Last Modified: 07 Aug 2015
Best of Malaysia
Trip code: TMSA
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Since its emergence from colonial rule, Malaysia has developed a reputation as a land of diverse cultures, exotic foods and natural beauty. On this adventure, we take you where the action is - past outstanding colonial architecture, amongst friendly locals, close to exotic marine life and into ancient rainforests. Amble along forest walks, haggle in some of Asia's best markets, discover perfect beachside delights, and make friends with welcoming locals. This trip introduces the best of Malaysia and gives an inside glimpse to this fascinating country.
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016
Based upon traveller feedback and for ease of booking, departures from the 1st January 2016 will be 15 days, returning to Kuala Lumpur on Day 14. Itinerary changes will be as follows:
Day 14 - Travel from Penang to Kuala Lumpur by public bus. Stay overnight in Kuala Lumpur
Day 15 - Depart Kuala Lumpur
Table of Contents
- Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently.
Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara.
Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Day 1 Kuala Lumpur
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
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.
If you arrive early, grab a map and talk to the hotel staff about things to do in KL. Combine the markets of Chinatown, Indian food and traditional Malay arts and you have the heart of Kuala Lumpur. You might be tempted to head out of town to visit the famous Batu Caves or the Orang Asli Museum and the evening is best spent at the night market sampling the many different cuisines on offer and bargain hunting amongst the many stalls.
- Kuala Lumpur - City tour - MYR203
- Kuala Lumpur - KL Tower - MYR49
- Orang Asli Museum - MYR10
Ancasa Express Kuala Lumpur or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Melaka
Transfer by local bus to the old port town of Melaka (approx 2.5 hrs).
Once the most important trading port of Malaysia, Melaka attracted Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders, all seeking wealth or an opportunity to control the Straits of Malacca, a vital trading route between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Today, Melaka's wealth of historical sites remind visitors of times gone by and its multicultural past is revealed in its distinctive cuisine.
Take a quaint 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.
- Melaka - Riverboat Trip - MYR15
- Baba Nonya Heritage Museum - MYR8
Mimosa Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 3-5 Taman Negara National Park
A full day's travel (including approx 2 hrs by minibus, 4 hrs by train and a further 1.5 hrs by minibus) If the train is running. If the train is not operating we will take a private minibus to the bus station in Melaka followed by a public bus to Termloh (4 hours) and then a private minibus for the 30-40 min drive takes us to the ancient rainforest of Taman Negara (National Park).
Taman Negara (National Park) is home to what's considered to be the oldest rainforest in the world.
Experience the jungle from a monkey's point of view on a canopy walk high up in the trees. Following the walk, those seeking additional challenges can take the time to explore Bukit Teresek.
Head upstream (approx 1 hr) in longtail boats to brave the low level rapids. There's time for a swim surrounded by rainforest jungles before returning to our accommodation.
Meet our local guide and head off into the jungle for a short trek - surely the best way to experience this pristine primary rainforest. We hope to see some of Malaysia's extraordinary wildlife including many exotic birds, and perhaps learn about some of the traditional uses of endemic plants and flowers. The trek is about 4 hours along purpose cleared paths through primary and secondary jungle, so be prepared to sweat! The walking isn't overly challenging, but a good level of fitness is required as the humidity can affect even the fittest trekker.
Having completed our trek, arrive at the crystal-clear waters of the Tahan River where there's time for a refreshing swim - very welcome after the hot and humid jungle. After lunch, the adventurous can continue to walk for 30 minutes to the cascades further upstream before we return back down the Tahan River in small dugout canoes.
- Canopy Walk - Taman Negara
- Longtail boat trip
Woodland Resort Chalet or similar (3 nts)
Days 6-8 Perhentian Islands
A long drive by private bus to Kuala Besut (6-7 hours) where we take a boat over crystal-clear waters to the sun-kissed beaches of the Perhentian Islands (approx 45 mins).
Located off the east coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with unspoilt reefs and pure white sand.
Time can be spent snorkelling, swimming, trekking into the inland jungle, exploring the nearby islands or just lying in a hammock. And don't miss the seafood BBQ on offer!
Take a half day snorkelling trip in the turquoise waters, with beautiful coral and an array of fish. Keep an eye open for the majestic green turtles and, if we're lucky, maybe even a reef shark or two.
- Half-day snorkelling trip
Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort or similar (3 nts)
Day 9 Kota Bharu
A speed boat to Kuala Besut and then a minibus takes us on to Kota Bharu.
Epitomising traditional Malay culture at its best, Kota Bharu is home to several cultural and historical museums. Take time to learn about the art of batik, shadow puppets, silversmithing and kite making.
This is a good chance to do some souvenir shopping. The night market of Kota Bharu is renowned around the country as an epicurean wonderland so don't miss this chance to sample various northern Malay delicacies not found elsewhere.
Flora Place Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Malay Homestay
A long bus journey (approx 6 hrs) and a short minibus ride takes us to the west coast and our home away from home - a small homestay run by our long-term friends, Aziz and Asiah, located on a picturesque lake just outside of Kuala Kangsar.
During the course of our stay, be prepared for a truly memorable cultural experience! Enjoy a traditional banquet of regional delicacies - eating with our hands, wearing sarongs - and also get plenty of opportunities to delve further into Malay culture.
Stay in basic bungalows with twin-share beds and cold showers. The homestay uses a generator for electricity, there are no fans in the rooms which can sometimes be hot.
Please note that out of respect for our hosts, alcohol is not available during our stay.
Listen to the morning call of gibbons and take a walk through a traditional kampung (village) and rubber plantations while our local guide explains the intricacies of Malay village life. Along the way, pass by jackfruit, pineapples, longans, rambutans and other tropical fruits growing wild on the roadside. After returning to the lake you'll have opportunity to try out your kayaking skills or simply relax. The walk takes a few hours and is not difficult, but it can get hot!
Suka Suka Homestay or similar (2 nts)
Days 12-14 Penang
On Day 12 we transfer back to Kuala Kangsar.
Located on the banks of the Perak River, Kuala Kangsar is a well-preserved historic royal town and the seat of a sultan. The first royal palace was built by Sultan Yusuf Sharifuddin Mudzaffar Shah who ruled from 1877 to 1887. The name Kuala Kangsar is believed to be derived from 'Kuala Kurang-Sa', which literally means '100 minus (-) one', usually interpreted as 'the 99th small tributary to flow into the Perak River'. On an hour-long Royal Town tour, we view the royal palaces as well as the Ubudiah Mosque, with its impressive golden dome.
After our tour we take a public bus to Butterworth (approx. 2 hours). We then walk for 10 minutes to the ferry terminal to catch a ferry over to Penang island where we complete our journey with a short taxi ride to our hotel.
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.
Penang Island was the first destination of the colonial British in 1786. They invited Chinese, as well as others from all over Asia, to live on this island in the tropics. Today, this exotic blend of cultures still exists and the World Heritage site of Georgetown contains a fascinating blend of religious places of worship.
Take a half day guided city tour of Georgetown passing sites such as Clan Jetty, Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple and Kapitan Kling Mosque. We also stop to visit Fort Cornwallis, the original British fort that dates back to the foundation of Penang, before heading out of town to visit Kek Lok Si Temple.
Our trip ends after breakfast on Day 14.
- Kuala Kangsar - Royal Town Tour
- Tastes & Traditions of Penang Urban Adventure - USD52
Red Rock Hotel or similar (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.
- TMSA - Single Supplement (TMSA)
- TMSA - Single Supplement (TMSA)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Bangkok to Singapore (TMSM)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 tour 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 start on the 18th of June 2015. 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 2015,the Year of the Sheep is scheduled to be held from 19 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.
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.
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, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the single supplement is not available on the following 5 days:
- Days 3-5: Taman Negara
- Days 10-11: Malay Homestay
Woodland Resort Chalet or similar (3 nts), Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort or similar (3 nts), Red Rock Hotel or similar (2 nts), Suka Suka Homestay or similar (2 nts), Ancasa Express Kuala Lumpur or similar (1 nt), Mimosa Hotel or similar (1 nt), Flora Place Hotel or similar (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Please note that at our homestay we stay in shared A-frame huts which have cold water and no fans. Some of our guesthouses may not have windows which is typical in Malaysia.
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.
12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Bus, Van, Trishaw, Longtail boat, Boat, Public bus, Taxi, Ferry, Speed boat
PUBLIC TRANSPORT ON THIS TRIP
Please note that we make extensive use of multiple types of public transport on some days and some journeys may be long. You will need to be able to carry your own bag on and off public transport including public buses and ferries.
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.
AnCasa Express @ Pudu
4th Floor, Pudu Sentral, Jalan Pudu,
Phone: +60 (03) 2072 2688
Joining point description
Located within walking distance of vibrant Chinatown, with its wide variety of colourful night bazaars, hawker stalls, food courts featuring authentic Chinese based local mouth watering delicacies and neighbouring Chinese medical stores and textiles shops. Chinatown is within walking distance of main bus terminal, the Puduraya, which connects the north and south of peninsular Malaysia.
To access the hotel,
Our hotel is located on the 4th Floor of Pudu central in Chinatown. To access the hotel you will need to enter the bus station and catch an elevator to the 4th floor where the hotel is situated.
AnCasa Express @ Pudu rooms have en suites bathrooms with air conditioning, telephone and TV.
Joining point instructions
There are two airports in KL, and both are accessible by public transport or have taxi stands. Taxis are cheap, safe and reliable. Taxi vouchers can be purchased at taxi counters found as you exit the baggage claim area at both airports. A taxi to the hotel from either airport should cost about MYR100-120 and take approximately 1 hour.
To catch public transport:
1. If you are arriving at KLIA Airport, take the KLIA Express Train to KL Sentral station, the cost of a ticket is MYR35. Change to the LRT train to Pasar Seni, a ticket costs MYR1.60. From here the hotel is a 10 minute walk or a short taxi. Total travel time this way would take approximately an hour.
2. If you are arriving at LCCT Airport, catch the StarBus Shuttle to Jalan Petaling, cost of a ticket is MYR10. From here the walk to the hotel is about 3 minutes. Total travel time for this option would be about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer, please make your way to the main Terminal arrival hall and your driver will be holding a sign bearing your name.
Please do not believe touts in suits who tell you there is an 'issue' with your arrival transfer.
If you cannot find your pre-booked transfer, or you have any concerns about your transfer, please the transfer operators hotline at +6012 6388382.
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.
Red Rock Hotel
202A, Jalan Macalister
Finish point description
Centrally located in the heart of bustling Georgetown, within walking distance to the famous Komtar with it's 360 degree viewing tower and the myriad of shops that is Prangin Mall, sits the Red Rock Hotel. On your doorstep is an abundance of local food centres and variety of cuisine that Penang is famous for. Many of the major attractions such as Penang Museum, Fort Cornwallis and Khoo Kongsi are also within the vicinity. The hotel has 24hr reception and rooms offer views of the North Straits and Penang Hill. The hotel also houses a reflexology centre, beautician, restaurant, cafe, mini mart and a outdoor swimming pool and bar.
Finish point instructions
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action 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, 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.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure 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:
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.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK 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!
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.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
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.
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.
Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our snorkelling activities.
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:
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 by wearing sleeves and long trousers. 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.
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 C02-e 283.00 kgs per pax.
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.