In this post, we review the travel company which ran the tour we just finished. If you haven’t yet seen our posts of the tour destinations, see the most recent posts on Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Company: Overseas Adventure Travel
Tour taken: Ancient Kingdoms
Overall: This tour, with the optional pre-trip extension to Myanmar, was 4 weeks long. OAT promises small groups and delivered on that promise: ours was 15. We thought the daily pacing was a little slow, and that free time was too broken up into small pieces to effectively explore on your own. We very much appreciated the fact that the company used airline flights rather than long bus rides to connect the countries we visited, and often cities within each country as well. Overall, we enjoyed the tour and would recommend it, with the caveats below.
Activities: OAT does a great job of getting you into the culture of the places you visit, for a “ground level” view of the lives of the local people. We had the opportunity to speak with many people, visit a school, have a home-hosted dinner, participate in alms-giving to monks, sample street food, etc.
Accommodations and meals: The accommodations on this trip exceeded expectations in most cases. Hotels were well-appointed and many had amenities such as swimming pools, etc. Included meals were a mixed bag, with some standouts and more than a few duds. Table service was very slow in many restaurants. For meals on your own, there were always several choices; the trip leaders were available to make recommendations if needed. Plenty of bottled water was provided; the tap water was not safe to drink anywhere on this trip.
Caveats: The composition of the tour group was the only surprising factor for us on this trip. There were 3 couples and nine single women, i.e. 3 men and 12 women. This did somewhat skew the intangible chemistry of the group. So the main take-away for us (traveling as a couple) was to pay attention to the marketing of the tour provider. We have since realized that OAT has targeted single travelers, often with enticing offers such as no single supplement to tour price (you get your own room for the same price as someone sharing a room with another person). So keep this in mind when choosing a travel company. You may not care. You may even find this attractive. Either way, it is one more factor to consider when researching and planning a group trip.