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Asia


Kate from Prestige Travel Group, a family for Thailand, 2008

Just had to share – I sent very good clients (but tough and particular ones) on a family trip to Thailand – 2 adults and 2 teens.

They went over New Year’s and it was a very custom trip with stops in Bangkok, internal flights, Chang Mai with elephant riding etc, etc.

My client reported in today and they had a fabulous time! Everything went so well and they felt so taken care of. But the best was – they went to a special dinner and Thai Cultural Show the last night since they had a 1 am flight home.
The husband (sorry guys) lost one of the 4 passports but they didn’t know it until they got to the airport – long story short – he left with one of the daughters and their guide who had stayed with them all the way to the airport to be sure they got off safely, took the wife back to where the show was held with the daughter whose passport was missing. The theatre was closed, she got it unlocked, got assistance in the 2000 seat theatre to find the passport and rushed them back – and they made their flight with 2 minutes to spare!

If they had been without this wonderful guide they wouldn’t have made it home. The story gave me goosebumps, so I had to share.

I have had such success with using Sophia for trips to Europe but this was my first for an exotic location. She’s been a great resource.

(I can’t wait to post the elephant pictures on my testimonial page of my web-site)
 


David S., group of 6 people from Montreal, Canada. January-February 2006,  trip to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Hong Kong.

   

We are most grateful for your professionalism, kind attention to our needs and for the arrangements of all the details that made the trip so enjoyable-------
We are most mindful of all the effort that went into such a venture and wherever we went your people were all most anxious to attend to our needs and do everything possible to show us an interesting and good time--
WE certainly look forward to using your services again and recommending our friends to do the same---
Mr. & Mrs. Norman M., Montreal, Canada


 

Douglas H,  August 2005, SC  Cambodia trip

First, we had a great time and the tour met our expectations.  We learned a lot about Cambodia, and the time period of Angkor Wat.  I would use your services again.  

Well then the following comments (not to be considered overtly negative nor did they greatly distract us from the tour, but might bother some of your other customers ):

1.  The vendor delivering the services (Lorlei)  did not honor the meals included in the package (1 lunch and the dinner/dance).  The dinner/dance was covered eventually after I made the guide call his manager from the table in front of the waiter prior to ordering.  They flat out refused to honor the lunch.   Since the cost was only $10.50 this was not significant, but it should not have happened.  It appeared the guide was caught in the middle.  The meals were not included on his work sheet and work order.  (E&M Travel editor note - we followed up with supplier and they refunded money for lunch)

2.  We asked the guide to take us to a crafts shop at some point on the trip as the hotel was on the outskirts of town.  We ended up in perhaps the most expensive bad shop I have ever been in....more expensive than the 5 star hotel gift shop for comparable items.  The guide had warned us not to purchase precious stones, diamonds or jewelry, but....I am sure there are stores that carry cambodian raw silk products, textiles etc.  By the way, tell your customers that the gift shop at the Siem Reap airport transit lounge is good, and has reasonable prices.  Same shop as in the Pnom Penn airport which you get to visit if you are travelling on SilkAir 622.  (By the way, your customers need to keep their boarding pass when disembarking at Siem Reap.  It is used for some purpose when entering immigration in Siem Reap).

3.  Word of warning at this time of year.  Your clients should travel with raingear...it is monsoon season, and we knew that.  The guide provided umbrellas and had them brought to us when caught out in a temple without them.  Good walking or light hiking boots are recommended for climbing over the rough terrain, and volcanic rock used to build the temples.  Should carry/use both sunscreen (UVA/UVB) and 100% deet products (we used a product called jungle juice available at REI which was good and is in lotion form).  The guide was careful to warn us to use both.  Both malaria and dengue are prevelant this time of year.

4.  Finally, we asked the guide to recommend a restaurant for the final night in Siem Reap. He took us to a restaurant which was one step above a "bar girl establishment" and I expect if we had been there later it would have been one.   We are not prudes and we somewhat amused watching the activities, but it is not what was expected and we were not bothered.  Having lived in Vietnam for 2 1/2 years, I know what I am seeing. 

5.  The Le Meridian is a fine new hotel.  I did discover that the Le Meridian and the Sofitel are the only two new hotels in Siem Reap that actually treat their sewage.  All others dump raw sewage direcly into the Siem Reap river, the main drinking water supply for the city downstream.  Having travelled at all levels of the tourist trade (from backpacker to individual guided tours) you begin to notice the impact you have upon the local economy and environment.  The hotel has no Cambodian cuisine on it's menu, but has a fine Italian restaurant and a fantastic breakfast bar.

6.  Your clients should be warned that they need to carry US currency into Cambodia.  It serves as a second currency and you will use it all the time.  At no time did I need to convert funds into Cambodian currency, so changing funds at a money changer was not necessary.  Travellers cheques would have been difficult, and the new AMEX travellers cheque credit card would have been impossible/useless.  New $20 are best, but bring some one's, five's, and ten's.  Change will be given in US currency, but sub $ amounts are provided in cambodian currency.  They will need the currency in small bills to purchase stuff like t-shirts, etc from vendors outside of the temples (and the prices there are not outrageous with a little bargaining). Visa, MasterCard and Amex are accepted sometimes at the restaurants and hotels.  Visa on arrival required $20, exit airport tax requires $25.  Both must be paid in US currency.  Travellers should have a minimum of 2 passport photos available when then arrive.  One for Immigration, one for the Angkor Wat tourist permit.

7.  The guide was good about insisting that we should use the safe in the hotel room at all times to store tickets, passports, credit cards and any cash.  He also was good in telling us not to carry much cash with us during the day.  I would recommend no more than $20 in small bills.

8.  Given the numbers of people during their "low season", I can but imagine how heavy the tourist trade will be during the high season of November - April.

I hope this information is useful to you.  Overall the trip was very good and we had a good time. 

 Jane B. from UK, March 2005, Manohra barge cruise , Thailand

It was absolutely wonderful - couldn't fault a thing. The boat, crew, food, service, accommodation, weather were all excellent. We had cabin One which was hardly surprising as there was none else on board - our own private cruise. Thank you for organizing everything for us and we would highly recommend the adventure to anyone thinking about it. It's very interesting and you see Bangkok and it's surrounding area in a completely different light - no tourists. It was a great three days. Yes we had Bovey as chief steward, but not Echo as chef - ours was called Licky if I remember rightly. We have already aroused interest amongst our friends and we will get them to book through you should they decide to go. Thanks for all your assistance - the cruise was the hi-lite of our holiday. Best regards Jane


Louis P. family of 4, NYC June 2004 trip to Southeast Asia, Eastern & Orient Express and Thailand/Cambodia

The trip was great, we especially enjoyed experiencing Cambodia. The guides were great, transfers were smooth, hotels were lovely. 
The only problem was with E & O, and the breakfast at both hotels. They sent the same info I received, that it was on a room only basis. They claimed the hotels would know as it is the summer promotion, but of course, they did not.  If we did not have the email that we demanded, there would have been a bigger problem.
Thank you for all you did to make our trip so memorable.

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