Indochina Discovery Trip Notes

Indochina Discovery

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: 10 Aug 2016
Indochina Discovery
Trip code: TVSLC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Vibrant Vietnam, charismatic Cambodia, beguiling Bangkok; this journey covers the very best of Indochina. From the graceful elegance of Hanoi, across the serene beauty of Halong Bay, to the quaint charms of Hoi An and the frenetic energy of Ho Chi Minh City, experience ancient customs and delicious cuisine while travelling through the heart of Vietnam. Embark on an exciting tour down the Mekong river to Phnom Penh, and spend several days exploring the enigmatic temples of Angkor Wat. The bright lights of Bangkok are the ideal way to cap off this Indochina Discovery adventure.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals 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
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- Two of this trip are spent on overnight sleeper trains with journeys of up to 12 hours. Although the conditions are basic and you'll be sharing a compartment with four to six people, this is the best way to maximise your time spent at various destinations.
- This trip does involve some long travel days by bus and day train, so be prepared for some driving as you move through three countries. This is, of course, a great chance to take in all the varied scenery and snapshots of rural life.
- This trip involves a lot of walking - on city walking tours and during included activities. While being on your feet can be a bit tiring, this is the best way to truly get under the skin of a place
- The weather in Vietnam and Cambodia can be hot and sticky, particularly during the monsoon seasons, so ensure that you pack accordingly. Always carry plenty of water.
Why we love it
- Cruise the sea of the limestone karst studded Halong Bay
- Spend a day in Hue, touring the city's sights on a motorbike, cruising down Perfume River and eating lunch at a serene nunnery
- Confront the sobering but important Khmer history in Phnom Penh, with included visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Memorial
- Enjoy the guidance of a local expert as you temple-hop at the dazzling Angkor complex, one of Southeast Asia's premier sights
- See Vietnam and Cambodia through an exciting mix of transport, including motorbike, basket boat, dragon boat, junk boat, bus and train
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Hanoi
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. In free time, step out onto the streets to explore the chaotic capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is an alluring city of contrasts, best discovered on foot. Tonight perhaps get to know your new travel buddies over a glass of fresh bia hoi. This is a foamy, light beer made fresh each day and served in basic, open-walled ‘brew halls’. Take up a brightly coloured plastic chair and sip your tasty brew.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure - USD40
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Hanoi
    This morning we visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex the resting place of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary. The Complex also includes the One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

    The afternoon will be free for you to maybe explore the ancient ‘36 streets’ and discover an amazing selection of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery and beautifully embroidered tablecloths. Otherwise the Vietnam Fine Arts museum is also well worth a visit. Walking or riding a bike is the best way to explore this town. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city.

    In the evening, you'll sit down to a unique water-puppet performance.

    Notes: If your trip starts on a Wednesday, your included breakfast hosted by the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation will be this morning, before commencing the day's activities.
    Included Activities
    • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
    • Hanoi - Water puppet show
    • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
      Optional Activities
      • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
      • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
      • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
      • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND30000
      • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
      • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Halong Bay
        Enjoy breakfast hosted by the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, and learn about the work of this organisation, which supports over 1,500 of the most vulnerable children throughout Vietnam every year. You will then leave Hanoi and drive north (approximately 4 hours) to the famous Halong Bay. You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag for staying on the boat.

        Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage site and is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. The views of sailing junks navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops in Bac Bo Gulf are nothing short of spectacular. You’ll visit a cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim from Ti Top Island beach. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy a sumptuous lunch, dinner & breakfast. The boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities.

        Notes: There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight. 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.

        Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted.
        Included Activities
        • Hanoi - Blue Dragon breakfast
        • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
          Accommodation
          Overnight boat (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
          Day 4 Hanoi / Overnight Train
          In the morning you will sail back to the port, disembark and drive back to Hanoi (approximately 3.5 hours). Stop on the way back at the Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals working on the traditional art of ceramics. There will be free time to explore the city when you arrive back in Hanoi. There will be shared hotel rooms available this afternoon if you would like to freshen up or organise your luggage. In some free time perhaps do some shopping on Hang Gai Street or seek out some delicious Hanoi street food.

          Tonight you’ll board an overnight train bound for Hue (approximately 12 hours). Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience. It's an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country.

          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.
          Accommodation
          Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Hue
          Arrive in Hue just after sunrise and proceed to the hotel to refresh. Hue is the hub of Vietnam’s historic past. This former imperial capital is an eclectic mix of busy streets and peaceful beauty. The rest of the morning is free for you to relax; perhaps pick up a classic Hue breakfast of bun bo Hue, a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bun) and beef (bo). After lunch you will visit the Imperial Citadel, a sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, gates, and walls. The Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace and the Ancestral Altars are still impressive, and the complex must have been awe-inspiring during its heyday in the 19th century. In your free time you might like to visit to Dong Ba Market, which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalising street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.
          Included Activities
          • Hue - Imperial citadel
            Optional Activities
            • Hue - Bicycle hire - VND40000
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 6 Hue
              Today’s adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. You’ll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war. Then it's on to the Thien My Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. This site dates back to 1601 and is still an active Buddhist monastery. Here you’ll also see the car left by a monk who set himself alight to protest the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. Hop off the motorbike for a bit and go on a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River. After the 40-minute cruise get back on your motorbike and ride to a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees. This evening, perhaps ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties.

              Notes: For those who prefer not to ride motorbikes, please ask your leader to request car transportation between destinations.

              Boats along Perfume River may not be available during festival season. During these times, you’ll be transported by land to reach the activities.
              Included Activities
              • Hue - Perfume River boat ride
              • Hue - Royal tomb
              • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 7 Hoi An
                Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies before traversing the dramatic Hai Van Pass, a sometimes bumpy but incredibly scenic stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. After a brief visit to My Khe Beach (China Beach), famous for its role in the Vietnam War and its spectacular backdrop of the Marble Mountains, arrive at Hoi An (approximately 4 hours). Declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South-East Asia's major international ports from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of times past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. On arrival, a walking tour will take you around the major sites of Hoi An’s charming Old Town, including an historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. You will notice a distinctly Chinese appearance to the pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour for you to visit a selection of the major sights as you wish.
                Included Activities
                • Hoi An - Ancient town guided walk and entrance ticket
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Hoi An
                  If you feel like getting active on your free day today, why not hire a bicycle and tour the surrounding countryside. This is one of the best ways to get an insight into rural Vietnam. Other optional activities include a day trip to My Son Cham (elaborate World Heritage-listed temples that reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation), a cruise along the Thu Bon River, and a trip to the nearby Cua Dai Beach. Your leader will be able to help with suggestions on activities in Hoi An.
                  Optional Activities
                  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
                  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 9 Hoi An
                    Enjoy another free day in the world heritage listed Hoi An. You may like to wander the Central Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours. Bring your favourite piece of clothing, or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied. You might like to visit a local workshop to learn how to make your own rice paper, while a Vietnamese cooking class too is a great way to familiarise yourself with some age-old culinary techniques, not to mention being able to feast on the fruits of your own labour.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
                    • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
                      Accommodation
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 10 Nha Trang
                      Transfer to Danang (approximately 30 minutes) and board the SE1 day train to Nha Trang (approximately 10 hours). Although long, it's an interesting journey, as well as a chance to check out the stunning countryside and befriend local travellers. Arrive in the idyllic coastal town of Nha Trang this evening and check into your hotel for the night. If you have the energy, after the sun sets experience Nha Trang’s vibrant restaurant and bar culture - home to all manner of weird and wonderful cuisine options and an extremely high standard of food.
                      Accommodation
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 11 Nha Trang
                      Once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', Nha Trang’s sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make a pretty idyllic picture. This morning you’ll hop on a boat as you head out to explore the nearby islands. This excursion is often the highlight of the trip for many travellers, as you’ll get to know some of the locals and indulge in the beauty of the place. Starting on the main boat, you’ll then take a small basket boat to shore and visit a fishing village, snorkel in the turquoise waters and feast on a fresh seafood buffet for lunch. You can then enjoy this rest day by lazing in a deck chair or going for another swim.
                      Included Activities
                      • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
                      • Nha Trang - Basket boat ride
                      • Nha Trang - Full day boat trip to Hon Mun Island
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                        Day 12 Nha Trang
                        You have a full free day to spend on the sweeping beaches of this tropical bayside playground. Perhaps treat yourself and soak in a natural mud bath at one of the nearby spas or, for a dose of culture, climb the steps up to the temples of Po Nagar or Long Song and appreciate views of the coastline from above. Po Nagar Cham Tower dates from AD 817 and is still an active place of worship. Tonight you’ll depart by the overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City, which leaves late in the evening (approximately 9 hours).
                        Optional Activities
                        • Nha Trang - Mud baths - VND280000
                        • Nha Trang - Po Nagar Cham Tower - VND22000
                          Accommodation
                          Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City
                          Upon our early arrival into Ho Chi Minh, shared day rooms will be available for the group until check-in time.

                          Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West where daily life plays out on the streets. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Take a guided tour to get a feel for the city to going past the GPO, Reunification Palace, and the Opera house. Stop in at the War Remnants Museum.

                          With free time these evening perhaps drop by one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets, Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family before you return home. Perhaps enjoy some of the market fare for dinner as you shop.
                          Included Activities
                          • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                          • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
                            Optional Activities
                            • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND30000
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City
                              Head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board the boat to Ben Tre to see coconut candy factory and sample the local candies for which this region is famous. Take the opportunity to take a tuk-tuk around this remote village with a stop to sample tropical fruits, and to see a honey farm, and learn more about local rural life. Then visit a nearby restaurant in the heart of the delta, where you can sample some of the regional specialties such as the famous elephant-ear fish.

                              After lunch, board sampans (small rowing boats) and paddle past the many water coconut trees that populate the Mekong Delta. Boarding our main private boat, cruise through more major waterways, arriving in My Tho town. Here our bus awaits to take us back to 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.

                              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
                                Accommodation
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                Meals
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 15 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.
                                Accommodation
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                Meals
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 16 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
                                    Accommodation
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 17 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
                                      Accommodation
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      Meals
                                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                      Day 18 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
                                        Accommodation
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Day 19 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
                                            Accommodation
                                            Hotel (1 nt)
                                            Meals
                                            1 breakfast
                                            Day 20 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
                                              Accommodation
                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                              Meals
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Day 21 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.
                                              Accommodation
                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                              Meals
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Day 22 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.
                                                Physical rating

                                                Included activities
                                                Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
                                                Hanoi - Water puppet show
                                                Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
                                                Hanoi - Blue Dragon breakfast
                                                Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
                                                Hue - Imperial citadel
                                                Hue - Perfume River boat ride
                                                Hue - Royal tomb
                                                Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
                                                Hoi An - Ancient town guided walk and entrance ticket
                                                Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
                                                Nha Trang - Basket boat ride
                                                Nha Trang - Full day boat trip to Hon Mun Island
                                                Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
                                                Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
                                                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. Please provide full passport details 45 days prior to departure in order to secure Vietnam train tickets.
                                                2. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please see 'Your Fellow Travellers' section for excluded nights.
                                                3. 2017 Departures: Based upon scheduling and traveller feedback this trip will be one day longer in 2017, 23 days in total. There will be a free day in Ho Chi Minh City on Day 15.

                                                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.

                                                A Single Supplement is available on this trip. The supplement excludes the following accommodation:
                                                Day 3 - Halong Bay
                                                Day 4 - Overnight train to Hue
                                                Day 7 - 9 - Hoi An
                                                Day 10 - Day train to Nha Trang
                                                Day 12 - Overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City
                                                Accommodation
                                                Hotel (18nt), 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.

                                                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 14. Your leader in Vietnam will advise you if this is required and assist with transport to the next hotel.

                                                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.
                                                Meals introduction
                                                While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                                                Meals
                                                18 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
                                                Money matters
                                                SPENDING MONEY
                                                When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                                Budget for meals not included:
                                                USD 400.00

                                                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 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 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.

                                                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.

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

                                                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.

                                                Optional Tipping Kitty:
                                                At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion.

                                                Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                                                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.

                                                DEPARTURE TAX
                                                All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
                                                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.
                                                Safety
                                                Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure 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:

                                                http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                                                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.

                                                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.

                                                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.

                                                MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING:
                                                Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.
                                                Joining point
                                                Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel
                                                97 Nguyen Truong To St
                                                Hanoi
                                                VIET NAM
                                                Phone: +84 437164143
                                                Fax: +84 38285054
                                                Joining point description
                                                Located within walking distance to Hanoi's Old Quarter, the newly renovated Hong Ngoc 5 features 35 well appointed rooms, a restaurant serving buffet breakfast, bar and café, and lift. Room facilities include IDD phone, air conditioner, cable TV, mini bar, bathroom with bathtub, and natural daylight.
                                                www.hongngochotel.com/Overview204.html
                                                Joining point instructions
                                                Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

                                                If you have pre-booked an airport transfer you will be met on as you exit the Customs Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign with your name on it.
                                                If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770. Additionally please proceed to the Information Counter, your driver will wait here if you do not meet upon arrival.
                                                Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

                                                Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Go out of the customs hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1, you will find Noi Bai Airport taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available outside. Noi Bai Airport taxi drivers wear yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. US$18 (VND350000) in total. Please note these taxis are not on meter - but generally charge per trip. Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

                                                Normal check in time at the hotel is after 13:00.
                                                Finish point
                                                Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing)
                                                2 Samsen Road
                                                Banglumphu
                                                Bangkok
                                                10200
                                                THAILAND
                                                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
                                                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.

                                                For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                                In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact:

                                                Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 77

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

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

                                                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.

                                                CAMBODIA:
                                                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 www.evisa.gov.kh
                                                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.

                                                THAILAND:
                                                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.
                                                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:

                                                http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                                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.

                                                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.

                                                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:
                                                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).

                                                FLOODING:
                                                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.

                                                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 14. Your leader in Vietnam will advise you if this is required and assist with transport to the next hotel.
                                                Health
                                                All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid 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.
                                                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.

                                                http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                                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.

                                                http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                                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:
                                                www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/rt/ChildSafe_Traveller_Tips.pdf and www.childsafe-international.org

                                                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:

                                                http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                                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.
                                                www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/blue-dragon-childrens-foundation/


                                                * 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.
                                                www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/childrens-hope-in-action/

                                                * 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.
                                                www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/koto/


                                                For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=vietnam

                                                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.
                                                www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/friends-of-the-asian-elephant/


                                                Feedback
                                                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.

                                                http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback