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from past departures of...
The Land of the Rising Sun
Kyushu April 09
- Really enjoyed the trip and would
recommend it to other people. The tour leader, Phil, was a great guide and
very entertaining, had good knowledge – he made the trip! He gave an insight
into Japan in a non organised tour way.
- I think Phil really made the trip. It is
nice to have a tour leader with personality. Thanks for a fantastic holiday.
- Excellent tour leader – really made it
enjoyable. Trip was wonderful. Thanks!
Joe Thurber and Marci Keiser
- Some of this may sound a bit gushy but I
have had a marvellous holiday and have got to really care for the Japanese.
They have gone out of their way to make us welcome, stopping to help us,
showing us their love of fun. The tour leader, Phil Colley, was top rate –
great to have someone who notices your needs and quietly cares! We all
thoroughly appreciated him.
- Itinerary excellent – a good combination
of cities and countryside, the mixture of geographical and cultural features
was good. Good mix of organised sightseeing and free time.
Lynda and Neil Willis
Kyushu Oct 08
Brilliant trip – surpassed
expectations. Thanks for all the time and effort put in.
Here I am, back
to Italy after the Land of the Rising Sun tour with Phil Colley.
Basically I just... wanted the
tour to be like it was. Nothing like the usual tours I experienced so far (just
took a couple, which I didn't really like); on those 40-people bus tours it's
easy to feel like caged, on a leash, on the 'outside' of things, moods and
places. The Oriental Caravan tour was something different - the guide was really
'discreet', like he wasn't the tour guide but someone from the group with an
extra knowledge of places and language - and that I really liked. Plus company
was excellent, and all that made the tour 'my kind' of tour, something done the
way it's supposed to be done, in my opinion. That's all... missing Japan now and
hoping to get back there one day to stay. Thank you for organizing such
high-quality tours, keep up the wonderful work.
Thank you for a wonderful
tour. We both really enjoyed ourselves and have come stimulated and
refreshed. I think the range of places you took us and the different
activities was a really good ‘Introduction to Japan’. Phil’s equanimity in
dealing with the group was impressive and I’m sure all groups are different.
He gave us good, useful, thoughtful, appropriate information. Then guided us
on our way so we could be independent. Remarkably calm and non-judgmental.
With grateful thanks.
Tour leader was very good -
understated, British. Tour was much better than expected –educational and
Overall I would just like to
say how much we enjoyed our holiday and thank you for providing such an
enriching experience. I can imagine you may receive comments about wanting more
time here or there at the expense of somewhere else but in my view this is not
helpful. It would be impossible to satisfy all the needs of such a diverse group
of people and I believe the overall balance was as good as you will get,
providing a wide view of Japanese history, culture and everyday life. The
holiday provided everything it ‘said on the tin’ at a realistic and affordable
price and the standards of accommodation, food and transportation exceeded
expectation within the overall budget. In addition the Group greatly benefitted
from you’re in depth knowledge of the local life and evenings in the Kyoto sake
bar and the * Club greatly added to the enjoyment of the experience.
Based upon our experience I would definitely recommend The Oriental Caravan to
friends looking for a similar style of holiday.
Mel and Pat Reid
I have always
had a special interest in Japan, from studying the language to the culture,
so for my first time I wanted to "really" experience the country. With The
Oriental Caravan I did exactly that and beyond. I was able to see and
experience Japan's modern and historical sides in Tokyo, Nagasaki and Kyoto.
It's natural beauty in the rural off the beaten track locations such as
Miyajima, Mt Aso and Miyaji. Accommodation throughout was superb, hotels
were nice and Mrs Yamaguchi and her Minshuku (Japanese guesthouse) in Miyaji
was lovely.. Transportation in Japan in whatever form (trains, taxis, trams)
ran like clock work! and I was so amazed with how friendly and welcoming the
Japanese people were throughout my stay.
What can I say about the Chief Caravaneer... Phil's expertise, knowledge and
the laughs we had along the way made travelling and seeing Japan a great
pleasure. He was helpful from the beginning, providing assistance on places
I wanted to see on my free exploration days. Well put together and
researched itinerary, which was backed up by comments from my Japanese
friend "Your going to see a lot of Japan, even places I haven't been to.
Very ambitious!". One of the greatest countries and my best travel
experience. I'm certainly going to be back on board The Oriental Caravan in
Kyushu April 08
thoroughly enjoyed our trip aboard The Oriental Caravan.
Andrew Peacock and Janet Woodhead
enjoyable trip. Thank you.
Good balance on
whole. Tour leader excellent – right balance between nanny and letting us be
Had a great holiday and would recommend to
others – and I have! Excellent - 10/10 all through.
Alan and Penny Valender
Loved the Miyako Odori, Gion district with the Cherry Blossom, found
Miyajima, Miiyaji and Hiroshima interesting, Nagasaki and Beppu very
relaxing. Enjoyed the Tokyo tour and final meal. Tour leader – good
humoured, right balance of organising events and ‘free’ time to do our own
visits and choose our own meals.
Thank you for
your care and attention.
Kyushu March 08
guide’s comments and input. We enjoyed Japan more than we expected – the
flexibility of the unscheduled days was good.
Nick and Cathy Fowler
Just a quick email to let
you know that my husband and I have just returned from our tour, The Land of
the Rising Sun, and we would like to inform you that we were extremely
pleased with Phil our tour leader. At the end of the day his experience
shone through and we are all very grateful that we had him for our tour
leader. We would certainly consider going on another trip if he was tour
John and Christina Cremin
- We have returned from Japan on the 3rd
April and wanted to express our great appreciation for the services of Phil
Colley. He was absolutely first class, highly efficient, very interesting
and excellent company, without imposing if not required! It is a most
beguiling country and the way he ran the trip only added to our enjoyment
and illumination. This is our second trip and we will certainly be back,
hopefully with Phil.
David and Terrie
- Enjoyed the trip thoroughly and would
recommend it to others. Well organised and thought out. Thank you.
Aodhagan and Anne
- It was a great trip. We can’t really
think of much to improve.
Toby, Chris and Oliver Seton
Kyushu Oct 07
Trip content was
excellent, not like most of the other tours we looked into. We found we
would have liked to spend more time in Kyoto and Nagasaki but will just have
to go back some day. For a 2 week tour we felt we saw a great deal of Japan.
Tour leader was excellent, very helpful in offering help and suggestions for
our free time. We will heartily recommend your tours to our friends.
Dale and Eleanor Blake
Best two weeks I can
The trip content matched
the description – a good mix of guided and free time. An experienced,
knowledgeable and relaxed leader enhanced my enjoyment of the trip. Was
confident enough to encourage deviation from the itinerary when requested
and minimised travel times between venues.
Alan and Lynda Brimmell
We enjoyed our first
experience of small group travel. A great holiday. The tour leader was
super: laid back on the surface – but well organised behind the scenes! The
information drip feed was very good!
Mike and Anita Goldman
The itinerary was very
good - we really feel we have seen loads. It would have been nice to see
more countryside but its hard to see how we could have fitted this in. The
tour leader was truly fab - couldn’t have asked for a better guide. Patient
and good humoured and just enough information to keep us interested! Good
recommendation for things to do.
Roger and Lorna Smalley, Niall McPaul
Kyushu April 06
We appreciated the efforts
of the tour leader to introduce a wide range of Japanese cuisine and don’t
underestimate the work involved in helping us to order (and get!) our meals.
We thought that the itinerary was really excellent – good selection of
places to see, good use of the transport – hard to think how it could be
improved. We though that the tour leader did an impeccable job. Well
organised, attentive to our needs, calm and patient. It must be challenging
sometimes! 10 out of 10.
Chris and Lesley Wood
All worked for me. I don’t
have any criticisms.
Transport was the tops!
Just loved the Hikari [bullet train]. One of the experiences of my life:
efficient, comfortable etc. Can’t fault the itinerary – good mixture of
organised and free time. Phil was amiable, informative, very thoughtful –
sometimes walked too quickly! – but don’t tell him. It’ll go to his head!
Kyushu March 06
A fabulous holiday. Well
organised! Well done, Phil.
The trip was the right
length and the balance of free time/organised tours also about right.
Miyajima was the highlight but I loved it all. Even enjoyed Tokyo more than
I expected. Your guided tour of Tokyo was one of the best days of my life.
The tour leader was very
well organised without it being obviously so. I’m well aware of the skill it
takes to do this. Travelling with such a small group was more like
travelling with a group of friends, with the tour leader taking care of all
A well thought out itinerary.
Every day was exciting and special. I particularly liked Nagasaki...
a tour leader is
a first for me and I think it works well. I came with The Oriental
Caravan for a trip to see Japan and Japanese and avoid the usual
‘touristy’ elements. I enjoyed TOC’s style of travelling and
would certainly recommend TOC to anyone who is interested in a trip
east. Mrs S. E. Lancashire, UK
Good introduction to Japan. Its
great to see the Japan other tour groups miss. When you are welcomed
warmly in places you visit frequently it makes group members feel at
home. Mrs J. L. London UK
A nice sampling of different
places in Japan. I enjoyed them all. A well-organised, well thought
out trip, well planned and executed. Ms R. D. San Francisco,
A really memorable experience! Even in 2 weeks I felt that I had a
real taste of Japanese culture. Gave a real mix of traditional and
modern Japan. Enjoyed ‘free’ afternoons/days because provided
opportunity to refresh batteries if necessary.
Mrs L.H. UK
variety of scenery, sights, gardens etc – all most interesting and
well chosen. Tour leader was really good; provided a caring attitude
to all ages and all requests. Mrs S.W. UK
pleased to have a Japanese speaking tour guide – very informative,
friendly and helpful, thank you! Would not have benefited so much from
visiting Japan without the information and advice we received.
every stop... we
would not have thought to go to some of these places on our own.
a great time with you. You are well-organised, knowledgeable
and fun. Mr B.C. Missouri, USA
Great! Trip of a lifetime.
Mr A.H Cambridgeshire, UK
Thanks for an intelligent itinerary. Mr M.B. Bedfordshire, UK
truly wonderful cultural experience. Thank you. Mrs
H.M. Isle of Man
seen so much and such a wide variety that we’ve never been bored for
a moment. Phil
is very skilled. good judgement of the group and in the amount of
information given and its timing. Just about perfect I’d say!
and Mrs R. and S. W. Cheltenham, UK
I think [the tour leader] did a great job being able to handle all the
various personalities of the group and [his] obvious interest in the
country. Mr C.R. Maine, USA
lasting impression will be of an unbelievably smooth operation:
there was always enough time to do what was required whether it was
visiting gardens and temples; museums and markets or stocking up on
daily supplies. What
e was the way Phil would reach into a shoulder strap underneath his
jacket and conjure up as if by magic, an endless supply of material
but above all those precious train tickets skilfully handed out as if
individual names had been written on them. Of
course, what the pre-departure information does not prepare you for is
the way that Phil makes everyone’s comfort his particular concern,
with help cheerfully given to those who needed it and the genuine
pleasure and generosity of spirit with which all this was rendered.
Mrs A.W. London, UK
Colley is an ideal guide for such a trip with his knowledge of the
country and ability to communicate in Japanese. He was totally
unflappable and dealt with all members of the group equally. This
was an excellent experience of a new culture and country. I shall be
recommending both Japan and The Oriental Caravan to other travelling
friends and family. Phil made the trip.
Mrs S.B. Devon, UK
of interest every day and I consider it was very good value for money.
Phil was just brilliant. Cannot speak too highly of the holiday
from start to finish.
Mrs A.S. Surrey, UK
is really difficult for me to express in English how much we want to
thank you for the experiences which you offered to us. There were so
many ‘small touches’ which made the trip particularly outstanding.
I [will] spread the ‘good news’ among my friends, they should not
miss out on extraordinary experiences – a big thank you again for
all your troubles. Mrs A.F. Derbyshire, UK
We enjoyed [the tour leader’s] patient and caring attitude… The
guide in Kyoto was/is a treasure – his profound knowledge and his
‘English’ sense of humour; do not lose him.
Mr A.F. Derbyshire,
was such fun and everything was wonderful. You did a great job
planning and guiding this trip. You are one wonderful, with it guy.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mrs P.L. New
blend of nursemaiding and independence...Wonderful
trip, wonderful company and Phil was great. I felt group size was just
about right with 12 of us. Phil had picked up that it was Ron’s
birthday during the holiday and celebrated it with a bottle of
Champagne and a gift from the group. Very nice and truly
appreciated.Thank you for a truly brilliant value for money holiday.
Mrs B.C. Bristol, UK