If I am honest I did not want to resort to writing a blog post or taking this to social media, but it seems I have no choice. I do not want anyone else to have to endure and deal with the awful experience that I have with Intrepid Travel. I booked a group tour through Geckos Adventure who are part of the Intrepid Travel group who also own Peregrine, Peak, Intrepid Urban Adventures and the Intrepid Foundation.
Its often thought that bloggers never tell the truth or write a bad review, however we are very honest and travelling is something we feel really passionate about in particular having an excellent experience and good memories to last a lifetime.
I was due to travel on the Essential Thailand Tour departing from Bangkok on Sunday 24th December however I was completely miss sold the trip as outlined below.
I was very excited about my trip as I did a similar group tour last year visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and I had the best time and came home with 16 new friends some of which I still speak to now. I was excited to meet a whole new group of friends and travel around Thailand ticking many places off my bucket list. Not to mention seeing in the New Year in Bangkok.
I arrived on the Sunday morning (Christmas Eve) and checked into the hotel and spent the day by the pool excited to meet my new group and ready for the adventure ahead. However on going down to meet my group at 6pm on Sunday 24th December I was told by my leader that this was a very small tour and it was just me and couple. Imagine the thoughts going through my head, me and a couple, me third wheeling a couple for the next 7 days…… Last year I shared a room with a lovely girl called Taylor (this explained why this year a room mate never showed up, I didn’t have one!), and when we had down time and free time I would go off with my new friends to explore the new place we had arrived at. However this time, it would’ve been me and the couple and I cannot imagine they would’ve wanted to spend all their holiday with an English girl tagging along.
Anyway, I had to leave the meeting as I was about to burst into to tears. This is not what I had anticipated my trip to be like. I had picked Geckos as the website specifically says: ‘When people think ‘solo travel on a group trip’, they picture sitting alone while six couples snog around them and sing ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys. But it’s not really like that. Most Geckos’ travellers decide to roll solo. It’s pretty standard, and third-wheeling with a bunch of couples isn’t really what it’s about. Travelling alone on a group adventure means a) you get a ready-made crew of future besties, b) a local leader to stop you getting lost and feeling all scared inside and c) the option of picking your own room. So you can snore to your heart’s content. Pretty sweet, right?’ However my tour was going completely against what is written on their website, and I was to be third wheeling with a couple.
As a single female traveller I was not happy with these demographics, where were my ‘crew that’s got your back’ and my new ‘friends for life’? – This has all been quoted from the Gecko’s website and I have a screen grab below also.
I was very upset and unsure of what to do so called my friend via WhatsApp who was back in the UK. As I could not call Geckos from Thailand she called on my behalf and spoke to an agent. The agent informed my friend that I should’ve been told in advance that my trip was unusually small, however I had never been contacted. If I had been contacted and told this information, then I would not have continued with the booking or paid off the remaining balance and would’ve changed my flights to a different time of year.
I spoke to my tour guide and told him that I was not happy with the demographics and asked for his advice. He was not very well equipped and did not have a clue how to deal with an upset customer and did not have any advice for me so I went back to my room feeling lost, lonely and panicking that I would be stranded on my own in a foreign country.
I went back to speak to the guide and asked if I could join another tour, he made a phone call and said I could join another tour but did not have any suggestions as to which one to join as there was no other tours leaving from Bangkok so that wasn’t an option – if I am honest he had no clue on how to handle the situation and was very panicky. He also informed me that more people would be joining the tour on December 31st but it appeared to be two more couples (I was told this morning via email that 11 people were to join the tour)
I went back to my room feeling alone and very afraid and called my parents who could tell how distressed I was and booked me a new flight home. I did not want to be going on a tour with just another couple it would’ve been a very lonely experience and I would not have felt comfortable, especially as it was Christmas the next day.
Who wants to spend Christmas on their own when it is supposed to be the most magical time of the year. Instead of spending Christmas feeling excited on route to meet the elephants in Chiang Mai (which is one of the things I was most excited about), I spent Christmas on a flight home and my Christmas was completely ruined.
I arrived home late on Christmas day and out of pocket of £1823.37 and no good memories of my trip to Thailand. I emailed Intrepid a very detailed email who said they would respond in 20 business days. With no response after 20 business days I then chased a further 3 times for a reply, each time being told it was a busy time of year and I had to bear with them.
Last month I finally received a response that was the most impersonal email that had definitely been copied and pasted together and told that I did not give the tour a chance and would not be given any money back.
I am writing this post to share my experiences with you all as you have followed us on all our holidays and do not want you to risk booking with this travel company.
As mentioned at the beginning I booked with Gecko’s Adventures which is part of the Intrepid Travel group and I strongly advise that no one books a tour with any of their affiliated companies.
All opinions are my own