ride, from finding time to plan while she wasn’t around, buying candles and roses on the road, to him carrying the ring around daily so he wouldn’t lose it. He still managed to leave his entire backpack with the ring in it at Yaly’s Tailor in Vietnam once though and had to go sprinting back across town once he realised. We planned it for the junk boat on Halong Bay, and were being super secretive as we snuck around lighting candles from the top of the stairs to the other end of the boat.
We had him standing in a heart made of rose petals at the end and a GoPro setup to capture the moment. We told the girlfriend he was looking for her and off she went. The whole group stayed huddled in the dining room on the boat holding our breath, waiting for them to come back down. One of the boat staff who spoke no English started walking up to the top deck carrying an armload of dirty towels to drop off, and we had to chase him down so he wouldn’t ruin the moment! He didn’t understand why and once we convinced him ‘you can’t’ go that way’ he simply turned, walked downstairs, and then we saw him trying to go up the back staircase and had to chase him down to stop him again! It was hands down one of my favourite, most romantic moments on trip and of course, she said yes! –
FROM: Trip Manager Az Gallagher, Thai Island Hopper
I had the most beautiful couple from America come on my Thai Island Hopper. The bloke pulled me up at a bar on the third night in and said, “Az, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I bought a ring before this trip to propose to my girlfriend, can you help me organise something special for her?”
I’d never had that happen on a trip before and I was so overwhelmed with excitement. I think I was more excited than him to be honest. I helped him set up their own private traditional long tail boat on the islands off Koh Phi Phi, organised a day trip and then he dropped the knee, told her his truths, all in one of the most beautiful places in the world. She said yes, so that was a plus! He captured the moment as well so I’ve got an incredible photo of that moment. I’m incredibly thankful for being part of that story.
FROM: Trip Manager Haley Atkins, Asian Adventure
Becca Bingham and Becky Jeetoo met 3 years ago on the Asian Adventure trip and were paired as roommates. They quickly became inseparable, but with one little problem… they’re from different countries! Becca is from the USA, Becky is from the UK, or “best friends across the pond” as they put it. Fast-forward to 2017 and they’ve just reunited to travel together on another Contiki to Iceland!. –
FROM: Trip Manager Yelitza Acevedo, Vietnam Experience
There were two girls on my most recent Vietnam Experience trip who really made an impact on me, Christine Singh all the way from New Zealand and Viktorija Valskyte all the way from New York City. They both met earlier this year in February when they did a Wild Western/Western Highlights trip in the US. They became really good friends on the trip and after, decided to travel again together and what better way than to do another Contiki, but this time the Vietnam Experience. Let me tell you, they both were a lot of fun, nice and friendly. You could see that they had become amazing friends back in the USA and that their friendship had grown even more after their second Contiki. They are already talking and thinking of their next Contiki that they want to do together in the near future.
FROM: Hannah B, Asian Adventure
My friend Ariana and I met in Asia last year during our Asian Adventure. Since then we have continued to travel together. This January we met in Chicago and decided to get tattoos together! Mine is ‘miles to go’ with a paper airplane. It’s a quote I love and also means I have miles in my life and around the world to go. You can throw a paper airplane but you can never be sure where it will land!
RANDOM BITS OF AMAZINGNESS
FROM: Trip Manager Elana Mcintosh, Vietnam Experience
I had a passenger on tour who left Pakistan when he was five years old to live in Canada and that was the first and last time he had travelled until he came on my Asian Adventure trip. He was the easiest, most amazing passenger I have ever had. He did extensive research about the countries, right down to what to pack so he only had to have a small bag. He enjoyed the Asian Adventure so much that he extended his trip to carry onto Vietnam with me, which is where I found out that he had never seen, let alone swam, in the ocean!!! When we went to the sailing club in Nha Trang he walked slowly down to the beach and dipped his toes in the sea. The smile on his face made my night.
FROM: Jon and Payton, European Discovery
We went on the European Discovery and the group quickly learnt about our musical theatre and performance backgrounds, that’s when we came up with the idea of doing a flash mob in all the top spots of our trip! We took over the Colosseum, the Moulin Rouge, you name it we flash mobbed it, with our entire Contiki group dancing to a (very well) choreographed ‘Everybody Get Up’ by boy band Five. It was an absolute blast!
FROM: Jessica Buck, Grand Southern
I was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 18, but this year I decided to live my travel dreams and headed to the US on the Grand Southern trip. I was terrified before I went but I loved every day of that trip and I did things I never thought I’d be able to, like helicopter over the Grand Canyon, parasail along Daytona Beach and go white water rafting in Durango.