The Shiralea is a horrible place and experience. It’s a total cash grab that is openly known to be owned by Contiki, which is why they make you stay there. The last 3 nights are spent at Shiralea which is so far away from town on Koh Phangan that it makes it crazy expensive to even attempt to get into town by taxi. If you don’t do the optional activity while I’m Koh Phangan you are essentially stranded at Shiralea. Not to mention upon arrival, my bed had an infestation of termites all over my sheets and my friend had ants all over her bed. Our room had absolutely no wood anywhere so I’m not sure where they came from. On top of that they were fully booked( God knows why or how) so the workers told me I had to stay in the same bed and room. When the guy came to change my sheets I mentioned and pointed out all the termites he missed that were still crawling all over the mattress, which he completely dismissed and instead of cleaning them off, just put sheets on the bed over them and told me to still sleep there. Him and his manager promised that my roommate and I would receive free meals and drinks for all the trouble and then still forced to pay for all of our drinks and food that we purchased including the gross bbq the following day. The next day, we were told we were being moved to a new room(despite the property being completely full) come to find out that our Trip Manager was just being forced to switch rooms with us so that HE had to now sleep on the termite room because apparently the Trip Managers have a free room( because duh, it’s a contiki owned property). Overall, this trip is too expensive for what you get and don’t get. I went on the Northern Thai Highlights last year which was a day shorter and had more inclusions and cost about $100 USD more than this one and you stay in much better hotels and beds, have more included activities, AND you’re not staying in a total cash grab of a sh*thole that is Shiralea. This trip is kind of a total waste of money compared to other trips and honestly I feel like I was completely scammed out of $800. Did I mention that the only reason I went on this specific trip was because it was meant to be a reunion trip with my last Contiki group that I bonded with? And this trip was specifically picked out by my last Trip Manager to attend? I wouldn’t be surprised if Trip Managers were encouraged to sell this trip in this manner.
My old Trip Manager ended up quitting contiki and couldn’t go on this reunion trip because Contiki made the change that the Thai Island Hoppers were only allowed to be led by Local Guides. The TM on this trip was amazing and was honestly the best part.
I’m sure Contiki will make a false effort to address my issue with an automated, impersonal, template response, that doesn’t ACTUALLY address of resolve the issue so keep an eye out for that below.