Classic Malaysia Trip Notes

Classic Malaysia

Last Modified: 09 Feb 2016
Classic Malaysia
Trip code: TMKP
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Emerging from Dutch, Portuguese and British rule, Malaysia has prospered into a diverse and multicultural country where Chinese, Malay, Indian and Indo-Chinese cultures have combined to give the nation its unique flavour. Sample the mouth-watering foods, see a wealth of modern and historical sights, and savour the natural beauty of Malaysian landscapes and beaches on this treasure-filled trip.
Table of Contents
StyleTippingFinish point
ThemesDeparture taxEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Important notesEmergency funds
Why we love itGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseAccommodationHealth
We also recommendMeals introductionSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMealsTravel insurance
Culture shock rating TransportResponsible Travel
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionCarbon offset
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Spending moneyArrival complications
Style
Comfort
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
*We spend one night in simple homestay accommodation, based in several local homes around the village. Rooms are twin-share, with fan cooling. Bathroom facilities are shared within each home, and some will only have cold showers. However, the experience with a local family is a real highlight.
*This itinerary is faster paced, travelling through peninsula Malaysia in 10 Days. There are some longer travelling days, however there is time to relax in Langkawi at the end.
*The climate in Malaysia is generally hot and humid throughout the year. The humidity levels and likelyhood of rain tend to increase from May to October, however all year around the temperature levels remain fairly constant.
Why we love it
*See the sights of Melaka from the back of a trishaw.
*Spend time with a local family at our homestay, and enjoy a home cooked meal!
*Learn to cook the delicious local specialties that Penang is famed for.
*Finish your trip with a few days of blissful relaxation in the beautiful beachside villages of Pulau Langkawi.
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Singapore
Arrive in Singapore where you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel if you have pre arranged a transfer.
A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening, generally around 6pm, where you will meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a welcome notice on the hotel noticeboard located near the hotel lifts, which will provide your tour leader's name and the details of the meeting.
In the meantime we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Singapore has to offer including trying some of its famous cuisine.
After the group meeting you may head out to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a meal together (this is optional and at your own expense). The rest of the evening is free - perhaps a quiet drink in the Clarke Quay or Boat Quay areas. You may wish to arrive a bit earlier before the start of the tour to explore the island-state's many other attractions.
Singapore has one of the best zoos in the world and Sentosa Island has its share of tourist attractions including a few small beaches, Fort Siloso and the Universal Studios theme park.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Melaka
You will travel to Melaka today by public bus, the journey is approximately 5.5 hours. This town is a former colonial outpost, its history is still evident in the pretty streets that remain today - it maintains a distinctive old world charm that makes it a delight to visit.
Take a trishaw tour along the narrow winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade. Take in sites such as Harmony Street, a mosque, Chinese Buddhist Temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Included Activities
  • Melaka - Trishaw Tour
Optional Activities
  • Melaka - Riverboat Trip - MYR15
  • Melaka - Sultanates Palace - MYR2
  • Melaka - Eye on Malaysia - MYR20
  • Melaka - Menara Taming Sari (revolving tower) - MYR20
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Kuala Lumpur
From colonial charm to the bustling capital, today you will make your way to Malaysia’s most cosmopolitan city, Kuala Lumpur (approx. 2.5 hours)
With a wonderful mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, Kuala Lumpur is a truly unique city.
Malaysia's multicultural capital, Kuala Lumpur is home to green parks, skyscrapers, tropical storms and world-renowned food and shopping.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Kuala Lumpur
Discover the key sites of Kuala Lumpur on a half-day city tour. Visit some of the city's most impressive architecture such as the National Monument, National Mosque, Istana Negara (National Palace), Batu Caves and Royal Selangor Pewter.
You will have some free time to explore the city and soaking in the spectacular views from the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful way to while away the hours.
Included Activities
  • Kuala Lumpur - City tour
  • Kuala Lumpur - National Mosque
Optional Activities
  • Kuala Lumpur - KL Tower - MYR49
  • Kuala Lumpur - Cultural Show - MYR5
  • Kuala Lumpur - Islamic Arts Museum - MYR12
  • Kuala Lumpur - Petronas Towers Skybridge & Observation Deck - MYR86
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Malay Homestay
Travel north today on the new electric train service to Butterworth (approx. 4 hours). From Butterworth we travel about 30 minutes by minibus to our homestay at Kota Aur. Kota Aur means village of Bamboo, although now the village is located in a picturesque rice growing area.
On arrival we meet our hosts and are billeted out to different homes throughout the village. Accommodation is on a twin sharing basis with fan cooling. Bathrooms are shared and some homes will only have cold showers. Most of the hosts speak a bit of English, but you will also be able to practice your Bahasa Malay.
This afternoon take a tour of the village and rice fields by bike and learn about how the local coconuts are harvested. Experience a cooking demonstration and a home cooked meal together with the group and one of our hosts. Tonight there is the opportunity to learn about the Malay game of congkak and enjoy a taste of family life in Malaysia.
Note: Out of respect to our hosts, we request that you wear conservative clothing during your stay, and ensuring shoulders and knees are covered. Your group leader will give you more information on cultural etiquette before you arrive as well as helping you to learn some basic Bahasa Malay.
Alcohol is not available during our stay.
Included Activities
  • Kota Aur - Village bike tour
  • Kota Aur - Coconut picking demonstration
  • Kota Aur - Cooking Demonstration
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Day 6 Penang
Awake to the sounds of village life, or and possibly the cockerels! After breakfast with your hosts we will head to the nearby whispering market in the country town of Kepala Batus. It is called the whispering market because the customers prefer to whisper their bids to vendors to get the best prices for their fish. It is the only one of its kind left in Malaysia. Afterwards we will look at some of the traditional palm houses in an 8 acre palm plant nursery, and have the chance to taste palm juice. We also stop at a monument to commemorate the 2004 tsunami
Travel by minibus to Penang (approx. 1 hour).
Penang - Malaysia's prized island - has a beautiful coastline, wonderful cuisine and its colonial heritage is still present in amongst the modern skyscrapers that tower over Georgetown.
Included Activities
  • Palm houses
  • Tsunami monument
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Penang
From the ornate Indian temples to the Islamic mosques and Chinese shop houses, Penang is an island of contrasts and boasts a rich and varied history.
A morning walking tour the Georgetown area takes in Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement. You also take a drive to Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.
You will have the opportunity to tour the grand and opulent Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Khoo Kongsi (both optional - small entrance fees payable) today, as well meander past wonderful antique shops and absorbing the old-time Chinatown charm of Chulia Street, evoking the ambiance of a bygone era.
Included Activities
  • Penang - Half Day Sightseeing
  • Penang - Fort Cornwallis
  • Penang - Kek Lok Si
Optional Activities
  • Penang - Khoo Kongsi - MYR10
  • Penang - Teluk Bahang National Park - MYR9
  • Penang - Chong Fat Tze Museum - MYR12
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Langkawi
A cooking class today gives you a chance to learn the skills of preparing delicious Malaysian cuisine that encompasses Malay, Chines and Indian influences.
Fly from Penang to the island of Langkawi this afternoon. From the pristine white sand beaches to the luscious rainforests and quiet, untouched Malay villages, this is a truly beautiful place to let your hair down.
Included Activities
  • Penang - Cooking Class
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Langkawi
Spend a day island hopping around Langkawi and exploring some of the smaller islands by boat.
Not to be missed is a trip on the cable car with spectacular views over the Andaman Sea and some of the 99 tropical islands of Langkawi.
After a day of sightseeing just pull up a towel and take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of this magical place from the beach.
Included Activities
  • Langkawi - Island Tour
  • Langkawi - Cable Car
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 10 Langkawi
Your Malaysian trip concludes here, but with such a beautiful spot to enjoy it wouldn’t be a bad idea to linger a couple of extra days and enjoy the laid-back beach vibes.
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.
  • TMKP- Single Supplement (TMKP)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Singapore to Bangkok Adventure (TMRA)
  • Classic Borneo (TMKB)
  • Bangkok to Singapore (TMSM)
  • Best of Malaysia (TMSA)
Itinerary disclaimer
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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
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.
Optional activities
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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATM's are now readily available and visa cash advances are available in major banks. 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.
Spending money
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.
Tipping
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. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. 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 per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 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.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
PASSPORT DETAILS
Please provide passport details at the time of booking. If we have not received these details at least a month before the departure date of your tour, there is a risk the internal flight cannot be booked.
RAMADAN:
The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on the 7th of June 2016. This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken, from 7th July 2016.
CHINESE NEW YEAR:
An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2016, the Year of the Monkey is scheduled to be held from 8th February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
FLIGHTS:
There's a 15kg luggage limit on the included flight. Intrepid will not pay for any excess luggage.
Group size
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.
Single travellers
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 accommodation (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. On the following nights a single room is not available:
- Day 6 Homestay
Accommodation
Hotel (8 nts), Homestay (1 nt)
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.
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.
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.
Meals introduction
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.
Meals
9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 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.
USD 200.00
Transport
Minibus, Trishaw, Van, Public bus, Plane, Taxi, Train
Group leader
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
V Hotel Lavender
70 Jellicoe Rd Singapore
Singapore
208767
SINGAPORE
Phone: +65 63452233
Joining point description
Conveniently located directly above Lavender MRT Station, V Hotel is a 20 minute train ride away
from Changi International Airport and minutes away from Orchard Road.All rooms have airconditioning, ensuite bathrooms, safety deposit boxes, mini refrigerator and hairdryers.
http://www.vhotel.sg
Joining point instructions
An arrival transfer from Singapore airport is included. Please advise flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to departure. If you have pre-booked your transfer you will be met on arrival at the airport. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many exits after collecting and clearing customs, so please use the exit door closest to the luggage collection belt that you have just come from. If you cannot locate our transfer representative, please call our airport transfer operator's emergency contact no: +65 9783 3739 (between 7 am and 10:30 pm - Singapore time).
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Langkawi Chantique
Jalan Bohor Tempoyak
Kampung Lubuk Buaya
Pulau Langkawi
Kedah
07000
MALAYSIA
Phone: +60 4 953 1300
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia).
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
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.
MALAYSIA:
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
The above nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Other nationalities should check with their Malaysian embassy or consulate.
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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
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.
WATER BOTTLE:
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.
Health
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.
DENGUE FEVER:
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.
AIR POLLUTION
From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. Current recorded pollution readings in a number of states are higher than usual for this time of year. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution.
Safety
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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 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:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
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.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS:
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
WATER SAFETY:
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Travel insurance
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 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:
Responsible Travel
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:
When packing be aware that 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 the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia 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.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 242.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.