Suasadai! I’ve just completed a 9 day tour with G Adventures exploring the wonders of Cambodia. It’s a part of a larger 30 day trip, including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam too. I wasn’t too keen on Cambodia but now I’m glad I’ve visited this wonderful country and done it on a group tour.
A lot of people want to travel Asia but only consider backpacking solo. Why? Instagram? Friends? Movies? We’re influenced by people and the media, that this is the only way to do it or the only way you should do it.
For me this wasn’t an option. I have anxiety and I’ve always wanted to travel Asia but there at just too many questions, logistics and worries for me to do this alone. Did this mean I couldn’t do it? No!
READ MORE: An Anxious Traveller’s Guide to…
Group tours are amazing ways for first time travellers and anxious travellers to go to amazing places just like Cambodia. Here’s some reasons why you should go in a group:
Crossing the boarder made easy
I spent months worrying about how to cross the boarder. How much it was going to cost? Forms I need to fill in? Visas I needed to get?
Our tour leader made this whole process SO EASY! Honestly, I could have saved a few sleepless nights worrying about it.
Before we got to the boarder, we stopped at a gas station and she had all the forms we needed. She even had pens, staplers, glue, etc, on hand. She even provided an example copy to help us fill them in.
There were two forms to fill in. All we had to provide was a passport photo (which I had ready and brought from home), 1500THB or $50USD. This we given to the bus drivers who checked them over, before running them to the Cambodian consulate with our passports.
Once we got them back, we just handed them in at the boarder. Easy!
Safe and sound
I was really worried about being safe in Cambodia. You hear a lot of horror stories about travelling and this is why I chose a group tour. To be safer!
Our guides were always on hand and counting us as we went, to make sure no one was missing. Our tour leader also told us which locations were OK and how we should carry our money.
There are bag snatches in Cambodia, so bum bags and money belts are really useful.
Our guides took us to restaurants, bars and clubs where they’ve been before and know the food is good. No diarrhea problems there. However, if you did get sick, you’re leader is there to help you get better and know where the nearest pharmacy or hospital is.
The hotels and hostels are picked out by the tour company which have been risk assessed and collect feedback from the tour leader and/or passengers to ensure there aren’t any problems for future groups.
Lastly, you’re all part of a group and travelling together. So everyone looks after each other. You become a family and keep each other safe. No one walks home alone.
Experienced tour leader and local guides
Let’s big up the tour leader again. My tour leader was Sita and she was incredible! Your leaders are typically local to the area, have good knowledge of the country and speak the language.
Our tour guide had excellent knowledge but was also hilarious, sociable, loved people, patient, organised and friendly. Great qualities for a tour leader!
We started a WhatsApp group and she would post our itinerary for each day, as well as telling us at dinner and/or breakfast. She would also take photos for us and post them in the group. What a sweetie.
We were also given handouts of information for big cities which told us some history and information.
When we got to some cities, G Adventures provide a local guide to give us a tour of the city so we knew where to go and provide us with more in depth information. We also go guides for day trips.
Shout out to Ney ney at the killing fields, skinny hi for the cu chi tunnels and hi hi for Hoi An (the lantern city). You always remember a great tour guides name!
G Adventures is like a machine! I’ve never seen anything like it. Our transportation was all included but I never expected it to be on time…all the time?! Put my local service to shame!
Unlike other tours I’ve done were you get one vehicle throughout your trip, on this tour you’ll have several.
We had private transport throughout but we had to change buses at different locations. Different drivers etc. You can’t leave your stuff on the bus. You have to take it every time.
Each bus was comfy, clean and most importantly had AIR CON! I lived for air con on that trip.
So no worries on how to get from place to place and how to do it. It’s all sorted on a tour.
If you were travelling alone, you’ll probably be staying in hostels throughout. On a tour, you’ll get varied accommodation. You’ll have hostels some nights, but hotels too which is a great treat!
After a few nights in a hostel and then getting a hotel for a few nights is luxury! Even if it’s only a three star hotel, it feels like five star! If you see a swimming pool then everyone gets excited.
Either way, with a hostel or hotel, you know free breakfast is on the cards. It tastes better when it’s free.
You’ll also get a home stay experience during your trip. This is where you can experience a real Cambodian home and they’ll cook for you too. Don’t worry, you won’t be going top and tail with a local. You’ll get your own room with the rest of the group and usually separate from the main building.
Itinerary all planned out
The best part of joining a group tour is all the planning and decision making is out of your hands. You don’t have to constantly be thinking about where you’ll be staying or where you’ll be going next? How will you get there? It all sorted.
It’s a great feeling to know I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Every day.
When you book a tour, usually the operator had several itineraries for you to chose from. So all you have to do is pick the one for you.
I decided on the Indochina discovery tour with G Adventures because it went from Bangkok and ended in Bangkok, it goes to all the places I wanted to see, the tour length was decent, the age group was suitable, the dates fit and I got it in the sale.
This is my first time with G Adventures so I’ve never travelled with them before, but I heard good things about them prior to booking.
So far so good!
Instant travel buddies
Travelling solo in a group means, you’ll come alone but you’ll never be alone. As soon as you attend the pre-departure meeting, you get to meet everyone and you’ll swiftly realised that everyone is as nervous as you.
You bond very quickly with your group because you already have stuff in common. You’ve joined the same trip, you’re probably all tired, you want to see the same things and you all like to travel.
Next thing is, you’re all probably all starving and get chatting over food. Swapping travel stories, finding out where you’re all from, ages, etc.
In my group there were a lot of British people (usually always are) but also a lot of solo travellers (always more than you think). There are typically about 70% females across any tour brand. We had 3 guys and the rest girls. Come on lads!
In a group there are always safety in numbers. So walking around town or going out makes you feel instantly safer in a large group.
There’s always someone to talk to or hang out with. You don’t really feel lonely. But everyone also respects when you need some alone time. You have the opportunity to be social but it can be exhausting being surrounded by people all the time so don’t feel guilty about taking time alone.
The great benefit is everyone looks after each other.
Don’t worry, be happy
You join a tour group for a lot of reasons but for me it’s so I can enjoy myself without being worried or stressed out.
I went travelling for the first time in a tour group and I honestly believe if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be travelling now. Probably sat at a desk somewhere still dreaming of my first adventure.
So if you’re worried about travelling, going to Cambodia or have a million questions, try a tour!
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO CAMBODIA? DID YOU GO SOLO OR IN A GROUP? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.