Vietnam Great - not so, Laos
The hotels were great and the tour guide (Loi) was a well educated man with an encyclopaedic knowledge. He was humorous and cared for everyone in the group. We cannot recommend him highly enough. Obviously there was always going to be a degree of bias in regards to the benefits of communism and Ho Chi Min, but we were very well informed and there was enough for time for us to do all the important things like shopping or personal sight seeing! The boat on Halong bay was basic and looked in a very poor state of repair - we had been advised to br...ing soft bags for this trip and others just bought normal suitcases - they were the smart ones! The subsequent tour to Laos was entirely different though not in a good way; the hotels (guesthouse) were very basic - no pool, the tour guide (Tong) was very loose, poor knowledge / communication skills and there was way too much time on our hands in a country with little to do wander around and look at more temples! Overall, we didn't enjoy the experience and wouldn't travel with this company again, despite the best efforts of Loi, who often went the extra yard to meet our various requirements. Not value for money...
Poor itinerary and time management at our expense.
3. Insider journey booking number IN/940786
Flight Centre highly recommended and organized this Insider Journeys provided by Freedom Road Travel tour of Suzhou gardens, Wuzhen and Hangzhou 5 days/ 4 nights.
2 nights in Suzhou were in a (NO Star ) Chinese hotel with no air conditioning and no continental breakfast ( only chinese breakfast made us unwell the first morning.) This was a breach of contract as our itinerary stated that we would be in a 3 or 4 star accommodation.
We complained about the accommodation and breakfast and where taken to a Starbucks and had breakfast at our expense.
...2nd day The day started with a pick up at 9.30am and return to Hotel at 2.30 pm end of tour for that day. When asked why the tour was short, our guide blamed Flight Centre for organizing the tour itinerary. I said that you are on the ground here and we do not know if a park/garden takes 30minutes or half a day to see. The guide did not have an answer and basically we felt we spent 2 days in Suzhou, when all could have been seen in 1 day. This was poor itinerary and time management at our expense. On the 3rd day we were picked up from our hotel at 9am after no sleep from room being hot and humid with no air conditioning. I blasted our guide for the poor accommodation and breakfast and he said his office had not returned his calls from the previous day. We had 2.5 hour drive to our next Wuzhen Water Town attraction which was spectacular but because we left the hotel late at 9am and after having breakfast at Starbucks at our expense, we got caught in a china traffic jam. The 3 to 4 hours that we were to have at Wuzhen Water Town was cut to under 2 hours. We still wanted to walk the shop side of the channel and take in all of what it had to offer, but we ran out of time, again due to poor time management from the guide. We could have easily left our hotel at 8am that day. Day 5. On the last day our guide wanted to leave Hangzhou at 9am to travel the 3 hours back to Shanghai to end the tour. We went AWOL and texted our guide that we would be ready for pickup at 11.30am as we wanted to walk and catch a buggy that travelled around the West Lakes at Hangzhou which time did not permit the previous day. During our journey back to Shanghai in the afternoon we found out that the guide had to pick up another tour group from the Airport at 2.30pm and wanted to cut our tour short. Our itinerary stated end of tour at 4.30pm at our hotel in Shanghai. Concluding comments. We are busy people and wanted a so called professional team (Flight Centre) to organize our China trip. The result was a combination of errors and passing the blame onto others with us coming home disappointed that we did not receive what we paid for and we were put into stressful and unnecessary situations on our so called holiday!. We have given a written review of the tour Suzhou Gardens, Wuzhen and Hangzhou 5 days/ 4 nights tour to our guide which he was to hand to Freedom Road Travel office.. We pointed out the poor time management, food (breakfast) and below par accommodation and stated point blank that we would never tour with them again. Our tour ended 3 weeks ago and we have not heard from Insider Journeys or Freedom Road Travel or Flight Centre – except an email to ask if we had kept our train tickets and would give a refund difference between a non window and window seat which angered us even further as no amount of refund will make up for a 1900 klm train trip with no window. Insider Journey/Freedom Road Travel attention to detail and customer care is non-existent. They can’t even provide 3 or 4 star accommodation as stated in their brochure and Flight Centre are also partly to blame as they associate themselves with these cowboy tour operators and recommend them to trusting customers. We have travelled to China before with Intrepid which was brilliant so we know what a well organised tour can be which makes this Private Tour really disappointing and a total rip off. With this being the second holiday booked through flight Centre after the Bali Trip last year and spending around $8500.00 on this China Escape, we thought your team would have looked after us during our travels, but this did not happen.
We booked a private tour for 3 people through our travel agent and she used Insider Journeys as the provider in Vietnam. We had 20 days all up in Vietnam and found Insider Journeys guides and drivers to be excellent. We were always picked up on time from our hotels or airports. The guides were very knowledgeable and their English was very good. All our hotels were excellent, the only change we would probably have made was to fly from Ho Chi Min City to Dalat, rather than going by road. I would highly recommend them for private tours.
Great tour of north and central Vietnam
We have just returned from a 16 day tour with a few days in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Hue and Hoi An with Insider Journeys which was organised through our local travel agent.
Overall the tour was extremely well organised and the places were all booked and local tour guides were outstanding. Hotel staff at Hanoi hotel were the pick of all our hotel staff with Hue Saigon Morin Hotel the slackest and least helpful.
Insider Journeys guides were both fantastic with intimate local knowledge and plenty of history lessons for both of us. Tam our Sapa guide was especially helpful and patience in his delivery of local people’s and their customs.
More to come when I get to the laptop soon,
Cambodia to Vietnam Amazing
Who's what can we say, from start to finish we had the best of the best with all our tour guides. Just loved every moment. Thank you Nancy you are worth more than you think. My husband and I will never forget our 25th Anniversary spent with insider journeys. We are now looking at doing Japan.
Very disappointed. Did not deliver on advertised highlights.
Vietnam and Cambodia in April this year. Was looking forward to a lovely cruise along the Mekong in the boat advertised and I had paid for an upgrade to a delux suite. One week before departure (too late to change) was told that boat had been overbooked and we where on another. The boats rooms were tiny and extremely cramped, our meals where outdoors with all the subsequent insect life and it was definitely not the luxury cruise as advertised. Also advertised seeing Ankor Wat at sunrise. Instead of getting our tickets the day before, we had to ...line up at 5am, then there was a problem getting the tickets and we arrived 30 mins after sunrise. Very poor organisation. Our hotels we below standard, I unfortunately had several lots of bedding with holes and stains on them. Not 4 or 5 star, more like 2.
We saw advertisement in the Sunday Telegraph in November 2017 for a personal tour of Sri Lanka. Included were TWO safari trips in Yala National Park. We made a booking. Each time we received an email with the itinerary it showed TWO safari trips until the final one which showed only ONE in the itinerary but TWO in the inclusions. We did not pick up this change until we arrived in Sri Lanka. When we questioned it we were told " TWO was a printing error" . When questioning the matter back in Australia the answer was " a mistake of our product team" . Since the trip was well documented several times in a national newspaper, we feel it should be classified as FALSE ADVERTISING.
We did 14 days in Vietnam & Cambodia from our pick up from the airport to the finish of our tour it was exceptional. Our tour guide was Dara and nothing was a bother to her she made everything go smoothly and was always interesting and informative. Hotels were always 4 star as well as the meals. I would definitely be traveling with them again.
Tailor Made itinerary - China Highlights
We booked through our local Helloworld agent & spent 15 days in China starting in Shanghai then across to Xi'an & on to Beijing. The accommodation was very good especially The Westin Bund Center Shanghai. Our best guide was in Xi'an. We wished we had an extra day there it is an incredible place. There were some issues with our passport numbers being incorrectly listed with the central travel bureau at the airports & train stations but eventually that got sorted. Getting through the airport at Beijing was stressful because it took us over an hou...r of queuing, then we had to catch a train, then walk for ages then catch a bus to another terminal several klms away. I think that could be better organised or at least the guide should have warned us.
Efficient and personal service
From pick up in Chiang Mai Thailand to drop off at the Siem Reap airport everything went according to plan due to the efficient service of Insider Journeys. We covered Northern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia over a period of 25 days and booked our trip through Peregrine in Perth WA. We travelled with another couple and we were given personal service by Insider Journeys.
They appear to be a very well run and efficient organisation and the quality of the guides was quite outstanding. We learnt very quickly that we could rely on both our guides and drivers making travel in these countries a pleasure and very relaxing.
I would thoroughly recommend Insider Journeys to anyone wanting to travel in Asia.
This is my second small group tour with Insider Journeys and from the moment of enquiry with Tina to the completion of the tour with Tour Leader Krista, my journey via planes, trains, jeeps, tuk tuks, cycle rickshaws, boats and mini bus was effortless and a joy. The tour commenced in Delhi where I met my six fellow travellers and ended in Udaipur. There were so many highlights, e.g. spending time on safari observing two Bengal tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park, witnessing fascinating Varanasi ceremonies and cremations from a long boat in th...e Ganges, chuckling at the ornate carvings of the Kama Sutra in Khajuraho, assisting with bread making in a Sikh Temple community kitchen, meeting extremely friendly and welcoming local people whilst walking through rural villages, experiencing a stunning sunset from a boat on Lake Pichola before dinner at a lakeside restaurant with the illuminated City Palace as a backdrop and much more. I have travelled extensively and did not expect India to have the profound effect on me that it did. Yes, there is terrible poverty, bumpy roads and garbage in abundance but the people of India were exceptionally welcoming and have secured a place in my heart forever. I am exceedingly impressed that Insider Journeys is not involved in the use of animals to entertain tourists and that they use local guides as well as excellent tour leaders. Krista was outstanding in her professionalism and caring attitude.
Cambodia and Vietnam Explored
14 days travelling with our superb tour guide, Ian Richards. Ian's extensive knowledge and passion about this country were conveyed to our group in a friendly and informative manner. We couldn't speak high enough of Ian's professionalism. Great accommodation, enthusiastic local guides and many new friendships made. We highly recommend this tour.
Sandra-Newcastle NSW “Cambodia Revealed” – Small Group Journey: November 16, 2016 to November 26,
Feedback – Specific
Part A: November 16 to November 22.
On November 16, upon arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, my husband and I were very
courteously and efficiently met and transferred to our accommodation.
In the evening we met with our tour guide, Mr Sovannara (Nara), who explained he would
guide us through to November 22.
This Part A of our journey proved to be very disappointing as it became very clear that,
although Nara had an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of Cambodian history he lacked the
ability to successfully interface and accommodate the needs of visitors foreign to his country.
It would also become obvious to us that he was not confident, and lacked familiarity, once ...
- Verified customer
Booked with Insider Journeys last year and had a very good overall experience. Thus, I decided to book with them again and although overall, the tour was still quite good, there were enough problems and issues that I most likely will not book with them again.
Basically, this year I decided to link two separate tours together, The first was "A taste of Thailand" followed by (beginning the next day) the "Sapa Explorer". This was easy enough to do as after the Thailand tour was over I had a very short flight back to Bangkok and then from there..., another short flight from Bangkok to Hanoi. However, as I said there were quite a few issues / problems this year as follows: First, I contacted Insider Journeys about a month before I was scheduled to leave to inquire about when the final documents would be sent to me. They answered my question but then informed me that on the Sapa portion of the trip I was the only person signed up and therefore if I wanted the "same" touring, I could have it, but would need to pay an extra $400. Or, the other option was to have them adjust the itinerary slightly for the same price I originally paid. Though the fine print does say they need at least two to guarantee a departure, it does not say that if they do offer the trip to a party of one, that you need to pay more. It's not my fault only one person booked, why should I pay an extra 400.00? Therefore, I decided on the adjusted itinerary. Problem number two: The adjusted itinerary was changed so that instead of visiting the Ethnology museum in Hanoi as per the brochure, I instead was taken on a one day city tour. I was not asked if this is was what I wanted and the problem was, I had seen almost all the sights on this tour last year when I visited Vietnam the first time. So there was quite a bit of duplication. It was interesting enough and I didn't mind it but I would have preferred something different. Basically, I should have been asked. The Ethnology museum is closed on Mondays (the day of my tour) but something else could have been substituted. Problem number 3:
- Verified customer
Cambodia - wonderful unknown treasure
Insider Journeys has opened a new world of Travel for us Mr Bun our guide and Chai our driver have taken us to some of the most exciting and ancient temples in the world. Our guide taught us about a beautiful treasure within this amazing place - 3 temples all wonderfully shown , and a lake and boat journey to come. 3 days is not enough .. We will come back and use them once again . They have taken care of transfers , accommodation and shown us this beautiful part of the world.
- Verified customer
Ten Insider Journeys tours (nee Travel Indochina) done in five years!!!
I have done ten small group tours with this company over the last five years, with group sizes ranging from 17 at the largest (Japan) to just me on one of them (India). Travelling can throw up all sorts of problems and situations but I must say I found all the trips to be well run and fantastic experiences. I have read the other reviews on this website and only once encountered a local guide who was out to make a fast buck. I didn't complain but in retrospect I should have got straight on the phone to Head Office - lesson learned! Once in ten t...rips and numerous guides is a pretty good hit rate! In any case, you have to keep your wits about you when immersed in the local tourist nomenclature - find out what a reasonable tip is, pre-agree tuk-tuk costs, avoid 'only available now' tours you don't want at that moment (they're always available), and haggle prices charged. I booked all trips online with the IJ office in Oxford, UK and have dealt with the same people there for all the trips. (India x3, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos). I can strongly recommend this company - it has been around for quite a while and is well established in each of the destinations I visited. Bon voyage! :)
Great Holiday.Ref 242181
Wife and I have spent 14 days in Vietnam, Hanoi, halong Bay ,Hue , hoi an and Saigon we had a fabulous time good hotels great food and our guides made it a holiday to remember cannot say enough good things about the trip would definitely recommend Insider Journeys.
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Questions & Answers
Hi Off to china for 3 weeks with you guys. in your paperwork you have not given any information on accessing the internet while there. What would you recommend for accessing emails and social media while there?
Hello I am planning on using Insider Journeys for China 14 days. Are they a good company??
John and I found them excellent! They look after everything - 15 days through Vietnam and Cambodia and they have been wonderful . We have learnt so much about these beautiful places - with personal drivers and personal tour guides. We will use them again
I've done ten tours with Insider Journeys (nee Travel Indochina) and all were first class. All transfers to and from the airport went to plan, the guides were reliable, and all the destinations were visited as per the itinerary; I have every intention of travelling with them again. The Chinese trip I did was fantastic - I'm sure you will enjoy going there too!!!
Hi, we are traveling to Japan and using insider journeys when we arrive as our travel company. Does anyone have any feedback on this experiences with this company in Japan?
Don't use Insider Journey. You will have too much free time. I just did 16 days of Vietnam with Insider Journey. For the amount I paid $3220, I did not get my money's worth. You will be better of organizing a trip to Japan on your own. Don't waste your money or time with Insider Journey. Hotels are sub-standard, guides barely speak any English and most of your time will be free time with barely 2 hours of guided sight seeing per day. Rest of the time are free time.
I wouldn't recommend them either. We did a trip through Vietnam and got taken from one commission stop to another by guides who could barely speak English.
We are currently in Japan and have used insider Journeys for 3 of our day tours. We have had great guides and no issue with them. We have arranged a 10 day trip and self touring ourselves so only using them for certain tours. We have arrange personal guides for other tours by doing this we have been able to do our own thing at our own pace. You will love Japan, the people are so helpful.
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