Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013
Trip code: AMSW
Validity: 01 Feb 2012 to 05 Jan 2013
See another side of Europe on this trip through Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. Visit classic cities filled with cultural treasures and opulent buildings. Enjoy spectacular vistas of snow-capped mountains, feast on hearty meals, be swept away by the grandeur of fairytale castles and frolic outdoors before deciding between cosy nights inside or venturing into the night-life. This magical part of Europe has much art and architecture to admire, traditional cuisine to indulge in and locals to mingle with - get ready for an ultimate Europe wonderland adventure.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Days 1-2 Vienna
Gruss Gott! Welcome to Austria.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Once the centre of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is today a cosmopolitan city with music in the air and the grandeur of a golden past.
Climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral.
Visit Hofburg Palace, the imposing winter retreat of Habsburg royals and now the official residence of the Austrian president.
Those with an interest in Austrian art should visit the Leopold, home to an important Egon Schiele collection as well as major works by Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt.
Take a short walk over to Belvedere Palace to see Klimt's famous painting 'The Kiss' or the Secession Building (a classic example of Viennese Art Nouveau architecture) to see his panorama 'Beethoven Frieze', inspired by the composer's Ninth Symphony.
The Spanish Riding School doesn't operate throughout the summer months. You will need to book tickets in advance to see the performance of the Lipizzaners. Phone: +43 (0)1 505 77 66 55 or e-mail email@example.com to arrange tickets.
You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. The Gloriette Monument has incredible views of Vienna. The palace gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues for this by pre-booking your tickets at www.schoenbrunn.at.
- Schoenbrunn Palace - EUR14
- Spanish Riding School practice - EUR12
- Vienna Boys Choir - EUR70
- Hofburg Palace and Sisi Museum - EUR10
- Prater Ferris Wheel - EUR9
- St Stephen's Tower - EUR4
- Leopold Museum - EUR12
- Belvedere Gallery - EUR11
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Hallstatt
Take the train from grand capital to the tiny alpine-postcard village of Hallstatt (approx 4 hrs).
Clinging to a misty lake and hemmed by impressive mountains, the ancient community of Hallstatt survived in almost total isolation on its fishing and salt trade. There are plenty of activities to do here such as delving into history at the macabre bone house, a trip up the mountains or ice cave exploration. With a large prehistoric cemetery nearby and a namesake Iron Age culture, the village is just as famous for its dead inhabitants as it is for its picturesque beauty. The lively Hallstatt market is a magical sight, especially around Christmas, but the principal charm of this unique area is relaxing in the peace and tranquillity that surrounds it.
Don't miss the 12th-century St Michael's Chapel, the town's ossuary, where you can see rows of skulls decorated with ivy or garlands of roses, and marked with the owner's name, profession and date of death.
Take the funicular up the mountain to the Salzbergwerk, the salt mines that sustained this tiny hamlet for centuries, and the oldest salt mine in the world. Learn about the first inhabitants of the area through the story of the 'Man in Salt', a prehistoric miner found fully preserved in 1734, as you slide your way down to a subterranean salt lake.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Austrian Alps
Journey deeper into the Alps on a train via Salzburg.
The hills are alive in the baroque city of Salzburg. Built on the fortune of its famous salt mines, it's the birthplace of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves legend, home to the hills from the Sound of Music and purveyor of absolutely everything Mozart. The city will captivate with its history, as well as its cobblestone lanes, bubbling river and charmingly kitsch atmosphere. There are more than enough serious historic squares and gardens to keep you busy.
You leader will take you on an orientation/sightseeing walk around the town past the main sights including the huge Hohensalzburg Fortress, Getreidegasse with its protruding cast iron signs, Mirabell Palace (the scene of the 'Do Re Mi' song in the legendary musical) and the River Salzach. We visit the home of Mozart today. Salzburg is a small town and easily discovered on foot. Please note that as we are only in Salzburg for 4 hours, there is not enough time to take the Sound of Music tour.
Let the music fade away and take a train to Innsbruck.
Occupying a valley along the main north-south route through the Alps since Roman times, Innsbruck is framed by mighty peaks offering a bounty of activities for outdoor thrill-seekers. With a long history as a former emperor's residence, a medieval state capital and a university town, Innsbruck remains an important cultural and sporting centre.
Escape from the mountains in the warren of streets and covered walkways that make up the city's medieval old town. Start with the magnificent gilded-copper tiles of the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) built in the 16th century by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
We stay in the Austrian Tirol for 2 nights to enjoy the wonderland of the Alps. Famous for skiing and mountain pursuits as well as the lively atmosphere, there is plenty to do even if the mountains do not inspire you. Depending on the weather, there is time during our stay here to get in some quality downhill skiing or boarding, snowshoeing, curling, ice-skating in winter or hiking and biking during other months. Spend the evenings in one of the many bars and restaurants enjoying an apres ski drink for which the Alps are renowned.
- Mozart's Birthplace - EUR6
- Hohensalzburg Fortress - EUR10
- Residenz Palace - EUR9
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Hohenschwangau
Take a bus on the romantic road to Hohenschwangau.
Surrounded by meadows, forests, a broad lake and lush alpine scenery, Schwangau is the quintessential Bavarian romance. Its most famous residents are the two castles that rise on the alpine foothills behind it - Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.
Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairytale spires of which inspired Walt Disney, is a magical place in all seasons. Overlooking a valley forest, the romanticism and magnificent ego of its creator is overwhelmingly present. The castle was built between 1869 and 1886 for the King of Bavaria, Mad Ludwig II, who commissioned theatrical set designers rather than architects to design it. The reclusive (and clinically insane) king intended Neuschwanstein to be a retreat where he could withdraw from public life. The king died before the castle was ever completed. Take a tour of the castle's completed rooms. Perhaps the most impressive is Ludwig's bedroom, which took 14 carpenters almost 5 years to complete!
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Munich
Take a deep breath of crisp alpine air and descend by bus to the raucous Munich.
Say Munich and most people think of swilling beer while wearing lederhosen, eating sausages and listening to oompah bands. But this cosmopolitan metropolis houses an extraordinary array of sights for travellers more interested in art, architecture, history and music. Of course, if it's your wish to clink steins and make merry, it is also the home of Oktoberfest and enough beer halls to fill anyone's cup.
Founded in the 12th century, Munich has had its share of medieval and modern history. Home to Wittelsbach dukes, princes and kings for hundreds of years, the city has been decimated by the Black Plague, was the scene of Hitler's failed 1923 coup, rose from the devastating bombings of World War II with extensive rebuilding and threw the Israel-Palestine conflict in to sharp relief during the 1972 Olympics, when 11 athletes were murdered by terrorists. Now a publishing and technology powerhouse, Munich is amongst the most liveable of the world's cities.
Promenade through Marianplatz, checking in at the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and its Glockenspiel, which brings crowds to a halt as it peals out over the square. For a taste of old Munich, make a circuit of the three medieval city gates still standing: Karlstor, Sendlinger Tor and Isartor.
Stretching from the city centre to the northern outskirts is the sweeping Englischer Garten, one of the largest urban parks in the world. A wonderland in winter and a nude-sunbather's paradise in the summer, the park is perfect year-round for a stroll or a drink in the beer garden. You may even catch surfers on the standing wave at Eisbach, an artificial brook.
- BMW World - EUR6
- Pinakothek Museum/Art Gallery - EUR8
- Third Reich Tour - EUR12
- Science Museum - EUR8
- Bavarian National Museum - EUR3
- Bavarian Royal Palace - EUR7
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Berlin
Head towards the cosmopolitan capital of Germany, Berlin.
Berlin is a vivacious city where fast-paced modern development is overlaid on a history familiar to everyone. Surviving pre-World War I attractions include the Schloss Charlottenburg, the Prussian Queen's Summer Palace, and the Prussian Victory Column. The Tiergarten, Berlin's largest green space with 23 kilometres of pathways, is also home to the world famous Berlin Zoo.
There are countless unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history, all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate, such as the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz or the confronting Topography of Terror. The Reichstag holds a special and symbolic meaning, outside its role once again as the home of Parliament, and the great glass dome that today crowns the building offers sweeping views over Berlin. At the very heart of Berlin stands the Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of a divided city, and the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that can still be seen.
Visit Checkpoint Charlie. This unique museum overlooks the former border checkpoint dividing East and West and explains how the city came to be divided overnight, as well as describing attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain.
For lovers of antiquity, the Pergamon Museum is a highlight. Named after the reconstruction of the full-size Pergamon Altar it houses, the museum's collection of antiquities, Middle Eastern and Islamic art makes it the most-visited museum in Germany. Don't miss the Ishtar Gate, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Aleppo Room.
Don't miss out on Berlin's up-beat nightlife. Consider spending an evening celebrating life as the locals do - at a bar, lounge, nightclub or embracing some live music.
- Checkpoint Charlie Museum
- Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz - EUR8
- Berlin TV Tower - EUR12
- Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR15
- Jewish Museum - EUR5
- Museum pass, 3 day ticket - EUR19
- Walking tour - EUR30
- Pergamon Museum - EUR13
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 13 Dresden
Take the train into the state of Saxony, renowned as the birthplace of the German language, and discover Dresden (approx 2 hrs).
Once a cultural stronghold with a deliciously baroque facade, Dresden today is again cloaking itself in ornamented finery. A modern symbol of destruction after the city was levelled by Allied bombs in World War II, then subject to East German urbanisation, Dresden has painstakingly restored the grand buildings it once treasured. With the mighty Elbe River winding its way through the central town and over 60% of the area covered in nature reserves and forests, spacious Dresden is also one of the greenest cities in Europe.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 14-15 Prague
Having served as the residence of rulers and archbishops for over a thousand years, Prague has been left with a unique gallery of historic buildings. The 'City of a Hundred Spires' is an architecture-lover's dream - you can trace the history of design from the Middle Ages all the way through to the avant-gardism of the most controversial building in the city, the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building) on the banks of the Vltava.
Wander through the Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the traditions and culture of Prague's formerly large Jewish community.
The Old Town at night is truly special. In addition to the sights, there are many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars. The nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether dance clubs, traditional beer-halls or underground absinthe bars are your speed, there is something for just about everyone in this cosmopolitan city. The city has one of the longest-standing and respected jazz scenes in Europe. If you should find yourself out until the early hours in an atmospheric jazz club, have a wander along Charles Bridge or Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.
In Prague we stay in our own private apartments. We have several separate apartments located in the city centre so you may be a short walk away from your other group members and your leader. Staying in the city centre allows easy access to all the sights and the restaurants and bars - it's all an easy stroll from your front door. This is your chance to look behind those facades. Each apartment has 2-3 rooms with one or two shared bathrooms. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens and you can choose to buy your own groceries and supplies for meals. Our apartments are not hotels, there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and you just can't beat the location.
- Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK105
- Church of St Barbara - CZK40
- Jewish Quarter - CZK480
- Mucha Museum - CZK180
Private apartment (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- Europe Wonderland - Single Supplement (AMSW)
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Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The price of the Single supplement does not include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
-Days 5-6 Austrian Alps
-Days 9-10 Munich
-Day 13 Dresden
Hotel (13 nts), Private apartment (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables and salads. Vegans will find it even more challenging. Vegetarians might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars, dried fruits and so on.
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Bus, Metro, Train, Tram
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point description
The IBIS Budget Wien St. Marx is modern comfortable hotel. The large rooms all have private bathrooms, flat screen TV's and Wifi access.
Joining point instructions
To arrive at the joining point in Vienna, a taxi from the airport will cost approximately EUR35.
Alternatively, you can catch public transport: When you exit the airport you follow the signs to the train. Take the train S7 direction FLORIDSDORF. Get off (approximately 20 minutes later) at the Station WIEN MITTE. Then follow the signs to the metro U3 (orange). Take the metro direction SIMMERING.
Hop off at GASOMETER (5 minutes later). Walk out of the station, the large round ‘Gasometer’ building should be behind you. Turn left and then immediately (after 10 meters) turn right at T-junction. Continue straight ahead and walk over the zebra crossing ahead of you. Continue walking straight and take the first right. IBIS Budget Wien St Marx will be on your right hand side after approximately 20 meters. (Journey time from GASOMETER metro station to hotel should take approximately 5-7 minutes).
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point description
We will be using centrally located apartments, within walking distance to all the main sights of Prague. They are clean and comfortable, and usually comprise of 2 separate rooms which you will share with other members of your group. Bathrooms are shared. To accommodate our passengers in Prague, we have several separate apartments located near the centre therefore you may be a short walk away from your other group members.
We are unable to provide additional nights accommodation in the apartments.
Finish point instructions
A taxi to the Airport will cost approximately EUR20-25 (650CZK). Your leader can assist with instructions for public transport options if preferred.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon Offset C02-e 184.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.