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Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

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oahu, hawaii
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Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

Hi all,

My husband and I are beginning to plan a trip to Thailand next January/February. We originally got excited for this trip when we stumbled upon REI's Thailand multisport tour, but we think it is a little pricey and would like to travel more on a budget. We are looking into combing the g adventure hill trek in chiang mai with intrepid's active chiang mai.... I would love to get any thoughts on these tours (I can't seem to find any reviews) or suggestions for other tours you have taken and enjoyed. We are usually not "tour" people, but because we have never been to Thailand and we want to do a lot of things we figured it may be the way to go. We are very active people and there fore want a high energy tour... But we aren't in college anymore and still like to enjoy the finer things in life... (I know the hill trek has very basic accomadations). We are also planning on also going to Angkor wat and the Andaman sea... But are going to do our own thing while there. Thank you for any thoughts/suggestions!!!

Queenstown, New...
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1. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

Chiang mai is super easy to do it yourself, you dont NEED to book a tour. There are plenty of guesthouses that are cheap, run by great people, and are places to meet other travelers who are happy to give advice. I can recommend Diva, but its only one of many.

Regarding a hilltribe trek, you can easily find and book around chiang mai. The villages have a constant stream of tourists, so are becoming more western?... id strongly recommend Pooh Eco Trekking. I recently did a 2 night trek. Small group (6 pax), you trek to tradtional villages, relatively unspoilt by tourists. We were lucky enough to show up the first night of a wedding and were welcomed into the village and festivities. No electricity, basic accom, tough trekking, awesome experience.

I noticed that intrepid also has a short break with a day at elephant nature park. I highly recommend a day at enp, you can easily book independantly. Booking directly you dont pay commisions etc to 3rd parties. ENP is a sanctuary old old, abuse, maimed elephants. The founder is working hard to reeducate mahouts, thai people and tourists alike in the elephants plight.

For other adventure activities, consider flight of the gibbon. Their main sales office in chiang mai also sells other great eco-friendly adventures, that are well-vetted for safety etc.

Good luck planning, and enjoy!

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

Hi thriftingspaz, We met an Intrepid group staying at our hotel in Luang Prabang and they spoke very highly of Intrepid Tours. I get the impression they are a good company for non-toury people (like you).

For trekking, if you have time, you might find some more 'off the beaten track' activity up around Soppong or Mae Hong Son. The Soppong River Inn organises treks and they are great. We did a one day trek that was a lot of up hill strenuous walking (and somehow survived!), but I think they also run treks of more than one day. There are also the Than Lot caves that you can explore from Soppong. The Cave Lodge Guest House is reportedly very good as a base for caves and trekking too. If you go a bit further to Mae Hong Son, the tour guide La Tongkham is a great guy, and he runs multi-day treks staying at villages. We did a one day tour to Mae Aw with him and couldn't recommend him highly enough. These places are within a few hours drive (Soppong) or half an hour in a plane from Chiang Mai.

3. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

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4. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

DO NOT TRAVEL WITH REI. I received a "travel confirmation" from them the day after I booked. And then 60 days before, they asked me to pay in full. Then 40 days before they emailed me to tell me the trip was cancelled! I of course had booked plane tickets and everything already because the time was so close. At no time between when I received the initial travel confirmation and and the notification to cancel did they inform me that there may be insufficient people for the trip. When I talked to them they told me that the initial "travel confirmation" was just a confirmation of booking, which was not the same thing. I'm mainly upset at the timing - 40 days is too short of a time period for me to get something else exactly the same, especially since the trip starts and ends at locations off the beaten path, so I ended up having to pay heavy airline fines in order to get everything in order. And they DO NOT offer any help or compensation for the losses (they only refund the price of the trip).

Florida - Alaska...
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for Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Outdoors / Adventure Travel
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5. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

You have the risk of cancellations due to insufficient numbers with ANY tour operator. Each company has a different policy as to how far in advance they make the go / no go decision, and that is something you should have found out from the company before booking your flights.

And the potential for such cancellations is a strong reason to have trip cancellation insurance as it covers non-refundable fees if the company cancels. You will find very few tour companies that will cover your out of pocket expenses if they cancel due to insufficient numbers.

Is 40 days sufficient notice? No matter how you approach it, for everyone like yourself who wants lots of advance notice, there will be people wanting the tour operator to wait to the last minute in hopes of more bookings because they really want to do the trip.

6. Re: Intrepid, g adventures, or REI

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