We recently traveled to Thailand and Cambodia and were connected through Zicasso with this travel agency and one other travel company about 3 weeks before our intended trip (we tend to work better under pressure :0). We also reached out to 3 other travel companies on our own to request help with our partially built itinerary. TThe agent from this travel company reached out to us and within the week, had put together a 15-day itinerary based on some very specific requests. During this time, the other 4 companies also sent us itineraries. I can't stress enough, how closely this agency and her team hit the mark in regards to how we wanted the trip structured, what we wanted to see and do, and how we were going to get around, whereas the other companies ignored several of our major requests and often did not acknowledge specific questions or concerns. This agent also answered every single question we asked her, not only at the beginning of the planning, but even throughout the final stages.
After we decided to follow through with booking the trip through this agent and her company, I have to admit, that we were a bit negligent in getting all of our travel information together (my boyfriend discovered that his passport had expired, our dates changed, we added a few things, subtracted a few others.....) but she was patient and made sure to follow up on all the details and never once became pushy or appeared frustrated with our changes or requests.
In regards to the trip itself, everything went smoothly. The itinerary was followed, but remained flexible, and our guides and drivers were all stellar. We had different guides and drivers for each leg of the trip: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Cambodia, and the hand-off between each city and country was seamless. Checking into the hotels and getting entrance into temples and to our other booked tours was also smooth.
Our guide in Cambodia and for Angkor Wat was particularly impressive. His communication skills were almost perfect, and he was extremely personable and informative, not only about Angkor Wat, but about Cambodia and its history. He even took us off path a bit to visit a landmine museum which we were not aware existed in Siem Reap. At Angkor Wat, he made multiple efforts to take us off the beaten tourist path so that we could enjoy the temple complexes in almost complete privacy. We also visited temples that were less known, some of which seemed more impressive to me than the Angkor complex. We also liked the way the 3 days were divided, as well, starting early in the morning and finishing around 1-2pm, so that we could relax and recoup in the afternoon (it is freaking hot, humid, and buggy).
It was also helpful to have such a detailed and thorough itinerary emailed to us before we left. It had contact and emergency information and tips on making the trip more successful. My only critique would be to have more discussion on food with each guide as two of the pre-set places weren't necessarily what we would have picked out. It would be nice to have more flexibility and also more input on options.
We loved both Thailand and Cambodia, but Cambodia felt a bit more "authentic" as all of the places we visited in Thailand were heavily trafficked and seemed to cater to tourists (not a bad thing, but sometimes felt a bit too inauthentic). That said, I don't know that we can pinpoint a most memorable part - the people, wildlife, temples and ease of getting around both places all made the trip incredible.
We were also really happy with our hotel choices.
I think, personally, we would probably skip Bangkok, and spend more time in Chiang Mai and Krabi, and then do more exploring in Cambodia, outside of primarily Angkor Wat. We would also probably avoid the known tourist destinations (Maya Bay, Grand Palace, etc.) and spend more time looking for more local cultural opportunities/events. I think we would try to have a bit less of an itinerary and have more time to walk around and people watch, take photos, see how people live, spend more time at the night markets, etc.
We would also probably push to visit an elephant camp that doesn't allow any riding or regular tying up of the elephants. I think the one we visited was pretty humane, aside from these things, but ideally would like to have avoided them altogether (Our agent did try to set us up with the Elephant Nature Park but it was full).
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