form a group to indochina

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Jan 6th, 2007, 03:55 PM
  #1
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form a group to indochina

I am planning a trip to Indochina, (Laos Cambodia and Vietnam) for early March or late Feb. What I am finding is that the tours are the best deal. One of the major reasons is that they usually include some airfares, which if purchased separately would add quite a bit to an independent travelers cost. Also it seems that border crossings are easier with a group and guide. Several of the really low cost tours use 2 star hotels with the option of upgrading to 3 star. I would love to hear from some travelers who might be interested in joining together for one of these tours so that we can all enjoy the lower rates plus have the chance to meet some interesting people. I am including a couple of links for you to look at but am more than willing to look at some you might have in mind. I am flexible as to dates, length of tour and level of comfort and cost. I am NOT looking for a roommate.

Here are the links,and thanks for your consideration. My email address is [email protected]
Wendy jenkins

http://www.greentrail-indochina.com/...indochina.html

http://www.vietnamtravelgroup.com/to...ssid=6&lang=en

Base 2 pax 3-4 pax 5-7 pax 8-10 pax 11-15 pax Supp Sgl
From 1 Oct 2006 to 30 Sep 2007
Comfortable 1620 1460 1329 1226 1176 257
Superior 1895 1730 1599 1495 1446 490

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Jan 6th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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For the grade of hotel, the prices are not very good. Food and lodging and transport as described in the links you posted do not cost $100.00 per person per day. A room would be about $25.00 for a double, and food another $15.00 or so at that level...making it about $30.00 - $40.00 per person per day, leaving $60.00 per person per day for transportation...which no way would you spend.

Flights within Asia are not difficult to arrange, and if you use budget carriers when possible, not too expensive. There are buses that are easy as well, and very, very cheap.

The other thing I noticed about these tours is that the Highlights Indochina tour lists 10 destinations in 14 nights, and the Panorama is slightly better with only 8 destinations in 14 days....both are way too fast. You will spend more time on buses and transfering to and from airports than you will actually seeing and experiencing.

With $1500.00 per person and 14 nights, you can do quite well. $100.00/day will easily cover decent lodging and good food and transportation. You won't get first class hotels, but these tours are not offering great hotels either...even their best choices are rather generic, with the exception of some of the Panorama's deluxe hotels which are very nice....but the price per person for the deluxe is more than you would pay on your own based on what I've researched for our own trips.

As a benchmark, our last trip to Thailand, we spent under $6000.00 excluding international flights, and stayed in very, very nice places (Yaang Come Village in Chaing Mai, Thai Elephant Conservation Center for 2 nights, Khao Lak Merlin, Conrad Bangkok). We were 2 adults and 1 8 year old girl, 15 nights, 3 internal flights on Thai Air. Our hotels were the most expensive component, so if we stayed cheaper, we could have cut our costs by about 1/2 easily.

Next summer, my daugther (9) and I will have 25 days in Singapore, Siem Reap, and northern Thailand. My husband will be with us for the first 15 days. We will stay in luxury hotels and have budgeted accordingly. Were we to stay in more basic lodging, we could budget for $2500.00 total for the entire 25 days and be comfortable.

I don't think the tour route is good in terms of pricing. A tour may be great for those who do not enjoy research and planning and are not looking for an individualized experience. It may also be good for those who will have one and only one trip to Asia and want to see a lot in a short time...but be aware that the operative verb here is see - you will see a lot from the bus/car window and experience much less than if you had more time in each place. It's very hard if not impossible to get a feeling for a place with an overnight stay. But, you will hit the major sightseeing spots, and you won't have to worry about logistics.
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Jan 6th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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I agree with Kim. The tours are not a great deal... you can do much better on your own and you'll have the freedom to visit the places you want, stay as long as you want.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #4
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Thanks for all the information. I have spent hours days even researching this trip. My one big problem is that I may have to go it solo. I enjoy having a group to do things with. I will keep looking. I know pretty decent hotels are not expensive in SE Asia and food is also a real bargain but again I would like to have some company!
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Jan 7th, 2007, 11:39 PM
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You'll find plenty of company even if you travel alone. In my expereince, fellow travelers are friendly and there are often people who would like to go to a particular place with you or have dinner or a drink. I also find I have more interaction with the locals when I travel alone.

I really recommend independent travel. Have you traveled independently in Europe? Frankly, Thailand may be even easier!
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Jan 9th, 2007, 07:37 PM
  #6
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Kathie,
I have traveled quite a bit. I am a former flight attendant married to a former pilot so can use stand by passes. I can get a pass on Thai so that figures into my plans. I went around the world solo about 7 years ago and would have loved to have had a companion. Looking back I have enjoyed the trips with a group more than the trips taken alone.

Thanks for all the imput, very helpful
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Jan 9th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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windy, it sounds like you know what you want. Good luck in finding a compatible group to travel with.
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Jan 10th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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I find myself in the same situation as you.

I think travelling with a good group can add a tremendous amount to the experience. But I find that I am becoming more and more picky about itineraries and hotels.
In the end I have decided to travel independently (a pre-planned tour, but on my own).

Do let us know how you resolve your problem.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 07:25 PM
  #9
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Kathie,
Could you e mail me the post you had in reply to my post regarding group tours. I have been searching for it without any luck. You gave specific reasons and prices to back up your contention that going it alone is better than using a group. I am finding that to be the case could you e mail me the post? Thanks, [email protected]
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Jan 16th, 2007, 08:21 PM
  #10
 
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Hi Windybreeze,
Well articulated perspective on Solo vs Group travel. This woman is just fun to read also. She did what you'll be doing.

http://www.travelingtiger.com/wordpr...om-halong-bay/

Have a Ball!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 11:09 AM
  #11
 
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Thanks for the link Copaiba, quite entertaining
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