frequently asked questions...
Small Group Tours
Our textile, craft and culture tours have something for everyone. We travel in small groups of no more than 10 people to ensure that we can experience a different side of travel. We aim to travel and not impact on local communities but carefully tip toes into the lives of the places we visit and share our love of textiles, traditional crafts and culture.
Our small group textile and craft tours are specifically designed for women who have similar interests and provide a fantastic opportunity to make new friends and share this unique experience with like-minded travellers of all ages (although males are welcomed and there is lots for them to see and do).
Below are some of the answers we get asked about our tours. If you have any questions which are not answered here please don't hesitate to email and I will be happy to answer them.
I’m used to travelling independently. Are your group tours really for me?
We provide small group escorted small group tours which are not conventional group tours. You will be travelling with a maximum of 10 other people on escorted small group tours (the average is only around 8). Tours are designed to provide you with a good balance of personal discovery and group activity with like-minded travellers. There is always plenty of time to go off on your own exploring and "alone time".
Who will I be travelling with?
Our travellers are of all ages and from all parts of the world. They share a passion for textiles, culture and a desire to make a difference to the people they meet and to connect with the lives and cultures the places they visit. Many of our travellers have done a lot of travel in the past but are looking for something that they cant organise themselves and enjoy the company of others with the same interests. The age group of our tour participants ranges from around 45 to 75 years of age.
What if I don't want to participate in the hands-on classes?
On many of our tours we provide a host of hands-on classes and workshops. These are designed for novices and are purely for fun and interaction with the local people. If there are any activities that you don't want to do - just let your tour leader know and they will suggest alternative activities for you to do.
Can husbands or partners join a textile focused tour?
Yes most definitely - although we focus on textiles there is always something else for those not interested to do or see.
How fit do I have to be to join a tour?
Most tours are suited to anybody of normal fitness and mobility with a desire to get out and experience local culture. Walking and optional trekking may be included in some of our itineraries. Some of our tours may feature drives of more than 5 hours or more basic accommodation, where this is the case the tour dossier will provide details. Each tour dossier contains a section on IS THIS TOUR FOR ME please read this carefully before deciding to book a tour. Note on our Bhutan tour travellers will need to ensure that they have greater level of fitness due to the high altitude of this destination.
What if I’m a single traveller?
Our groups are a mix of single travellers, couples and friends. If you are a solo traveller and wish to share with someone we will endeavour to find someone else on the tour who wishes to share - if there is no one wanting to share the only difference in your cost is that of a single room supplement that we pay to our hotels. If you are wanting to do a tour outside of our scheduled small group tours - register your details with us and we will help you find someone wanting to travel to the same place as you.
What kinds of accommodation will I stay in?
Our hotels and guesthouses are handpicked by us and all support the same philosophies as we do, with many of them offering trainee ships for local kids. Whilst they do not offer all of the 5 star trimmings they provide a very clean, safe, quiet and relaxed atmosphere so you can enjoy your holiday. We also ensure that the majority of our accommodation is located in the centre of town so that it is easy for you to explore when you have some time to yourself. On some tours (Vietnam & Bhutan) accommodation may be in either a home-stay or very basic hotel, if this is the case we endeavour to ensure that clean western style bathroom facilities are available where possible and details are always provided in the tour dossier. Most of our hotels provide mini-bars, cable tv, aircon, in room safes, private bathroom facilities and internet access facilities.
How will I be getting around?
We provide comfortable and air-conditioned private transport which allows us the freedom to stop and snack with the locals, shop with the locals and take those great photo’s along the way. On tours that fly from one country to another these flights will generally be included (see individual tour dossiers). On some of our journeys in Cambodia deluxe public tourist buses are used (with all the facilities including a toilet and hostess). We use different modes of transport in some locations such as tuk-tuks, cyclos and boat's - these are always detailed in the tour dossier.
Do I need to worry about what to eat and where to eat?
Eating is one of the highlights of travelling throughout Asia and we like to make sure you get to experience as much local flavour as possible. Because we cater for single travellers we like to take the hassle out of eating for you by including some meals in the cost of your tour. We do not include all meals as we know its fun to go off on your own to explore food options. Your tour guide will provide you with recommended restaurants for meals which are not included on the tour. We often eat at small family run restaurants or restaurants that participate in community training programs, providing skills to local kids and disabled members of the community. All restaurants cater for all tastes! If you have preferences for food, for example vegetarian you just need to indicate that on your booking form and we will look after it for you. When meals are included in your tour you must pay for beverages and extra's.
Who will lead and guide my tour ?
Escorted Small Group Tours - These tours depart with a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 10 people and are escorted by Narelle Grudgfield along with local guides and textile experts.
Independent Tours - Your local tour leader will greet you when you arrive in the country and accompany you throughout your tour to ensure your comfort and safety. These tours can depart with a minimum of 2 or up to a large group of 15+. In the case of private tours of 6 or more Narelle may be used to lead your tour - subject to her availability.
Are there any hidden costs?
No, there are no hidden costs. There are generally no local payments, with the exception of independent tours which may incur a small local payment for hands on classes and workshops. The advertised tour cost covers everything except: international flights, beverages, tips and gratuities, personal expenses, meals taken outside the tour group meals, or activities that you undertake to do on your own.
Is tipping necessary?
The general etiquette for tipping is for around $5 per day for a guide and $3 per day for your driver. When it comes to porters and meals your guide will always help you out with what local tipping is suggested.
Should I bring gifts for people that I meet along the way?
This is a purely personal thing, however if you do visit an organisation (eg orphange in Cambodia) during the course of your tour - your tour leader will ask if anyone wishes to donate food or goods to the organisation. Your tour leader will then organise supplies to be purchased locally based on what they currently need. Bringing goods from home tends to fill your luggage and it is far better to buy goods locally to support the local economy. Pens and school equipment, along with sewing supplies and toiletries are also far better than lollies or small stuffed animals but you need to assess each situation as it is impossible to give to everyone and it may cause problems in some situations.