Bestway Tours

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Has anyone traveled with Bestway Tours. We're looking for some feedback on the company and their tours. Right now we're looking at their Ethiopia tour.

We have taken 4 Bestway tours---Iran, Egypt and Jordan (separate tours but back to back)and Colombia. The best part of this tour company is that they guarantee departures if there are 2 or more people. In Iran there were 3 of us (the other was our adult daughter); in Egypt and Jordan,just we 2; and in Colombia, 3 people. They contract with local tour operators to provide guides (and, I suspect, develop itinerary). Our tour guide in Iran was good; we had a different tour guide in each destination in Egypt; our driver/tour guide in Jordan was very poor; and we had multiple tour guides in Colombia, none of whom was outstanding. The itinerary in Colombia was also not designed well.

I would consider taking them again IF I wanted a guaranteed departure to an off the beaten track destination where I was not confident that I could find another tour at the time I wanted to go. We have taken 2 Overseas Adventure Travel trips and the tour guides on those trips were first rate...much better than any we had on any Bestway Tour.

Marian, Thank you for your answer. We are tying to decide between Bestway and Eldertreks for a tour to Ethiopia. By the way, we have had some dud tour guides with OAT (especially on our last tour with them) but in general their tour guides are good. It's good to know more about how Bestway's tours run. Thank you again.

Glad you have some good choices! Some factors to consider when trying to make a decision between companies are:

1. cost per day
2. inclusions (transfers, meals)
3. quality of hotels used (look at reviews on tripadvisor.com or agoda.com)
4. group size
5. is the trip guaranteed for the dates you want

Usually one company will stand out over the others.

Good luck with your decision making!

I had a very bad experience with Bestway Tours. I had booked a tour of the Balkans with Bestway Tours. However, due to the hospitalization of an immediate member of the family, 7 months, I had to cancel. Bestway Tours was very uncaring, responding that family situations are not their concern. Bestway Tours would not allow me to reschedule & have not cooperated regarding my airline ticket reschedule. I find it hard to believe that a tour company could take money for rooms that were not occupied, meals that were not eaten & a single supplement that was not utilized.

I have learned 2 things: If you book with a Canada based company & have a problem there is no recourse. Also, if the tour company books your airline ticket & you have a problem the airline will not let you rebook your ticket, only the travel agent.

Based on my experience, I would suggest that you look for some one other than Bestway Tours

Editor's note: Please see the following post, which is a response from Bestway Tours.

I have traveled with both companies and found that Bestway was far superior to OAT in all respects (for my specific requirements) Perhaps it was because the Bestway Owner, Mahmood Punja accomp[anied my group on both Bestway trips (Libya, Egypt and Tunisia/ SE Asia. OAT is not bad, but really not for the experienced traveler unlesss you like close supervision, good sized groups and visits to schools, homes and orphanages.

I can highly recommend. Red Jackal Tours in Addis Ababa which is owned by Yohannes Assefa. He can arrange anything to any part of Ethiopia and design an itinerary to meet any budget!!!

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Moderator note: light editing.

If you have not booked yet - check out Tony Hickey and Ethiopia Quadrant tours. We went with him in 2004 and it was great. He really took good care of us - as did his guides and drivers. He is an Irishman married to an Ethiopian living in Addis. So, no problem with the English and he is heavily involved in the tour industry in the country. Highly recommended. Let me know if you choose him. I'll send my name so you can greet him for me.

The following was e-mailed to ITN on June 12, 2012.

On June 20, 2011 client booked our Balkan Mosaic Tour scheduled to depart on September 10, 2011.

He opted not to buy travel insurance.

He cancelled the tour on August 31, 2011 - 11 days prior to the commencement of the tour at which time the tour amount was 100% non refundable.

Even then, on his behalf, we applied to the airline for a refund. They consented to a small credit against future travel within the year. He was made aware of that.

Again from our side we offered him a credit of $ 1400 to be used against a future Balkan Mosaic tour to be taken anytime in 2012. He chose not to avail that asking us that he should be refunded for the tour cost though had no complaints with the airline which had a less generous condition than ours.

Over and above this, the pricing for this tour was based on a tier basis — the larger the group size the lesser the tour price. The tier for a reduction of $ 511 per person was if the group size exceeded 6 and he was the 7th person on the tour. So by the time he cancelled from the tour (11 days prior to departure) the other participants had already been given the refund. There would be no reason for us to go back to the other participants and ask them to pay back the $ 511 to us because of him cancelling out.

Mahmood Poonja, Chief Explorer, Bestway Tours

A friend and I have taken two tours with Bestway. One to the Persian Gulf (October 2008) and more recently to Indonesia (February 2012). I enjoyed both of them and felt Bestway to be a very good tour company.

The trip to the Persian Gulf was excellent. Arab Sheikdoms included Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and all of the Emirates of the UAE. There were 4 of us in the "group". We felt the value for cost to be quite good, the guides were informative, and the quality of hotels, food, and tours was excellent.

Our recent trip to Indonesia (Isles Of Indonesia) was more "challenging". A totally different destination being a third world country. Again cost was quite fair, some hotels were only "best available", and there was a good deal of land travel on poor infrastructure roads. But that "comes with the territory" rather than being a problem with the tour company. Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world so a "definite" on my travel itinerary. But it's not quite ready for totally First Class excursions.

I've been very happy with Bestway. Even having to cancel our first attempt to visit Indonesia in 2011 due to a health problem. And they readily refunded some unexpected and advertised "included" costs for food when we did go in 2012. They were easy to work with via e-mail and have an amazing list of itineraries and destinations.

My husband and I, and another couple - we are seniors - took a one month trip to India with Bestways Tours and Safaris, earlier this year. Our trip was an extensive one through many cities by various transportation methods, from Punjab in the North down to Mumbai and Goa.
Our flight was a long distance one to Amritsar. We wanted to see the border closure ceremonies between Pakistan and India and also the Golden Temple in the daytime and also the late evening one. We arrived in Amritsar in the afternoon and after our transfer to the hotel and rest, we were right on time for the evening visit to the Temple and were then able to have a restful night for the following morning ceremonies and the City Tour. Our trip took us to the eventful border ceremonies between India and Pakistan, after which we continued our journey onwards according to our itinerary. During our extensive journey through “Incredible India” nowhere did we encounter any problems. We continued enjoying the comforts of the superb hotels with full array of international and local tasty foods to all the professional travel arrangements made by Bestway.
The local tour guides took care of all the worries out of us by meeting us at all terminals, train stations and looking after our small incidentals. We enjoyed the culture, the food and the friendliness of the local guides. We are satisfied and very happy with the services provided by Bestways Tours and Safaris and their agents in India. Best of all we did not have to reach into our pockets for any more than what we had paid for initially.
We highly recommend their services which also became very useful when towards the end of the tour we had to fly back due to death in the family. They managed to get us on all earlier flights and even met us with flowers whilst we were in transit at New Delhi airport. That was very nice and thoughtful.
Many thanks Bestway!