First time traveller with teenager - help!
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Feb 16, 2013 3:11 AM Last Post By: bigal1
Feb 13, 2013 1:56 AM
First time traveller with teenager - help!Hi,
I have never left Australia and planning a trip with my daughter (16) to Thailand. I'm considering an Intrepid 10 day trip "Highlights of Thailand" however I have read many bad reviews which is making me nervous. I am not confident with doing this trip by myself and worry about safety being 2 females etc. We don't want anything too strenous so definately not an adventure holiday.
I wanted to see some real culture, hilltribe, Chaing Mai, temples, elephants, etc. This trip involves quite alot of travel Bangkok to Chaing Mai, Hmong Lodge, Sukothai, River Kwak and back to Bangkok for 2 days at the end of the trip. It does seem like a lot of travel however not sure about doing the trip unescorted.
Can anyone provide advice? I have read many forum posts however I am not well travelled or experienced in such matters.
Feb 13, 2013 3:33 AM
1Do you mean many bad reviews of Intrepid and their tours if so look for another company
Most people who use this site will travel independantly and you need to bear this in mind when reading the comments. It is true that Thailand is very easy to travel around and I really do not think you should worry about safety as long as you take all the sensisble precautions that you would take in Australia
Your wish list of what you want to see means that you will have to travel around Northern Thailand whether in a tour or under your own steam but the route you have is not difficult with plenty of transport available and easy to organise. Have a read of the Lonely Planet guidebook
At the end of the day you must chose for your self wether to take an organised tour but reading between the lines this might better suit you and there are a number of companies that run tours so if you have read bad reviews of Intrepid check out other companies
Feb 13, 2013 3:53 AM
2OP, in your case where you have never travelled out of Australia (i.e. first trip overseas) I think that a tour is best for you this time. While it is easy and relatively safe to travel in Thailand independently, you might want to use a tour and put it down as experience to learn about overseas travel. Tours are more expensive and more structured than independent travel but it will help.
Good luck and happy travels.
Feb 13, 2013 4:02 AM
3Thank you for both replies.
It appears the independent travel is much cheaper however being the first time I think a tour would be best. I will have to find some recommendations for other tour companies. I was really keen on Intrepid but their accommodation etc is on the bottom end of the scale and given this will be the first time I leave my westernised bubble, I thought I should minimise the risks by going with a group.
Thanks for your comments!
Feb 13, 2013 4:24 AM
4I have no idea about the accomodation they (Intrepid) use nor exactly what level you are looking for but I do know one of their guides and she certainly was not staying in basic hotels on the tours she ran. If you are going to see the culture and stay with hill tribes then there is nothing but basic unless you bus in and out.
If you want 5 star hotels perhaps look for an inclusive tour from Australia but you may also wish to check this thread and the recommendation at the end
Feb 13, 2013 6:41 AM
5I wanted to see some real culture, hilltribe, Chaing Mai, temples, elephants, etc
Be prepared to be disappointed if you think you'll see any real culture visiting hilltribes and doing elephant treks. It's all a circus put on for tourists. The hill tribes you see just dress like that for the tourists visiting then as soon as you've left they put the levis and nike air max back on and start messing around with their iphones. The elephant treks usually consist of walking round a scruffy bit of grass on the back of a diseased and badly treated elephant for 10 minutes.
Chain Mai is just a small city, nothing too exciting going on. The temples...once you've seen one you've seen them all.
Feb 13, 2013 10:02 AM
6thailand is really one of the best and easiest places in the world to travel around on your own, however experienced or unexperienced you are. but being it your first trip abroad, i understand your worries.
intrepid does offer "comfort tours", where they use 3-starish accommodation. peregrine is a company a bit similar to intrepid, but their accommodation is little bit more upmarket / less "budget". maybe this trip http://www.peregrineadventures.com/south-east-asia/thailand/amazing-thailand-2012 is something for you ? otherwise, i'm sure some australian tour-operators offer something that fits you (i work in the travel industry in switzerland, so i know what is on offer here, but not what downunder).
Feb 13, 2013 12:39 PM
7OP, I don't think Thailand is a destination for culture vultures anymore. Most of what you see is staged and there are enough temples in Bangkok to not need to see others.
Thailand comes into its own in terms of really nice places to stay, especially on lovely beaches but also inland, with affordable pampering. It's a place to let your hedonistic tendencies come to the forefront without breaking the bank.
Feb 13, 2013 2:20 PM
8Thailand comes into its own in terms of really nice places to stay, especially on lovely beaches but also inland, with affordable pampering. It's a place to let your hedonistic tendencies come to the forefront without breaking the bank
Absolutely !! Totally agree with you FCG ... Disney land for adults , do a nice assisted tour with your Daughter , then come back at a later stage in time with a few of your Girlie pals and have a great holiday getting pampered in Spas eating fantastic food , along with some of the cheapest and best shopping in Asia ...
I love Thailand not for the culture but for the fantastic cheap food , cheap great massage's , reasonably cheap drinks , fantastic value hotels , great surroundings ....
As long as you go not expecting some wonderfully unique cultural experience then you will have a fantastic time ...
I hope you have a wonderful time whatever you decide on ... Enjoy ...
Feb 13, 2013 6:16 PM
9Thailand is very westernised in the major tourist areas. You can fly to places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and book 1 day tours when you get there. All very easy.
Just go to a travel agent to book some flights and rooms and book the tours when you get there. All very simple. You can book tours thru your travel agent back home but you will pay double the price. Thailand has travel agents everywhere that can book your tours and pretty much all 4 star hotels (which cost around $50-70pn) have travel desks if you really want it simple.
Feb 13, 2013 6:19 PM
10"The hill tribes you see just dress like that for the tourists visiting then as soon as you've left they put the levis and nike air max back on and start messing around with their iphones"
Not that's so true. Local village people walk around in old fashioned clothes on a daily basis. But they do have motorbikes and phones maybe if it's not too remote for access.
Who the hell wears levi jeans in Thailand? Too freakin hot.
Feb 13, 2013 8:15 PM
11Hill tribes, temples, elephant rides and all the rest of the "tourist circus" in Thailand might seem staged and Disneyland-ish to regular visitors and some of the cynics who have posted above, but don't be put off, OP .... it will seem very exciting and exotic through your first-time visitor eyes.
Perhaps take an organized tour this time if you're not feeling confident, but when you get to Thailand you'll quickly see how easy it is to do everything, and next time you'll happily go it alone.
I wonder how many people go on organized tours on their SECOND visit to Thailand? My guess is none, or very close to none.
Feb 14, 2013 6:56 AM
12Who goes on organised tours on their 2nd trip anywhere? Unless the country is really dangerous or there's no local infrastructure you don't need a whole tour. I quite enjoy half and full day trips and you give the money to the people who earn it rather than some international wholesaler and foreign travel agent. Good to help the locals out when you're there.
Feb 14, 2013 7:17 AM
13Not that's so true. Local village people walk around in old fashioned clothes on a daily basis. But they do have motorbikes and phones maybe if it's not too remote for access.Who the hell wears levi jeans in Thailand? Too freakin hot
The hill tribes the tour companies visit do the while thing for show. It's not how they live or dress.
As a farang I wear jeans in Thailand and most Thais do too. Hardly ever see Thais wearing shorts.
it will seem very exciting and exotic through your first-time visitor eyes
That's the thing though it doesn't. I did a lot of these things on my first trip to Thailand expecting them to be really cool and cultural and what I found was a tourist spectacle and really shallow experience that isn't in anyway authentic. Thailand is amazing but these sort of things aren't why.
Feb 15, 2013 2:30 AM
14Well, a few mixed opinions which is the whole point of this exercise. Thank you to everyone who has captured their experiences and provided some insights. I'm feeling alot better about the trip now and I'm quite looking forward to it. I am still waiting for some quotes from a few new tour providers based in Thailand which has provided a whole new basket of options. I guess after I get the quotes I can then work out if I can create this experience for myself without the guides or other group members.
Can anyone tell me how to find reliable drivers who can drive you long distances? Do they have booking desks at the motels? Please bear in mind I am not an experienced traveller at all (not even in Australia)!
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