Sara Hill from our UK head office has just returned from a trip to Thailand with us. Her experience proves that small group travel need not be as nerve-wracking as perceived.
“My main concern that this was an adventure holiday in a country I had never been to with people I had never met before. However, once I joined the rest of the group and we had experienced our first overnight train journey, I realised what fun it was going to be. As we boarded the night train to Chiang Mai in Bangkok we bought a couple of beers and ordered an amazingly tasty three course meal from the carriage attendant (which only cost about £3!). By the time we came to settle down to sleep behind our privacy curtains we had spent enough time chatting across the corridor to get to know each other pretty well. The camaraderie continued on arrival in Chiang Mai when we all piled into a songthaew (a pick-up with boarded seats in the back) and travelled to our lovely hotel.
Our adventure in this part of Thailand included a trek through beautiful scenery to a hill village where we were welcomed by the children singing songs. That evening around a campfire we all joined in a singing game - by being in an entirely different environment we felt a freedom and sense of wonder at being part of something so alien to our everyday life. The next morning we left the village on elephants and continued our journey back to Chiang Mai with an hilarious trip on a bamboo raft.
By this time the group had well and truly bonded so our second overnight train back to Bangkok was something to which we were all accustomed. We even named the 'hole in the floor' toilets 'crouching tigers'!! The next site to visit was Kanchanaburi and the emotive River Kwai where we were all sobered by the well presented museum and a reflective visit to the cemetery. Then we headed south to end the trip on the beaches of one of Thailand’s gorgeous tropical islands.
Although this was an adventure holiday, the youthful spirit of the group carried us through the occasional discomfort or personal inconvenience. There was nothing too difficult to overcome - the trip and country notes gave me a good idea of what to expect and how to get around, and the tour leader was able to answer all questions from how much money we would need to how to get back from the island to Bangkok at the end. When one of the group lost his passport the tour leader provided the support necessary to get this sorted and our new friend continued to enjoy the holiday knowing his passport would be waiting for him back in Bangkok at the end of the tour.
Small group adventure travel trepidation? Not for me any longer. I had a brilliant time!”
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