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South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail
Frontier participants Frontier participants

South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Satisfaction

    7

Southeast Asia ethical trail

I participated in this trail from October-December 2017. It was a large group and so I think that can really affect how the trail goes. Because we had such a large group, I was able to easily meet lots of new people and we could often do very personalized tours. Southeast Asia is such an amazing part of the world and I would love to go back. The trail was organized by the leader, who allowed for our input in tweaking the itinerary to be exactly as we wanted. We got to stay in a lot of very interesting hostels throughout Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is a great way to travel with little hassle through these countries. Plan on bringing lots of spending money for souvenirs and food while you are there.

Overall Rating

3/ 10

  • Itinerary

    4

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health & Safety

    4

  • Satisfaction

    5

Terrible organisation by Frontier, would not recommend

The only reason I enjoyed this trip was the people who were in my group, my trail leader was lovely and she chose and booked great accommodation, and the countries themselves were incredible. Our leader only had online training and Frontier had not told her the process at all, it was not clear what trips/travel and transfer was included (and a lot was restricted). Breakfast and lunch (which was included) HAD to be incredibly basic, very cheap local food eaten together at the same time. However this didn't take into account any other circumstances such as illness, group size, availability, price fluctuations etc. Our budget was tiny for the whole trip and if we didn't use it all on a meal, we never saw the leftover money.

There was rules with drinking and you weren't allowed much personal freedom - it felt like a school trip really. The safety regulations were ridiculous: not being allowed to slide down a slide at a waterfall, go on a banana boat or walk by yourself unless you were 'signed out' from the company's care (this also meant you couldn't use the paid for company accommodation whilst signed out). We had to write a blog every week, which only around 2 of which were actually published.

Communication with the company was shocking, they never replied to any emails or queries no matter how urgent etc. They also failed to take appropriate action when it came to one member's mental & physical health, which had consequences later on.. They also made not a single penny donation to the local school we taught at, which is disgusting considering how much we paid - and very awkward when the teacher told us this.

Overall on the whole trip I could not understand where any of this money had gone and was hugely disappointed. So much so that I actually came back early. We had one leader for around 13 people, which is not acceptable and too much responsibility for one person.

I would greatly advise you find a different company to travel with! I regret going with Frontier.

  • Frontier responded to this review December 15, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    We’re glad to hear that you met some fantastic people on your trip and that our Trail Leader did a great job in taking you around Thailand and Cambodia; it’s a shame that you didn’t stay to explore Vietnam! We carefully interview and train all our staff members and the Trail Leader had all the materials available to lead a successful trip. Having said this, it’s the maturity and cooperation of our volunteers that make the Trails an unforgettable and extraordinary experience.

    Making the decision to explore this part of the world comes with being open and willing to try new things, in particular, tasting new cuisines. For many, this opportunity is the most exciting aspect of travelling. In the initial interviews that we conduct, we mention that volunteers will be eating basic and local foods. This fulfils our ethos of providing sustainable and ethical travel, supporting local communities and providing volunteers with authentic experiences. Since breakfast and lunch is included on the trail, it’s not the responsibility of volunteers to see the ‘leftover money’ and budgets are carefully planned and calculated to take into account every circumstance such as group size, dietary requirements and price fluctuations.

    We take the safety of our volunteers very seriously and while decisions on individual activities are down to the trail leader, we fully support their decision to restrict any activity that they feel may compromise anyone’s safety. We do our best to employ the most suitable leaders for the trail and believe that this particular Trail Leader was extremely competent and took very good care of the group. In regards to the blogs, those that our volunteers write are very valuable to us. We will post all blogs we have received over the upcoming weeks.

    LHQ has confirmed that all queries and emails were responded to. Immediate and appropriate action was taken to any issues that occurred on the trip. Due to confidentiality reasons, you were not aware of the particular situation in question; we would appreciate you not making assumptions with a situation that is sensitive and does not concern you.

    We have worked in developing countries for a number of years and believe, like the vast majority of our partners in the industry, that direct help is often more valuable than a form of monetary donation. The work of our volunteers is constructive and sustainable and we are positive that the children and staff at Smiling Hearts are grateful for your support and cooperation. We keep our costs to a minimum whilst providing our volunteers with meaningful and unforgettable experiences, but there are many costs that are involved in making sure the project goes ahead, costs that are hard but equally vital.

    We regret that you were not entirely happy with some of the more minor aspects of the Trail that we have detailed above, but we are glad to hear that you enjoyed travelling with likeminded individuals, in a safe environment, with a great trail leader.

    We always value feedback, be it positive or negative. Sometimes it is difficult to match expectations for first time travellers; however, we have taken your comments board and will try to manage these expectations better in future. We constantly strive to develop our projects and so we thank you for the part that you have played in this process, your comments will be employed when deciding on the itinerary for future Ethical Adventure Trails.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to leave a review and volunteering with Frontier.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Itinerary

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Satisfaction

    9

Cultural immersion

We got a very friendly welcome, and I felt at ease quickly. The food was lovely, on some occasions portions were too small. Large variation in hygiene conditions, depending on where we stayed. Enjoyable company and activities. All injuries were immediately taken care of professionally; always a first aid kit available.

The best part was the cultural immersion. Crepe Lady with the nice hair. Pleasant attitudes from Thai people. Scenery. Train journey.