Baktrax is one of the very few non-luxury tour operators who give you the 100% truth on what accommodation you will be staying in from the moment you first look at this website.
14 day Thailand tour: 9 nights hotels, 2 nights guest house, 3 nights sleeper train. This is how most tour operators list the accommodation.
Hotels range from 1 star to 5 stars so how many will those you are staying in have? Most likely closer to 1 than 5. BUT?
As follows is an internationally accepted explanation of how hotel stars are allocated.
Baktrax, apart from one, 1-star guest house use two, three and the odd four-star hotels.
Want a private itinerary with lesser or luxury only hotels then we can do this also.
1 star*; Clean but basic fan cooled with shared facilities. Usually no breakfast or restaurant or other amenities.
2 star*; Great value clean bigger en-suite rooms usually with air con and TV. May provide a simple breakfast but not always. Occasionally a limited buffet. Suitable for tourism.
3 star*; Sits well into the mid-range tourist class with clean comfortable air-con rooms. Usually with a lift, pool and restaurants and usually a solid buffet breakfast.
4 star*; Far higher quality with many amenities and services. Always a pool. Borders on luxury. Top quality buffet breakfast included along with many other features and services.
5 star; Best service luxury hotels with all the expected features and looks.
- * Within these ratings, there are many varieties. Some close to the lesser star and some almost up to the higher star. We tend to underrate our hotels so as not to disappoint.
- Our 2-star hotel in Bangkok is almost 3 star with a pool, restaurant and lift but no buffet breakfast . Likewise, our 3-star riverside hotel is rated by themselves as 3 stars but we think it is 4 star. A Full-size pool and generous buffet breakfast beside the river.
- So every itinerary tells exactly what number of stars you will be staying in. All selected based on quality, hospitality and the most important thing of all, LOCATION.
- Finally; we do not often substitute a comfortable bed with overnight transport. See the following transport information.
Baktrax tours use anything and everything the locals use. If it’s going our way and you don’t want to wait, we jump aboard.
We do not use private vehicles.
Be open-minded and like our accommodation you will be content and more often than not pleasantly surprised. A truly local experience much of the time.
We don’t believe that travel in Asia should be an endurance test all the time. So we have tried as much as possible to take the hard and exhausting work out of so-called adventure travel while still letting you experience how the locals get around.
But by its very nature, travel in this part of the world may not be as easy as back home. In some countries in the region roads can be substandard, buses are antiquated and are sometimes not even buses at all but rather a truck substitute. Take a look at our “Bus Tales from Laos” to see if you are a Baktrax traveller. Laos has the least comfortable buses but even they even have SOME modern ones today.
Timetables can be irregular, to say the least, if there are any at all. Sometimes the bus just leaves when full, (think Laos again),. But with all our knowledge we have come up with the most comfortable and convenient transport available.
Baktrax does not use transport as accommodation also. We no longer use overnight trains in Thailand for a number of genuine reasons. With airlines now flying everywhere these days, why would you want to spend up to 14 hours, if on time, mostly in the dark with nothing to see before clackety-clack all night as you toss and turn trying to get some sleep rather than a 60-minute flight. When Baktrax started there were only two airlines flying between Bangkok & Chiang Mai. Today there are seven, thus meaning flights have never been cheaper also. On some tours that start in Bangkok and finish elsewhere, we also include a flight back to Bangkok to connect you with your next destination.
We use overnight trains in Vietnam only, for convenience in getting to Sapa return and between Hanoi and Hue only for a real local travel experience.
All transport from the time you check in to your day 1 accommodation until the time you check out of your final night’s accommodation is included in your upfront price apart from any taxis, buses, etc you may use in your free time. This also includes any international and/or domestic flights on the itineraries. While your departure airport transfer is always included we only include arrival transfers on day one in Vietnam and Cambodia.
AS follows is a broad description of what we use:
PLANES; International and domestic as per itinerary.
BUSES; From up to date modern air-conditioned to antiquated third world models. A number of varieties in between.
TRAINS; From Overnight sleeper and day trains in Vietnam to local commuter day trains in Thailand. Sleeper trains are the best soft class in Vietnam. Long day trips are also on the best available while shorter trips may be on local hard seat commuter ones in Thailand.
TAXIS: This covers a myriad of vehicles on wheels that can be hired to move people short distances. From new air-conditioned and metered cabs to bicycle rickshaws.
It may be a tuk-tuk in Thailand to a Moto in Cambodia to a Jumbo in Laos, (no, not an elephant). It may be a shared pickup or a motorcycle with a cart attached. Some of these contraptions will astound first-time Asian travellers.
BOATS; Again a variety ranging from Mekong river slow boats to recycled fishing boats. Some very cramped, and some with a kiosk offering a cup of coffee and biscuit. From fast, long tail ones to Mekong Delta rowboats.
We only use deluxe safety conscious ones on Halong Bay.
Baktrax believes travel should be fun rather than an endurance test. But if on some occasions the travel does get a bit long and arduous, (again think Laos for the most part), which is not often, please remember you will be home again soon and the locals will still be here. So do as they do and be patient, keep smiling, stay relaxed and take it all in.
ENJOY rather than ENDURE.