Last Modified: 12 Mar 2013
Cycle Indochina and Angkor
Trip code: TZXC
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Mar 2013
This journey takes us across three countries with contrasting recent histories and subtly different cultures. From the busy streets of Bangkok we make straight for the rolling limestone hills of Thailand's largest National Park, Khao Yai.
Moving into Cambodia we head through shimmering paddy fields to Angkor, the magnificent temple and city complex at the centre of the former Khmer Empire and one of the world's great historic sites. We reach Phnom Penh, where we encounter stark reminders of Cambodia's more recent past. Arriving in Vietnam, we enter the Mekong Delta, a criss-crossed patchwork of rice paddies and waterways, the so-called 'rice bowl of Vietnam'.
We complete our journey in the vibrant city of Ho Chi Minh City where the frenetic pace contrasts with some of the rural areas we have cycled through.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
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.
Day 1 Bangkok / Khao Yai NP
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.
Meet the tour leader at the joining point hotel in Bangkok at 9am (subject to change - see final joining instructions) from where you will transfer to the airport to meet the rest of the group.
We will then transfer by bus to our hotel near Khao Yai National Park (3 hour drive). We stay in a pleasant resort with a swimming pool. In the afternoon we have a short warm up ride through the nearby villages (ride approx. 10-20 km).
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Cycle Khao Yai to Prachinburi
Our cycle route today is 90km from door-to-door, but we suggest you don't attempt to cycle the full distance unless you are well acclimatized to the heat. The support vehicle follows us throughout the day, and you can cycle as much or as little as you like. Our route follows minor roads, byways and the occasional dirt trail as we skirt Khao Yai, which translates as 'the Big Mountain'. We will pass through small villages, past monasteries and paddy fields. Continuing the ride along country backroads we arrive at our rustic resort in the late afternoon with time to relax before sampling some of the local dishes.
Ride approx. up to 90km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Cycle to Sa Keaw
Riding directly from the resort, we follow minor roads through Thai rural landscapes including rubber and eucalyptus plantations as well as tapioca and rice fields. Today there are a few easy rolling hills, but the route is mostly flat. There will be plenty opportunities to stop and chat with the friendly Thais. The ride ends with a short section on a busier road as we enter the town of Sa Keaw.
Ride approx. 70km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Cycle to Aranyaprathet
Leaving our hotel early in the morning we ride towards the beautiful Pang Sida National Park, where we can stop by a reservoir for a swim and a view of the untouched jungle on the other side. We will stop for lunch at a wildlife sanctuary before carrying on, cycling on quiet but well-maintained scenic roads on the way to Aranyaprathet 10 km from the Cambodian border.
Ride approx. 90 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Siem Reap
After breakfast we transfer to the border and complete customs formalities as we cross the busy border into Cambodia. After the border at Poipet we then cycle to bus station where our bus is waiting for us, before driving to Siem Reap. During the journey our new local leader will introduce us to life in Cambodia. Due to years of civil war the country is poorer and less developed, and this is immediately obvious to us from the state of the roads. Apart from growth in the capital and around Siem Reap, the way of life in the countryside is still very much the same as it has been for centuries.
Ride approx. 40km
This afternoon we ride from Siem Reap past Wat Athvea, a modern temple in the grounds of the ruins of an Angkorian temple, and finishing up at a market and picnic area outside of Siem Reap. Depending on how long it takes to cross the border this morning we will be picked up here or cycle back to the hotel.
Ride approx 25-40 km.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Angkor
Today we may choose to have an early start to avoid the inevitable crowds drawn to the wonders of Angkor. The various temples are spread over a wide area, and are linked by shady avenues: meandering our way between them by bike gives us a unique perspective. Our cycle tour will include the jungle-covered Ta Prohm, with the amazing roots of the Fromagier trees clinging to the ancient stones; the largest complex of Angkor Thom, which includes the Terrace of the Leper Kings; the famous Bayon temples with its 37 pagodas (originally there were 49) topped with the four faces of the king; and of course the incredible Angkor Wat, with its huge moat, long causeway and massive towers - it is the largest temple complex in Asia.
Ride approx. 30km
The next day we cycle outside the main Angkor complex to the outlying temple of Banteay Srei, 28km from Siem Reap town. Our route takes us past paddy fields, and through pretty villages. Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century and contains some of the finest examples of Khmer sculpture. Although much smaller than the later temples, here all of the buildings are covered in exquisite carvings. In the afternoon as we cycle back to Siem Reap we can stop and visit a few of the less visited Angkor temples.
Siem Reap town is pleasant to wander around and the market has plenty of interest and excellent shopping, and there is a vibrant nightlife. On one of our afternoons there should also be time to visit the amazing Tonle Sap Lake, which is a branch of the Mekong River. This optional trip includes a boat trip to see the floating fishing villages and dinner on a houseboat.
Ride approx. 70km
- Siem Reap - Guided Angkor Wat & Angkok Tom tour
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Phnom Penh
This morning we cycle just outside of Siem Reap and visit a local school. As we visit on a Sunday, there will be no classes but we will meet the staff and volunteers and tour the buildings. We then leave our bikes for the next two days as we head towards the busy capital. A bus journey of 5-6 hours along National Road 6 takes us to Phnom Penh. We will have a couple of stops, one in the town Skuon, which is known for its local delicacy of fried spiders. We should be in the capital in time for a late lunch. After lunch we should have time to visit one of the sites from Cambodia's shocking recent history.
The fortunes of Phnom Penh have shifted dramatically during its history and the terrible years of the Khmer Rouge and subsequent civil war through 1970s and 1980s have scarred the country. During our stay we visit two sites, which give us a vivid impression of some of the horrors. There is the Genocide Museum, which is the former Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21 or Tuol Sleng, in the centre of the city. Around 15km of out of town is the area known as the 'Killing Fields' a mass grave and execution site for the former inmates of S-21.
While visiting these gruesome spots may not appeal to everyone, we feel they give us an important understanding of what the country and its people had to endure just a few decades ago. On a more positive note, the city is very much on the rise again and is a fascinating place with fine examples of French colonial architecture. We tour the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and Wat Phnom. There is also excellent shopping at the 'Russian' market, and the lively Mekong waterfront area, where our hotel is located.
- Phnom Penh - Guided tour Choeung Ek (Killing fields)
- Phnom Penh - Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
- Phnom Penh - Guided tour of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
- Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 10 Chau Doc
This morning we transfer south along Highway 2 out of Phnom Penh to the town of Takeo. Here the road becomes quieter and we mount our bikes for the 50km ride to the Phnom Den / Tinh Bien border. Once border formalities have been completed we meet our Vietnamese leader and cycle approximately 20km to Chau Doc.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 11 Mekong Delta
A morning transfer by road to Long Xuyen where we take a public ferry across the river. From here we ride along a lovely quiet backroad, lined with small villages and dwellings, towards Vinh Long. Leaving the bikes on the mainland, we take another boat (20 mins) to reach our homestay on an island in the Mekong delta, known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. After settling in we can explore the area on foot. The rivers and canals of the Mekong delta form an amazing network of waterways. The area is famous for its abundant rice production, but in many areas farmers are now moving to more profitable fish farming, and fruit and vegetable growing. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on Binh Hoa Phuoc Island and enjoy some river delta hospitality.
We spend the night sleeping communally at a local guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.
Ride approx. 50km
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 12 Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City
We leave by boat, stopping en route for a look at the Cai Be floating market. Here large boats moor up in the Mekong River, weighed down with fruit and veg produce. Local traders and shop owners buy in bulk in this strictly 'wholesale' market. A little further on we make a short stop to see local cottage industries producing such items as popped rice, popcorn and other homemade products. We continue by bus to Cai Lay where we take a scenic ride through fruit orchards and along the Mekong riverbank. Back on the bus in My Tho, we drive on to the heat, hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, still know by most as Saigon, an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. Our hotel is in the heart of this incredible city.
Ride approx. 35 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 13-14 Ho Chi Minh City
The whole day is free to explore Ho Chi Minh City, do some shopping and to relax. There are a number of interesting things to see - the Saigon River, Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral are all within easy walking distance. Alternatively a short cyclo ride will take you to the War Remnants Museum with an interesting (if a little gruesome) photographic record of the Vietnam / American War. For those that are interested, your leader can arrange an optional visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels located 2 hours outside the city. Used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine!
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- HCMC - Cu Chi Tunnels - USD25
- HCMC - Reunification Palace - VND30000
- HCMC - War Remnants Museum - VND15000
Hotel (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.
- TZXC Bicycle Hire (TZXC)
- TZXC Single supplement (TZXC)
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.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.
The official currency of Thailand is the Baht (THB).
The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).
Unofficially however, US currency (US$) runs the country and is the currency you should bring, mostly in cash. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Notes should be 2006 series onwards. Torn, dirty or old notes, as well as the $2US note will be refused in most businesses Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. Visa cash advances are available in major banks, and ATMs are are now available in most towns with most dispensing both KHR and US$. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.
The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
Some establishments will accept US currency (USD), but usually only for large purchases and in some restaurants and hotels that cater to tourists. It's not possible to exchange Vietnamese Dong outside the country, so convert or spend all your Dong before leaving.
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange; clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.
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'll take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
In the countries visited, with the increase in tourism, tipping has become customary. The local staff will probably expect some gratuity and we suggest you allow for this. The leader may suggest to the group that they donate a sum of USD50 -70 per person towards a kitty on arrival. This money is then used for tipping of local guides, hotel porters, drivers, etc. It is basically to ensure that the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. This is entirely at your own discretion however and if you don't wish to contribute to a central pool for tips you're of course free to do so. The 'tipping kitty' explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leaders.
If you feel that your leader and assistant leader have performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal but as a guide USD4-6 per person per day would be a reasonable starting point.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
- 10 days riding, average 51km per day
- 95% vehicle support, some poor roads in Cambodia
Please note when choosing this trip that it will be hot with some long days. In wet weather driving conditions do become more difficult, and a little patience may be required at times.
Mountain bikes are ideal for this trip and flat bars are preferable, but a good strong tourer will suffice (though make sure you have suitably low gearing).
Bike hire Thailand: Trek or Giant mountain bikes, paid on booking.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 16.
Tet is Vietnam's New Year festival, held annually in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. While this can be a fascinating time to travel and experience this event, expect some shop closures and busier than usual local transport. Opening hours at some tourist sites may also be affected or closed. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
Maximum of 18 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.
Hotel (12 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt)
Most of the accommodation on this trip is generally in good quality private hotels (mostly 3-star) but you should also be prepared for some basic nights at border towns and away from the cities. All the hotels have either fans or air conditioning and we will normally have twin rooms with private facilities. Please note that double beds are not always widely available in South East Asia.
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.
13 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
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.
Food is cheap in SE Asia and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialized products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home; high energy snacks are not readily available locally. For snacks and drinks during the rides, a kitty is normally arranged.
Bicycle, Minibus, Ferry
We use private coach/minibuses, which will be quite comfortable, usually with air-conditioning. There are a couple of long driving days on this trip (up to 6 hours). Road conditions are often not good, and progress can be slow. Boats are used at various points in the itinerary; these are nearly always private, and vary from converted trawlers to small riverboats.
We use different vehicle set-ups in each country, as our vehicles do not cross international borders. In Thailand we have 100% vehicle support. There will be one or two support buses, plus a support truck for the bikes and baggage. In Cambodia, there is 80% vehicle support. On the circular rides around Angkor we are followed by a bus, which will carry bags and drinks, but will only have space for a few bikes, should some of the group wish to opt out during the ride. In Vietnam we have 100% vehicle support with vehicles to carry both clients and bikes.
There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed. Generally we use different staff and vehicles for each country, but all groups will be accompanied by one experienced Cycling Tour Leader from start to finish, either Thai or Vietnamese. The tour leader will be assisted by a second cycling leader, and if required local guides from each country.
Nouvo City Hotel
2 Samsen 2, Samsen Road
Phone: +66 22827500
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.
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.
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: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
If entering by air you will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival. If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only. A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB. Alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.
Australia:Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas can be organised either in advance or on arrival. Check with your embassy or consulate and allow approx 3 weeks for processing. It is also possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing for approx. US$25 (cost subject to change) - you will need a passport photo.
If a point of contact is requested, please write: Freedom Hotel, Road #6, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. Some nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, but if you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance.
Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure.
If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.
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.
BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE:
Plenty of people choose to bring their own bikes on our cycle trips. If you wish to bring your own bike, please note that we cannot guarantee against small scratches and paintwork damage involved in the loading and unloading from support vehicles.
Please note that helmets must be worn when riding on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.
EXTRA BIKE BITS:
You may like to bring your own saddle (excluding the seat post), or over gel cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it's your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle at the end of the trip. We can't guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.
A helmet, eye-protection (sunglasses), cycling gloves and water bottles or hydration system (e.g. camelbak). Please note that helmets must be worn when riding off-road on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.
RECOMMENDED CYCLING CLOTHING::
Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof / windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting day pack.
FIRST AID KIT:
You should bring a small, personal first aid kit with you including items such as high factor sunscreen, lip balm and chamois cream if required.
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.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
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:
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:
Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
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:
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