Last Modified: 03 Jul 2014
Classic Malaysia & Thailand
Trip code: TMKTC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Day 1 Singapore
Welcome to Singapore!
With flourishing retail hot spots, a booming, cross-cultural culinary scene and one of the world's best airports, it's not hard to see why Singapore acts as a launching (and finishing) point for many of our Asian odysseys. From the traditions and heritage of Chinatown to the aromatic delights of Little India and the modernity of glitzy hotels, a few days in sizzling Singapore is the perfect bookend to any Intrepid adventure.
Singapore has few areas untouched by modernisation, but wandering the streets of Little India and Chinatown is a great way to see the old parts of the city. To explore further, check out the renowned shopping precinct of Orchard Road, or stop by Raffles to experience the old world charm of a Singapore Sling. An evening in Singapore is not complete without an evening stroll along Clarke Quay or take a river cruise to learn more about the fascinating history of this city.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
V Hotel Lavender or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Melaka
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.
Take a special Nonya cooking class. A colourful fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine that people travel from afar to taste, be prepared to savour a great deal of this unique fare.
- Melaka Trishaw tour
- Baba Nyonya cooking class
- Sultanates Palace - MYR2
- Baba Nonya Heritage Museum - MYR8
- Eye on Malaysia - MYR20
- Menara Taming Sari (revolving tower) - MYR20
Mimosa Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Kuala Lumpur
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.
Take a half-day tour and experience the fascinating cultural mix that gives it such a uniquely cosmopolitan feel. Visit some of the city's most impressive architecture such as the National Monument, National Mosque, Istana Negara (National Palace), Batu Caves and Royal Selangor Pewter.
- Kuala Lumpur - Half-day sightseeing tour
- Orang Asli Museum - MYR10
- Menara Tower - MYR49
- Islamic Arts Museum - MYR12
- Culture show and dinner - MYR95
Ancasa Hotel & Spa or similar (2 nts)
Day 6 Malay Homestay
A bus journey 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 traditional houses with twin-share beds and cold showers.
Please note that out of respect for our hosts, alcohol is not available during our stay.
- Malay Homestay - Village Walk
Homestay or similar (1 nt)
Day 7 Penang
Transfer from Kuala Kangsar to Penang by minivan (approx. 2 hours).
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.
Discover Penang's Chinese and British colonial history around Georgetown. Explore Little India taking a glimpse of the ancient Hindu traditions in its decorative temples and tasting freshly made delicious Indian snacks. Don't miss a visit to the Chinese stilt houses or the chance to have high tea at the legendary Eastern and Oriental Hotel.
- Kuala Kangsar Royal Town Tour
- Chong Fat Tze Museum - MYR12
- Khoo Kongsi - MYR10
- Teluk Bahang National Park - Free
Banana Boutique Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Pulau Langkawi
Take a half day guided city tour of Georgetown visiting sites such as; Fort Cornwallis, Clan Jetty, Thai and Burmese Temples and Kek Lok Si Temple.
We explore the largest standing fort in Malaysia - Fort Cornwallis.
Fly from Penang to the island of Langkawi.
Pulau Langkawi is only 487.5 sq km in area but it's one of Malaysia's premier tourist destinations, featuring stunning beaches and some of the best sunsets you'll find in the country.
It's essential to treat yourself to a swim, snorkel or sunbake on the sultry exotic white sand beaches or perhaps unwind in a boutique spa.
Take a day trip to explore some of the smaller islands. Please note, if the weather is too wet we'll do a day tour of the main island instead.
Not to be missed is a trip on the cable car with spectacular views over the Andaman Sea and some of the 99 tropical islands of Langkawi.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Penang - Half Day Sightseeing
- Penang - Fort Cornwallis
- Penang - Kek Lok Si
- Langkawi Cable Car
- Langkawi island tour
Aseania Resort or similar (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Bangkok
Fly to Bangkok for the second half of your trip. You must arrange your own flight from Langkawi to Bangkok. This flight is NOT included in the cost of the trip. Please refer to the Important Notes section for further details.
Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok (approx 1 hr). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital.
Head north to Chiang Mai in the evening on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approx. 13hrs). Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a food and drink service available on board.
- Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
- Bangkok - Grand Palace
- Bangkok - Thai massage - THB200
- Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB100
Nouvo City Hotel or similar (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 12-13 Chiang Mai
The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.
Discover some of the secrets of Thai cuisine by joining a cookery course. Learn about the main ingredients used in Thai cuisine, how they are used and stored and what alternatives you can substitute if you can't get them at home. Questions are welcome and you are provided with a comprehensive book of recipes and ingredient details. For lunch, sit down and feast on the delicious results of your tuition. The meal is usually rounded off with a tasting of seasonal Thai fruit.
Explore the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway (approx 45 mins). The rewards justify the climb with one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand on display, not to mention fantastic panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to listen to hypnotic evening chanting by resident Buddhist monks.
Enjoy a traditional khantohk dinner while being entertained by Akha, Yao, Lahu, H'mong, Lisu and Karen tribal dances.
You have a free day for independent exploration. Your leader can help you to arrange optional activities - you can take a bike ride to a nearby temple, indulge in a Thai massage or a spa treatment or just read a book by the pool.
- Chiang Mai - Baan Thai Cookery School half-day course OR Half-day cycling
- Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple
- Chiang Mai - Khantohk dinner and cultural show
- Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
Imperial Mae Ping Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 14 H'mong Lodge
Board a minivan for the drive north to the H'mong Hilltribe Lodge, set in picturesque hilly countryside (approx 1.5 hours)
The H'mong are an ethnic minority people originating from southern China and are Thailand's second-largest hilltribe group. Here, we enjoy a barbecue dinner and a H'mong cultural show in the evening.
- H'mong Lodge meal and cultural show
Day 15 Lampang - Sukhothai
This morning we leave village life behind and travel to Lampang (approx 2 hours).
Lampang, also known locally as 'mueang rot ma' meaning Horse Carriage City, is considered by some Thais as the last paradise in Thailand.
We pay a visit to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Centre, the world's first elephant hospital. After spending time with the elephants, we then head to Sukhothai (approx 3.5 hrs) where we will spend the night.
- Lampang - Friends of the Asian Elephant
Sukhothai Heritage Resort or similar (1 nt)
Days 16-17 Kanchanaburi/River Kwai
The first ancient capital of Siam, Sukhothai was established in the 13th century. Located on a fertile plain, Sukhothai means the 'Dawn of Happiness' and is now famous for its World Heritage-listed historic park, which celebrates the Golden Age of Thai civilisation.
Upon arrival at the park, hire bicycles and enjoy a few leisurely hours feeling the breeze in your hair and learning about the history of this fascinating place. Enjoy a home-cooked picnic lunch somewhere along the way, and if we have enough free time, we'll visit a local ceramics factory.
Travel by private minibus to Kanchanaburi (approx 6 hrs).
Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.
Visit Hellfire Pass Memorial, built to honour the Allied POWs and Asian conscripts who died while constructing some of the most difficult stretches of the Thai-Burma Death Railway.
Boarding at Nam Tok station, the main terminal of the Death Railway, take a ride along the historic tracks passing through magnificent scenery along the Kwai Noi River and travel over the original wooden viaduct (the Bridge on the River Kwai) constructed by the allied POWs.
- Sukhothai - Historical park guided cycle tour & home-cooked picnic lunch
- Kanchanaburi - Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
- The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (POW Cemetery)
- Kanchanaburi - Kayaking - THB250
Felix River Kwai Resort or similar (2 nts)
Days 18-19 Bangkok
Enjoy an evening river cruise and dinner on the mighty Chao Phraya River. a great way to experience Bangkok's historical landmarks from a different perspective. Feast on Thai cuisine as you watch river life go by.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Nouvo City Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Classic Malaysia & Borneo (TMKMC)
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.
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.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
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 Thailand is the Baht (THB).
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). ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange; clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who 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.
FLIGHT FROM PULAU LANGKAWI TO BANGKOK
The flight between Pulau Langkawi and Bangkok is NOT included in the trip cost and should be booked by the traveller prior to trip commencement. Flights below are from the latest published flight schedule at the time of printing:
Day 10 - Pulau Langkawi - Bangkok
Please note you need two flights for this journey:
Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines MH1439 @ 10.00 hours,
and connecting to
Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok
Malaysia Airlines MH788 @ 12.25pm
PLEASE NOTE the flight schedule for 2014 may change.
There's a strict 15kg luggage maximum on this trip due to internal flight. Excess luggage is to be paid by the traveller.
Please note we do not include a departure transfer in Langkawi from your hotel to the airport. Your hotel will be able to organise transport for you to the airport. The airport is only 15 minutes drive away.
PLEASE NOTE An airport arrival transfer in Bangkok is available for Day 10. Please advise your flight details at time of booking so as we can arrange this arrival airport transfer in Bangkok for you.
Upon arrival in Bangkok on day 10 after exiting customs go outside and look for exit door 6 and our representative holding a sign with your name on it.
If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative please go to the ATTA Counter (Association of Thai Travel Agents) near exit door 6 and ask to call our transfer company on one of the following 24 hour numbers:
081 658 2727 or
081 566 9324
AMENDMENT TO ITINERARY DEPARTURE 10th of April 2014
Due to operational reasons this trip departing on the 10th of April will stay at the Celyn Resort Kinabalu on day 11instead of 2 nights at the Sabah Tea Plantation.
Day 11 - Sabah Tea Plantation in a cottage - unchanged
Day 12 - Celyn Resort Kinabalu
All activities will still be included as per the trip notes and we are confident that the Celyn Resort is a great replacement.
For more information about this property please see the below link,
Due to the amendment with the accommodation we will also include a complimentary steam boat dinner in Sandakan.
Maximum of 16 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
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 following nights the supplement is not available:
Day 6 Malay Homestay
Ancasa Hotel & Spa or similar (2 nts), Mimosa Hotel or similar (2 nts), Aseania Resort or similar (2 nts), Nouvo City Hotel or similar (2 nts), Imperial Mae Ping Hotel or similar (2 nts), Felix River Kwai Resort or similar (2 nts), Banana Boutique Hotel or similar (1 nt), Homestay or similar (1 nt), V Hotel Lavender or similar (1 nt), Sukhothai Heritage Resort or similar (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
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.
16 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Trishaw, Public bus, Van, Kanchanaburi Day Tour - TTKK, Private minibus, Kanchanaburi Train Station - Takilen Train Station - TTKK, Sammlaw (cycle rickshaw), Overnight sleeper train
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.
V Hotel Lavender
70 Jellicoe Rd Singapore
Phone: +65 63452233
Joining point instructions
An arrival transfer from Singapore airport is included. Please advise flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to departure. If you have pre-booked your transfer you will be met on arrival at the airport. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many exits after collecting and clearing customs, so please use the exit door closest to the luggage collection belt that you have just come from. If you cannot locate our transfer representative, please call our airport transfer operator's emergency contact no: +65 9783 3739 (between 7 am and 10:30 pm - Singapore time).
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.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
31 Jul 2014 (TMKTC1407312), 25 Sep 2014 (TMKTC1409252), 11 Dec 2014 (TMKTC1412112), 22 Jan 2015 (TMKTC150122), 19 Feb 2015 (TMKTC150219), 19 Mar 2015 (TMKTC150319), 14 May 2015 (TMKTC150514), 03 Sep 2015 (TMKTC150903), 29 Oct 2015 (TMKTC151029)
Nouvo City Hotel
2 Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Banglamphu Bangkok 10200 THAILAND
Phone: +66 22827500
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.
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. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. 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.
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:
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.
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.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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.
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:
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
During your visit there may be opportunities to ride elephants and see them perform. While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass this activity. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection, advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
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.
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! 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.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.