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Tour Companies for Thailand and Vietnam

Can anyone recommend one they have used? Looking for small group travel.

Posted by
531 posts

I just finished an excellent tour of Vietnam with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). It started in Hanoi and went south to a variety of destinations, ending in Ho Chi Minh City. From there you can take an extension to Cambodia. They also have a tour of SE Asia that includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (only Ho Chi Minh City is included). I believe they have a new tour of only Thailand. Their groups are limited to 16.

Posted by
246 posts

Intrepid Travel is from Australia and specializes in SE Asia. We did a tour with them of China and were the only American couple. I've only had one tour with them and one tour with RS, but both were very comparable. They use smaller buses and usually have a max of around 14, though we used a lot of public transportation in China. Our tour leader explained how to use public transportation to get around on our free time.

Posted by
15686 posts

I agree with dinho. If you travel independently in Europe, you can do it in Thailand and Vietnam. I went solo to Thailand twice and once to Vietnam. On my first visit to Thailand I had a private guide/car for 4 nights in Chiang Rai, then on my own in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. In Vietnam it was easy to book a small group tour from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay for 2 nights. In Saigon I took a couple small group day tours. Distances are great in both countries, it's cheap and easy to fly between them.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you for your replies. We have gotten 4 quotes so far for November 2024. All companies are around $7800 to $8000 USD for 16 nights. That includes domestic flights, hotels, breakfasts, some lunch and dinner, tours, transfers and entrances fees. It is all private except joining two tours in Thailand. We keep reading how inexpensive it is to travel there and are skeptical. I have planned several self touring trips in Europe and Ireland and didn't spend close to that amount. Maybe I will try pricing on my own and see the difference.

Posted by
2524 posts

The quotes seem high to me, but if it's 100% private then perhaps that's the going rate. By way of comparison I took a 17 day Gate1 tour of Bangkok, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It wasn't small group specifically but the first two legs had small numbers. Current prices for that itinerary are in the $4000pp range including flights from US. https://www.gate1travel.com/asia-pacific/southeast-asia/2023-24/vietnam-escorted/southeast-asia-escorted-17dbkkkhvn24.aspx?Brand=GATE1

Posted by
1 posts

Our family of 8 adults just finished a 10-day tour in Vietnam including Hanoi, Mai Chau, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, and Halong Bay. Asia Tours arranged our tour and we had a fantastic trip!
Our contact at Asia Tours was Ms. Lacey. She was extremely responsive by email while we were planning the trip. Once we were in VN, we could reach her anytime we needed via WeChat. She even met us at our hotel in Hanoi with gifts when we arrived.All the hotels had great locations right in the center of everything - Tirant Hotel in Old Quarter, Mai Chau Ecolodge, Vinh Hung Riverside Resort in Hoi An, Liberty Central Riverside in HCM City. We did not like the Romance Hotel in Hue but that was only 1 night. The airport pick-ups were always on time. Our tour guides in Hanoi, Hue, and HCM city were all very knowledgeable and spoke very good English. We needed to make a few last-minute changes (adding hotel rooms, extra transportation, changing day-trip in HCM) and Ms. Lacey was very helpful and accommodating throughout.
Best of all was the extremely reasonable cost for our tour. We chose the 4-star level hotels and a luxury Halong cruise (Paradise cruise), all accommodations were high standard, very clean and comfortable.
We found Asia Tours on the internet and we did not know what to expect but they turned out to be completely trustworthy and the customer service was amazing. We will use Asia Tours again when we return to Vietnam or the Southeast Asia region in the future. Do not hesitate to contact them and see what they can offer you for your visit to Asia. You can visit https://www.asiatours.com for more information.

Posted by
9436 posts

My sister just got back from Vietnam with Road Scholar, she loved it. My sister is a world traveler, and has lived all over the world. She and a friend did part of Vietnam on their own and loved it but were very happy to join the Road Scholar Tour after the first week on their own.

My son did Thailand on his own, super easy.

Posted by
15686 posts

If you've traveled on your own in Europe, you can do it in Thailand and Vietnam as easily and cheaper. I've always booked hotels using major booking sites, like booking.com, hotels.com and agoda.com. Ground transportation is terrible, but flying from city to city is easy and not expensive. You can book local small group tours once you're on the ground, from half-day to multiday and they'll be much cheaper than anything you book ahead of time.

Posted by
320 posts

Intrepid, G Adventures, Exodus and Explore Worldwide all offer small group trips and different travel styles at different price points.

I have used them all and they are all great.

Posted by
2507 posts

Odysseys Unlimited also has small group tours in Asia. They are an excellent company. We have traveled with them multiple times.

Posted by
15686 posts

Just to give you an idea:

For my 2018 trip, I spent under $2000 for 27 nights, Hong Kong, Macau, Hanoi, Saigon, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. I booked a 2-night tour to Halong Bay while I was in Hanoi. It was marvelous (except for the ride there and back on Vietnamese roads - can't be helped). It cost $200 for 1 person, half-board - both cabin in boat and on island were very comfortable doubles.

The hotels were all 2-4 star, with modern bathrooms, most included breakfast, were clean, comfortable and fully air-conditioned. All staff spoke good English and were knowledgeable and helpful.

I'm sure prices have gone up since then, but still . . .

Posted by
4598 posts

I was in SEAsia this winter. I initially researched through TourRadar, which is sort of the Expedia for tours. You can book through TourRadar for a few perks, or an extra advocate, or book directly with the tour companies. Though I generally use the companies, both of there were new to me so I booked through TourRadar. All communication funnels through their messaging system which comes in handly if you need their support. Their tour operator lists are more often incountry agents or global companies like Intrepid or GAdventures. If you want American-centric companies, you won't find them there.
I used 2 different companies. Culture Trip for Thailand and Laos (more 4 star hotels, escorted small group...15 in total), and Legend Travel Group for Cambodia and Vietnam. This is a different set up and not escorted. It is guided, and runs every day of the week. This means often a private trip, or the occasional blending with other tourists on a given day for sightseeing depending on the city. It also means that you transport between cities on your own...they get you tickets and driver to and from airports or busses, but you are on your own in-between. Hotels are 3* or you can upgrade one or 2 further levels up. 3* had AC, were clean and functioning elevators, but some were in need of reassessment as a tourist hotel. All had multiple eating choices nearby and had buffet breakfasts included.
Legend Travel Group is pretty big business in Vietnam and a local company. They run tours of all different lengths. I was initially surprised it wasn't an escorted trip, but once I got past that, I quite liked. As I usually do my trips solo, I appreciated the often private guide and driver, and we could get through the planned sightseeing before the days weren't at their hottest peak. There was still time to do other things on my own. They also often run sales.
Tourist pricing in SEAsia have gone up post covid. You can certainly do the trip yourself. Easier from the ground where your hotel or the local travel agent down the block can arrange your transport or sightseeing for the next few days.
Not sure when you wanted to travel, but do consider dates for Lunar New Year, if thinking 2025. It does impact museums and restaurants, as well as packed planes and airports.