Great Indochina Loop Trip Notes

Great Indochina Loop

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

Last Modified: 07 Oct 2016
Great Indochina Loop
Trip code: TTSVC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Join us as we travel into the heart and soul of Indochina. Starting off in Bangkok, get lost in the chaos of Thailand's capital city before succumbing to the slightly more relaxed pace of Chiang Mai. Cruise along the Mekong River to reach peaceful Luang Prabang, a colourful town dotted with monks, pop-up stalls and French-inspired eateries. In Vietnam, cruise through dramatic karst scenery on a boat tour of Halong Bay, travel back to the time of Vietnam’s emperors in Hue, soak up the old-world charm of Hoi An and be wowed by the endless energy of Ho Chi Minh City. Then discover Cambodia's fascinating history and culture in Phnom Penh's heaving streets and in the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor, before wrapping up the adventure back in Thailand. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016: Following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej a 1 year mourning period has been declared in Thailand. In the first 30 days all government offices will fly the Thai flag at half-mast and there will likely be restrictions on the opening hours or selling of alcohol at entertainment venues including pubs and clubs. If your trip is before mid-January 2017 and includes a visit to the Grand Palace, this activity will be replaced with an alternative as the Palace will be closed to tourists while people from all over Thailand pay their respects to the King. Your leader will discuss this and any other changes with you at the Group Meeting on Day 1. As this is an emotional time for Thailand and its people we ask that our travellers wear dark coloured clothing over the next 30 days as a mark of respect to the much loved King.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
ThemesMeals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryGroup leaderHealth
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining pointA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
AccommodationFinishing point instructions
Why we love it
- Soak up the atmosphere of Hanoi
- Cruise Halong Bay on a junk boat
- Feel the pulsating energy of Thailand's capital, Bangkok
- Relax beneath a waterfall in Luang Prabang
- Discover a slower pace of life in the Mekong Delta
- See the incredible temples of Angkor
- Uncover Cambodia's tragic history in Phnom Penh

Day 1 Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place, and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore, so perhaps arrive a day or so early and take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in some Thai massage. After the meeting tonight perhaps gather your fellow travellers together and tuck into some into world famous street food.
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Bangkok
    Begin the day with a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous ‘khlongs’ (canals) (approximately 1 hour). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Pay a visit to Wat Pho, one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, with a 46-metre long gold plated Buddha reclining inside. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. This evening you’ll head north to Chiang Mai on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approximately 13 hours). Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Your baggage travels in the carriage with you. There is a food and drink service available on board.
    Included Activities
    • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
    • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
      Optional Activities
      • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
      • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
        Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
        Day 3 Chiang Mai
        The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. Embark on a scenic, winding drive up a mountain (around 45 minutes) to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a most memorable experience.
        Included Activities
        • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 4 Chiang Mai
          Today is free for you to explore, but there are also a few optional activities you can join if you want. Perhaps join a local cooking class today and discover the secrets of real Thai cuisine. You'll learn the key ingredients, how to use them, and what to use in their place if you can’t get them at home. As well as taking your own comprehensive recipe book with you after the class, you'll feast on the fruits of your labour for lunch. Get active with a bicycle tour to discover the city and surrounding countryside from a different perspective, or be spirited away on an early morning Chiang Mai tour that puts you at the epicentre of Buddhist rituals. Learn to meditate, offer alms to monks, and make an offering at a temple. In the evening you can choose to wander through the enormous, colourful Night Bazaar, and perhaps relax at a fine restaurant along the riverfront. Make sure to sample some delicious traditional northern Thai food – the signature dish is kao soy, yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth, traditionally served with chicken or beef.
          Optional Activities
          • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
          • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB950
          • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mind & Soul - THB2300
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 5 Chiang Khong
            Take a journey through rural countryside to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong (approximately 5.5 hours). Formerly known as 'Juon', peaceful riverside Chiang Khong remains an important market town for the surrounding hill tribes and for trade with Laos. Stretch your legs with a stroll around town, and if you find youself with time, then Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Luang are both well worth a visit while you’re here. Then maybe enjoy a final Thai drink and dinner, while Laos beckons from across the mighty Mekong.
            Guesthouse (1 nt)
            Day 6 Pakbeng - Mekong River
            Board a slow boat for the two-day journey down the mighty Mekong River to Luang Prabang. The journey is relaxed, so you can experience the slow pace of village life and the breathtaking scenery along the river up close. The river boat is basic in nature, with a toilet, covered roof, and open sides to take in the fresh air. There are seats in the front of the boat and a small open area in the back where you can have a nap on the mat, play cards, read or have lunch. Dock at the small town of Pak Beng (after about 6 hours) to spend the night. Hmong and tribal Thai people are frequently seen on the main street, where vendors sell local textiles and handicrafts.

            Notes: Our guesthouse here is very basic -– standard accommodation in this small, remote trading port. It can be quite cool from November to February so make sure you have some warm gear packed for this period. Due to dam construction upstream, water levels aren't as reliable as in previous years, and when the river is at its lowest from February to April, part of the journey may occasionally need to be made by land.
            Included Activities
            • Mekong River - 2 day boat trip
              Guesthouse (1 nt)
              Day 7 Luang Prabang
              Reboard the boat and cruise to the Pak Ou Caves, before arriving in the former royal capital of Luang Prabang (approximately 7 hours). An important religious site overlooking the river at the junction of the Mekong and Ou Rivers, the revered Pak Ou Caves consist of two sacred limestone caverns filled with Buddha images of all styles and sizes, brought by devoted villagers over the centuries. The lower cave, known as Tham Ting, is entered from the river by a series of steps and can easily be seen in daylight. The higher cave, Tham Phum, is deeper and requires a torch for viewing. The atmospheric World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang is a favourite of many travellers. Nestled in the hills of northern Laos on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, the city is claimed to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’ by UNESCO. The city and its people retain a refined, yet relaxed, air and it’s a wonderful place to wander the side streets and dusty lanes and seemingly step back into another era.
              Included Activities
              • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 8 Luang Prabang
                Once the heart and soul of the ancient Lao Kingdom (Lan Xang) and designated a World Heritage site in 1995, Luang Prabang is endowed with a legacy of historic red-roofed temples and French-Indochinese architecture, not to mention some of the country's most refined cuisine, a multi-ethnic population and rich culture. Enjoy a guided tour around the Traditional Art & Ethnology centre, a non-profit museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of its traditional arts and lifestyles. In the afternoon, head south of town to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, a picturesque, multi-level cascade that offers fantastically blue pools that are perfect for a mid-afternoon dip. Back in Luang Prabang this evening you’ll have free time to make further discoveries, including walking around the popular Night Bazaar.
                Included Activities
                • Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts and Ethnology Museum
                • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 9 Luang Prabang
                  Today is free for your own explorations. It’s worth getting up in the misty early morning to view the procession of saffron-robed monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries. The people of the town wait out the front of their houses with food for the monks to collect and take back to the temple. It is done early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk you ‘het bon’ or make merit, which should augur well for your next life. Make sure you don't miss Wat Xieng Thong, the most enchanting of Laos’ monasteries. Inside you'll find monks eager to practice their English with you. A large hill called Mt Phu Si dominates Luang Prabang's skyline, topped by a glittering golden stupa. You can climb the 328 zig-zag steps up to the sacred gilled stupa and big drum of the Phu Si Temple for a panoramic view of Luang Prabang and its surrounds. The Dara Market sells everything and is a great spot to browse. If you'd like to experience more local culture, consider taking a long boat across the river to a traditional Laotian village.
                  Optional Activities
                  • Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre - USD20
                  • Luang Prabang - Mt Phu Si - USD2
                  • Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong - USD2
                  • Luang Prabang - National Museum - USD4
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Vang Vieng
                    Take the bus through dusty villages and winding mountain roads to Vang Vieng (approximately 7 hours). The mountain scenery on the drive is as impressive as that of your destination. En route, take in scenes of small village life at various points along the hilly highway. Situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng is surrounded by towering limestone karsts and is a great place to walk through local markets and along the riverside.
                    Guesthouse (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 11 Vang Vieng
                    There’s plenty to do in and around Vang Vieng, known as an adventure town thanks to its unique and varied surrounding country. The area is renowned for its many caves, many of which are easily accessible from the town. Perhaps the most famous is the cave of Tham Chang, a beautiful cavern fed by a natural spring making it a perfect spot for a refreshing swim. Hire bicycles to explore further afield, or if you’re looking to relax or perhaps learn more about local niche industry, you can visit an organic mulberry farm just outside town and enjoy a meal there.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire - USD2
                      Guesthouse (1 nt)
                      Day 12 Vientiane
                      Continue by bus to the country's capital, Vientiane (approximately 3.5 hours). Possibly Asia's most laidback capital, Vientiane is a city where daily affairs are conducted at a relaxed pace. Hardly touched by the modernisation that has completely changed the face of other cities in South-East Asia, it has a wealth of cultural delights to discover on foot, or for the less energetic, by jumbo (tuk tuk). Faded colonial mansions, tree-lined boulevards and old temples create an atmosphere of timelessness, particularly in the older part of town along the Mekong River. Pay a visit to Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane and home to almost 7,000 Buddha images. Visit COPE, an Intrepid Foundation-sponsored organisation dedicated to assistance those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordinance across the country. This is an excellent cause and a chance to educate yourself about Laos' devastating war history. This evening, maybe join your fellow travellers for a celebratory dinner as your adventure comes to an end.
                      Included Activities
                      • Vientiane - COPE visit
                        Optional Activities
                        • Vientiane - Tuk Tuk to Buddha Park - USD25
                        • Vientiane - Vientiane temples - USD1
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 13 Hanoi
                          Take a flight from Vientiane to Hanoi (approx 1 hour) Please note you will be unaccompanied on this flight. In the arrivals hall of Hanoi Airport you will be met by an Intrepid representative, who will take you to your Hanoi hotel. The flight usually arrives into Hanoi in the late afternoon.
                          As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
                          Optional Activities
                          • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
                          • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
                          • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
                          • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
                          • Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure - USD40
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 14 Halong Bay
                            Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin (approximately four hours). The bay is dotted with sandy coves, grottos and 1,600 limestone islands, which have been formed over millennia by wind and water erosion. Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring island caves and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. To end the day, spend a peaceful night aboard the boat beneath the night sky.

                            The sailing junk has twin share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar to enjoy lunch, dinner and breakfast.

                            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.

                            Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted.

                            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
                            Included Activities
                            • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
                              Optional Activities
                              • Halong Bay - Kayaking - VND220000
                                Overnight boat (1 nt)
                                1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                Day 15 Hanoi / Overnight Train
                                Return by boat to Ha Long, and at approximately midday travel by bus back to Hanoi. Arrive late this afternoon, and use free time to shop, explore the sights or just relax. Later tonight board an overnight train to Hue.

                                Notes: There are shared hotel rooms available this afternoon if you would like to freshen up or organise your luggage.

                                Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six berths depending on the season), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided (although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but you may like to stock up on some food supplies before departure.
                                Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 16 Hue
                                Arrive into Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel.

                                Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. You’ll have free time in the morning to rest or explore. The bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the foods that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables, such as banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Hue Imperial Citadel complex, which once contained temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace.
                                Included Activities
                                • Hue - Imperial citadel
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Day 17 Hue
                                  Today, tour the sights of Hue on the back of a motorbike driven by a local guide. Explore the ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, once reserved for the personal use of the Emperor and his concubines, but almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam/American War. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda. During the visit you’ll see the car of a former monk who drove to Saigon in 1963 to set himself alight to protest the poor treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

                                  Enjoy a short boat cruise down the Perfume River before eating lunch inside a nunnery. Finally, visit the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to Hue.

                                  Notes: For those who do not wish to ride on the back of a motorbike, please let you leader know and they will arrange a car.
                                  Also, boats for the Perfume River trip may not be available if you’re travelling during festival periods. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities instead.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
                                  • Hue - Royal tomb
                                  • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                    Day 18 Hoi An
                                    This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to Lang Co Beach, arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town and visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You’ll will also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Day 19 Hoi An
                                        Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Browse the town’s cobbled streets and art galleries, or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Shop for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town’s markets and preserved Chinese shop houses. Perhaps visit one of the hundreds of tailors in the city to get something special made. Hoi An is also known for its delicious regional food, so be sure to enjoy a meal at a riverside restaurant or perhaps partake in a cooking class.
                                        Optional Activities
                                        • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
                                        • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
                                        • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
                                          Hotel (1 nt)
                                          1 breakfast
                                          Day 20 Ho Chi Minh City
                                          Today take a short early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam’s capital of commerce and culture. After landing, check in to your hotel and then take a sightseeing bus tour around the city. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, stopping in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the Vietnam/American War.
                                          Included Activities
                                          • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                                          • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
                                            Optional Activities
                                            • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND30000
                                            • HCMC - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure - USD35
                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Day 21 Mekong Delta/Ho Chi Minh City
                                              This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a boat to Ben Tre to visit a coconut candy factory and sample their sweet products. On a tuk-tuk tour around the remote village, learn about local rural life and stop to sample tropical fruits. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous Elephant Ear fish. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past water coconut trees along the Mekong, and then board a private boat to cruise the delta’s major waterways to My Tho. After the cruise return via bus to Ho Chi Minh City.

                                              Enjoy a final group dinner at KOTO restaurant, an organisation dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of street kids.
                                              Included Activities
                                              • HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip including Coconut Candy Factory and Village Tuk Tuk tour
                                              • HCMC - KOTO dinner
                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                                Day 22 Ho Chi Minh City
                                                Today you may be required to move to a different hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, for the next section of your trip. Your leader will let you know if this is the case, and will help with the transfer to the next hotel.

                                                You have a free day to do as many optional activities as you wish.

                                                You also have the option today to take an Urban Adventures tour to the Cu Chi tunnels outside the city. This underground tunnel network in the middle of the jungle was used by the Viet Cong during the war.

                                                As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
                                                Optional Activities
                                                • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND30000
                                                • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND15000
                                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                                  1 breakfast
                                                  Day 23 Phnom Penh
                                                  Travel by public bus through rural Vietnam and Cambodia to Phnom Penh (approximately 6–7 hours). You will cross the border, exiting Vietnam at Moc Bai and entering Cambodia at Ba Vet. Your leader will assist you with border crossing procedures.
                                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                                  1 breakfast
                                                  Day 24 Phnom Penh
                                                  Confront Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It's estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. You will also head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields, the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng. You can learn about a brighter period in Cambodian history from an optional visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda (optional). Wat Phnom, shrouded in myth, is equally worth a visit, as is the National Museum with its excellent Khmer collection. Cyclo tours around the city are a great alternative to walking and generally include the central market, US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong river front, independence monument and Royal Palace. Keen shoppers can hit the art-deco Psar Thmei (Central Market).
                                                  Included Activities
                                                  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
                                                  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
                                                    Optional Activities
                                                    • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD7
                                                    • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
                                                    • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
                                                    • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
                                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                                      1 breakfast
                                                      Day 25 Siem Reap
                                                      Travel by private bus to Siem Reap (approximately 7 hours). Along the way you'll make several stops which are great opportunities to see the real Cambodia. You'll visit the cottage industry of Santuk Silk Farm, a fair-trade organisation that provides a valuable source of employment in a poor rural community. You'll even have a the rare chance to sample a deep-fried spider. Arrive in Siem Reap in the evening and relax as you prepare for your much-anticipated visit to Angkor tomorrow. Perhaps hit the markets for some delicious street food.

                                                      Notes: Santuk Silk Farm is closed on some important Khmer holidays.
                                                      Included Activities
                                                      • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake boat trip
                                                      • Santuk Silk Farm
                                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                                        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                                        Day 26 Siem Reap / Angkor
                                                        Temple-hop with your local guide and make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex. The temples, dating back as far as the 9th century, were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photo opportunities at any time of day. Watching a sunrise or sunset is a must. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap, so there will be plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
                                                        Included Activities
                                                        • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
                                                        • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
                                                          Hotel (1 nt)
                                                          1 breakfast
                                                          Day 27 Siem Reap / Angkor
                                                          Continue your explorations of the Angkor complex. You may like to spend just the morning making further discoveries here, and save your afternoon for an optional activity elsewhere. Perhaps enjoy a boat trip along the Tonle Sap (freshwater lake), visiting one of its floating villages. Keen adventurers can take the 'Flight of the Gibbon' zip-line adventure which gives an amazing birds-eye view of the rainforest, not to mention an adrenaline rush.
                                                          Included Activities
                                                          • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
                                                            Optional Activities
                                                            • Siem Reap - Flight of the Gibbon Ziplining - USD129
                                                            • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
                                                            • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Street Food By Night Tour - USD47
                                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                                              1 breakfast
                                                              Day 28 Battambang
                                                              Travel by private minibus to Battambang (approximately 3 hours). Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang (pronounced Battambong), is a pretty riverside town of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and beautifully preserved colonial architecture. Consider a guided tour of the countryside to discover the local rural way of life – it stops off at small cottage industries that produce sticky rice, noodles & fish paste. Or perhaps take a ride on the famous bamboo train, a great chance to interact with locals. There's also an optional cooking class to learn the secrets of local dishes such as amok, Khmer curry & fried spicy chicken.
                                                              Optional Activities
                                                              • Battambang - Countryside tour - USD10
                                                              • Battambang - Bamboo Train - USD10
                                                              • Battambang - Cooking Class - USD12
                                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                                1 breakfast
                                                                Day 29 Bangkok
                                                                It's a long drive from Battambang to Bangkok (approximately 8–9 hours by private bus, including the border crossing and lunch). You will exit Cambodia at Poipet and enter Thailand at Aranyaprathet. Your leader will be on hand to assist with border crossing procedures. Arrive in Thailand's bustling capital and take in this exciting world of tuk tuks, khlong boats, and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.
                                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                                1 breakfast
                                                                Day 30 Bangkok
                                                                Your trip comes to an end after breakfast, with no further activities planned.
                                                                Optional Activities
                                                                • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
                                                                • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
                                                                • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
                                                                  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.

                                                                  24th of August Departure & 7th of September Departure Please be advised the Traditional Arts and Enthology Centre in Luang Prabang will be closed for the Boat Racing Festival and new exhibition installation from 31st of August to 16th of September. During this time this included activity will be replaced with an included visit to the National Museum. We apologise for this amendment.
                                                                  Physical rating

                                                                  Included activities
                                                                  Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
                                                                  Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
                                                                  Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple
                                                                  Mekong River - 2 day boat trip
                                                                  Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
                                                                  Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts and Ethnology Museum
                                                                  Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
                                                                  Vientiane - COPE visit
                                                                  Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
                                                                  Hue - Imperial citadel
                                                                  Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
                                                                  Hue - Royal tomb
                                                                  Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
                                                                  Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
                                                                  Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                                                                  Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
                                                                  HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip including Coconut Candy Factory and Village Tuk Tuk tour
                                                                  HCMC - KOTO dinner
                                                                  Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
                                                                  Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
                                                                  Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake boat trip
                                                                  Santuk Silk Farm
                                                                  Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
                                                                  Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
                                                                  Important notes
                                                                  1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
                                                                  2. 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 in Vietnam. 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.

                                                                  Group size
                                                                  Maximum of 16 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.
                                                                  Guesthouse (4nt), Hotel (22nt), Overnight boat (1nt), Overnight sleeper train (2nt)
                                                                  OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                                                  The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                                                  TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                                                                  Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                                                                  CHECK-IN TIME
                                                                  Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                                                                  PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                                                                  If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                                                                  WINDOWLESS ROOMS:
                                                                  Some hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available.

                                                                  JUNK BOAT:
                                                                  Our wooden boat has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. The boats have 8-12 passenger cabins. There's also a dining room and bar on board.

                                                                  The boat is not likely to be a traditional sailing junk, as many older or imported vessels do not comply with waterway traffic safety laws.

                                                                  HOTEL IN HO CHI MINH CITY
                                                                  Please note as this trip is a combination trip you may be required to move hotels in Ho Chi Minh City on day 22. Your leader in Vietnam will advise you if this is required and assist with transport to the next hotel.
                                                                  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.
                                                                  19 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
                                                                  Money matters
                                                                  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.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  The official currency of Thailand is the Baht (THB).

                                                                  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 - notes should be 2006 series onwards. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Notes should be 2006 series onwards. Torn, dirty or old notes, as well as the $2US note will be refused in most businesses. ATMs are available in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap and also dispense in both KHR and US$.

                                                                  The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange; clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.

                                                                  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).

                                                                  If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                                                                  The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                                                  Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                                                                  Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

                                                                  Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

                                                                  Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                                                  In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                                                  At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your 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.

                                                                  Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                                                                  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.
                                                                  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.
                                                                  Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                                                                  We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                                                                  Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                                                  For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                                                                  FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                                                                  Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                                                                  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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                                                  SWIMMING POOLS:
                                                                  You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

                                                                  Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

                                                                  SEAT BELTS:
                                                                  Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                                                  LIFE JACKETS:
                                                                  While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  Please note that helmets aren't provided for the sightseeing on bicycles. Please consider bringing a helmet from home if you want to wear a helmet on these activities.
                                                                  Joining point
                                                                  Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing)
                                                                  2 Samsen Road
                                                                  Phone: +66 22815596
                                                                  Joining point description
                                                                  Centrally located and close-by the famous Khao San road, the Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, Formerly known as the New World City Hotel they have changed their name on the 1st of December 2014 to merge with the Nouvo City Hotel. We use the "canal wing" for all of our Intrepid Original trips that stay at this property.
                                                                  Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant.
                                                                  Please note that no alcohol is served in this hotel but there are lots of great bars across the road
                                                                  Joining point instructions
                                                                  Metered taxi ranks are located outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor (gate 4 and 7). Go out of the customs hall, down to the 1st level and walk outside the airport where there is a table with a sign saying "metered taxis". The cost is the metered fare plus a THB50 surcharge. If the taxi uses the toll way it is up to an extra THB75. The total fare should be about THB400 Baht (US$11). Non-metered taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700 (US$20).

                                                                  Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs. Look for exit door 6 and our representative holding a sign with your name on it.

                                                                  If you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arrival please go to the ATTA Counter (Association of Thai Travel Agents) near exit door 6 on the same floor and ask them to call our transfer operator World Travel Idea 24hr number 081 658 2727 or 081 566 9324.

                                                                  Check in time at the hotel is after 14.00
                                                                  Finish point
                                                                  Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing)
                                                                  2 Samsen Road
                                                                  Phone: +66 22815596
                                                                  Finish point description
                                                                  Centrally located and close-by the famous Khao San road, the Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, Formerly known as the New World City Hotel they have changed their name on the 1st of December 2014 to merge with the Nouvo City Hotel. We use the "canal wing" for all of our Intrepid Original trips that stay at this property.
                                                                  Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant.
                                                                  Please note that no alcohol is served in this hotel but there are lots of great bars across the road
                                                                  Finishing point instructions
                                                                  A pre-booked departure transfer is available. Please inquire with your agent.

                                                                  If you have a transfer to the Bangkok Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Hotel 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator World Travel Idea 24hr number 081 658 2727 or 081 566 9324.

                                                                  A taxi to the airport will cost about THB700 (US$20). The hotel or your leader can help you organise a taxi.

                                                                  Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                                                  Emergency contact
                                                                  In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia). Intrepid's Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770.

                                                                  For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

                                                                  For general contact details please use the following page:

                                                                  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.

                                                                  Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

                                                                  Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722

                                                                  Intrepid's Cambodia Office: +855 92 555 969
                                                                  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.

                                                                  If entering by air most nationalities will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival.

                                                                  If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (some exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.
                                                                  If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.

                                                                  We ask all our travellers to obtain their Laos visas at the border, and NOT in their home country. Your tour leader will assist you in obtaining a Laos visa, generally at the border, depending on the current state of affairs, as it can vary.

                                                                  Please ensure that you have at least 1 passport photos and up to US$60 cash (this may vary too) to fulfil the requirements. There will also be an Immigration Fee of USD1. To assist us in processing your Laos visas, please provide your agent with accurate passport details prior to the departure of your trip as these details will be passed on to our leader.

                                                                  When crossing the border you will most likely see a lesser entry fee than what you have paid. This is due to the leader having to use a local agent to process the visa which allows the group to cross the border as quickly as possible.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  BORDER CROSSINGS:
                                                                  Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The following are the international/administrative border crossings for this trip:
                                                                  On Day 6 we cross the border from Thailand to Laos
                                                                  The Thailand border is Chiangkhong
                                                                  The Laos border is at Houy Xai
                                                                  Day 13 we fly from Laos to Vietnam
                                                                  We depart from Vientiane in Laos
                                                                  We arrive into Hanoi in Vietnam
                                                                  On Day 23 we cross the border from Vietnam to Cambodia
                                                                  The Vietnam border is Moc Bai
                                                                  The Cambodian border is Ba Vet
                                                                  On Day 29 we cross the border from Cambodia to Thailand
                                                                  The Cambodian border is Poipet
                                                                  The Thailand border is Aranyaprathet
                                                                  To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful -
                                                                  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. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                                                                  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).

                                                                  The Cambodia/Thailand land border is occasionally closed due to flooding. If this is the case, we may need to alter the itinerary and fly - at the traveller's expense.

                                                                  WET SEASON:
                                                                  During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.
                                                                  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 Travel 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.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  Zika Virus
                                                                  Thailand & Vietnam have reported transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Thailand & Vietnam or talk to their doctor about possible implications.

                                                                  Please see further information about the Zika virus (and our current cancellation/change policy) on our safety page of the Intrepid website at
                                                                  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:
                                                                  When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                                                                  ORPHANAGE TOURISM:
                                                                  In recent times orphanage tourism has become popular in Cambodia. Intrepid Travel doesn't 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 travellers have their best interests at heart, but the reality is orphanage visits can negatively impact the children. This trip may include some pre-arranged visits to organisations that have been vetted by Intrepid Travel, and these will be facilitated by your group leader. For more information on how you can help protect children during your travels see:

                                                                  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:

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

                                                                  * The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) is focused on delivering education and training to increase awareness of the need for conservation and environmental protection. It also provides rescue, rehabilitation and release services for wildlife, and conservation breeding of selected endangered species.

                                                                  * Green Gecko provides security, education, love and opportunities to Siem Reap street kids through their formative years and into their adult lives. It also supports the children's families and the broader community through long term health, education and training initiatives.

                                                                  * The Starfish Project helps those unable to access government and other large NGO assistance. Activities include medical care, housing projects, water and sanitation, woman and children in prison, as well as small business assistance. They also run a popular cafe/bakery, massage centre and handicraft shop.

                                                                  Intrepid Travel also supports the following non-profit organisation:

                                                                  * The Children's Surgical Centre in Phnom Penh provides free surgery and treatment to children. Intrepid is collecting children's spectacles which are reconfigured and fitted by professional ophthalmologists. If you can help, please bring children's spectacles and give them to your leader at the start of your trip.

                                                                  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.

                                                                  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.