From soup to nuts my experience with the Andy Booth and his team was exceptional. During the planning portion of the trip, the staff was responsive with both emails and phone calls. They listened carefully to my interests and requirements and put together precisely the trip to Laos and Cambodia I had envisioned.
The hotels were all excellent (winning the most over the top “Lives of the Rich and Famous” prize was the Nam Kat Yorla Pa resort in Oudomxay). The 5 local guides and the drivers were the “secret sauce” for my experience. They all possessed an encyclopedic of knowledge of the region (Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, Pakse and Luang Prabang/Northern Laos) were friendly, flexible and attentive.
I am a very experienced and highly independent traveler who seeks out diving deep into the local culture/history/nature/politics and food with an emphasis on “off the beaten track”. This trip checked all of the boxes and was my first foray into a “supported trip”.
I have a new appreciation for having a driver and guide that not only provide extensive local insight (cold towels and perpetual water too) but also are a friendly face at the airport to pick you up, ensure you are settled into your hotel and the drop off at the airport or next destination is equally seamless.
Highlights of my trip included (not necessarily in rank order):
-meeting one of only 2 living survivors from the Tuol Sleng prison
-seeing the endangered freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins
-biking in Angkor from Srah Srang to Ta Prohm and then Ta Nei (savoring the entire experience pretty much with just myself and my guide)
-spontaneous invitation from locals to party with their extended family during the Luang Prabang boat festival (a very special meal including LOTS of Beer Laos, dried and raw water buffalo and dried crickets)
– spending half a day at a no ride/no wash elephant sanctuary.
In summary, if you are looking for a Southeast Asia travel experience customized to your needs and interests Andy Booth and his team will make it happen.
Our thanks to Andy’s team—Joshua, Ethan, and the entire staff—for designing and implementing our recent trip to Southeast Asia. It was wonderful in every way. They arranged for us to stay in outstanding and diverse lodgings. These included French Colonial era gems in Hue (La Residence d’Hue) and Phnom Penh (Raffles Le Royal), a one-of-a-kind B and B in Battambang (Bric A Brac), and a resort/hotel in Siem Reap that could pass for an art museum (Shinta Mani Club). Our guides were knowledgeable, flexible, and open. They took us to the “must-see” sights and, at our request, way off the tourist trail. They helped us learn about the beauty and diversity of the people and cultures of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and the challenges that these people and cultures face. The centerpiece of our trip was Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. We spent five days there, and each day was packed with marvelous adventures. Given Andy’s expertise in knowing when it is best to visit each facet of the Angkor complex, we were able to experience this majestic place with minimal crowds. We were even able to spend almost an hour at the top level of Angkor Wat, and, at times, we had the courtyard we were into ourselves. In sum, Andy and his staff helped us to see and experience the wonders of Southeast Asia and to learn about the people and cultures of this fascinating corner of the world.
We used Andy and Ethan on his team for our family summer trip last year. They were responsive and knowledgeable and planned exactly the trip we envisioned. We were a group of 5 families with lots of teens and we asked for ADVENTURE throughout Bangkok, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia. Everything from the guides who treated us to a spiritual morning feeding the monks, to riding elephants bareback & bathing them, to the exciting nighttime Vespa tour of Hanoi, as well as all the history to be taken in there, to trekking through the jungles of Cambodia on bicycles, culminating with Angkor Wat at dawn. They heard us loud and clear and gave us an experience we will never forget. Hotel highlights were the Siam (Bangkok) & Phum Baitung (Cambodia).
We traveled last summer with Andy Booth from AboutAsia to Siem Reap and Hanoi. Our trip was phenomenal. With the exception of Angkor Wat Temple we almost never felt the crowds. We saw and did more than we ever could have imagined. We traveled in August and while it was hot, we had a steady stream of cold towels and cold water. We loved our hotels in both cities with my favorite be the Raffles Hotel in Siem Reap. This hotel was a great location and a quick $3 ride from downtown. The grounds of the hotel were amazing and the staff welcoming. Andy’s team listened to all our concerns, wishes, and requirements and curated a perfect trip. The price was extremely reasonable for what we received. We shopped for art & antiques, crafts, ate amazing local cuisine, learned about the local life and customs and visited more temples that we had planned. I cannot say enough about Andy’s team. We hope to use them again to return to the area.