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Group tour to Vietnam and Cambodia? Innovasian? OAT?

Group tour to Vietnam and Cambodia? Innovasian? OAT?

Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:09 PM
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Group tour to Vietnam and Cambodia? Innovasian? OAT?

I am considering a trip to Vietnam and Angkor Wat, my first trip to Asia. I have traveled extensively through the US and Europe, a bit in Latin America. I usually travel independently but think I need to use a group tour for this adventure. A couple of years ago, I posted a message for a similar trip that never happened and got some information regarding Overseas Adventure Travel and Innovasian. Does anyone have any information, recommendations, updates or news about these companies or any other companies offering trips to these areas? All replies appreciated.
woodstockguy is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Really, you don't need a tour for Vietnam and Angor Wat! Do a search here and you'll find a number of trip reports from people who have gone independently. You can fly, or go overland, or by water, and in Vietnam there are trains.

I used OAT once, and swore I'd never use them again, although I know some people like them. Never heard of the other company.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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Take a look at the Smartours website. They have a trip that covers Vietnam and Angkor Wat. I have not been on that tour, but I have been on several other of their tours, and they have been very good to excellent. Several years ago, I posted a very extensive trip report on Smartours to Thailand, and I am now in the midst of reporting on Smartours to South Africa. Click on my name to pull up these reports if you are interested in seeing the reports. It will give you an idea of how extensive, and well run, their tours are.
shelleyk is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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I can vouch for Travel Indochina (www.travelindochina.com), a well-resourced, well-established and very professional Australian tour company with 16 years' experience in the region. If you want the convenience of a tour combined with adequate time to explore by yourself, TI's small-group tours are a good compromise.

I do agree with thursdaysd though - Vietnam at least is not at all difficult to travel around independently.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 05:25 PM
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Why is it that you think you need a group tour? Would you prefer having the company and someone to take care of the logistics? Or do you feel intimidated by the thought of going to Asia independently? If the former, then by all means, do a group tour. If the latter, I can tell you from experience that Asia (at least Angkor Wat, Thailand, and Laos) are easily managed independently if you do your homework (and ask for help here!). I've done both - and enjoy both. But don't go on a tour if the only reason is because you're concerned about going it alone.

As for tour groups, I can recommend Gap and Intrepid - have taken one trip with each and was quite pleased both times.
althom1122 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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Greg at Innovasian arranged a private Vietnam/Laos trip for me two years ago.(I got the recommendation from another poster here)

It worked out quite well although I am sure I could have done it on my own less expensively. I would have no hesitation to recommend him again--doing it this way would give you the confidence that all the details are taken care of and none of the drawbacks associated with traveling with a group of strangers. They were very responsive when (slight) problems arose; for example, I changed hotels in Saigon even though I had booked, and paid for the first hotel.

In case you want to read my long trip report, I will top it for you...
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 26th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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Our favorite tour company to travel with is Overseas Adventure Travel. You definitely have all the advantages of someone else taking care of the logistics, plus the commentary that only a tour guide can supply. We feel that OAT provides excellent value and we love the small groups - never more than 16 people. Their tour guides have always been fantastic. We leave for another OAT tour to South Africa in one week. If you have any questions about traveling with OAT, please feel free to email me at: [email protected].
sandys is offline  
Nov 26th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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I've also used Innovasian for Burma and Vietnam and have been happy with their services-no problems whatsoever and very good guides.
moremiles is offline  
Nov 27th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Thanks to all of you for your replies. I appreciate the comments about traveling independently, as it is usually my preferred choice. However, I'm traveling with two other friends, nervous, and I recognize that this is one trip where we are better off relying on a tour operator than arguing or worrying among ourselves about each decision.

That being said, we prefer as small a group as possible, in fact, we would prefer traveling with no group, merely having all our travel arrangements made for us. Still, we are willing to consider a group, though traveling with 16 other people puts all of us off. So somehow we will all compromise.

I intend to check out OAT, Innovasion and TravelIndochina. ekscrunchy, I would be very interested in seeing your trip report.

And has anyone heard of Boundless Journeys? I found their website and was a bit intrigued. I may post another message with that name in the title if no one recognizes that tour operator.

For everyone who has replied: THANKS!
woodstockguy is offline  
Nov 27th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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I suspect that my recommendation, Travel Indochina, has considerably more experience than the other operators mentioned, but I admit to having no concrete evidence for this.

What I can say is that our TI tour of Vietnam consisted of only 11 people. We were attended by three staff at all times - an Australian tour manager, a Vietnamese guide and driver, all professional and engaging people. It was a relaxed and fuss-free experience. On occasions we could have wished for some more adventurous eating choices, but I accept that tour companies have to do their best to satisfy everyone, culinary Nervous Nellies included.

What we did appreciate was the opportunity to chat at length with our guides (one HCMC-based, one Hanoi-based) during the sometimes lengthy bus trips between cities and learn more about Vietnam, its people and its culture, than I could have as an independent traveller in the time available.

And I'd be lying if I said that we didn't also appreciate the fact that someone else was worrying about the details of our transport and accommodation.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 9th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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We travelled with OAT last year to Vietnam and Cambodia. (We rarely travel with a tour, usually preferring independent travel.) We loved the Vietnam portion of the trip, particularly the commentary as mentioned above. Great tour guide. The Cambodia portion we felt was overpriced and would have been better to do on our own.
megdean is offline  
Dec 9th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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OAT's tour size is 10 to 16 participants. I've taken two OAT trips; the first had 12 people, the second 13. The tours sound a lot like Neil's experience with Travel Indochina. Might be fun to be Aussies though.
Luisah is offline  
Dec 9th, 2009, 02:05 PM
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Here is my trip report (you can find these by clicking on the name of the poster and scrolling down) with comments on Innovasian.

ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Sorry, should read "to be with Aussies ..."
Luisah is offline  
Dec 27th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for taking the time .
I have traveled on several trips with GCT, none with OAT. GCT has larger groups which uses large buses which are very comfortable for us seniors............what size and kind of transportation does OAT use for its small groups. We would not like to travel in mini vans or 15 passenger vans.......the comfort of the seats on the long drives were nice on our Thailand trip
please send comments to [email protected]

when did u travel in Vietnam and

thanks in advance for the info

leop0610 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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I'd also recommend Travel Indochina if you want to go the tour route. I did my first trip to Asia with them and it was totally trouble free. We were probably more adventurous with food than a lot of independent travelers. Spiders, crickets and snake spring to mind. (Although i passed on rat!) This trip to Vietnam and Cambodia gave me the confidence to travel independently on subsequent visits.
silverwool is offline  
Dec 29th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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On the small group tours 10-16, they do use mini vans or mini buses, so not as comfortable as the gct buses. There are some OAT tours for groups up to 24 and I don't know what they use then.
Luisah is offline  
Dec 30th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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OAT does not always use mini buses or van. Several of their trips used full size buses even though we had only 16 people - Thailand and India come to mind. We have never used a van, and when we had mini buses, the seats were quite comfortable.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Dec 30th, 2009, 06:28 AM
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I was responding to leop's question. OAT may not always use mini buses or vans but if they specify (see below) a mini-bus or van I don't think you can count on traveling in a full size bus.

According to my OAT handbook for Discover Thailand: "We get around in a comfortable, air-conditioned mini-bus."

We traveled in a 15 passenger van on my OAT Egypt trip and the seats definitely were not as comfortable as on a full size bus. There was very little space between the seats, so little leg room. However, we did not travel very great distances by van on that trip.
Luisah is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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Most of our OAT tours have used minibuses - some more comfortable than others. On our recent tour to South Africa, a minibus was used for the first half of the tour, and a large bus for the second half (after a flight). But that was the exception, not the rule. Expect a minibus on OAT tours.
sandys is offline  
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