Philippine Discovery Trip Notes

Embark on an adventure holiday in the Philippines, from the mountains to the sea. Visit Manila, Banaue, and Mt Pinatubo and relax on the Boracay islands.

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Last Modified: 27 Jan 2013
Philippine Discovery
Trip code: TTSL
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
An archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, brimming with natural wonders unlike anywhere else in the world, the Philippines is an enticing country just waiting to be explored. Gaze in awe at spectacular untouched landscapes, be caught-up by the infectious warmth of friendly locals, and discover an intriguingly diverse mix of cultures, traditions and sights. So pack your bags, take a dive into the unknown and feel the country grab hold of your senses - we promise you won't want to leave.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ThemesSingle travellersVisas
MapAccommodationIssues on your trip
ItineraryMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Group sizeEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • 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.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Philippine Discovery
Itinerary
Day 1 Manila
Mabuhay! Welcome to Manila.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. 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.
An intriguing, bustling and overwhelmingly chaotic city, Manila is the worthy capital of the Philippines. With contradictions and surprises around every corner, Manila is packed full of things to see, do, taste and experience.
If you arrive early, why not spend time exploring what the sprawling city has to offer. A unique mixture of the modern and historic, Manila boasts attractions ranging from the walled city of Intramuros, built by the Spaniards in the 16th Century, to the Mall of Asia, a shopping centre spreading nearly a kilometre in length. A unique way to get around Manila and the Philippines is by jeepney, colourfully and flamboyantly decorated vehicles originally made from jeeps left by American troops after the war.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Banaue
It's an early start today as we leave Manila by private minibus and travel to Banaue, settling in for a 9-10 hour drive.
The isolated and quaint town of Banaue features markets and a local museum, but the main drawcard of the area is the rice terraces.
Often referred to as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', the Banaue rice terraces were constructed over 2000 years ago by the native Ifugao people. Still in use today, these remarkable rice terraces stretch like stepping stones towards the sky - some reaching an altitude of 1500 m (4920 ft). The best way to view the terraces is from the nearby viewpoint, where the lush green terraces unfold below and sunlight reflects off the surface of the pools. Awe-inspiring views are offered from the road above, and hiking from the viewpoint back into town is well worth the effort.
Optional Activities
  • Banaue Museum - USD1
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 3-5 Trekking
Leaving our main luggage in Banaue and carrying just a day pack with our necessities for the next few days, we begin with a short (40 min) drive to the starting point for our 3-day trek.
Over the next 3 days and 2 nights, we'll trek through rice fields, forest and villages, staying overnight in local Ifugao villages where the people are still farming rice the way their ancestors did 2000 years ago. Our accommodation will be in basic village guesthouses with shared facilities and cold water for bathing. Bedding will be provided but you may like to bring your own sleeping sheet and a warm layer for cool nights. Our meals, which will mostly be vegetarian, are provided for us at the guesthouses.
On the first day of our trek we'll walk approximately 7-8 hrs/ 9kms (a mixture of up, down and flat terrain), stopping for lunch on the way, as we climb to the highest point of our trek at approximately 1,500 metres above sea level. Keep the camera handy for those scenic photos! We'll spend the night in Cambulo Village.
On the second day we'll walk approximately 3 hours to Batad Village where we spend the night. This afternoon we'll have some free time to relax or explore the village. Batad's rice terraces are famous as they are constructed in the shape of an amphitheatre. There's the option to do an additional trek (1 hour return) to the Batad rice terraces and Tappiya Waterfall for a refreshing swim.
On the third day we'll walk approximately 3 hours. We return to Banaue by road (approx 1 hr), stopping at Guihob Natural Swimming Pool for a refreshing dip on the way before returning to our guesthouse and being reunited with our main luggage. Maybe enjoy a celebratory drink while watching the sun set over the rice terraces for the last time.
Included Activities
  • 3-day trek with local guide
  • Guihob Natural Swimming Pool
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Sagada
Leave the rice terraces behind and travel into scenic alpine mountains. Along the way we pause at Bontoc, the capital of the Mountain Province (3 hrs from Banaue), where we'll have time for some lunch and a visit to the Bontoc Museum, which is packed with captivating memories from the past, such as photographs of headhunters with their loot.
From Bontoc, it's a 1 hour drive to reach our destination at Sagada.
The villagers of Sagada retain their traditional way of life in tranquil and calm surroundings. There's fresh mountain air and stunning views everywhere you look.
Enjoy a walking tour to visit the Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley. Dangling high up on the limestone cliffs, the coffins are both mystifying and eerie in their presence. We then continue to a small waterfall where we can have a refreshing dip in the cool waters before heading back to Sagada.
In the afternoon consider a guided tour to the Lumiang and Sumaging Caves. Lumiang (Burial) Cave, is another example of the ancient burial traditions of the local people. Coffins carved from tree trunks are stacked on top of each other, until the wood falls away and coffins tumble into the depths below. The atmosphere is both intriguing and macabre. Sumaging (Big) Cave is filled with limestone formations that are named after what they resemble, such as the 'Kings Curtain' or the 'Rice Terraces'. Also nearby is the Big Waterfall, the Kiltepan Tower and the Masferre photograph studio.
Another option is to take a walk to the outskirts of town where you can see some of the local weavers at work creating cloths and bags.
Included Activities
  • Bontoc Museum
  • Guided walk to Hanging Coffins and Bokong Falls
Optional Activities
  • Guided tour to Lumiang - USD12
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 8 Baguio
Hop on a public bus heading towards Baguio City. Our journey takes approximately 7 hours through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Philippines. Travelling through the Cordillera Central - the highest and largest mountain range in the Philippines - we pass mountains of incredible heights (and drops) dotted everywhere with small villages and terrace upon terrace of rice and other crops. This is one journey you don't want to sleep through.
Baguio City was established by the American troops in 1900 and has become a popular destination for travellers and local tourists wanting to retreat from the heat of the lowlands. It's now a bustling urban centre offering town comforts high in the Cordillera Mountains.
Explore the city market and sample fresh strawberries, climb the Lourdes Grotto to view the town from an entirely different perspective or simply soak in the lively student atmosphere from a cosy cafe.
Other sights include the local cathedral, Camp John Hay - a former US recreation facility - and Burnham Park, complete with a man-made central lake.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Mt Pinatubo
An early start by public bus takes us to the small town of Capas (approx 4 hrs), where we meet our guides and prepare for our Mt Pinatubo trek.
Our main luggage will be stored at the base of Mt Pinatubo and we'll take only a small day pack to carry our necessities for the overnight trip. Please make sure everything is waterproofed as it can rain heavily at times.
Travel by 4x4 along a bumpy, dusty road (bring a scarf and sunglasses to protect your eyes - approx 2.5 hrs) before disembarking and trekking the final hour to the crater. The terrain is uneven so bring supportive shoes with good grip. We may have an opportunity to meet some of the indigenous people of the area, the Aetas, who have lived on the slopes of the volcano and in surrounding areas for several centuries, surviving as hunter-gatherers in the dense jungles of the area. Nowadays, they live in more modern settlements and some of them work as guides on the volcano.
On arrival at the crater we'll have free time to relax and take photos.
Tonight we'll camp in tents at the crater lake. Sleeping bags will be provided but it can be cold at night here so bring warm clothing as well.
Included Activities
  • Mt Pinatubo climb
Optional Activities
  • Boating - Mt Pinutubu Crater Lake - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 10 Manila
After a relaxed breakfast and last chance for photos of the crater lake, we pack up camp and return on foot and by 4x4 to Capas. There will be an opportunity to have a shower and lunch before we board our bus to travel back to Manila (approx 2.5 hrs).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 11-13 Puerto Galera
Take a bus to the southern end of Luzon (approx 3 hrs) and board a ferry for the 3 hour journey across to the island of Mindoro and the harbour town of Puerto Galera ('Port of Galleons' in Spanish) - our base to explore the coast and beaches of this region that's a favourite for yachting, scuba diving and just hanging out by the sea.
There is plenty to do here during your free time - discover waterfalls and caverns, seek out beaches, jump aboard a boat or yacht for a cruise, or explore under the surface by scuba.
Along the way our tour leader will take us snorkelling in the pristine waters.
Included Activities
  • Snorkelling
Accommodation
Resort (3 nts)
Days 14-15 Manila
Return to Manilla for our final night together.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
      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. 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.
      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

      This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
      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 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.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP).
      There are plenty of ATMs available at the airport and in the main cities. You can also exchange US dollars, Euros, Australian Dollars and other major international currencies at money changers.
      Please note that once leaving Manila, we will be travelling in remote rural areas and there will be no convenient access to ATMs or money changers until we return.
      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 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.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      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. 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:
      www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      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 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.
      Accommodation
      Hotel (8 nts), Resort (3 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (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.
      CHECK-IN TIME
      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.
      Some accommodation has shared bathing facilities and cold water only, and there may be occasions where we use mixed gender dormitories.
      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
      2 Lunches, 3 Dinners
      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 300.00
      Transport
      Private minibus, Bus, 4x4, Ferry
      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
      Citystate Tower Hotel
      1315 A. Mabini Street, Ermita,
      Manila
      Luzon
      PHILIPPINES
      Phone: 632 4007351
      Fax: 632 5262758
      Joining point description
      Centrally located with 214 rooms equipped with private en suite bathroom, phone, mini-bar, TV & AC. The hotel also offers 24hr room service, wi-fi & currency exchange. The website is www.citystatetowerhotel.com.ph
      Joining point instructions
      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 31 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 arrival transfer, please exit through the lobby of the airport and go outside. As you cross outside, you will find our airport representative (among other reps) with a signage with the guests' names written on it. The airport rep will meet you and assist with the transfer.
      If you cannot find your local transfer, please call one of the below numbers:
      Raquel Valle: +63 917 891 4120
      Terso Pulvera: +63 917 891 4123
      General: +63 917 891 4121
      Alternatively, from the Ninoy Aquino International airport, taxi ranks are located just outside the arrivals hall. Expect to pay around PHP200-250 for the approx. 30min journey.
      Arrival complications
      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
      Citystate Tower Hotel
      1315 A. Mabini Street, Ermita,
      Manila
      Luzon
      PHILIPPINES
      Phone: 632 4007351
      Fax: 632 5262758
      Finish point description
      Centrally located with 214 rooms equipped with private en suite bathroom, phone, mini-bar, TV & AC. The hotel also offers 24hr room service, wi-fi & currency exchange. The website is www.citystatetowerhotel.com.ph
      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 all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please refer to:
      Emergency funds
      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
      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.
      PHILIPPINES:
      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
      Citizens of most countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay of up to 21 days, provided they hold a valid return ticket.
      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.
      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.
      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. 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:
      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.
      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 the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
      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.
      SWIMMING POOLS:
      You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
      BALCONIES:
      Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
      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 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:
      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:
      LOCAL DRESS:
      Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 462.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      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.