Classic Cambodia & Vietnam Trip Notes

Classic Cambodia & Vietnam

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016
Classic Cambodia & Vietnam
Trip code: TKKHC
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
From Vietnam to Cambodia, discover incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty. Travel to Cambodia and delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh and explore the intricate temples of Angkor Wat. Travel to Vietnam and view the country's colourful history on the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, and explore the colonial-era among the architecture of Hanoi. This trip offers places of breathtaking beauty, from the beaches of Nha Trang and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the jungles of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay. Add a mix of friendly locals and age-old traditions to ensure the ultimate Indochina experience.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesAlternate finish point description
ThemesMeals introductionAlternate finish point instructions
Is this trip right for you?MealsEmergency contact
Why we love itMoney mattersVisas
MapGroup leaderWhat to take
ItinerarySafetyClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerJoining pointHealth
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Important notesFinish pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeFinish point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinishing point instructionsFeedback
AccommodationAlternate finish point
Is this trip right for you?
- The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful, but unavoidable, part of Cambodia's recent history we visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek which can be confronting. Please let your leader know if you do not want to visit these sights.
- Homestay in the Mekong Delta (1 night) - we spend one night in more basic homestay accommodation. While the homestays we use can vary, be prepared for camp beds with mosquito nets in a dormitory style, with shared facilities. However, most travellers find that this experience with locals is a real highlight
- Overnight sleeper train (1 night) - Carriages have 4 berth compartment bunk style beds, with basic bedding provided. Shared amenities are located at the end of each carriage. While conditions on board are basic, not only are you able to wake up in a new location, you can also experience travelling like a local
- Included boat trip from Nha Trang, also riding in a smaller basket boat, and with the opportunity for snorkelling. Let you leader know if you have any concerns about water based activities.
- Vietnam average temperatures vary greatly between South and North. While there is no best time of year, it's best to check the seasonal patterns on our country information page, to gauge what the weather will be like.
Why we love it
- Wander among the richly decorated temples of Angkor
- Experience local life on a Mekong homestay
- Be seduced by the riverside charms of Phnom Penh
- Cruise among the islands off Nha Trang
- Sail the mighty Perfume River
- Spend an evening on the peaceful waters of Halong Bay

Day 1 Phnom Penh
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. You'll be met on arrival at Phnom Penh airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight - check with hotel reception for more information and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. If you have free time in the afternoon, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. The National Museum, with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship, is well worth a visit. Dinner tonight will be at the restaurant run by the Friends organisation, a group which offers food, shelter, medical care, training and educational facilities for homeless, vulnerable or abandoned children. It's a great restaurant to support and the food is delicious – the Western and Asian fusion tapas dishes has put this restaurant on the must visit list.

Notes: Please provide us with your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure in order to arrange the transfer. 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 plan to arrive earlier, the arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    Hotel (1 nt)
    1 dinner
    Day 2 Phnom Penh
    Today a full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng is a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Choeung Ek Memorial is home to stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.

    Notes: The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are major parts of the experience here, but if you don't wish to visit them, please inform your tour leader.
    Included Activities
    • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
    • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
    • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
      Optional Activities
      • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
      • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
      • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
        Hotel (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Siem Reap
        Take a short flight to Siem Reap (approximately 1 hour). The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor. This is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. You'll probably notice a change of pace here, so take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. A visit to the old market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs; wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes; and there will be one for stomach too if you try some of the cheap, delicious street food. There's also a long tradition of shadow puppetry in the region, and if you're lucky you might catch a show at one of the local restaurants in the evening, perhaps while you're eating the speciality cuisine of Cambodia – amok, the name given to curry steam-cooked in banana leaves.
        Included Activities
        • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
          Hotel (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 4 Siem Reap / Angkor Wat
          Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided exploration. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Then there is Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', a temple that is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Of all the temples visited today, Bayon temple is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. For lunch you'll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. After lunch you will head to the Ta Prohm temple, where nature has taken over again, with large trees embedded in the stone foundations of the structure. End the day with a sunset view of the temples: an extraordinary way to see the sun go down.

          Notes: The Sala Bai Hotel School is closed on public and school holidays, so on these days an alternative restaurant will be used.
          Included Activities
          • Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
          • Siem Reap - 2 days with a local guide
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
            Day 5 Siem Reap
            Embrace a very early start today if you wish to experience a sunrise visit to the Angkor complex (this is optional). Later in the morning, venture to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a organisation that rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and provides a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. From here, continue onto Banteay Srei. You'll see it's not a huge temple, but thanks to its intricate stone carvings it is sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. At this point you can either head back to your hotel or carry on exploring more temples, such as Preah Khan. This temple contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Your ticket for the Angkor ruins also lets you spend more time exploring this site. Otherwise you might like to take a free afternoon to explore the town or visit Tonle Sap Lake and its floating villages. If you have time, perhaps indulge in a traditional Khmer massage or a Khmer cooking class.
            Included Activities
            • Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
              Optional Activities
              • Siem Reap - Khmer Cooking Class - USD25
              • Siem Reap - Khmer traditional massage - USD17
              • Siem Reap - Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
              • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake Boat Trip - USD15
              • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City
                We transfer to Siem Reap Airport for the short flight (approx. 1hr) to Ho Chi Minh City. Please note that you will not be accompanied on this flight. When you arrive in HCMC you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel

                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 at 6pm 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. This meeting is followed by an group meal out at one of Ho Chi Minh City's many fantastic eating spots.
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 7 Mekong Delta
                Start the day with a buffet breakfast at KOTO Restaurant, which is one of our supported programs that teaches street children hospitality skills.

                Next, drive for about three hours to Cai Be. Here you’ll board a boat to explore the canals of the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. During the boat trip, you’ll stop to sample some of the fresh tropical fruit and visit some cottage industries in the area.

                Around sunset you’ll make your way to your homestay to spend a night with the locals and enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialties.

                Notes: On the homestay, conditions will be basic. You’ll be sharing amenities and sleeping in a dorm-style arrangement. Bedding and mosquito nets will be provided but you’ll have cold water only.
                Included Activities
                • Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
                • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
                  Homestay (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                  Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City
                  Wake up early and see daily life begin on the delta at dawn. You’ll visit the enormous Cai Be floating market, where locals sell their produce on their boats.

                  In the afternoon, return to Ho Chi Minh City and take a walking tour in town. Experience the hustle and bustle of former Saigon and explore some of the city's more interesting sights such as the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace.
                  Included Activities
                  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
                  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                  • Mekong Delta - Floating Market
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 9 Ho Chi Minh City / Overnight Train
                    Make a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, and offers a glimpse of what like was like during the war.

                    This evening, board an overnight train to Nha Trang. Conditions are basic on these trains and they may be a little dirtier than what you’re used to, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers like to take some fresh bread, cheese and fruit for the journey.

                    Notes: Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group.
                    Included Activities
                    • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
                      Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 10 Nha Trang
                      Arrive in Nha Trang and transfer to your hotel. Nha Trang has been referred to as the ‘Cannes of the Orient’ because of its beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan vibe. Enjoy a free day in Nha Trang. Perhaps you’d like to soak up more sun on the beaches, or make an optional visit to the nearby Po Nagar Cham Towers. This archaeological site dates back to the middle ages and is dedicated to the indigenous goddess Yan Po Nagar.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Nha Trang - Mud baths - VND280000
                      • Nha Trang - Po Nagar Cham Tower - VND22000
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 11 Nha Trang
                        Today you’ll go on a boat trip to some of the nearby islands and visit a fishing village. You’ll also have plenty of free time to go swimming and snorkelling, and you’ll be treated to a seafood buffet on the cruise.
                        Included Activities
                        • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
                        • Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
                        • Nha Trang - Row boat tour
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                          Day 12 Hoi An
                          Take a short flight to Danang and then travel by minibus for one hour to Hoi An.

                          The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Dong Ba Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. It’s also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 13 Hoi An
                          Your leader will take you on a walk around the Old Town. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has a various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago.

                          The afternoon is free. You can rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby beach. There’s also an optional Urban Adventure including a countryside bike ride and finishing up with a cruise along the Thu Bon River.
                          Included Activities
                          • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
                            Optional Activities
                            • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
                            • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                              Day 14 Hoi An
                              Enjoy a free day in Hoi An.

                              If you can muster an early rise this morning, head to the local produce market to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables. Your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking course. Perhaps visit the ruins of My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the 4th and 12th century.

                              Make the most of your last day in Hoi An by doing any activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule yesterday.
                              Optional Activities
                              • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
                              • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 15 Hue
                                Continue on your journey today and make your first stop at My Khe Beach (China Beach). Get back in the bus and drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. Make a stop at beautiful Lang Co for an optional lunch.

                                Arrive in Hue, Vietnam’s former Imperial capital. Here you’ll visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City which was almost entirely destroyed by bomb blasts during the war.
                                Included Activities
                                • Hue - Imperial citadel
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 16 Hue
                                  Take a cruise on a dragon boat along the Perfume River. You’ll stop off at the
                                  Thien Mu Pagoda, and see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists. You’ll also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its lake, frangipani and pine trees.

                                  - Perfume River Cruises may not be available during festival season. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities.
                                  - During your trip to Hue, you’re likely to visit a Buddhist nunnery or monastery for lunch. The lunch provide economic benefits to these institutions, which rely on donations to survive, and gives you an insight into the unique traditions and food of Vietnamese Buddhism.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
                                  • Hue - Royal tomb
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                    Day 17 Hanoi
                                    Fly from Hue to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi. This afternoon, take a guided half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laid-back, tree-lined capital. You’ll visit major sights including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. You’ll also pass by the Hoan Kiem Lake and enter the ’36 Streets’ of the historic Old Quarter.

                                    If you have some free time this afternoon, you may like to visit the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. This Museum plays a crucial role in maintaining and promoting the cultural heritage of Vietnam’s ethnic communities.

                                    In the evening, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Hanoi - Water puppet show
                                    • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
                                    • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
                                    • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Day 18 Halong Bay
                                        Travel by private minibus for about four hours to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places, a secluded bay of emerald waters flecked with sandstone islands and caves. Go on a cruise to explore the rock formations and caves and in the warmer months, go for a swim.

                                        You’ll spend the night on the boat. The sailing junk has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including a lavish seafood buffet for lunch. You may also have the opportunity to go kayaking on the waters of Halong Bay (optional).

                                        Notes: It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.

                                        There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, we’re occasionally using a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) or splitting groups across different vessels. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.

                                        Your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Top Island beach during the warmer months. Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted.
                                        Included Activities
                                        • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
                                          Overnight boat (1 nt)
                                          1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                          Day 19 Hanoi
                                          Drive for about four hours back to Hanoi. Along the way, you’ll stop at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals creating ceramic art pieces.

                                          Arrive late this afternoon and enjoy a couple of hours free to visit Hanoi's sights or to do some last-minute shopping. Perhaps visit the Hoa Lo Prison aka the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ which was used for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. There’s also the Museum of Ethnology with its fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibits.

                                          Enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers.
                                          Optional Activities
                                          • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
                                          • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND180000
                                            Hotel (1 nt)
                                            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                                            Day 20 Hanoi
                                            There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                            Optional Activities
                                            • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
                                            • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
                                            • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Itinerary disclaimer
                                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                              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 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.
                                              Physical rating

                                              Included activities
                                              Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
                                              Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
                                              Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
                                              Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
                                              Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
                                              Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
                                              Siem Reap - 2 days with a local guide
                                              Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
                                              Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
                                              Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
                                              Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
                                              Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                                              Mekong Delta - Floating Market
                                              Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
                                              Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
                                              Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
                                              Nha Trang - Row boat tour
                                              Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
                                              Hue - Imperial citadel
                                              Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
                                              Hue - Royal tomb
                                              Hanoi - Water puppet show
                                              Hanoi - Temple of Literature
                                              Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
                                              Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
                                              Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
                                              Important notes
                                              1. Passport Details: Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
                                              2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
                                              3. 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 7 - Homestay
                                              Day 9 - Overnight train
                                              Day 18 - Halong Bay
                                              The single supplement also excludes day use rooms shared between members of the group on Days 9 & 10.

                                              Group size
                                              Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                              Your fellow travellers
                                              GROUP TRAVEL
                                              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.

                                              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 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.
                                              Homestay (1nt), Hotel (16nt), Overnight boat (1nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
                                              DAY ROOMS & EARLY CHECK IN:
                                              Day rooms are provided for shared group use before the overnight train journey in Ho Chi Minh City on Day 9, and after arriving in Nha Trang on Day 10. There is one room provided between up to 6 members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day rooms. During your trip you may arrive at your destination before check in time, luggage storage will be available. Please ask your leader if you would like to request your own room for early check in for an additional cost, subject to availability.
                                              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.
                                              18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
                                              Money matters
                                              SPENDING MONEY:
                                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                              Budget for meals not included:
                                              USD 400.00

                                              EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                                              We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                                              The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).

                                              Unofficially however, US currency (US$) runs the country and is the currency you should bring, mostly in cash. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Notes should be 2006 series onwards. Torn, dirty or old notes, as well as the $2US note will be refused in most businesses Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. Visa cash advances are available in major banks, and ATMs are are now available in most towns with most dispensing both KHR and US$. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.

                                              The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).

                                              Some establishments will accept US currency (USD), but usually only for large purchases and in some restaurants and hotels that cater to tourists. It's not possible to exchange Vietnamese Dong outside the country, so convert or spend all your Dong before leaving.

                                              On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.

                                              This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip.

                                              You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.

                                              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.

                                              The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.

                                              A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
                                              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.
                                              MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING:
                                              Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City.

                                              WATER SAFETY:
                                              Take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It is expected that anyone taking part in water activities are able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

                                              RENTING MOTORBIKES, QUAD BIKES AND JET SKIS
                                              There have been incidents of scams involving rental of motorbikes and jet skis in areas frequented by tourists and expatriate residents in some regions of Cambodia including the town of Sihanoukville. Due to safety concerns we do not recommend renting motorbikes, quad bikes or jet skis in Cambodia.
                                              Joining point
                                              Ohana Palace Hotel
                                              No. 4-6, Oknha Ouk Lonn (St. 148), 12204, Phnom Penh
                                              Phasar Kandal I
                                              Phnom Penh
                                              Phone: +855 23989671
                                              Fax: +855 23 989 672
                                              Joining point description
                                              Ohana Palace Hotel is in a great location close to the colourful Kandal Market,restaurant's, shops and bars and walking distance to many top tourist attractions. The hotel has a swimming pool, poolside bar and roof top terrace which is great place for a morning sunrise breakfast.
                                              All rooms have private bathrooms, mini bar, safety deposit box, hair dryer, TV and complimentary tea and coffee.

                                              Joining point instructions
                                              Please note a complimentary arrival transfer to the Ohana Palace Hotel is included if you are travelling on an Intrepid COMFORT trip. Intrepid provides one complimentary arrival transfer per booking even if travellers are arriving at different times. If your travelling party is arriving on different flights the complimentary transfer can be booked to meet the last flight arrival with earlier arrivals waiting. Alternatively an additional arrival transfer can be purchased.

                                              If you are travelling on an Intrepid REAL FOOD ADVENTURE an arrival transfer can be pre purchased prior to your departure through your booking agent.

                                              Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Your driver will be waiting for you as you leave the customs hall, holding an Intrepid sign bearing your name.
                                              Should you have any difficulties please contact the following local number: +855 925 55 969 or +66 898 103 722.
                                              Finish point
                                              Thien Thai Hotel
                                              45 Nguyen Truong To St
                                              Ba Dinh District
                                              VIET NAM
                                              Phone: +84 4 3716 4126
                                              Finish point description
                                              Located North West corner of the Old Quarter, Thien Thai is within walking distance of the nearby Dong Xuan market and the Ho Tay Lake (West Lake). All rooms have telephone, TV, WIFI, air conditioning, electronic safe, en-suite bathroom, hair dryer and mini fridge.
                                              Finishing point instructions
                                              A taxi from the hotel to the airport will cost approx. 15USD (310,000VND) and take approx 45 minutes.

                                              A departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to trip departure. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                                              If you have booked a departure transfer, please ask your leader to confirm the time of departure. If you have any problems please call our hotline:
                                              +84 903 117 770.
                                              Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                              Alternate finish point
                                              For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
                                              10 Oct 2016 (TKKHC1610103)
                                              May de Ville Old Quarter Hotel
                                              43/45/47 Gia Ngu Str, Hoan Kiem Dist
                                              VIET NAM
                                              Phone: 844 3933 5688
                                              Fax: 844 39335699
                                              Alternate finish point description
                                              Alternate finish point instructions
                                              Emergency contact
                                              ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP:
                                              While we always endeavor to provide you 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/specialist guide 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 recognize 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/guide to speak to their direct manager.

                                              For general contact details please use the following page:

                                              In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact Intrepid's local office on the details below.

                                              Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

                                              PEAK Cambodia: +855 92 555 969; +84 903 117 770

                                              Intrepid's Cambodia Office: +855 92 555 969
                                              As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                                              Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                              Visas can be organised either in advance or on arrival for most nationalities. Check with your embassy or consulate and allow approx 3 weeks for processing. It is also possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing for approx. US$30 (cost subject to change) - you will need a passport photo.

                                              If a point of contact is requested, please write: Freedom Hotel, Road #6, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

                                              E visas are now available for most nationalities through the official website
                                              E visa cost will be USD30 (visa fee) plus USD7 (processing fee)
                                              IMPORTANT - please note the Cambodia Government has reported many fraudulent E visa websites that pretend to be official e visa websites. Intrepid recommends only using the official E visa website above or by contacting your Travel agent.

                                              VIETNAM VISA:
                                              Most nationalities require a visa to travel to Vietnam.

                                              Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of under 15 days. If you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant Consulate or Embassy). Effective from 1st July 2015 - 30 June 2017 exempt visa nationalities include British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws.

                                              Vietnam visas need to be arranged in advance. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details.

                                              Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure.

                                              If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.

                                              Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.
                                              What to take
                                              What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                              Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                                              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                                              Internal Flight Luggage Allowance:
                                              Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 20kg, with up to 7kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in.

                                              WATER BOTTLE:
                                              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 try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

                                              We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

                                              As there may be swimming and kayaking opportunities on this tour you may wish to pack swimwear.

                                              Cambodia authorities have issued an official code of conduct for visitors to Angkor Wat and other religious sites regarding dress code, visitors should not wear skirts or shorts above the knee or tops that reveal bare shoulders; visitors not following the dress code are liable to be refused admission to the sites. Please ensure you pack clothing that follow these guidelines.

                                              Climate and seasonal information
                                              Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure.

                                              CAMBODIAN FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS:
                                              During public holidays and festival periods in Cambodia many businesses may close, transport may be extremely busy and travel times may increase. During these times please be patient and consider these moments as an opportunity to interact with the locals. Particularly worth noting are Khmer New Year (3 days in mid-April), Pchum Ben (3 days in early October) and Water Festival (3 days in late November).

                                              WET SEASON:
                                              During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.
                                              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 and always using repellent. Please note that this mosquito is most active during daylight hours however care should be taken at all times.

                                              DRINKING WATER:
                                              As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
                                              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 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.

                                              A couple of rules
                                              Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                              Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                              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 by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                                              In recent times orphanage tourism has become popular in Cambodia. Intrepid Travel does not support unscheduled or random visits to orphanages and children's institutions, as these are a child's home - a place that should be safe and respect their right to privacy and dignity. Undoubtedly the majority of travelers have best interests at heart, but the reality is orphanage visits can negatively impact the children. For more information on how you can help protect children during your travels, see:
                                              This trip may include some pre-arranged visits to organisation's that have been vetted by Intrepid Travel, and these will be facilitated by your group leader.

                                              The Intrepid Foundation
                                              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Vietnam include:

                                              * The Blue Dragon Children's Foundation works in northern and central Vietnam with the most vulnerable children: street kids, children with disabilities, children from rural families living in extreme poverty, and victims of human trafficking and slavery. Their primary aim is to rescue kids from danger, reunite them with their families when they can, and provide all the services needed for recovery and growth.

                                              * Children's Hope in Action (CHIA) provides vital health and disability programs and educational services to vulnerable families in Hoi An and surrounding rural areas. CHIA’s holistic Special Education program facilitates the social, physical and intellectual development of children who have motor disabilities and little, or no intellectual impairment.

                                              * The KOTO Saigon Training Centre provides training in life skills and hospitality to former street children. Trainees at the Saigon centre will go on to work at KOTO's restaurant in the city (to open in 2011). Travellers may also visit the KOTO restaurant in Hanoi, which also provides training opportunities for disadvantaged youth and great food.

                                              For more information, or to make a donation please visit:

                                              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.