The best travel complaint we ever received…the sequel


Well played, Rebecca Gadsby, you serial complainant. Last year you cut us to the bone with this scathing indictment, and this year you’ve followed it up with another venom-soaked tirade that we will probably frame and hang in the lobby one day. If we had a cap, we’d doff it to you.

Dear Intrepid,

You may remember me, as I wrote detailed letter of complaint last summer on my return from a very disappointing trip to Thailand.

I decided, against the advice of patriotic Brits, to embark on another one of your tours; merely to see if I could find something to complain about, thus reinstating my citizenship in the UK as a ‘true Brit’, and to be respected amongst my friends again (you may remember that I was concerned about extradition following last year’s trip).

I wisely chose Cambodia as my destination this year, as I thought this would provide plenty of opportunity for misdemeanours. It was difficult, I confess, and I had to work terribly hard at it, but I’m delighted to say that I fulfilled my quest to find fault with your company. I will forthwith outline my concerns about this trip;

1. Firstly, I was horrified to discover from my GP that I would require ‘malaria tablets’ for this trip. This was very alarming indeed. Did you know there were dangerous monsters in this country you’re allowing decent British people to go to? Why have Intrepid not taken steps to abolish these dangerous invaders of the skin? Do you know what’s fun about mosquitos? Nothing. They’re horrible little blighters that drain your blood during the night. It was a miracle that I had any blood left after 5 bites (I have no idea how much they take, but I suspect a pint or two). Please take steps immediately to get rid of them before any other poor British traveller is forced to live with dots on their skin for 5 days.

2. My tour guide, Pheap, was far too nice. And he smiled too much. One should be suspicious about someone who is friendly all of the time and his general sunny disposition each and every day was very disconcerting. One had to wonder what he was up to. Combined with this he always wore bright patterned shirts; I suspect he was trying to hypnotise me. Please provide your guides with a dull grey shirt and train them to adopt a sterner look – at least for a large portion of the day. This will be less disturbing for the perceptive English traveller.

3. The scenery during the kayaking was far too beautiful and serene to be real. I have strong suspicions that the Khmers are conning both you and me and they have created the scenery in a workshop and it’s actually all just fiberglass. If I wanted to go to a film set, I could have popped to Pinewood studios instead. I can’t possibly show the pictures to my friends and family; they won’t believe they’re real and will probably accuse me of ‘digitally enhancing’ them. Some nice grassy banks with the odd cow is a more-than-sufficient view. Mountains draped in lush green jungle and the twisted trees in the river forest is all a bit, well, unbelievable. Have you got Tim Burton working for you now?

4. Now, the Temples tour: I’m sure they will all look lovely when they’re finished, but it is completely unacceptable to take us to a building site as part of the trip. There was rubble everywhere which created many perilous trip hazards and as for the weeds – well! Someone needs to employ a gardener ASAP, as it looks like it hasn’t been attended to for hundreds of years (I enclose a picture for reference). Can you believe that I actually saw a tree growing out of one building?! It’s a disgrace. Also, there wasn’t a builder in sight – at any of the temples – so I suspect work on these buildings is going to be very slow and I don’t anticipate any results for some time. I saw a chicken wondering around, but it didn’t seem to have any tools, so it seems likely that it was just surveying the building. You should probably take the Angkor temples off your itinerary until building work is complete.

5. I lead on to my final, and most important complaint; there was a serious lack of English Breakfast tea and I was forced to go without for the entire 10 days. As an Australian company, I am aware that you may not understand the importance of ‘proper tea.’ I will enlighten you; it is detrimental to the British and a perfectly good trip can be completely ruined by the absence of decent tea. We live off tea; it is how we are fuelled. Our brains cannot operate without it and our body’s functions are stabilised by it. For instance, after our thrilling bike ride through the villages, one needed to calm down, assess the situation and return to a normal heart rhythm by drinking tea. I’ve never understood how other cultures do this without tea, but believe me; it is essential to the British. The sub-standard tea provided was not acceptable in the slightest and, in fact, made me quite angry. Intrepid should provide each and every hotel/tour guide/restaurant with the correct tea with immediate effect. This should probably be done at every location you visit around the world. I cannot bear the thought of another British traveller suffering in the manner that I did.

Hopefully this advice will help you to make the correct adjustments to the Hike, Bike & Kayak trip to Cambodia. I anticipate taking another one of your trips next year; but you should not see this as a reflection of your hard work, organisation, astuteness or the dedication of your guides. It is merely out of a sense of curiosity to see if my complaint about the tea has been addressed.

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