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Thailand Island Hopper West | Contiki


One Group.
 9 days. 3 Islands. 1 Country. New FriendshipsUnforgettable Experience!

My Decision. 
After finishing my first ever 31 day European Contiki adventure, I booked another Contiki trip, not even six months later! The travel bug for sure bit me and I was ready to explore a new destination. I actually booked this trip a month after my tour finished. Narrowing down destination options, I wanted to do a tour that wasn't too long and focused on sightseeing in one country. I have never been to Asia before and thought this was the perfect opportunity to go during my winter break. Contiki offers two Thailand trips that focus on traveling to the eastern and western islands. It was hard to choose which to book because they both offered great itineraries. Ultimately I decided on the Thai Island Hopper West tour!

Thailand Island Hopper West. 
I was interested to see the difference of a fast-paced European Contiki tour and this tour. Let's break it down, the style of these tours are completely different. If you want to know more of an in depth overview of my month long European experience (click here). European tours with multi-city stops tend to be fast past. You are always on the go and on the coach bus for long hours when trying to fit as many destinations in one trip. Focusing on a tour that is one specific country, allows you more time to explore and enjoy your time at a slower pace. With stops in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Krabi, these 9 days of experiencing new adventures and relaxing in different islands make you want to stay longer
This tour allowed you to do whatever you wanted on your free time but as well being in the company of tour mates for the optionals that are offered in this tour. I really enjoyed the dynamics of this tour and would recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a chill island vibe as well as experience new cultures and customs.

What is Contiki?
Its a travel company that offers numerous trips all over the world that have everything planned out for you. It's targeted audience are 18 to 35 year olds, which makes it fun and easy to make friends if you're traveling solo! The biggest decision you would have to make is picking the destination for your travels which can be difficult because they offer an array of trips in different price ranges, locations, and durations. It all depends on your budget and how much vacation time you have.

Pros traveling with Contiki
  • INSTANT FRIENDSHIPS-  If you're a solo traveler, this is a perfect way to make new friends easily. You meet people from all over the world, all walks of life, and are bound to form new friendships that can last a lifetime or just till the end of the trip. I went solo again on this trip and met incredible new friends that I still talk to today. Surprisingly this time around there were more Americans on my tour, especially New Yorkers so it was nice being able to keep in touch with people who live closer to home. I became extremely close to girl from California and we already are planning our next trip together!
  • CONVENIENCE- Everything is already planned out for you! You don't have to worry about booking hotels, ferries, and etc. You have transportation available with group activities as well as a tour guide who can guide you to where you want to go. 
  • A TASTE OF THAILAND- I chose this trip because I wanted to go somewhere I never been before. I wanted to experience a new culture, get out of my comfort zone, and expand my horizons. This tour did exactly that, this was the farthest place I ever traveled to. I got to try new food, visit temples, go on crazy adventures with strangers, and learn a different way of living of what I'm used to. These 9 days weren't enough and making me crave more of Thailand. Hopefully I get to explore the eastern island one day!
  • ACCOMMODATION- All the hotels are for the most part are centrally located which I loved!! Compared to the Euro tour, some accomodations in some cities weren't centrally located so it was good to see that these hotels were.The Phuket accommodation was a few blocks walking distance from the beach, shopping, restaurants and massage places. The Koh Phi Phi accommodation was kind of secluded at the end of the island but nonetheless it was right on the beach! Just be prepared to walk up a hill to your room and also into town. The people who partied a little too hard never made back to the hotel (haha). The Krabi accommodation was also great in walking distance to the beach, shops and restaurants.
  • FREE TIME- Because this trip focuses on one country and the western islands, you have LOTS of free time! As opposed to the European tour, this is more laid back. Most of our group would split up into mini groups during our free time to go visit temples, go to the beach, get massages, or go to touristy attractions, or go shopping. Your free time is what you make of it, don't stay at the hotel pool all day. Go explore and try new things!
  • PARTY HARD- Let's face it, Contiki is known for partying hard. Some partied hard more than others but nonetheless it's the memories created that was worth it. If you're not much of a party person don't worry, you won't be peer pressured to do so. I would say plan out the days you want to drink and have fun. Because partying too hard the night before a ferry ride isn't so fun if you're hungover. The night life in Thailand is on another level! Just be careful with your drinks especially if you have BUCKETS as some of us had alcohol poisoning the first night. But seriously, you're in THAILAND go have fun!!
Cons traveling with Contiki.
  • GETTING SICK- You will get sick unless you have an amazing immune system. Upset stomachs, food poisoning, alcohol poisoning, motion sickness with boat excursions, being in the heat, etc- will catch up to you at some point during the trip. Bring pills, medicine whatever works for you on your trip because it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • TOUR MANAGER- Your tour manager could also make or break your experience! I had two tour managers back in my Europe tour. The tour manager that I always rave about (Haley) conducted the Greek Island part of my tour and she was honestly the best! You can tell that she really loved her job and exuded positive energy and vibes. This time around our tour manager for Thailand was a bit reserved and quiet which isn't necessarily bad but wasn't what we were expecting who have been on previous Contiki's before.
  • GROUP DYNAMIC/ TRAVELING WITH FRIENDS- The group dynamic can make or break your Contiki trip also. My group didn't have that problem for the most part but I have talked to people who had drama between tour mates or people who they traveled with. A girl I became really close with wasn't too fond of her roommate, they just didn't click or got along. So if you're a solo traveler keep in mind when sharing rooms, you may or may not get along with your roommate. I was lucky to hit off with my roommate but if you rather not share a room with a stranger than make your arrangements ahead of time. This tour is only 9 days long so i don't think much drama can occur between this short period of time but it is all about the group dynamic. Everyone is there to have a good time so make the best of your situation!  
Overall Thoughts. 
I'm so glad I chose this trip! I was able to experience a new travel destination and culture. This was one of my goals in coming into the new year, to do things out of my comfort zone. Europe has forever changed me in the way I see travel. Thailand just made my wanderlust urges even greater. I know want to explore more countries in Asia and hope to be able to that in the near future. From seeing outstanding beaches, petting tigers, seeing spectacular scenery, getting the best messages, nightlife, eating pad thais, riding elephants, going to the best beach parties, drinking too many buckets, and forming more new life-long friendships, thank you THAILAND!

#NOREGRETS
I will be doing individual posts on each island I visited, links below :)

Koh Phi Phi: http://bit.ly/2s569QX


Comment below,
What's your favorite Contiki trip?

Until the next post!
-WanderlustBeautyDreams ♡ 

4 comments

  1. Thanks so much for your review on the Contiki Thai Island Hopper West tour! I am going at the end of November (solo) and cannot wait! Sounds like it is going to be an amazing trip :)

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    1. Yay!! You will have a blast! Let me know how your trip goes :) Sorry for the delay in responding, I was actually on another Contiki (Spanish Spree) recently and had an amazing time. Will be posting that blogpost up soon once my computer gets fixed :)

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  2. I’m doing the West Hopper Island tour in January 2019. During your trip, did you get to see the Karon viewpoint with contiki or did you do that on your ME time? I want to see as much as possible before heading to Bali after my Thailand trip. Thoroughly enjoyed all of your post and will be staying at some of the places you recommended.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for reading! As for the Karon viewpoint, I saw it during ME time with a couple of others on the tour. I would recommend going a couple days earlier or stay a few days longer if you wan to see and do as much as possible :)

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