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Family Saigon to Bangkok Explorer FQBK

Trip Duration 14 Days
 

Reviews for Family Saigon to Bangkok Explorer

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Family Saigon to Bangkok Explorer reviews verified by reevooReevoo

25 reviews

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Family Saigon to Bangkok ExplorerScores 9.1 out of 10 based on 25 reviews
(9 out of 10)

Emma

Royal Wootton Bassett
Our 2nd Explore Tour, and it was just as good as the first.

The itinerary is full on - not a surprise with the distance you are travelling & countries you are covering. This means lots of early starts, but it each of them was completely worth it.

Highlights of our trip were:
- Ta Phrom, Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom
- Killing Fields & S21 (this is an extra trip & shouldn't be in my opinion)
- Cookery lesson in Cambodia
- Cyclo ride in Ho Chi Minh
- The ride up the mountain top (extra trip)
- Cu Chi Tunnles
- The boat trip between Vietnam & Cambodia
- Temple in the cave at Pranburi (extra trip & need to be physically fit)

There are LOTS of extras, are all worth doing, so make sure you budget for them. Take the advice of the guide to do the Angkor & surrounding temples on one day (cheaper & free's up the next day).

The Pranburi part of the trip felt like a bolt-on. Out of season, jelly fish at high risk & not much going on (though it was the best pool of the trip!). I would have preferred to have this time in/around Bangkok - maybe exploring Elephants World, River Kwai & War Memorials etc

We were very lucky with the weather. There was some rain, but only whilst we were indoors & travelling, and each of these was short lived. The humidity was high, but the guide worked as much of the planned activities around avoiding the high heat as he could.

Tour guide Doan was amazing. He worked with the group really well. Provided a good balance between those on a budget & the extra tours on offer. Had good recommendations for restaurants, things to do etc. Always willing to help & the kids loved him.

Accommodation was okay. Mixed standards across the different locations & countries you stayed in, but served the purpose. If you don't go in expecting 5 star, you will be fine. Breakfast choice at most hotels was good. Pools, where available, were great.
Confirmed traveller: 22 August 2017
Published on: 30 August 2017
(10 out of 10)

Maria

Woburn Sands
This has been the best holiday ever, would definitely recommend this holiday.
The variety of activities was just right. The pace perfect and the guide outstanding..
Confirmed traveller: 13 August 2017
Published on: 17 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

Andrew

Oxford
An action packed holiday that picks out the highlights of the countries visited. Be prepared for early starts and long days. That's not a criticism - you should expect this before booking as it's the only way to see what is on offer.
There are plenty of highlights - visiting Ho Chi Minh city, cycling along the Mekong Delta and visiting the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam (be aware if you're American!). The whole of Cambodia is extraordinary (temples, massages, eating fried insects and of course The Killing Fields) and proved to be our favourite country of the three. Finally a brief visit to Bangkok and a Thai beach to relax a little.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this trip to anyone but for Explore I would offer the following feedback -
1. In Cambodia, the visit to building S21 and The Killing Fields will be an excursion that almost everyone will want to undertake and should therefore form part of the trip as opposed to the traditional dance evening with buffet which was less than inspirational overall.
2. The journey to Bangkok from Siem Reap is by bus and takes at least 8 hours. Others have commented on this several times suggesting a flight (there are plenty) may be more suitable. I've yet to see any explanation from Explore as to why this is not feasible. We were lucky with a quick border crossing from Cambodia to Thailand but in peak season this will take several hours on top of the 8 hour bus trip - it won't be pleasant.
3. The Thai beach excursion is definitely a 'bolt on' element to try and add some relaxation at the end of the trip. We visited out of season and there really isn't a great deal to do in Pranburi. The sea, whilst warm, is far from clear and not suitable for swimming due to the jellyfish there. May be different in high season I guess.
4. Accommodation - apart from a night in Can Tho and one in Bangkok, it is not luxurious. I would describe it as adequate. We have stayed in better on similar trips to similar countries with other travel companies.

Overall - go for it - you will feel exhilarated and exhausted by the end having really enjoyed the south of Vietnam and Cambodia. What an experience with other like minded and friendly families!
Confirmed traveller: 06 August 2017
Published on: 11 August 2017
(10 out of 10)

Rhys

Overall, very well organised and very well led by the tour leader, Hoan; he took all the stress out of the trip & always had some good options for our free time and he made all the arrangements for those options.

Everything was pretty much a highlight but particular standouts were the cyclo ride through the manic Saigon streets, the Cu Chi tunnels, cycling in the Mekong, Angkor Wat and the Thai resort at the end of a tiring 10 ten days.

We would recommend firstly the optional trips we did to S21 & the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh & the land mine museum in Siem Reap and secondly arriving in Saigon early enough to have time to visit the War Remnants museum.

The trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok was a long day and you do have to carry your bags quite a distance over the border crossing but the border crossing was a lot quicker than previous tours.

The group we travelled with were all good fun helped I think by the kids all being close in age (from 12-17)

The only disappointing activity was the buffet dinner/Cambodian dancing in Siem Reap; it was like eating in an air conditioned motorway service station. Ironically, the actual Cambodian service station we stopped at was very picturesque with good food.
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2017
Published on: 10 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

David

Kilmacolm
Overall the trip was fantastic with Haon as a great and fun tour leader. We had a big group of 20 people which he ran with skill and everyone got on well. The balance between activity was good especially with the relaxing days at the end.
Saigon and the Mekong delta were fun and very active with the tuk tuk ride and the cycle ride the highlights.
Angkor was again very spectular and the way and order the sight seeing was organised was great.
The only poor moment was the dance show in Siem Reap. The hall is vast (not the small show we saw on a previous trip) the food was cold and the beer was warm. I complained to the staff but was told that was it!! The dancers look throughly bored. I would strongly recommend to Explore that they do not use this show even as an option!!! It is just not Explore it is much more TUI!!!! If you can't find a small local show then just don't do it.
I would recommend this trip and our tour leader to all families.
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2017
Published on: 09 August 2017
(10 out of 10)

Helen

storrington
Wonderful tour with good pace and fantastic tour leader.Memories to last a lifetime. From grandparents to kids fulfilled a great holiday for everyone.
Highlights:
Seim reap- our tour guide arranged Tuk Tuks to see all the temples in one day incluing Ta Phrom, for the kids this was a much better plan than splitting over 2 days, it was cheaper and allowed a free day shopping at the markets and relaxing at the pool.
Visiting the school
Insect market
Would suggest avoiding/removing the dance show-it was very commercial, the food was poor.
Would definitely recommend both the trip and Hoan the tour leader
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2017
Published on: 09 August 2017
(8 out of 10)

KIRIT

London
In the main a great trip, made so by Binh our tour guide and also (luckily) ending up with a group of families where adults and children got on and enjoyed each other’s’ company. Binh was great at lightening the mood and his “tour guiding” was informative and entertaining. Nothing was too much trouble.

You will read some very articulate reviews about the experiences, so I will just list the items here and say that I concur with the positive feedback: tuktuks, bicycles, rickshaws, speedboats, the cycles in Saigon, Cu Chi tunnels / War Museum, street food, 5 star hotels, swimming pools, crocodile farms, the night markets, the Killing Fields, meeting the kids at the free school, river boats on the Mekong delta, the small villages, traditional way of life, learnt to cook Khmer curry, rice paper being made, insect snack food, floating markets, the many, many temples as well as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, the congestion in Bangkok, Thai beaches, etc.

It is always a compromise to take in 3 countries in a fortnight. You get a small flavour of each and not really get to know any very well. For example, I would have loved to have gone to the North of Vietnam and Ha Long Bay etc., and also to see more of Thailand.
Overall I saw enough of each country to enjoy the trip and my wife and son also had a good time.

The not so good bits:

The journey from Cambodia to Thailand: This was awful and takes a long time. It has been mentioned by other reviewers and I do so again in the hope that Explore might take notice. A toilet stop at toilets that don’t work is pointless. The border crossing is a long horrible, hot, humid experience – leaving Cambodia and entering Thailand is hard work. Explore intimated that this was to save money. Other reviewers have stated that an internal flight (Siem Reap to Bangkok) is not that expensive and would give more time to explore Bangkok.

Cambodia (1): we were met off the power boat in Phnom Penh by 2 Explore reps. Other than get us on the bus and to the hotel – they did nothing else of note. Binh did all the work. A potential cost saving by having just one?

Cambodia (2) like other reviewers I think time is at a premium when we arrive in Cambodia and it is allocated as free time. Given that the Killing Fields is a place that pretty much everyone wants to visit – it would be much easier if this was included or organised.

This may be uncomfortable reading but none of us on the trip were impressed with the Explore rep in Thailand (Tui). She spend those last few days travelling with us. But aside from commentary around the Grand Palace, she did very little in the way of being a tour guide or interacting with us. We did not see her at the beach resort at all. All I can recall her doing is to offer an over-priced trip that some families organised for themselves at a much cheaper price. It did stick in the throat that some of our tip money went to her because it was expected. So if they don’t do anything could Explore use some of that money towards an internal flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok?....

Thailand: Choice of beach resort – although very nice, aren’t there more interesting places to visit, to get a flavour of Thailand – and also somewhere that is easier / quicker to get to and from Bangkok?

The buffet / traditional dancing evening was average I think. Very touristy and a bit of lazy planning. I think this slot needs to be rethought.
Confirmed traveller: 16 April 2017
Published on: 09 June 2017
(8 out of 10)

Andrew

Wakefield
The tour was a great mix of culture and activity. Our tour guide Binh was great. He made every effort to keep everyone happy and meet our needs and his stories around Vietnamese culture were great.

On the downside some of the bus trips were too long and would have been much better served with an internal flight (Siem Reap to Bangkok for example). Time in Bangkok was too limited and thus a flight may have enabled a more fulfilling visit.

There were two half days where we had optional visits but everyone on the Group wanted to do the same thing which makes me wonder whether these should be included as standard - one was the Killing Fields memorial in Phnom Penh the other was the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

This is a personal point but we found the hotels too similar. I like to feel like I've experienced more of a local culture so a mix of alternative accommodation / guest houses / homestays etc would be more up our street. We are experienced travelers and the families option is the main attraction for us so that our only child has other children to play with. The trip ticked all the boxes on that front as all the children got on well and ate together every night and played together at every opportunity.
Confirmed traveller: 15 April 2017
Published on: 22 April 2017
(8 out of 10)

Simon

Eyemouth
We are a family of 5 - 3 children aged 17, 14 and 12. We had never visited Asia before and this holiday provided the opportunity to experience some wonderful sights. We particularly enjoyed our time in Vietnam visiting the Chu Chi Tunnels and also the cycling along the Mekong Delta seeing traditional crafts in operation. The Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia were stunning and well worth a visit and the Killing Fields was both emotional and moving. The children really enjoyed going to the primary school in Cambodia and playing football with the children and also the cooking experience.
We found the holiday quite tiring with the fairly packed itinerary and also found there was a lot of travel involved between the 3 countries. We would say that the trip, whilst being aimed at families, is probably better suited to families with older children in view of the amount of travel.
Confirmed traveller: 27 August 2016
Published on: 17 September 2016
(9 out of 10)

Sharon

Ascot
I would say this tour is an excellent way to visit Vietnam and Cambodia as a complete novice to this part of the world.

The itinerary is varied and includes activities that as independent travellers you wouldn't think of doing - such as the combined boat and cycling trip around the island. We loved the cyclo ride around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City too and felt surprisingly very safe. The visit to the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam was interesting. The Prison Museum and The Killing Fields of Cambodia were harrowing but we all agreed was important to see and understand more about what happened. Tarantulas, silkworms and crickets were on the menu so of course we had to try - delicious!! Cannot recommend the buffet/traditional dancing evening- the food ran out shortly after we'd ordered our drinks and what we had was cold.

The temples in Siem Reap were fabulous.

We felt the rest day after visiting the temples would have been better spent in Thailand as would the full day of travelling from Siem Reap to Bangkok. The two and a half hour queue in passport control was unpleasant! Flying into Bangkok would have been much quicker and by all accounts not expensive.

We would have enjoyed a little longer in Bangkok but the rest and relaxation at the beach hotel in Thailand was thoroughly enjoyed and a lovely way to end the holiday. We enjoyed jumping on the hotel bikes and exploring along the beach and stopping off at restaurants for lunch, dinner and massage!
Confirmed traveller: 06 August 2016
Published on: 03 October 2016