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KATHERINEMAEPARDEE Oct 27th, 2007 05:23 PM

Have you traveled to Thailand with OAT?
Any surprises? We are going in December 2007 and will be in Thailand over the holidays.

This is our first OAT-Grand Circle Tour - anything about your experiences you care to share?

Please write to me direct at my email since sometime it's difficult to access this website.

Thank you.

[email protected]

Kathie Oct 27th, 2007 08:26 PM

Do a search on this board, as there have been plenty of posts about OAT. Go to the search box, type in OAT and choose Thailand and you'll find a list of posts (as long as search is working - with the recent upgrade to this site it is less reliable than usual).

jackandann Oct 28th, 2007 06:57 PM


Unfortunately, since the latest revision to the Fodor's web site, the search for OAT yields no results,

Jack and Ann

KimJapan Oct 28th, 2007 08:03 PM

I just tried a search for you and pulled up lots of posts. Search seems to be working fine. Just type oat in the search box....but don't select any country because most posts are not tagged.

Kathie Oct 28th, 2007 08:12 PM

Oops, Kim is right. Don't choose a country and you'll find posts on OAT.

LynnieD Oct 29th, 2007 01:37 PM

I will anxiously await your trip report as I leave on 01-15-08 to Thailand with OAT. Have fun!

pat Oct 29th, 2007 02:02 PM

Traveled with OAT exactly one year ago, to Thailand and it was a wonderful trip. The hotels were all nice, and the food great. Was a little nervous about going with them, but all was well. There were 15 people on our trip and I liked them all.

pat Oct 29th, 2007 02:06 PM

check out Granny`s trip report to Thailand. It is a very good report about her OAT trip to Thailand.

safarichuck Dec 19th, 2007 09:17 AM

Just returned from OAT Thailand and all I can say is that the accomodations were pretty darn poor. I would rate the hotels at 2.5 to 3 stars on a 5 star scale. Meals were mixed but average about 2 stars. If your standards aren't very high then it's fine. The guide was great but that's about the only positive aspect of this tour. They waste a lot of time with cheap, inexpensive activities but little substance. We will not be using this company again. Unless cost is your main determinate, use another travel company. Sorry if I'm raining on anyones parade but if these forums are to provide useful information, all viewpoints and experiences need to be represented.

USNR Dec 19th, 2007 10:13 AM

My wife and I went to Thailand with OAT, plus the optional extensions to Cambodia and to Vietnam. We had in Thailand perhaps the best guide ever, a young Thai lady who simply could not do enough for us, took us places we never would have found, and kept us laughing all day long. Hotels, meals, and all other arrangements were superb. OAT kept every promise they made...and then some. In all, we have made nine trips with OAT and Grand Circle, so I believe you could rate us as experienced and satisfied customers.

thursdaysd Dec 19th, 2007 12:30 PM

As I have posted before, I went to Thailand with OAT in '97, and swore I would never use them again. An acquaintance recently took the same tour (she didn't talk to me beforehand!) and says the same. In both cases the guide was poor: mine was clearly bored with his job, and his English failed him anytime we asked a question he didn't want to answer, she also felt that her guide was a disappointment (we think it may have been the same man).

In addition the hotels were out of town, the food was very poor - dumbed down for foreigners, or foreign food indifferently prepared - we sat on the AC'd coach in the cooler mornings and were outside in the hotter afternoons, and it was hard to avoid the shopping "opportunities". Finally, the paid-for business class upgrades for the return flights were only honored as were about to board the flight - it appeared OAT had some kind of standby arrangement with the airline, rather than confirmed seats.

safarichuck Dec 19th, 2007 01:29 PM

Clearly OAT has a niche in the travel industry, but it is certainly not high end travel. It is in fact low to middle class travel. Our own experience includes only two trips, one to Egypt and another to Thailand, both in 2007. Our experience was the same both times. Several friends, also lured by the low prices, were likewise disappointed. To some degree it is about managing expectations; my expectations are higher than they deliver. For those looking for bargin travel it may be suitable. For those interested in quality travel, OAT is unlikely to satisfy and Tauck or A&K may be better alternatives. In all fairness, on both of our trips 1/3 to 1/2 of the people seemed satisfied with the quality of the accomodations and food. It is too bad that the Grand Circle corporation spends so much on mail advertising rather than on the tours themselves.

USNR Dec 19th, 2007 02:11 PM

We have traveled with Tauck, A&K, and Maupintour, both domestically and overseas. Upscale quarters, high priced tours, good guides. OAT delivered value for money, kept every promise, and provided us with excellent guides and service. We have plebeian tastes, this we admit. We made friends among our fellow travelers, friends that we have kept. Country clubbers we are not.

PIPERPAT Dec 20th, 2007 06:22 AM

Perhaps safarichuck is unaware that not everyone can afford high end travel. We have traveled with several mid-priced travel companies and found OAT to be the best. We actually prefer the small family hotels that OAT uses to the large 5-star ones. Their guides have been exceptionally excellent. My primary focus in travel is to see new places, learn about them and experience how the people there live, not to spend time in luxurious hotels. Oat does that better than anyone we've traveled with. Also, I have several friends who have taken the OAT trip to Thailand and loved it.

thursdaysd Dec 20th, 2007 07:09 AM

If you want a lower cost tour, and to experience how local people live rather than 5-star hotels, you should be traveling with Intrepid, not OAT.

ekscrunchy Dec 20th, 2007 07:35 AM

Does OAT really use small family hotels? The one in Bangkok, the Grand China Princess, looks like a huge modern high-rise, in Chinatown.

What is the age range on tours like this?

USNR Dec 20th, 2007 07:41 AM

In our experience, OAT groups ranged in age between mid-40s and early 80s. I would place the average age about 63.

safarichuck Dec 20th, 2007 02:34 PM

Gee thanks for the information. I thought everyone could afford high end luxury travel. You obviously don't read well do you? The information provided by these forums and threads should include the opinions and experiences of all sorts of travelers. If you took my comments ro be demeaning to your way of travel, that's your problem.

KimJapan Dec 20th, 2007 03:52 PM

If you book a tour for the benefit of meeting people, then I understand liking the small group of OAT. If you book OAT because you think it's a good price, then I'd look closer at what you really get.

In all honesty, I fail to see how the OAT trips are a good value considering the number of things that are optional and cost extra, the low priced hotels they use, and the fact that they use long distance bus rather than plane for travel within Thailand.

Discover Thailand's starting price of $2595 per person for February....airfare nonstop on Thai is around $1500 (and you can get to Bangkok for less)...leaving at least $1100 for a few meals, hotels and some group tours.

Considering most of their hotels can be booked for between $20 and $50 per room (so 1/2 of that price per person), bus transportation within Thailand is cheap, and even flights are cheap using low cost carriers...even though their single supplement is only $295, it still doesn't represent good value to me considering what you get.

For OAT's Thailand trips, I know many of their hotels. In Bangkok, the Grand China Princess is poorly located, in need of updating, with rooms typical of a 2* large hotel. In the same price range, you can do much better on your own.

In the Chiang Rai area, the Imperial Golden Triangle is in Sop Ruak (about an hour from Chiang Rai). It is a large hotel that caters to low end package tours.

In Chiang Mai, the Centara Duangtawan is well located near the night market, but is otherwise unremarkable. It is certainly not a small family run place, but rather a quite large highrise. There are many, many lovely small hotels and guesthouses at and below the Duangtawan's price that are family run, though.

Their Angkor Wat extension starting price of $895.00 per person is very high. Flights run about $350.00 RT, leaving $550 for 4 nights. 1 or 2 meals a day, an Angkor Wat group tour, a boat ride and an unknown hotel...not good value. A private guide and driver in AC car costs $50.00 - $60.00 per day per group, not per person. Good hotels with pool and breakfast included can be easily found for $40.00 - $60.00 per night. Meals are under $10.00 per person unless you really splash out. A couple would spend roughly $120.00/day, or $60.00 each for a good hotel, good meals, and a private guide and driver...and it's possible to do it for less.

Overall, I think you can do much better booking on your own pricewise.

safarichuck Dec 20th, 2007 04:06 PM

Thank you for a very thorough analysis of the OAT accomodations and value. I think your post provides valuable insight into the relative value of the OAT trip to Thailand. Hopefully it will be book marked by those considering an OAT trip. Regards-safarichuck

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