1 independent reviews for Thailand, Vietnam & Laos holiday

Reviews for Thailand, Vietnam & Laos holiday

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review 26 Nov 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The absolute highlight of our trip was the interaction with our guide Pong and driver Noi during the Laos. Both went over and above expectations ensuring we enjoyed, and occasionally were challenged by, the local, genuine experiences they organised on a number of occasions. We termed them our "Ethnic Emersion Days" something both of us found quite outside our comfort zone initially, but are now considered our very most memorable moments! Pong's local knowledge and contacts were the catalysts in providing a magical experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have confidence in your tour leader. Relax and embrace the experiences/food/drinks offered. Yes, it can be a trifle confronting at times for some of us overly worried about hygiene issues. Go with the flow; listen and learn from your leader. We have found over the years that some guides are not overly forthcoming with information. The more questions you ask the more comfortable and pleased they are to share their knowledge. Be aware that there are some very long days driving. We were more than happy with this, however, it may not be to everyone's liking. This trip is DEFINATELY not suited to anyone who suffers car sickness as there are hundreds of kilometres of twisting mountain roads. Be aware that the listed "Homestays" are more like B & B's where one stays in clean, comfortable separate accommodation. We were very relieved and more than happy with this situation. Others, however, may be chasing the more down-to-earth ethnic village experience.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We definitely benefited local people economically by staying at family-run establishments and eating in local restaurants. We love this aspect of the tours. However, in reality, walking around some of the ethnic villages, poking our noses into their everyday lives, did not appear to be welcomed. On the other hand, in other villages, our presence was greeted with open arms and associated pressure to purchase something! It is a conundrum. Yes, purchasing items made in the villages certainly benefits both parties - however, there is only so many souvenirs one requires. The very act of encouraging tourists who are chasing pristine environments will, in turn, encourage governments and locals alike to provide and retain these tourism drawcards. Populations, particularly subsistence farmers, will always put survival before environmental. Tourists will inevitably have an impact, but this can be used to advantage in encouraging positive action towards conservation and environmental education. Time sadly is not on our side when one views areas such as Sapa which is drowning under and being destroyed by, the tourism dollar.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The purpose of this holiday was to experience Northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam before its charm, in our opinion, disappears. The trip was all we had hoped and more. There was an excellent mix of ethnic exposure, gentle hikes, fabulous mountain drives, ancient and modern history, varied but always excellent accommodation and challenging food choices tackled with relish. The off-the-beaten-track type tour isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it is ours, so for this trip we are giving five stars as an overall rating.

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