Family - Andaman Community Experience Trip Notes

Treat the family to a tropical holiday exploring Thailand’s wildlife-rich jungle and mangroves and relaxing on beautiful islands. Stay with a local family for a unique cultural insight.

    • 13
    • HFTT
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $1,930
      CAD $1,930
      AUD $1,870
      EUR €1,520
      GBP £1,169
      NZD $2,455
      ZAR R17,535
      CHF FR1,870
      *
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    • Explorer, Family
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2013
Family - Andaman Community Experience
Trip code: HFTT
Validity: 01 Oct 2012 to 30 Jun 2013
Combine breathtaking jungle scenery, extraordinary coastline and a bustling metropolis on this enticing family holiday. After a busy few days enjoying Bangkok, escape the urban jungle for Khao Sok’s incredible rainforest environment. A nature lover’s paradise, let the children search for exotic wildlife on nature walks. Experience Thai hospitality and spend time with a friendly coastal community, immersing the family in the traditional lifestyle. Ensure batteries are fully recharged before returning home and take full advantage of the beach bliss for which Thailand is famed.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxVisas
ThemesImportant notesIssues on your trip
MapGroup sizeWhat to take
ItineraryYour fellow travellersHealth
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersSafety
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationTravel insurance
Culture shock rating Meals introductionResponsible Travel
Physical ratingMealsA couple of rules
Included activitiesTransportThe Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyEmergency contact
TippingEmergency funds
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
Family, Explorer
Map
Family - Andaman Community Experience
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on day 1.
Bangkok is the epitome of the modern, steaming Asian metropolis; no matter what your interests, there is something here for everyone. With time to relax and get over any jet lag there are several optional visits you could make. A visit to Wat Trimit will reveal a solid gold Buddha image weighing a staggering 5½ tonnes! Alternatively, the house of the wealthy silk magnate, Jim Thompson - who disappeared in mysterious circumstances - is now a museum containing great examples of traditional Thai furniture and is well worth a visit. All the above trips are optional and are a great introduction to this fascinating city.
The following day we set off by boat to explore the waterways of Bangkok. Life along the canals, or klongs as they are called, is totally different from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city - it’s like entering a different world. We’ll also visit the Grand Palace, with its many spectacular temples, the most famous of which is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This spectacular collection of buildings was once the seat of power and was built to be self-sufficient. We also visit Wat Po, home of the Reclining Buddha - 46 metres in length! Tonight we board the overnight train to Surat Thani.
Included Activities
  • City sightseeing tour Bangkok
Accommodation
Nouvo City Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Khao Sok National Park
Arriving at Surat Thani early in the morning, there’s time for breakfast at a café near the railway station, before we drive for a couple of hours to Khao Sok National Park. Here we find some of Thailand’s best remaining rainforest, which is an incredible 150 million years old! Here amongst the giant tropical hardwood trees the limestone ‘karst’ formations stretch up from the jungle floor. This exciting national park is home to some of the country’s rarest animals, including leopard, Malayan sun bear, elephant, langur and even tiger, though they are elusive and rarely seen.
During our two-day stay we have plenty of time to explore. Included is a half-day walk to learn more about the tropical rainforest ecosystem and perhaps visit incredible stalactite caves. Although the walking is not difficult and we carry only a day pack, it can be tiring, as conditions are hot and underfoot it’s often wet and slippery.
In the rainy season we may be able to take to the river in inner tubes and float downstream through the rainforest (dependent on water level), listening to the calls of gibbons and the other sounds of the jungle (additional charge).
As we would expect in the jungle, facilities are basic; however the setting of superb limestone cliffs, mountains and rainforest more than makes up for any lack of western comforts. There is the opportunity for those who wish to, to take a short elephant ride during your stay (additional charge).
Included Activities
  • Rainforest walk Khao Sok
Accommodation
Morning Mist Resort (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Ban Talae Nok
After the rainforest, we’ll head to the rural village of Ban Talae Nok on the Andaman coast. For over 10 years, the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute has helped to teach local communities how to manage tourism by creating tours that support conservation and development as well as the preservation of culture and tradition. As not everyone has the time to spend several weeks, or even months volunteering on a project, this ‘hands on’ aspect has been integrated into the trip itinerary to give you the chance to contribute something to the community without requiring a long time commitment. The only requirement is that you come with an open mind and a “have a go” attitude.
After a welcome and introduction to this fantastic initiative, we’ll meet your host family who will proudly show you around their home and village and what follows will be a positive cultural interchange where we’ll experience what life is like in this Thai village community, as well as their unique customs and traditions. The village was hit by the 2004 tsunami and the villagers who are now rebuilding their lives and their homes are an true inspiration.
During your stay, we'll get stuck in to an array of activities, which include English lessons and games with children - maybe even a spot of football on the beach, Thai dessert making, Nipa Palm roof weaving, fishing on the beach and a long-tail boat trip through the mangrove forest. The kids will love integrating with the local children and this is the ideal way to give something back to the community that you visit.
Included Activities
  • Walking tour of Ban Talae Nok Village
  • Long-tail boat trip - Ban Talae Nok
  • Soap Cooperative - Ban Talae Nok
Accommodation
Homestay (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Ao Nang
This morning, we'll take part in some palm room weaving before helping the villagers prepare lunch (with some very tasty desserts!) Then we say farewells to the villagers at Ban Talae Nok and head south to the lively resort of Ao Nang with its many bars and restaurants and superb coastal views.
Hundreds of years ago, the waters along the coast of Krabi Province were a favourite hideout for pirates because of its intricate coves and hidden caves. Below the water an array of colourful tropical fish awaits anyone who goes snorkelling.
You can appreciate the dramatic, looming limestone monoliths rising out of the sea and the beautiful coastline of Krabi province. It is possible to take an exciting half-day sea-kayaking excursion to explore the mangrove forests to the north of Ao Nang. Here we’ll paddle along the coast and through creeks which are a haven for countless threatened marine creatures. This is a very different environment to that which visitors expect to see in tropical southern Thailand and is both fun and educational for kids and adults alike! (Please note that the timing of the trip depends on local tides).
At your base in vibrant Ao Nang you are close to the beach where boats can be taken the short distance to dramatic Raileh West. Nearby is the majestic Tiger Cave Temple, known in Thai as ‘Wat Tham Sua’. It’s unique because the monks worship in a labyrinth of underground caves. The highlight for many tourists is the climb up more than 1200 steps for panoramic views of the Andaman Coast (optional).
Another option that may be possible for qualified scuba divers time permitting is exploring beneath the waves as well as above. Non-divers have the option of a 'try dive' to discover the underwater marine world. NB. Divers require their proof of qualification and log books.
Included Activities
  • Nipa Palm Roof Weaving
Accommodation
Phu Pha Resort (2 nts)
Days 9-11 Koh Lanta
Leaving Ao Nang, you head southwards to the provincial capital of Krabi. You catch a ferry here, from the Jao Fah Pier, and make the 2-hour crossing to Ban Sala Dan on the island of Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta is made up of a collection of 52 islands in total and is considered one of Thailand’s most eco-friendly resort areas. Here we can expect to see hornbill, sea eagle, heron and if you’re lucky, perhaps a Giant Sea Turtle (Jan-May).
From the ferry dock it’s a 10-minute drive to your hotel on Kaw Kwang Beach. Accommodation here consists of simple, Thai style beach bungalows. We have the rest of the afternoon to make yourself at home and, after checking in, enjoy the stunning vistas of this island paradise. Over the following couple of days, you have the option of crossing the beautifully clear water of the Andaman Sea to explore the quiet, tropical islands nearby (additional charge).
Accommodation
Twin Bay Resort (3 nts)
Days 12-13 Bangkok
This morning we’ll catch the ferry back to Krabi from where we'll be transferred to the airport for a short flight back to Bangkok. Here, we can decide to have your 'last supper' with the group, do some last minute bargin hunting (and bartering!) and reflect on some wonderful memories.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Accommodation
Nouvo City Hotel (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.
  • HFTT - Andaman Community Experience - Single supplement (HFTT)
    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

    You're really out there! You'll need to pay specific attention to health and hygiene. A large proportion of locals’ living conditions are a world away from standards you are used to at home. You may have difficulty finding an English speaker and there's little or no access to services. Paying heed to local customs is essential.
    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 Thailand is the Baht (THB).
    The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat. ATMs are now available in most towns 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. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.
    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.
    Important notes
    AGE RESTRICTIONS:
    Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
    Group size
    Maximum of 18 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. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
    Accommodation
    Twin Bay Resort (3 nts), Homestay (2 nts), Nouvo City Hotel (2 nts), Morning Mist Resort (2 nts), Phu Pha Resort (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
    GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
    Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
    Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
    Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
    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
    11 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 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 250.00
    Transport
    Ferry, Plane, Public bus
    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.
    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.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, The Adventure Company can be reached on Tel: +44 1420 593000. For further contact details please use the following page:
    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.
    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 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.
    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.
    Kids' bellies are delicate and the standards of hygiene you may experience while travelling in this region can be less than what you are accustomed to at home. There are a few simple precautions you can take that will keep the family travelling in good health.
    DRINKING WATER:
    Make sure you always travel with plenty of water so you do not risk dehydration.
    FOOD:
    With all the exotic tastes available it would be a shame to avoid the great experience of trying new foods for the first time - both kids and parents! In most cases food is fresh and tasty, and perfectly fine to eat, however it can contain ingredients that you are not used to. Any change in diet (no matter where in the world you travel) can result in an upset stomach. Usually this is the only side-effect and it can last a few days. We don't want you to miss out savouring new flavours, but be wary of what you choose to eat - especially what your kids eat.
    HYGIENE:
    Keep your hands clean - and the kids'. It is important to remember to do this before eating especially if you will be eating with your hands as may be the custom. Antiseptic wipes or antiseptic hand gel (which you can use without water) are fabulous inventions - made with travelling families in mind.
    CONTACT WITH ANIMALS:
    In new and exciting destinations we often come across different animals. There are a lot of stray cats and dogs in some destinations. Keep an eye on children in these situations as aggravated animals can bite and may transmit diseases including rabies.
    DENGUE FEVER:
    Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
    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:
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    Travel insurance
    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:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Thailand include:
    * Friends of the Asian Elephant aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants - both domesticated and wild. FAE's elephant hospital provides free medical care and transportation, and is in the process of establishing a nursery in an effort to reduce the high infant mortality rate of domesticated working elephants.
    * Baan Unrak (House of Happiness) is an orphanage and community relief centre for children and destitute women. Providing shelter, food, clothing, education, employment, love and support for those in need, Baan Unrak currently houses more than 60 children and continues to grow.
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