Smartours and Gate 1 to Thailand

Apr 7th, 2008, 11:37 AM
  #1  
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Smartours and Gate 1 to Thailand

I am considering these two agencies for booking a two week plus first time trip to Thailand. I would appreciate any comments re these two companies or suggestions for other alternatives
rodwms is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 12:09 PM
  #2  
 
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The alternative I'd encourage is independent travel. Thailand is remarkably tourist-friendly. Unless there is a reason you want a group tour, you'll get much better (and better-located) hotels, much better food, and you'll be able to go at your own pace. If you want to explore the independent travel options, there are lots of us here who can help you with your planning.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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There have been several positive reports on Smartours. However, Kathie is absolutely right. You can plan a much better trip to Thailand on your own. Thailand has a very strong tourist infrastructure. All sights and activities are readily accessible. You don't need a tour guide. IOf you want guides, we can recommend ones that many people have tried and had wonderful experinces.

You can easily book the hotels and flights online. You will get much better hotels this way. If you give us your time constraints and budget, we will be happy to provide suggestions.

Either way, you will love Thailand. It's a great place.
Gpanda is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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If you do decide to do a tour, OAT was fantastic, only 16 max in the group and well priced.

I went on a Danube River Cruise with Gate 1 in October and were pleased with it overall, but the groups were huge!!

Given the choice, OAT would be a no-brainer for me. (I tagged along on a trip with friends on both occasions, otherwise I would for sure just go independantly).
LynnieD is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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its so easy to do on your own and you see more of exactly what you wnt to see and NO mandatory shopping stops!!!!

we will help you every step of the way....

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 8th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #6  
 
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we did Friendly Planet, which combines it tours with ST. this was two years ago. The pricing was incomparable - there is no way I could have found airfare and hotels at this price. If one is okay with traveling with a group of 25-35, this is a fine company to go with. And sometimes, that makes sense. Other times, we prefer the independent route. Don't make the rodwms feel like less of a fodorite because he/she prefers the group tours. Booking with FP may be better than ST, as they take credit cards for a small additional fee. This was a great trip for us and I would recommend it without hesitation.
acctg is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 10:16 AM
  #7  
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Thank you all for your gracious comments.............rodwms
rodwms is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 06:59 PM
  #8  
 
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My vote is for OAT. Did one in Jan. and was very happy. Didn't want to spend the time to plan it on our own for this one. So pleased that we have book a red sea one that takes us into Saudi Arabia for a day. Couldn't do that on our own except with business visa.
southeastern is offline  
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