Last Modified: 20 Oct 2013
Family - Flavour of Malaysia
Trip code: FMH
Validity: 01 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2014
Malaysia conjures up images of ancient jungle, tropical beaches and verdant hill stations. This fun-filled family holiday serves up all of these tantalising ingredients with a generous side helping of fascinating wildlife, including endangered turtles and dazzling fireflies. Add a dash of colonial heritage and mix in a cultural blend of Indian, Malay and Chinese influences. Finally, enjoy an insight into local customs on a village homestay and see the symbol of modern-day Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas towers, for a delicious taste of exotic South-East Asia.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
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 Kuala Lumpur
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm.
Kuala Lumpur, the cosmopolitan capital of Malaysia, is affectionately known as KL and you'll almost always hear locals refer to it by its acronym. Communities of Indian, Chinese and ethnic Malay people mingle peacefully, allowing travellers to get the best of all three worlds.
Today you are free to explore or relax at the hotel till our group meeting. This evening we can visit the famous Chinatown night market a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike. It’s a fascinating spectacle as traders and shoppers engage in lively bargaining.
Swiss Inn Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Kampung Kuantan/Batu Caves Hill
We’ll have the morning to spend at our leisure. Late in the afternoon we go to the quiet hamlet of Kampung Kuantan home to one of the largest firefly colonies in the world. On arrival, we’ll first visit Kota Melawati formerly known as Fort Altinsburg where we’ll see the old execution block, royal mausoleum, colonial buildings on the bird sanctuary. After dinner, we’ll be rowed upstream in small un-motorised boats in the quiet night to see the natural phenomenon of synchronized, rhythmic flashing produced by thousands of fireflies, much like the flickering lights of Christmas trees! We return late to our hotel probably around midnight.
The following day we visit the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). Spread over 1528 hectares the institute contains both regenerated and secondary forest which together hold hundreds of plant life species. FRIM offers a real nature experience and the chance to enjoy the flora and faunas well as the remains of an old Orang Asli settlement. Today’s activities include cycling along one of the trails, rubber tapping and, the highlight for many, a walk along the 200m Canopy Walk located 30m above the ground.
This afternoon we head out of the city again to visit Dark Cave, the largest of the Batu Caves. The cave consists of about 2km of surveyed passages and is made up of seven main chambers each with its own special features – stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, cave pearls, curtain columns are all in evidence. This is a unique and fascinating world.
- Kampung Kuantan Fireflies
- Dark Cave
- Forest Research Institute
Swiss Inn Hotel (2 nts)
Day 4 Kuala Pilah
Today is our chance to sample life in a rural Malaysian village life as you leave Kuala Lumpur for Kampung Pelegong in Negeri Sembilan. We’ll be able to meet the villagers and see everyday activities such as freshwater fish rearing, bread making and handicrafts. There’s the opportunity to play traditional games, tap rubber, swim in the river and make Malay traditional sweetmeats such as the kuih bahulu. Lunch and dinner will be provided at the homestay family home.
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Taman Negara National Park
We’ll take the train from Labu station back to Kuala Lumpur. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer by bus to Kuala Tahan from where we'll take a short water taxi ride to our accommodation. Kuala Tahan acts as the gateway to Taman Negara NP, and the sense of excitement will start to grow once you reach here. A lunch stop (own expense) will be made en route. Upon arrival at here we'll need complete the formalities of park registration before checking in to our accommodation. We'll have a little time to relax after our journey, then after dinner we’ll have the opportunity to take a guided night walk into the jungle (additional charge).
This national park is one of the world’s finest examples of primary tropical forest and we’ll get up close to it. The following morning we hike to the canopy walkway and Bukit Teresek. Suspended high in the trees the walkway gives us the opportunity to look across at the tops of the trees and down to the forest floor below offering a completely different perspective on this unique world. From the canopy jetty, take a boat for rapids shooting to Kuala Terenggann. After lunch, take a dip in the cooling water along the river bank. Afterward,visit an indigenous Orang Asli village, which will give us the chance to get to know the tribe and witness some interesting traditional demonstrations (like fire making and blowpipe demonstrations).
- Bukit Teresek Trekking
- Orang Asli Village Visit
Mutiara Taman Negara (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Cameron Highlands
We return by boat to Kuala Tembeling and continue overland to the Cameron Highlands, one of the most extensive hill stations, consisting of a series of villages strung along the main roads. Situated at an altitude of about 1800 metres the Cameron Highlands has managed to maintain its English character with its rolling green hills dotted with country cottages and farms.
The following day we have a full day tour of Cameron Highlands, it introduces us to the many attractions this highland has to offer. In the morning we drive up to their highest point - Mount Brinchang (2000m). A climb up the viewing tower gives us a panoramic view of the area and a chance to breathe in the crisp mountain air. Taking a short walk into the mossy forest will introduce us to pitcher plants of different shapes and sizes, beautiful wild orchids and herbal plants such as the famous Kacip Fatima’. The area is also well known for tea plantations and we’ll visit the renowned “BOH” Tea Factory to learn how our national drink goes from plant to table. Our day will be finished off by visiting a Chinese village and a local farm growing exotic cactus, strawberries, flowers and watercress.
- BOH Tea Factory
- Chinese Agro-farm Visit
- Mount Brinchang Visit
Strawberry Park (2 nts)
Day 9 Lumut
Descend out of the highlands and en-route we’ll stop at the Iskandar Waterfalls where we can also see basket weaving taking place. Continue onto Tapah from where we will head west for a journey of approximately 2.5hrs, to Lumut. On arrival, we can check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure - perhaps explore the local area or enjoy some time relaxing on the nearby sandy beach.
- Ipoh Cave Temples
- Iskander Waterfalls
Virgo Batik Resort (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Turtle Breeding Station
After breakfast, proceed to see mangroves at Kuala Sepetang Mangrove Park. It is part of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve and is well known internationally as a mangrove conservation area. Famed for the best managed mangrove forest in the world it has rich mangrove biodiversity that sustain the mangrove forest. The park is also home to flora and fauna unique to the mangrove habitat. Afterwards, visit the Turtles Breeding Station in Segari the main breeding ground for turtles in Perak. Turtles are an endangered species and this project has been set up to help the turtles survive. The project has several basins with different aged young turtles, who when they are big enough will be released into the sea. Return to our hotel and the afternoon is free to enjoy the beach near our hotel.
The following day after breakfast, we head to Kuala Kangsar. We visit its unique Ubudiah Mosque - a magnificent building with golden dome - and the former palace of the Sultan of Perak with its intricate woodcarving. From Kuala Kangsar we drive up to Taiping and visit the oldest museum in Peninsula Malaysia, Perak Museum. Then we take a drive around Taiping’s breathtaking lake gardens and soak up a myriad spread of English colonial leftovers while our guide regales you with behind-the-scene tales. Then onto the Taiping War Cemetery which is a major Allied war cemetery in Malaysia. It contains the graves of 826 Allied soldiers of the Commonwealth fighting the Japanese in the "Campaign in Malaya" of December 1941 - February 1942. The casualties include soldiers from the Royal Malay Regiment, Gurkha, British and Australian troops. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Another Taiping’s best kept secret is a temple that is crowned by ornate roofing made entirely of porcelain culinary wares like saucers, cups, spoons, pots and plates. An old tale has it that the villagers were so poor they could not pay for decorative roofing works to complete the temple. In the end, everyone chipped in with whatever they could find in the kitchen and gave the temple its striking features today.
- Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve
- Segari Turtle Breeding Station
- Perak Museum
- Ubudiah Mosque
Virgo Batik Resort (1 nt), The Flemington Hotel (1 nt)
Days 12-14 Penang
We have the morning free to relax. After lunch we continue onto Penang by crossing over the third longest bridge in the world and arrive to check into our hotel. The next day is then free for us to relax and enjoy the beach and our resort or to explore the area before the tour ends.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort (2 nts)
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.
- FMH - Flavour of Malaysia - Single supplement (FMH)
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.
The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
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 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.
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. 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 leader. We suggest US$2-3 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$1-2 per day for drivers.
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 US$2-4 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$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
At your group meeting on day 1 your tour guide 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
The month-long Ramadan Festival will be in progress from the 9th July 2013. 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.
CHINESE NEW YEAR:
An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2012, the Year of the Dragon is scheduled to be held from 23 January. 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.
JELLYFISH AND ROUGH SEAS:
There may be jellyfish in the waters surrounding the resort between October to December. The sea may be rough from December to February due to monsoon winds. The beach might retract during king tide and you may find seaweed on the beach, however resort staff engage in daily beach clean ups.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
Maximum of 20 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. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that 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 Comfort and Original style 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 refer to your booking agent for further information.
Swiss Inn Hotel (3 nts), Mutiara Taman Negara (2 nts), Strawberry Park (2 nts), Virgo Batik Resort (2 nts), Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), The Flemington Hotel (1 nt)
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
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, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Private Bus, Train, Boat
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
Swiss-Inn, Kuala Lumpur lies between two main streets of Chinatown, i.e. Petaling Street and Jalan Sultan and is centrally located near the Railway Station and Kuala Lumpur's main bus terminal, Pudu Sentral. Just a stone's throw away are historical sites, architectural landmarks and cultural centres.
The hotel provides 151 appointed and tastefully design rooms, designed for your comfort at affordable tariffs. Blending old style charm with modern amenities, the hotel is equipped to host the needs of today's travelers. Standard features of rooms include Individually controlled air conditioning, Colour TV, In House Movies, Mini Bar In the Deluxe Rooms, Electronic Door Lock, IDD Telephone, Bedside Control Panel and many more. Swiss-Inn Kuala Lumpur Malaysia do not have a Swimming Pool. Broadband Internet access is available at the Coffee House and is chargeable at RM6.00 per hour.
Joining point instructions
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is approximately 1 hour’s drive from Swiss-Inn Kuala Lumpur. For those who have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer, please look out for your representative who will be waiting in the arrival hall holding a placard bearing The Adventure Company logo. You will then be guided to the waiting vehicle. If you cannot locate your representative or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour number: +6012 3901606
For clients who plan to arrive earlier, a taxi to the hotel will cost between MYR90 – 120 per way (normal hours; surcharge applies for transfer at midnight or early morning). Coupons for taxis can be obtained at the Airport Limo counters located inside the arrival hall. Please be careful as touts will try to approach you so please always ignore them.
Check in time at hotel is after 1400hrs.
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
A haven of relaxation amongst the excitement of Penang's top tourist attractions, located in Tanjung Bungah between the George Town (UNESCO) World Heritage Site & Batu Ferringhi. The resort is just 45 minutes away from Penang International Airport.
This hotel consists of 315 tastefully decorated suites perfect for both business and leisure, all with their own private balcony, which offer spectacular view of the ocean and hills. While staying at the Rainbow Paradise you can explore all the heritage culture, fun and excitement that Penang has to offer. The rooms are equipped with modern amenities that make you feel at home.
Finish point instructions
Penang International Airport, previously known as Bayan Lepas International Airport, is situated in the Bayan Lepas area that is at southeast of Penang Island, Malaysia. The airport is located 16 km away from George Town, the capital city of Penang. It is a medium-sized airport with good connections to major cities in South East Asia. The airport serves as the main airport for the northern region of Malaysia. Waiting times for check-in and baggage claims are relatively short compared to other larger regional airports. The airport is not crowded and basic facilities are available for users.
The best way of getting to Penang International Airport, apart from self-drive by car hire, is to take a bus.
The main bus station in George Town is on Victoria Street and passengers staying in the city’s hotels should make their way to this main bus terminal – beware, George Town has very few footpaths and getting around on foot can be difficult. It is possible to take a trishaw around the city for about MYR 30 per hour, but the number of these peddled vehicles is dwindling in favor of taxis clogging up the traffic.
The Rapid Penang Bus lines 401, 401A and 401E are a shuttle service running between the airport and Komtar and the Jetty. The buses run every 30 minutes and take around 1 hour to reach their final destination. Bus 401 also goes through south Ekspres Bas terminal, which has connections to mainland cities in Penang. The bus far for one journey per adult is around MYR 3.00.
The main bus terminals are based at Jetty and at Komtar Building/Shopping Mall. A map with all the routes is available there. Bus drivers only take the exact fare, they do not have change.
Public buses do not pick up passengers after 10 pm, not even on weekends or public holidays do they flout this rule. Anyone needing transportation after 10 pm must be prepared to pay an additional 100% fee on top of their usual fare for the taxi.
Taxi drivers often try to cheat foreigners and refuse to use the meter. It is best to ask the hotel staff for help, when ordering a taxi and one must either negotiate a fixed price to the airport or insist the driver uses the taxi meter during the journey. The taxi fare to the airport should be around RM38, the official taxi metered fare, and the time for getting to Penang International Airport from George Town city center is around 45 minutes by cab.
Check-out time from the hotel is before 1200hrs. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
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
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 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.
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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
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.
Kids bellies are delicate and standards of hygiene you may experience while travelling in this region can be less than what you are accustomed to at home. There are a few simple precautions you can take that will keep the family travelling in good health.
Make sure you always travel with plenty of water so you do not risk dehydration.
With all the exotic tastes available it would be a shame to avoid the great experience of trying new foods for the first time - both kids and parents! In most cases food is fresh and tasty and perfectly fine to eat, however it can contain ingredients that you are not used to. Any change in diet (no matter where in the world you travel) can result in an upset stomach. Usually this is the only side-effect and it can last a few days. We don´t want you to miss out savouring new flavours, but be wary of what you choose to eat - especially what your kids eat.
Keep your hands clean - and the kids'. It is important to remember to do this before eating especially if you will be eating with your hands as may be the custom. Antiseptic wipes or antiseptic hand gel (which you can use without water) are fabulous inventions - made with travelling families in mind.
CONTACT WITH ANIMALS:
In new and exciting destinations we often come across different animals such as monkeys, fish, and orangutans. There are also a lot of stray cats and dogs in some destinations. Keep an eye on children in these situations as aggravated animals can bite and may transmit diseases including rabies.
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:
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:
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.