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Which Vietnam/Cambodia Trip? Road Scholar or Odysseys Unlimited?

Which Vietnam/Cambodia Trip? Road Scholar or Odysseys Unlimited?

Apr 9th, 2018, 12:29 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,394
KTravel I said i would let you know.... my friend just returned from her Road Scholar trip, to VN, Cambdia, and Laos, which i think is almost identical to the Road Scholar trip you are considering. She LOVED it!!! So much iin fact, i'd consider doing it! She said everything about the trip was top notch, and it sounds like there was a lot of variety in it, including a trip on the Mekong in Laos, an overnight trip on HaLong Bay, the days in Hanoi and Siem Reap and Luang Prabang. If you are still considering an organized trip vs independent traveling, I'd say go for this one!!!
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Apr 9th, 2018, 07:11 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Hi CaliNurse,

We usually travel independently (though we did use Tonkin for logistics on our last Vietnam trip). From time to time I've looked at the Road Scholar trips - they are more expensive than traveling independently, but I've wondered if there could be some value added with the lectures and educational activities. Did your friend mention anything about this? The RS trip linked by the OP does sound intriguing.
gr21 is online now  
Apr 9th, 2018, 10:18 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi CaliNurse - oddball question.

Could you ask what time the RS tour ate dinner? I once looked seriously at a RS tour to Labrador and Newfoundland, but gave up the idea when I found that they ate dinner 5:00 or 5:30. I would be starving before bedtime.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 12:47 PM
  #24  
 
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Gr21, value compared to booking her own? I know, to me they look expensive BUT after hearing all that was included, and that all meals were excellent, and the route was a perfect combination activity and relaxation...i am considering this~Since this was her first time in the region, she can't compare price was, but I will ask her about the guides etc and get back to you here.
Thursdaysd, great question~I too prefer to eat later. I will ask. I suppose IF on a group that eats late, people like you and I would have to load up on post-dinner pre-bedtime snacks for the room. I'll find out.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 11:10 PM
  #25  
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CaliNurse, thank you SO much for letting me know about your friend's trip. I am so glad she had such a great time and I think this might be a great way to make a first trip to that region. Darn, I wish my husband wasn't asleep. I am tempted to bite the bullet and sign right up!
KTtravel is offline  
Apr 9th, 2018, 11:33 PM
  #26  
 
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Just checked email. Friend replied . Will write in more detail soon but it is past midnight here.

Thursdaysd, dinners were no earlier than 6-7 pm. Also, in my reply above, I meant people like us who
prefer to eat later than others in a group would have to stock up on prebedtime snacks. But this group did not eat early. One dinner was a bbq on a beach along the Mekong.

Per friend, all guides and group leaders throughout the trip, at each location, were excellent. More detail later today !
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Apr 10th, 2018, 05:20 AM
  #27  
 
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Thanks CaliNurse - snacks would have to be protein which could be difficult.
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Apr 10th, 2018, 05:09 PM
  #28  
 
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I took s USA trip with Road Scholar when it was called Elderhostel, and it sounds like it'd still aiming for its initial goal of giving great tours, with a lot of educational components, for us "elder" travelers.

Ktravel, here's the requested feedback from friend who took the Road Scholar Tour:

Had a fantastic tour “group leader” who stayed with us for the entire trip. He was from Saigon and was also our local guide and “educator” in Viet Nam. In Laos & Cambodia we also had local guides+ boat cruise director in Laos who showed us around & “educated” us. Major sites like Angkor require that groups have authorized in country guides. All the “guides" were excellent. Group leader outstanding.
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Apr 10th, 2018, 05:39 PM
  #29  
 
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Thank you for the follow-up, CaliNurse! I'm very intrigued by this itinerary and it's good to know the guides were excellent.
gr21 is online now  
Apr 10th, 2018, 09:20 PM
  #30  
 
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Gr21, apologies; I got confused as to whom had asked of guide/ educational activity feedback.
I usually travel "independently" but do think with a great group leader, plus great local guides (the latter I know from own experiences in various countries) you learn so much.
Another friend took an Odyssey Tour to VN . She returned with tidbits and local knowledge , much of would not have been learned merely through pretrip reading/research. Example: their guide pointed out two people, seemingly just talking, and was able to explain to the group exactly what they were doing (it was some slightly "under the radar "activity). No way visitors would otherwise have known this.
That said, you of course pay extra for having a guide-led tour and driver, whether a large or small group tour, or solo or couple with guide at some places. Each person has to decide the value-for-money component. Fortunately there are plenty of reviews and discussion of different companies on travel forums.
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Apr 12th, 2018, 07:46 AM
  #31  
 
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Thanks CaliNurse. I enjoy learning as much as I can about a destination through books and videos like the Great Courses, but I'm sure there is much more to be learned from local guides and/or the RS lecturers. The cost comparison of the trip vs. independent travel isn't hard to do since RS lists the hotels they use - I usually end up talking myself out of the RS trips when I see how much more it would be than independent travel (or that I could stay much better hotels, or stay for more days, for the same amount of money). For sure the "value add" of the educational component is an individual judgment so I think the best way to find out is to try one of the trips for myself.

KTravel if you take the RS tour I hope you'll report back on your experience!
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Apr 17th, 2018, 02:25 PM
  #32  
 
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Bookmarking!
kkkKelly is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2019, 06:55 AM
  #33  
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I would like to report back that we thoroughly enjoyed the Road Scholar tour we ended up deciding on taking. We had a wonderful experience visiting Hanoi, Halong Bay, the Mekong Delta, Saigon, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Our lead guide, Quyen, was absolutely terrific and we also had several interesting lectures by local experts. There were 21 of us on the tour ranging in ages from 55 and up. All were active and interested in learning and we had a good time together. Our guide added on a few extra excursions (at no extra cost) based on what he learned the group would likely enjoy and we also had free time in most locations to explore on our own.

Visiting Angkor Wat at sunrise was an experience I'll never forget. We had a local guide join us in Siem Reap who told us "the temples were my playground as a child." He was able to guide us through an alternative entrance to an area where we could watch the sunrise away from most of the other visitors.

Both of our local Cambodian guides also shared with us their personal, tragic, experiences during the time of the Khmer Rouge, when asked about that period. We also discussed the Vietnam War at length with our lead guide and some of the lecturers. My husband and I learned so much and were so impressed with the resiliency of the Vietnamese and Cambodians who have lived through so much.
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Mar 2nd, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #34  
 
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Thanks for the report! Good to know that you had a good trip.
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Mar 2nd, 2019, 05:47 PM
  #35  
 
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Travel, thanks for coming back with a report, nearly a year after that first enquiry! Glad you , like my friend quoted at the time, enjoyed Raod Scholar!! My next trip may well be wit them!
CaliNurse is offline  
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