Tours in Review

Our trip to Ho Chi Minh City, VIET-NAM, and Bangkok, THAILAND, in March ’04 was grand. Darryll at Asian Affair Holidays (360 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 3008, El Segundo, CA 90245; phone 800/742-3133 or visit made all the arrangements and planned each detail. Nothing went wrong. As independent travelers, we need to know all legs of our trip will work out. This was our second trip planned by Asian Affair Holidays and we highly recommend this company.

Flying Singapore Airlines from Newark, New Jersey, to Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City was a pleasure. Such...


I took an 18-day tour with smarTours (501 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1402, New York, NY 10017; 800/337-7773 or visit, May 14-30, ’05, in which we spent 10 days in Malaysian Borneo, two days in Kuala Lumpur and three days on the island of Penang. The other days were spent flying. Our group consisted of 28 people, ranging in age from 22 to 86, with the average being the late 50s.

All of our flights were on Malaysia Airlines, which did an excellent job in cabin service and food. Our hotels ranged from good to outstanding and, with two exceptions, were well located. One hotel...


As a serious amateur photographer, I had seen many portraits of the colorful painted faces of the tribal people of Papua New Guinea. Finally, I had the opportunity to go see for myself. I joined Greg Stathakis of Trans Niugini Tours (408 East Islay St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101; 800/676-1241 or on a 2-week tour in July ’05. An excellent leader, Greg fell in love with PNG and has led small-group trips there for over 20 years.

We started in the capital, Port Moresby, then flew to Tari in the cool highlands to visit the Huli wigmen. We had plenty of time to visit...


The “Dalmatian Coast” trip from Overseas Adventure Travel (One Broadway, Ste. 600, Cambridge, MA 02142; 800/955-1925 or was one of the best my wife, Susan, and I ever did. Each little port we put into — Split, Hvar and Korcula in Croatia, and Kotor Bay in Montenegro — was nicer than the one before.

Our guide was excellent. The food was excellent ashore and on the ship. The M/Y Harmony G was a little cramped in the dining area, and the air-conditioning was not great, but the cabins were fine. We traveled June 13-30, ’05, and it was very hot in Athens on the last...


Croatia is a wonderful destination, with six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, great food and wine and, during our June ’06 trip, perfect weather.

My husband, Robert, and I took the 10-night “Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast & Splendid Dubrovnik” tour (land price, $2,795) plus a 4-night pre-tour, “The Beautiful Istrian Peninsula” ($700), from Cross-Culture Journeys (12 White Pine Rd., Amherst, MA 01002; 800/491-1148, We highly recommend taking the Istrian pre-tour in combination with the Dalmatian Coast tour.

Cross-Culture Journeys features a small group size of...


My wife and I took the 14-day “Highlights of VIET-NAM” offered by Bestway Tours & Safaris (8678 Greenall Ave., Ste. 206, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5J3M6, Canada; phone 800/663-0844). The tour, in April ’05, cost approximately $1,500 per person, ground only. My wife and I were the only ones in our “group.”

Our 2-week trip began in Ho Chi Minh City (still referred to as Saigon by locals) and ended in Hanoi. Along the way we visited Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hue.

During the course of the tour we had three guides and three drivers. Our guide for the Saigon/Da Lat/Nha...


Chile Scott Jones of Chilean Special Journeys (28 Morrill Rd., Montville, ME 04941; phone 888/345-6077 or visit outdid himself in making our 21-day, April ’05 “Chile in Depth” trip memorable. Scott, originally from Maine, has lived in Chile for several years. He accompanied our group as tour guide, and local guides were used also.

Chile is an interesting country of contrasts with dramatic landscape features. Our tour started in Santiago, in the central part of the country. After exploring the area for two days, the group flew north to the seaport of...


My wife and I traveled to Turkey with Umit Dogan, the owner of Treasures of Travel (Box 714, Edmonds, WA 98020; 800/572-0526). The land price of our 21-day tour was $2,800 per person. We used frequent-flyer miles to fly Air France to and from Istanbul.

Because we wanted to book the tour as early as possible so as to be able to use our miles for free business-class air, we made our arrangements for the tour in early January of 2005.

Knowing that the dates we chose, Oct. 28-Nov. 17, ’05, were late in the season, I asked Umit if he would still take us if the minimum of 10...