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Mother-daughter first trip to Asia - ideas?

Mother-daughter first trip to Asia - ideas?

Oct 11th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,237
Mother-daughter first trip to Asia - ideas?

I'm pushing 50 (trying not to push very hard!), and my daughter is 24. We're finally getting around to our first trip to Asia and I've scaled back my expectations from what I posted a year or so ago. I think we'll probably do a tour - not because we can't do it on our own, but because I think we'd enjoy having others to interact with and I'd like to free myself of dealing with the logistics. We're looking for a SMALL group tour - maybe a dozen or so - definitely not a group of 40 crammed into a bus and herded around all day by someone carrying a flag or umbrella to keep the group together. And we'd like a tour that provides a fair amount of free time. I've considered OAT and Intrepid/GAP. OAT appeals to me because it includes airfare (simpler) and for the price it looks like the accommodations are nicer. As for our destination, I'm torn on that, as well. We're not major beach people, but would definitely like a mix of city/rural experiences with a good dose of culture and shopping. I've kind of narrowed it down to Thailand or Vietnam. And in either case, am considering a sidetrip to Angor. We'll probably have about 2 weeks.
So... thoughts on a tour group? Any experiences with GAP/Intrepid or OAT? Other possibilities for a small group?
Suggestions on a destination? Vietnam or Thailand for a first trip for a mother and daughter? Burma also appeals.
I've done lots of reading so please don't tell me to get a guidebook! I'd be interested in YOUR thoughts. Thanks!
althom1122 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Forgot to mention we're planning to go in mid-February, if that makes a difference in what you'd recommend as a destination. And I realize it's Angkor, not Angor!
althom1122 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 05:49 PM
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I remember your previous planning and how got put on hold. I'm sure you and your daughter will have a great time.

For a first trip, I'd highly recommend Thailand. Thailand has lots of wonderful things to see and do and such a wide variety of options available. It also has the best developed infrastructure of any of the places you've listed. It's also easy to do a side trip to Angkor from Bangkok.

With just two weeks, choose only three locations (so perhaps, Bangkok, Angkor and Chaing Mai or Chaing Rai).

I can't recommend any tour companies to you. I'm really not a tour person. You can do it on your own for less money and more flexibility
Kathie is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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We took the OAT Vietnam trip with extension to Angkor in February of 2003. I highly recommend it! We have also been to Thailand, but liked Vietnam even better because it seemed more varied, less homogeneous. Also it is changing rapidly and we were happy to experience it "before."
MariaL is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 328
My husband and I did OAT Thailand last October. Maximum number of people with OAT is 16 for land tours. There were ll in our group because 4 people dropped out just before the tour. We had a fantastic tour with a terrific guide. The guide was always coming up with extra things for us to try.

We have done several tours and the OAT Thailand is the best by far.

The OAT trip without Angkor is 16 days, and their trips fill up fast. So your two weeks may not work.

You are right it is nice to have some one else do all the planning and organizing. It is so much easier than doing it on your own.

I'm currently planning a 30-day trip. I have spent hours and hours doing research, but I think that is part of the fun of doing a trip on our own.

Enjoy your trip.
Susan33 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 09:03 PM
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One more things about OAT. If you do book with them, ask if you are in the first 10-16 people. OAT does wait list people, so you want to know if you are really in the top 10-16. You do not want to be surprised a couple of weeks before departure and have them schedule you at a later date. If you have schedule your annual vacation, this could be a real problem.

Be sure to read their "General Terms and Conditions" very carefully.
Susan33 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far!
Kathie - yes, I realize we might be able do it more cheaply (although airfare alone seems to be about $1300 from Baltimore in February - is that outrageous?), but although my daughter and I love each other dearly, I think we'd do better having a group to interact with. And I must admit, I find Asia on my own (in spite of all the assurances from everyone here how easy it is!) to be a little bit daunting.
Maria and Susan - is there free time included in the OAT trips, or are most days filled with group activities? I'd like to be with a group for some things, but also want to be able to break away for free time.
Also, can you give me an idea of the age range? Is OAT an older group mostly or is there a good mix of ages?
althom1122 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Hi, I understand your issue as there is so much to see. I would say that Thailand alone could take two weeks, as could Vietnam. If you are going to only have two weeks, then you will have to decide on either Bangkok and the north of Thailand or Bangkok and the south. I would suggest Bangkok and the north to Chiang Mai, as this is a major shopping area and the crafts are the best in Thailand. It is a lovely trip. As for Vietnam, I'd try and leave Bangkok for Chiang Mai, then onto Siem Riep(Angkor Wat) and than continue on to Saigon(HCM)so you don't need to back track. So, you would fly into Bangkok, up to Chiang Mai then on to Siam Riep then to HCM(Saigon) and then home. Find a travel agent that will do a specialized trip for you and go for it. You will have a blast on your own and will still meet people along the way.
thelionpassant is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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You will find that there isn't much free time with OAT. Things are well planned and you do not spend time waiting for things to happen or figuring out how to get from place to place.

Our first day in Bangkok, we had the choice of being on our own or paying extra for an all day tour. Since none of the group had been there before we all took the tour. Seemed easier than trying to figure it out on our own.

At one of our stops, the train we were to take was delayed for several hours. Our guide took us to a water fall area that wasn't part of the tour.

Our guide knew the best times to be places so we did not waste time.

The group I was in was about 45-70 years old. The one 70-year old had no trouble keeping up with the rest of us.

Yes, there were some naps taken in the afternoon as we moved from one place to another.

If you look at the OAT Thailand trip, there is quite a bit of area covered, so you are on the move most of the time.
Susan33 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Thanks, Susan. Did you get tired of being with the group and wish you could go off and have private time? I went on an Intrepid tour with my sister and nearly every day was free time. The rooms and transportation were arranged. And there was usually an orientation when we'd arrive at a new destination, and people would plan to get together for dinner - but you were free not to join in - and most of every day was free time to explore on your own. That's kind of what I was hoping for - someone to schlep up around and arrange for logistics together with a small group - but mixed with time to be on our own... maybe we should go for another Intrepid trip. Anyone done one of their trips in Asia? (Or Gap?)
althom1122 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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I just registered to this forum and this is the perfect thread for me to follow. I am planning a trip by myself, a 60 yo fit woman, and have pretty well decided on going with Intrepid. I hadn't heard of OAT. I'll look them up. One person posted that on their Intrepid trip they spent most of their time independantly. Sounds like one of their independant tours. Most of the Intrepid tours to Thailand, where I'll be going too, have a great mix of group activity and free time. I think it's important to have both. And as one person wrote, with only 2 weeks, my time frame too, it needs to be Bangkok and either north or south, not both. I intend to work in a couple of days stopping in HK so may use the first and last days of the Intrepid trip as HK time and arrive in the evening of the first tour day and leave in the am of the last day. I know that's cramming in a lot, and I may need to take an extra day of vacation.
One concern that appies for anyone going to Thailand in the winter is the weather at night in the north, like the hill tribe areas. Intrepid says it's chilly at night. Anyone know how chilly that means? I'll be trekking and sleeping for 2 nts. in a sleeping bag in a simple village hut. Thanks.
bonbon5 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Hi Althom

There were only eleven in our group with OAT. My husband and I found that the group was very compatible, and we did not want to be off on own. As I said before, there wasn't lots of free time to be on our own.


Susan33 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I have been to Thailand, China, Vietnam and Japan...the last 3 with Intrepid. If you have narrowed it down to Thailand or Vietman already I would reccommend Vietnam. We had a mum and daughter 60 and 28 on our last trip in Japan and it was great. In Vietnam we had a mum, dad and their 17 year old daughter...I like intrepid because the people are from everywhere and the group is small enough to get places and see things larger groups can't.

I did the short Vietnam trip...the spirit of Vietnam southbound because of time committments, but most of the people on our trip did it and also Cambodia as well as intrepid timed our trip to end and the cambodia one to start on the same day and in the same place.

Good luck with your travels,

Irish_Chic is offline  
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