is the first holiday where I genuinely felt part of a different culture
and not so much of a tourist
– some aspects were different / more
challenging than I expected but this made for a more rewarding
– a truly amazing journey. Mr J.D. Gloucestershire,
has been a terrific trip – stimulating, informative and very well
organized. The trip as a whole
was one of the best I’ve been on with a
wide variety of things to see. Your knowledge of the language
enormously expanded our enjoyment. Your efforts were greatly appreciated
and you made
every move to ensure our comfort and enjoyment. Mr D.M.
Small groups work very well. I was lucky to be in a small group with
people who were a pleasure to travel with.
The tour leader and local guide
were excellent, their background knowledge on the country helped to make
feel more a part of the place for my visit rather than just a tourist.
Both were very friendly courteous people.
Pre-departure information was
excellent, it answered all my questions. It was obvious from this that a
of thought has gone into anticipating the requirement for
background information on the country visited
and for the items needed for
the trip. In short it made organizing for the trip very simple. Overall
the trip was superb.
Very well organized from the outset. Mr G.S. Essex, UK
I travel often with The Oriental Caravan it is becoming more obvious that
Phil’s contacts make the holiday –
the local guides always surpass
expectations. Mrs J.L. London, UK
The trip content was very impressive, Every day was different and as good
as the previous one.
The trip was extremely well organized and the
information provided by knowledgeable guides (and by you) greatly
our understanding and thus enjoyment. But we know what you are capable of
and that is why we came!
THANK YOU. Ms M.S.
I thank you giving me the opportunity to spend some of the happiest times
of my whole life on your trip
with The Oriental Caravan!! I loved it!! I
appreciated the time you took going out to dinner with us and taking
the great places after it was great fun!! Mrs G.L. Inverness,
itinerary and trip content were all excellent with the balance just right
between escorted and free time.
Also, we weren't overburdened with facts!
Thanks for a great time! Mr and Mrs A. and J.R. Gloucestershire
whole thing went off perfectly and if we had to do it all again, I don't
think I would change any of it.
in all a pretty damn good trip - thanks! Mr G.B. East Yorkshire UK
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
well-organised. Good to explore further then most western tourists
get. Never imagined we could eat so well for so little money. Very
pleased to have been introduced to so many types/styles of food – a
gastronomic tour as well. Mrs M.C. Stockport, UK
Thanks for an intelligent itinerary. Mr M.B. Bedfordshire, UK
truly wonderful cultural experience. Thank you. Mrs
H.M. Isle of Man
I can say is it was a wonderful experience. (Tour
leader) What could one say – absolutely great, considerate to us
older more delicate ladies. We all had a wonderful trip thanks to Phil
and his planning. Mrs L.F. Isle of Man
seen so much and such a wide variety that we’ve never been bored for
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
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.
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.
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
was a truly great and memorable trip helped in no small part by the huge
amounts of behind-the-scenes
planning and networking that had gone on to
help it run smoothly. The tour leader's knowledge of the areas
through is vast and his inimitable style part of the experience. It was
great to see how he (and therefore we!)
was so warmly received in the many
places he was already known... I wouldn't want to travel in
without a leader
who was as fluent in the language and as thoroughly at
home in the country as he is. The fact that most of the group
travelled with The Oriental Caravan before is a recommendation in
itself!" Mrs J.L London,
enjoyed the trip which exceeded all my expectations. It was varied and
interesting and gave me
and its culture. Loved the Mt Aso trip and the overnight stay on Miyajima
a good insight into
- very special to be there at night and early the next morning! Beppu was
fantastic & fun. Great place
to re-charge one’s batteries midway
through the trip. Charming guesthouse and hostess in Aso! Enjoyed using
public transport and also thought the number of free days was about right.
Hectic but still had time to savour precious
moments. The local guide in
is a MUST. He was superb as, of course, was The Oriental Caravan leader
who led in a relaxed and friendly way and kept us all in order! Good
Have written to the Japan Tourist Board Savile Row singing
your praises! Shall continue to do so
and hope to be with you again in the
future. Mrs K. B Yorkshire, UK
good insight into life in
- changed my views of the Japanese people. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip
and value the hard work that must have been done to make it so successful
Phil Colley at his best. Mr A.R. Nottingham,
saw/experienced far more of the Real Japan than would have been the case on our
or in a Big Company Tour – I felt part of the country rather than an
observer. Very pleased
with the level of support received from Phil on the
tour and we appreciated the amount of time
that was spent leading the
group. The walking was very much to our taste and made for some
memories – climbs at Beppu and Aso were great. Transport, what can I say
Taxis worked well.
hotel was very pleasant and excellent service, good location.
evening in Miyajima. Mt Aso was a brilliant experience, and sleeping on a
surprisingly comfortable. In terms of the food, there was a nice
variety combining traditional
and western dishes. A good balance as full
on Japanese takes a bit of getting used to.
Some fun and memorable meals
out were had particularly in Beppu, Nagasaki
the latter being my favourite. The talks by Kunio were much
appreciated as well.
I’ll do this honeymoon lark again!
have withdrawal symptoms for all the special food. The hotel in
- first time for me to take pics of a toilet! Loved watching
the bullet train from my window!!
was very good. The owners were
friendly, the doll display interesting,
was good. One of the highlights of my trip was spending special time
at one of the little
oyster bars in one of the streets just sent the owner
a gift for the grandchildren – a Scotland
bagpipe CD!! Beppu Excellent!!!! Loved it at that place. The hot spring
baths and massage chairs
were just wonderful!! Nagasaki
was one of my favourite hotels my kind of place. Lots of style and
very helpful. The transport was excellent 10/10 + Phil for all your great
efforts!! I hope
your tours continue to be successful. Mrs G.L. Inverness, Scotland
excellent introduction to Japan! Mr K.C.
and Mrs M.C. London UK
itinerary was well-balanced allowing individual exploration and group
exploration. The trip gave me
a real feel for life in Japan.
There was always something to explore and many interesting insights
Japanese life. Accommodation and food was excellent. On Miyajima
[we stayed in] a very pleasant,
homely inn with a very nice family
atmosphere, and a superb location. I liked this one a lot! Mt Aso as per
Miyajima accommodation, had great personal touches. Felt like one of the
family. Sleeping on the floor
just like camping indoors! Nagasaki
smallest of accommodation, but nice comfortable room serviced with usual
Japanese efficiency. I really enjoyed eating out in Japan. The restaurants were superb, my particular favourites
were the one in
Beppu (second night) and the natural food restaurants in Tokyo. Not forgetting on Miyajima,
enjoyed watching it being prepared. Could not
fault the transportation – no shortage of taxis. The trains are superb,
on time so little waiting at any point on the trip made traveling around Japan
a pleasure. Even the underground
was easy, I found.
The company I was in made for a very enjoyable and
unforgettable trip. I have
and will continue to recommend Oriental Caravan
to friends etc. Mr G.S Essex, UK
trip content suited me as I like a wide range of different things – I
particularly enjoyed the walks,
but I also like gardens and being in
cities so I was happy as Larry. Felt that the trip starting in Kyoto
and ending in Tokyo
worked really well, as by the time we arrived in Tokyo
we were really relaxed and
so could enjoy the city properly. Altogether
the accommodation was faultless. Favourite was Mt Aso
– I loved it and
could have stayed many more nights! Good mix of Japanese food/ more
which I think would suit both adventurous and wary
eaters. Particularly enjoyed the traditional
Japanese meals and Miyajima.
Fantastic use of the public transport system really added to the whole
experience of seeing the real Japan,
Always comfortable and lived up to its reputation of being dead on time.
Phil was always courteous, very well organized and friendly so I felt
totally confident in him throughout.
He made the trip fun, Would be happy
to travel with him in future. Altogether a fantastic trip – I enjoyed
(almost!) every minute and have brought back some great memories. Thanks
for all your hard work
– so long and thanks for the fish. Ms KS, Gloucestershire,
introduction to Tohoku with added interest of following Matsu Basho. We
saw so much
but it was never exhausting. Great variety, plenty of
interesting places and great evening venues.
Tour leader tireless in
providing interesting and novel experiences for the group!! Everything
remarkably smoothly considering the areas being traveled through and
using public transport throughout.
Really good food – helped by having
an ardent vegetarian [Phil Colley] who speaks Japanese on board.
Especially remember the sansai and noodles on the way to Iwaki San and the
meal in the bar in Akita.
Great evening as well. Transport – totally consumer friendly – easy to
use/efficient etc. Country trains are great.
I thoroughly enjoyed this
trip – having been south of Tokyo
before this was a totally different experience.
Mrs J.L. London, UK
We wanted to
go to Tohoku - an area of northern Japan
popular with the Japanese - but hadn't a clue
how to arrange the trip. Nobody seemed to take
tours there and so on recommendation we turned to
The Oriental Caravan.
All in all, what with walking amidst snow capped volcanic mountains,
around the islets of Matsushima Bay, drinking at cherry blossom
parties and bathing in steaming onsen,
this was the perfect introduction
to Japan's varied and beautiful countryside. Many thanks to The Oriental
Ms L. London.
great trip! The itinerary was excellent - very varied and comprehensive. I
loved the 'bullet trains' and also
the Sonic Express with its Mickey Mouse
headrests! The Oriental Caravan leader was, as usual, excellent
charming, considerate and humorous. A big thank you and good luck!
arrangements worked extremely well leading to a memorable visit to an area
where very few foreigners go to.
The minshuku Magariya is truly
Mr M. Edinburgh, Scotland
really enjoyed the tour it was a great 14 days, I enjoyed all the trains
they were excellent.
Tour leader – that’s you Phil, always courteous.
You led us well – we were always on time for our trains etc.
Mr W. and
Mrs F.D. Melbourne, Australia.
hotel was good
Leader was good with plenty of extra information on request for self
It was a very good idea to transport the luggage separately. Tokyo
- easy to get to the subways and JR railway line. I really
enjoyed the trip. Thank you. Mrs H.B Wigan UK
Just want to say thank you for the CD. It will bring good memories of Japan.
I had a wonderful time. Ms E.R. USA
you for the great job you did for us – your insight and kind personality
were perfect in the guidance
and moulding a group as diverse this –
I’ve traveled overseas many times and you are the best guide I ever had,
congratulations on a job well done. I am following several leads as to how
more travelers can be made aware of
your talent for both developing a
thoughtful and organized tour, and leading a diverse group to unusual and
provoking locations. Mr J.M. USA
good itinerary for Japan.
The trip in Spring '98 was excellent, well organised and fun.
the right step to include more off-the-beaten-track stuff. Mr N.B. Oxfordshire,
flying carpet of Japan
unfurled as the blossom gained volume dangling and dancing in the wind.
The walking was gentle but at a passage of time all could cope with. I
liked meeting locals
- how helpful all ages of Japanese are. The gentle
introduction into Japanese lifestyle was a good progression.
transport network is so well coordinated, clean and efficient, that made
it a pleasure to travel.
The tour was well planned and well co-ordinated.
A good overview of Japan
that covered a wide range
of interesting attractions and major interesting
cities. Mr L.G and S.F. Ireland
again for the wonderful
trip. Beautifully organised, with seamless logistics, outstanding guides
and of course your good self to make it a great couple of weeks. I would
recommend this trip
to anyone interested in first-hand experience of the
Tibetan people, their culture and the unique
'Roof of the World' landscape." - Ms R.H Staffordshire, UK
trip. I look forward to joining the caravan another time. Great to know we
were getting the ‘Tibetan view’
Guides were excellent. Couldn’t have asked for a more competent and knowledgeable
guide than ours.
You did a typically great job too! Ms C.W
was unforgettable. The tour allowed enough freedom
for all 'Caravaneers'
to experience the endless spaces of Tibet in an individual way,
being so well organised that the safety, security and (allowing for the
aspects of the terrain) comfort of all participants was
ensured. Everyone who can should go to Kailash,
and The Oriental Caravan
is the ideal way to experience it! Mr J.H London, UK
was excellent and friendly - ideal to have such a good hotel after the
and after the trip. The hotel in
was also excellent. Friendly people, good situation in old town,
character. As for the restaurants and food – great variety and very
tasty! The food was above
all expectations. Gesang [local guide] is a gem!
Knowledgeable, efficient, friendly, good sense of humour,
praise high enough! The 3 Tibetan drivers in the landcruisers were
‘gentlemen’ - very cheerful
and friendly - I had every faith in their
driving. This was a fantastic trip. I knew Tibet
would be good
but thanks to you the trip was better than I could have
imagined. It must have required quite a lot of hard work
Your knowledge of the people and language made all the difference! Highly
Many thanks. Ms M.S and Mr D.M Avon, UK
The trek – what can I say – a pony carried the tent, a man put the
tent up – brilliant.
a great spot for beginning and ending the trip. Don’t change the
guesthouse with no power
– a lovely spot - the Mountain Lodge was
excellent, good rooms, good sitting area in dining room.
Food in Bhutan
was much better than I had anticipated, always plenty of it and plenty of
Mango juice – yum!! Peter was a great driver, even if a lousy
joke teller! Sanjay – brilliant guide,
very knowledgeable, always seemed
to have us in the “right place at the right time”.
Pommaret [world expert on Bhutan]
– what a bonus that was! I had a great time.
Lovely country with
beautiful scenery, people etc. A good crowd to travel with. Thank you.
A.G. Berwickshire, UK
The trek – excellent! Tour content, tour leader, guides, information all
excellent! Mr. G.A.B. Nottingham, UK
local guide Sanjay was very good indeed. Phil is Phil! I enjoy trips with
him. Ms S.K. Dhahran, Saudi
The whole trip was great – fantastic country and people – a well
planned tour making the most of the time available.
I’m recommending it
to everyone I meet. (Only change would be more time for shopping in Thimpu).
On the trek
we had great tents and great to have one each. Enjoyed the
food – especially the breakfasts
- always catered for vegetarians amply.
The hotel in Para was very comfortable especially the suite on the last
Entertainment laid on by the host! The hotel in Jakarta was very
idiosyncratic but I liked it a lot and
the village was unmissible –
great to see the black neck cranes. Sangay and Peter [Bhutanese guides]
The tour made me want to see more of
especially the East.
Mrs. J.L. London, UK
was a truly great and memorable trip helped in no small part by the huge
amounts of behind-the-scenes planning
and networking that had gone on to
help it run smoothly. The tour leader's knowledge of the areas travelled
is vast and his inimitable style part of the experience. It was great to
see how he (and therefore we!) was
so warmly received in the many places
he was already known... I wouldn't want to travel in China
without a leader who
was as fluent in the language and as thoroughly at
home in the country as he is. Having done a similar route in 92 this
much more well thought out itinerary. There was a good balance re road/air
travel. PIA seems to have improved
but it could be because TOC wangled
seats on the upper deck! The train journey was great much better than I
All the hotels in Pakistan
had spectacular views especially the hilltop in Karimabad the moonlight on
was surreal. The fact that most of the group had travelled
with The Oriental Caravan before is a recommendation in itself!
those reading this, who do not know Phil, I met Phil in 1992/3. He was
given the unenviable task of being
the translator and general 'get us out
of trouble' guy on - to the best of my knowledge - the only single vehicle
(with no back up!) crossing of the Taklamakan Desert, in recent history.
He knows his stuff and if I was not now
working in the USA,
I would not hesitate to join him on a trip. Good Luck Phil, I hope all
your trips are a success.
Snow (Exodus Expedition leader, 1991-93) USA
a really great time – seemed to fill every minute so seemed more than 16
days. Gave very good introduction
even if covering a very small geographical area. Plenty of variety –
right balance of natural history
/ cultural interest. Fantastic drivers.
Everyone was great couldn’t have asked for better. Worked well as a
Food while camping was amazing – would never expect 3 courses
especially at lunch – wouldn’t even expect
cooked lunch! Ms J.L
We wanted to go to Tohoku - an area of northern
popular with the Japanese -
but hadn't a clue
how to arrange the trip. Nobody seemed to take
tours there and so on recommendation we turned to
The Oriental Caravan.
The tailor-made tour that Phil and his team in Japan
came up with ran very smoothly
and took us north of
and east and west along the coasts of both the
Sea of Japan
and the Pacific.
The ryokan guesthouses found for us,
including an old thatched farm, were ideal and ensured we had the full
'Japanese experience'. All in all, what with walking amidst snow capped
volcanic mountains, cruising around
the islets of Matsushima Bay, drinking
at cherry blossom parties and bathing in steaming onsen, this was
perfect introduction to Japan's varied and beautiful countryside. Many
thanks to The Oriental Caravan!
Ms L London.
remember in 1997, the grasslands in northern
You playing guitar alone at sunset, empty beer cans
hundreds of vintage cars around? Yes, the Beijing-Paris classic cars
For a selection of recent press cuttings
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