Epic South East Asia
from $3784
Duration: 32 Days
Take an epic journey through Southeast Asia’s highlights in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Hit Bangkok, find good times in Chiang Mai and then cross the border into Laos. Cruise the mighty Mekong, discover gorgeous Luang Prabang, explore a natural paradise in Vang Vieng and learn about Vientiane’s past and future. See old-world Hanoi, ancient Hue, historic Hoi An and bustling Ho Chi Minh City while eating your weight in pho, banh mi and rice paper rolls. Sail on the calm waters of paradise in Cat Ba Island, then hit the waters of Koh Rong. Meet the locals with a homestay in Sambor Prei Kuk, then experience the incredible Angkor Wat at sunrise. From cycling, kayaking and exploring to cruising, drinking and indulging in local massage, this is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
  • Head out on a sunset hike to Wat Phu Si in Luang Prabang for some amazing views over Phu Si Mountain. After the sun descends, head to Talad Mued Night Market for a BBQ feast – a local favourite.  
  • Cruise down the Mekong River in a traditional-style boat – a classic favourite in Southeast Asia for good reason. Take in the overhanding reeds and enjoy more photo-ops than you can shake a bamboo cane at. 
  • Who'd have thought green seas and giant mossy rocks could be so pretty? Take in the views of Lan Ha Bay by kayak as you explore the limestone islands during your visit to Cat Ba Island. 
  • A homestay in rural Sambor Prei Kuk puts you right in the heart of everyday village life in Cambodia – cycle through the village for the best perspective and see locals working the rice fields or getting stuck into handicrafts.
  • See the sunrise over the incredible Angkor complex and take a guided Tuk-tuk tour of all the best sites (including Angkor Wat and jungle-covered Ta Prohm) with a company focused on employing local women in the community. 
  • Bangkok - Chinatown walking tour
  • Nan – Orientation Tour
  • Pua – Hand Weaving Demonstration
  • Muang Ngern – Local Village Visit
  • Luang Prabang - orientation walk
  • Luang Prabang - Talad Mued Night Market
  • Luang Prabang – Wat Phu Si Sunset Hike
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves
  • Luang Prabang – Mekong River Cruise (Half Day)
  • Luang Prabang - Alms giving ceremony
  • Vientiane - Wat Si Saket
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Leader orientation walk
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Hoa Lu - Temple of King Dinh and King Le
  • Ninh Binh - Bike Tour
  • Hue - Home cooked dinner
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Garden-to-Table with A Local Chef
  • Day 1 Location: Bangkok
    Sawasdee! Welcome to Thailand. Your adventure begins in the bustling hub of Bangkok with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, maybe get to grips with this awesome city and take a walk around Khao San Road or head to the magnificent Grand Palace. As one of the world’s largest marketplaces, Chatuchak Market is also a great place to practice your haggling and pick up some bargains. Tonight, maybe head out for dinner with your newfound travel companions and hit the nightlife to celebrate the start of an epic adventure.
    Day 2 Location: Bangkok - Overnight Train
    Today, explore some of Bangkok's oldest neighbourhoods on a walking tour with your leader. Wander through Chinatown and along the way, maybe stop by some food stalls on Sukorn Alley for some snacks. Visit Wat Mangkon Kamalawat – home to 58 gods, this is said to be one of the most sacred sites in the area. Offer prayers to the Chinese gods, take your time in this sacred place surrounded by gold statues and red lanterns and then finish with a walk through the bustling daytime Sampeng wholesale market. You’ll have an included lunch at the famous Labour Egg Noodle, so tuck into some Fish Ball Noodles or Tom Yam Pork Noodles. The rest of the afternoon is free to do what you like, until your overnight train this evening.
    Day 3 Location: Chiang Mai
    Arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning. The day is yours to choose your own adventure – see how many (or how little) activities you can pack into your day. You’ll stay in a centrally located guesthouse so you’re close to all the action. You can set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep – there are a few hundred steps to climb here, but the views are well worth it – or maybe treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage. You could also take a cooking class so you can impress your friends in the kitchen when you get home. Tonight, check out the night bazaar and practice your bargaining skills. Your leader will also be available to take you and the gang on a bar-hopping adventure around the Nimman area – a trendy neighbourhood full of jazz bars and lounges.
    Day 4 Location: Chiang Mai
    Another free day, another chance to get your fill of Chiang Mai, with a bunch of optional activities to do. In the morning, maybe learn one of the legendary martial arts – Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) with a 1.5-hour class learning the basics with professional trainers. You’ll be shown how to adapt to be the weapon and how to guard - is there a better way to spend a morning? You could also go ziplining, white water rafting or cycling around the area if you’re feeling active. Maybe just wander around the many temples on offer and end the day with a relaxing massage.
    Day 5 Location: Nan
    This morning after breakfast, take a local bus to Nan. When you arrive, take the chance to refresh at your hotel before heading out to explore the town. Along the way, visit Wat Phumin – Nan’s most famous wat (a sacred Buddhist precinct, home to a temple, a Buddha and an educational facility). This wat was constructed in 1596 and was restored during the reign of Chao Ananta Vora Ritthi Det. The rest of the evening is free to explore at your own pace.
    Day 6 Location: Pua
    This morning is free to explore Nan how you like. If you want to grab some local bites for lunch, your leader is always on hand with the best recommendations. You’ll have the option today of visiting a gallery by the Nan River, where you can have a coffee and view modern art by local Thai artists. Later, travel to the Pua District and visit a hand-weaving centre and the local woman who started this enterprise inspired by modern design. Learn how she stays true to her Tai Lue roots and helps to provide employment opportunities for the women in the community. See their beautiful craft of handwoven textiles and then explore the village of Pua. Tonight, you’ll head to the evening market with your leader, with the option to go out for dinner at a local restaurant.
    Day 7 Location: Luang Prabang
    Travel through the rural countryside this morning to the border into Laos. After border formalities, you’ll stop at the local village of Muang Ngeun – a small district in Xayaburi Province. The Tai-Lue and Nan people make most of their income through cotton weaving here as well, but in a different style to Thailand. Explore the local Buddhist temple and see the outskirts of Laos before continuing to Luang Prabang. When you arrive, head out on a leader-led orientation walk of ‘the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia’ (the local government started using this phrase, but it caught on for a reason). Tonight, you’ll hike up to Wat Phu Si for sunset. As the sun goes down, witness some epic views over Phu Si Mountain and then head to the Talad Mued Night Market for dinner. Enjoy a local BBQ feast (Sindad is the art of grilling meat on a hot pan – a type of traditional BBQ set on a charcoal stove that has a surrounding rim full of boiling water for blanching vegetables) and toast to a great night.
    Day 8 Location: Luang Prabang
    Today, you’ll head out on a boat for a gorgeous half-day exploration on the Mekong River – the world's twelfth-longest river and the third-longest in Asia. Cruise past stunning riverside scenery and distant mountains, among overhanding reeds. Stop to stretch your legs and explore the Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues. After a gorgeous day, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore Luang Prabang. Maybe head to the Kuang Si Waterfall and round out your day full of natural beauty with a refreshing swim in nature.
    Day 9 Location: Luang Prabang
    Today is a free day in Luang Prabang. Maybe take a tuk-tuk to visit Wat Xieng Thong – this temple was built in the 16th century under the patronage of the royal family, and the Laotian kings were crowned here. The main viharn (assembly hall) and buildings have carved gilded wooden doors depicting scenes from Buddha's life. Otherwise, just wander the streets and take photos of the lush greenery and beautiful buildings. You can also take a hike on Mt Phu Si or take on a cooking class and meet some new friends as you gain some skills.
    Day 10 Location: Vang Vieng
    It’s worth getting up early this 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 in front of their houses with food for the monks to collect and take back to the temple. This is done early in the morning as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. The rest of the day is free until your late afternoon train to Vang Vieng. Maybe cruise around town or mingle with the locals at the markets. For lunch, you might want to try some delicious noodle soup at one of the top-notch French cafes along the main drag. Later, you’ll take a transfer to the train station and then jump on a high-speed train to your destination. This beautifully located adventure gateway lies on a bend in the Nam Song. Take in the views of mountains, rivers and big limestone cliffs that are so close you'll feel like you could reach out and touch them.
    Day 11 Location: Vang Vieng
    Today is a free day to explore Vang Vieng however you like – this natural paradise has no shortage of fun activities! Maybe cross the river and explore the huge caves that line the West Bank – Tham Poukham cave has a blue-green lagoon and a reclining Buddha statue that’s well worth a look – or take a cycling tour of the town. You can also go kayaking on the Nam Song River or explore the nearby 16th and 17th century monasteries. With hiking, ballooning and boating options in this gorgeous area, the day is your oyster.
    Day 12 Location: Vientiane
    After breakfast this morning, you’ll take a private bus to Vientiane – Laos’ classy capital. Swap your instant coffee and white rice for a latte and a baguette before snapping a few pics at Wat Si Saket – the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane and home to almost 7000 Buddha images. Your trip leader will show you around this chic, French-influenced city and take you to COPE – an organisation dedicated to assisting those who have been injured or affected by the shocking number of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in the countryside. UXOs are explosive weapons, such as bombs and grenades that still pose a risk after they were used. About 30% of Laos remains contaminated with UXOs from the Vietnam War and poses a serious risk to residents. COPE provides prosthetics and other assistance to people affected by this devastating war history. Grab some dinner with your travel mates tonight, and explore what Vientiane has to offer on Quai Fa Ngum Road.
    Day 13 Location: Hanoi
    Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure kicks off in Hanoi – Vietnam’s capital – with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, wander these gorgeous streets and see the sights. Tonight, maybe grab your new group and see who’s up for some food and a fresh bia hoi at a roadside stall or watch the motorbikes zoom by. Hanoi is also a great place for local beer and cocktail bars, so maybe hit the nightlife and discover what this city has to offer after sundown.
    Day 14 Location: Hanoi
    Today is a free day in Hanoi to explore however you’d like. Maybe check out your reflection in beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, wander along shaded boulevards or relax in a public park with some delicious street food (spring rolls inside rice paper rolls, anyone?). Museum-wise, you could visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, drop into the serene Temple of Literature or get arty at the city's Fine Arts Museum. Maybe head to KOTO for a delicious lunch – this organisation is dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of disadvantaged youth. If you’re a bit of a foodie, this is also a great Instagram spot! Later, maybe explore the centuries-old architecture as the sun goes down.
    Day 15 Location: Cat Ba
    Travel by bus and ferry to Cat Ba Island – the largest island in Lan Ha Bay, connected to the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay. With thousands of little limestone islands scattered around, this area is one of those quintessential Vietnamese scenes in which bright green water is dotted with traditional junk boats and limestone karsts. Take a cruise around Lan Ha Bay and enjoy a seafood lunch prepared by your onboard chef. What could be better? This afternoon, hop off the boat to get up close and personal with this other-worldly landscape by kayak. Paddle through serene waters and then watch the sunset over this awe-inspiring landscape.
    Day 16 Location: Ninh Binh
    This morning, take a ferry back to the mainland and head to Ninh Binh province – once the site of Vietnam’s capital in the 10th and 11th centuries, which is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join a local guide on a cycling tour to visit the ancient citadel. This once covered 300 hectares of land, however, the passage of time has left few remains of the once glorious capital. You’ll visit the 17th-century temples built in honour of King Dinh and King Le, among other temples, pagodas, monuments and lush grounds surrounded by mountains.
    Day 17 Location: Ninh Binh - Overnight Train
    The day is yours to explore the many other wonders of Ninh Binh. You might like to lace up your hiking boots and trek to the incredible Mua Cave. While the cave sits at the base of a mountain, be sure to make the trek up the 500 steps to the mountain peak for amazing views of Hoa Lu and Ngo Dong River. Or maybe get out on the water and take a boat tour past limestone karst peaks, caves, temples and maybe even the locations of scenes from a King Kong movie. Tonight, board an overnight train to Hue.
    Day 18 Location: Hue
    Arrive by train in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. You have today free to do as you please. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace that's enclosed within. Maybe jump on board a dragon boat and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda. You could also check out Dong Ba Market, which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and some tasty street food. This is a good place to try the dish that Emperor Nguyen used to feast on – the banh Khoai royal rice. If you like being on two wheels, maybe cycle out to one of the royal tombs like the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc (one of the most excellent remaining examples of its kind). Tonight, head into the home of a local family and enjoy a freshly prepared dinner. You’ll be chatting and laughing over your chopsticks in no time!
    Day 19 Location: Hoi An
    Continue along the coast to Hoi An by private bus. When you arrive, your leader will take you on a walking tour of this unique town which has been influenced over the years by Europe, China, Vietnam and Japan. The town was a major trading port from the 17th century onwards, and its old-school flavour is written all over its architecture. For a small town, it's pretty lively. The tour will take you down the streets that are being restored and look a lot like they did 100 years ago, then you’ll discover some of the more chilled out spots. Check out a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. Later, maybe play bingo with your leader in a town square – a popular local past time.
    Day 20 Location: Hoi An
    Start the day by cycling through the beautiful surroundings of Hoi An to the organic vegetable and herb gardens of a local chef. See, smell and taste what makes Vietnamese food so delicious. After a tour of the gardens, enjoy a freshly prepared lunch using some of the ingredients you picked during your tour. Much of the food waste here is composted, recycled or reused. The rest of the afternoon is free for your own explorations. Maybe wander to the Central Market and browse the paintings, woodwork, ceramics and lanterns. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors, so if you’ve been wearing the same shirt every day (who hasn’t), why not hit one of the same-day tailors and get yourself something new? Tonight, maybe wander the streets, lit up by lanterns and go on a self-guided photo walk.
    Day 21 Location: Hoi An - Overnight Train
    This morning, your group will make their way to the train station for your second overnight train journey. If you didn't last night, you might want to rise early and grab some snacks for the train. As you make your way to Ho Chi Minh City, take the opportunity to get to know your group a little better, play a few (or many) rounds of cards or get stuck into a good book. As the light changes outside, you can watch the everchanging scenery pass you by, showing you a glimpse into what rural life is like in Vietnam.
    Day 22 Location: Ho Chi Minh City
    Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early this morning and transfer to your hotel. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a whirl of sights and sounds. You can still see the French influence in the top-notch baguettes and coffee. Compared to the north, the food here is spicier, sweeter and more varied. Maybe take advantage of the early morning by checking out the markets and tucking into a bowl of pho with the local traders. With your group, you’ll visit a local market, where you can browse the exotic street foods and maybe take the chance to try some. Then try the iconic Saigon cafe sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) amid the market’s everyday bustle as your leader shares stories about life in Ho Chi Minh City. Tonight, why not get your group together for a meal and some drinks on Pham Ngu Lao Street?
    Day 23 Location: Ho Chi Minh City
    Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh. Your Cambodian adventure starts with a dip into Vietnam and a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. There's nothing planned for the first day, so feel free to get amongst the chaos of the city. A good place to start is the Ben Thanh Market, where you can snack on chao tom (barbecued shrimp paste on sticks of sugar cane). If you have time, a visit to Reunification Palace or the War Remnants Museum are recommended. Tonight, why not get your new friends together and enjoy a group dinner to kick off your journey?
    Day 24 Location: Phnom Penh
    Today, travel to Phnom Penh on a public bus – this is a long journey that includes two border crossings and a stop where you can grab some lunch. Have your favourite books or road trip games ready – this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers better. Your guide will assist with the formalities at both sides of the border. When you arrive, why not treat yourself to a traditional Khmer massage to ease the tension? Look no further than Seeing Hands – a great organisation supporting visually impaired masseurs.
    Day 25 Location: Phnom Penh
    Today, you’ll have an authentic local breakfast near one of the markets. Then, the group will head to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – both sobering but important and informative experiences in Cambodia. After, you may like to explore some of the sights in your own time, like the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, which both offer brighter aspects of Cambodia's past. You might also head for the National Museum or Wat Phnom – a Buddhist temple built in 1372. The main centre of the city sits on the Western bank of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers. In the evening, you’ll head out with your group for a sunset river cruise and enjoy an included drink as you sail along the water and see the city from a different perspective. Then, you might like to hit up a rooftop bar with some amazing views of the city – there are tonnes of options to choose from, so just ask your leader, and they’ll point you in the right direction! 
    Day 26 Location: Koh Rong
    Today, leave Phnom Penh on a private bus to Sihanoukville. Then, you’ll take a speed boat to the paradise of Koh Rong. You’ll have a couple of days on the island to really bliss out and adjust to island time – this afternoon is for swimming, relaxing on the warm sandy shores of the beach and walking along the coast in the balmy evening in search of somewhere for dinner (your leader will have some great recommendations).
    Day 27 Location: Koh Rong
    Today is another free day to chill at the beach. Soak in the sun, order a few cocktails or cold beers to cool down and go swimming in the serene waters of Koh Rong. If you’re looking for something active, maybe ask your leader for your hiking options, as there’s plenty of gorgeous jungle and hidden waterfalls waiting to be discovered inland. Tonight, why not party it up at Nest Beach Club – a lively spot known for its nightlife.
    Day 28 Location: Sambor Prei Kuk
    This morning, you’ll leave the island behind and head for Sambor Prei Kuk, once the capital of Cambodia in the 7th century. Head to your homestay in Isanborei – a rural countryside community that maintains a traditional lifestyle. When you arrive, take a tour of the village with your local guide who will introduce you to the local people, your homestay and your hosts. Tonight, relax and unwind as you enjoy a traditional homemade Khmer dinner with your host family.
    Day 29 Location: Siem Reap
    Enjoy breakfast prepared by your local host this morning. If you didn’t get a chance yesterday, you can visit the nearby Sambor Preikuk Temple – some of the oldest ruins in the country (dating back to the 6th century). Maybe opt to cycle over the rural roads through the village, passing locals working in the rice fields, or perhaps try a sample of Sombai Cambodian Liqueur. After a day of exploring, say goodbye to your homestay hosts and travel on towards Siem Reap – home to the bucket list site, Angkor Wat. When you arrive, maybe spend some time looking around the central markets and pick up some delicious local food for dinner tonight. 
    Day 30 Location: Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Sunrise
    Early this morning, you’ll visit the mighty Angkor complex at sunrise – this is the largest religious structure in the world, and it’s pretty special to see the dawn rise over the temples. Get the camera ready because these 400 acres are full of picturesque settings. You’ll take a guided tour of the complex on a Tuk-tuk with a local social enterprise that focuses on providing employment opportunities for women in the community – and see the larger-than-life Angkor Wat, the grand Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. Some buildings are over a thousand years old from the Khmer Empire – these beauties were known to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. If you like, try to catch the majesty of the temples at sunset, too – you can even head back to your accommodation after your guided tour for a nap and then re-enter the site in the late afternoon.
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    Last modified (date)

    07 Feb 2024

    Trip title

    Epic South East Asia

    Trip code



    Validity: 01 Jan 2024 to 31 Dec 2024


    Take an epic journey through Southeast Asia’s highlights in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Hit Bangkok, find good times in Chiang Mai and then cross the border into Laos. Cruise the mighty Mekong, discover gorgeous Luang Prabang, explore a natural paradise in Vang Vieng and learn about Vientiane’s past and future. See old-world Hanoi, ancient Hue, historic Hoi An and bustling Ho Chi Minh City while eating your weight in pho, banh mi and rice paper rolls. Sail on the calm waters of paradise in Cat Ba Island, then hit the waters of Koh Rong. Meet the locals with a homestay in Sambor Prei Kuk, then experience the incredible Angkor Wat at sunrise. From cycling, kayaking and exploring to cruising, drinking and indulging in local massage, this is an adventure you won’t soon forget.




    18 to 29s


    Private minivan,Public bus,Slow boat,Overnight sleeper train,Songthaew,Tuk-tuk,Train,Speed Boat

    Physical Rating


    Joining point

    lyf Sukhumvit 8 Bangkok

    35 Soi Sukhumvit 8, Khlong Toei, 10110



    Phone: +66 22541900

    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 a transfer for an arrival at Suvanabhumi International Airport, you will be met after exiting the Customs Hall. A transfer representative holding a sign with your name on it will meet you between Exit Doors 3-4. If you cannot find your transfer representative, please go to the Information Counter at Exit Door 3. Ask them to call our transfer provider, Ms. Janet, on +66 64 649 0485. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. For arrivals at Don Muang International Arrival, when you are at the arrival hall, our representative will be in front of you at Gate 5. Please find the Intrepid Logo and check your name on the signboard held by the representative on your lefthand side. If you have trouble locating our representative, please call our transfer provider Ms. Janet, at +66 64 649 0485. Metered taxis are available outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor. Exit the Customs Hall, go down to the 1st floor and leave the airport at Gate 3, 4, 7 or 8. You will find a table with a “metred taxis” sign. The taxi fare will be the metred fare plus a surcharge of THB50-THB75 (depending on the driver’s use of toll roads). The total fare will be approx. THB400. Pre-paid taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

    Finish point

    lyf Sukhumvit 8 Bangkok

    35 Soi Sukhumvit 8, Khlong Toei, 10110



    Phone: +66 22541900

    Finish point description

    Centrally located in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, only a few minutes away from the Nana Sky Train (BTS) and Sukhumvit Underground (MRT) stations, Lyf Sukhumvit 8 Bangkok has easy access to Bangkok’s major shopping areas, parks and city landmarks. The hotel has a 24 hour reception. All rooms have private ensuite. The property has modern shared spaces, open working areas, shared kitchen with rooftop lawn, water refill station and coined laundry.

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2, 17, 21 (Overnight train) and Day 28 (Homestay) and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. Please note that some room configurations have two single beds, although a double bed will always be requested if required. 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. 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. 3. A Laos visa will need to be applied for in advance at the Laos Embassy in your home country. An E-visa or Visa on Arrival is not accepted at Nam Ngeun border crossing. For further information on visa requirements, please visit the "Passports, visas and entry requirements" section of your Essential Trip Information.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative 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 group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative 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 are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.


    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice 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 destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your 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 group leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your group leader or local representative will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.


    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.

    BICYCLE HELMETS Bicycle helmets are not provided on the optional cycling activity in Vang Vieng. If you wish to wear a bike helmet we recommend you bring one from home.


    PASSPORT You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date. We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so it’s important that the information on your booking matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while travelling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends. VISAS & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the entry requirements for your nationality on your government's foreign travel advisories, consular websites or on our page here:  www.intrepidtravel.com/visa-entry-requirements DUAL PASSPORT HOLDERS For travel between countries in South East Asia you will need to travel on the same passport for all border crossings. Immigration authorities will need to see entry and exit from the previous country before allowing you to enter their country. E-VISAS AND OVERLAND BORDER CROSSINGS Holders of a Cambodian or Vietnamese E-Visa may be required to pay an extra service fee when crossing overland between the two countries. This fee is charged by local bus companies as a service fee and will be between USD1-3, subject to change. Please ensure that you have adequate USD in cash for this fee. BORDER CROSSINGS Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. 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 7 we cross the border from Thailand to Laos: The Thai border is Huai Kon. The Laos border is at Nam Ngeun. A visa will need to be applied for in advance at this border crossing. This will need to be done at the Laos Embassy in your home country. An E-visa or Visa on Arrival is not accepted at Nam Ngeun border. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful - http://www.timeanddate.com ADDRESS FOR VIETNAM VISA APPLICATIONS If you require an address for your visa application please use: Intrepid Vietnam Ground Floor, Ladeco Building 266 Doi Can St Ba Dinh District, Hanoi Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996 ADDRESS FOR CAMBODIA VISA APPLICATIONS If you require an address for your visa application, please use: Intrepid Cambodia 92 Taneuy Street Wat Bo Village Siem Reap BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP: On Day 7 we cross the border from Thailand to Laos: The Thai border is Huai Kon. The Laos border is at Nam Ngeun. On Day 13 we fly from Laos to Vietnam: We depart from Vientiane, Laos. We arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam. On Day 24 we cross the border from Vietnam to Cambodia: The Vietnamese border is Moc Bai. The Cambodian border is Ba Vet. On Day 31 we cross the border from Cambodia to Thailand: The Cambodian border is Poipet. The Thai border is Aranyaprathet. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful - www.timeanddate.com

    Why we love it

    Head out on a sunset hike to Wat Phu Si in Luang Prabang for some amazing views over Phu Si Mountain. After the sun descends, head to Talad Mued Night Market for a BBQ feast – a local favourite.  

    Cruise down the Mekong River in a traditional-style boat – a classic favourite in Southeast Asia for good reason. Take in the overhanding reeds and enjoy more photo-ops than you can shake a bamboo cane at. 

    Who'd have thought green seas and giant mossy rocks could be so pretty? Take in the views of Lan Ha Bay by kayak as you explore the limestone islands during your visit to Cat Ba Island. 

    A homestay in rural Sambor Prei Kuk puts you right in the heart of everyday village life in Cambodia – cycle through the village for the best perspective and see locals working the rice fields or getting stuck into handicrafts.

    See the sunrise over the incredible Angkor complex and take a guided Tuk-tuk tour of all the best sites (including Angkor Wat and jungle-covered Ta Prohm) with a company focused on employing local women in the community. 

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip is for travellers who appreciate a bit of independence. You'll get plenty of free time in each location to make your own choices, do your own activities and eat where you like. Your leader is always there to give you tips and suggestions.  You’ll cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight Temperatures and humidity can be high in South East Asia, especially when walking around sights like the Angkor complex, where there may be little shade. Be prepared by taking plenty of drink breaks and wearing appropriate skin protection. Some travellers find an umbrella handy to keep the sun off (this will also come in handy if it rains!).   You'll be spending a night with a local family on this trip. While the accommodation is shared and basic, this is a great opportunity to connect with the local people (and enjoy delicious home-cooked meals!). Read more about the experience here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodia-homestay-experience 


    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. For the safety and wellbeing of yourself and others, if you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the assessment of our group leader or local representative a traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements in their original packaging as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. If you are carrying medication, ensure you check your government's foreign travel advice for any local restrictions or requirements.  MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are widespread in South East Asia. Malaria is also prevalent in some regions, particularly along the borders in mountainous regions. Take preventative measures such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. Seek medical advice prior to travel for medication or vaccination advice. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region 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, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip. AIR POLLUTION AND SMOKE HAZE: Bangkok and other Thai cities experience high levels of air pollution, which may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. These can be particularly high between the months of December and February. Smoke haze, which usually occurs across parts of north and north-east Thailand during March to April, can also aggravate these conditions. You may wish to take a quality mask with you if you are particularly sensitive to smoke. Regular air quality reports are available from the following website http://aqicn.org/city/bangkok/

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. 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. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. INCLUDED BREAKFASTS: At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/ FOOD ALLERGIES: Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/ CAMBODIAN FOOD: Wondering what Cambodian food is like? Check out our guide to the local cuisine here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodian-food-guide/ Is it true they eat spiders in Cambodia? Read about it here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodia-eating-spiders/ BREAKFASTS: At some hotels you may have a menu or buffet with choices of Cambodian and Western food. At homestays you will have simpler breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. FOOD ALLERGIES: Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

    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 an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. We recommend USD700 for meals not included. The official currency of Thailand is the baht (THB). The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via ATMs which are available in most towns and cities. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels and more upmarket shops and shopping centres. LAOS: The official currency of Laos is the Kip (LAK), however, USD are also widely used throughout Laos. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Visa cash advances are available in major banks, and ATMs are present in most towns. The use of credit cards is restricted mainly to major hotels, more upmarket shops and shopping centres. VIETNAM: You can use your credit/debit card in ATMs, which are common throughout Vietnam. These machines dispense cash in VND (Vietnamese dong). Credit/debit cards aren’t accepted for small payments in Vietnam so please ensure you have VND cash to cover daily expenses. Clean banknotes in small denominations are most useful. There is no need to bring lots of cash with you unless you prefer not to use ATMs. You can obtain VND cash prior to arriving in Vietnam, through normal outlets such as banks and currency exchange offices.  CAMBODIA: You can use your credit/debit card in ATMs, which are common throughout Cambodia. These machines dispense cash in USD. There is no need to bring lots of cash with you unless you prefer not to use ATMs. There is also no need to pre-purchase Cambodian riel prior to arriving in the country. Most travellers never need to have more than USD10 worth of Cambodian riel on them at any one time, as USD cash is widely accepted. After making a payment in USD, change is often given in Cambodian riel. Many businesses are unable to change larger notes (USD20, USD50 or USD100), so we recommend carrying a mix of denominations. If you are obtaining USD cash prior to arrival in Cambodia, please check that all your notes are in good condition and not old. Banknotes that are crumpled, torn, marked or printed before 2006 are generally not accepted. USD2 banknotes are also not accepted. Please be warned that some banks at Cambodian airports may tell you that you need to change your USD cash into Cambodian riel, but this is not true.  TIPPING Tipping can be an appropriate way to recognise great service when travelling. While it may not be customary in your home country, it is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations and is greatly appreciated by the people who take care of you during your travels. It is always best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult rather than the goodwill gesture it is intended to be. OPTIONAL TIPPING KITTY On Day 1 of your trip, your group leader or local representative may discuss with you the idea of operating a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and your group leader or local representative distributes tips for drivers, local guides, hotel staff and other services included on your trip. This excludes restaurant tips for meals not included in your itinerary. The group leader or local representative will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any funds remaining at the end of the tour will be returned to group members. We have found that this is 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 is at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your group leader or local representative. Please note this is a combination trip made up of 3 sections. There will be the option of contributing to a group tipping kitty on all sections of this trip. Day 1 Optional tipping kitty for this section: THB 540 per person Day 14 Optional tipping kitty for this section: USD 17 per person Day 24 Optional tipping kitty for this section: USD 17 per person YOUR GROUP LEADER OR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE  You may consider tipping your group leader or local representative for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference however as a guideline 4-7 USD or EUR per person (in a currency relevant to your destination), 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 and involvement of your group leader or local representative on your trip. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. COMMISSIONS Intrepid understands that the receipt of commissions in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. For this reason, we have established a centralised fund for contributions from recommended suppliers so these can be collected and distributed back into the business. Actively managing the receipt of commissions helps us maintain the level of quality you expect on one of our trips. Travel is always an adventure so Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of a product but we aim to provide the best value trips in the market. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting - or exceeding - this objective.

    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, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps). If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, swimming suit, waterproof pouch/bag for phone, hiking shoes and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


    The included flight from Vientiane to Hanoi has a luggage limit of 20kgs for your check in bag and 7kgs for hand luggage. Please note however, on this trip we use a variety of local transport and therefore recommend you keep your luggage to less than 15kgs to make it easier for you to carry off and on all transport and up and down stairs in some hotels that may not have lifts. You are also required to carry your bags while walking short distances.

    CLIMATE & CLOTHING: The average temperature in Northern Laos in January is just 16 degrees Celsius. Colder than you might expect for South-East Asia! Bring a warm light weight jumper and trousers when travelling in the winter months (Nov to Feb), and a jacket too if you tend to feel the cold.

    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.

    WATER BOTTLE: This trip includes one or more sections in a private vehicle with a water dispenser. We encourage all our travellers to bring a refillable water bottle on your trip to help reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles.

    Climate and seasonal

    SONGKRAN FESTIVAL The Songkran Festival is celebrated to mark the New Year. The festival runs from the 13th to the 16th of April. Traditionally houses and villages are properly cleaned in preparation for the New Year, flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images, young people pour water over the elders for good luck. Songkran Festival is often referred to as the “water festival” as it is now common to throw water over each other during the festival period. Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your group leader or local representative will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting. LAOS FLOODING & LANDSLIDES: The rainy season in Laos normally runs from May to October, coinciding with the typhoon season in South East Asia. Mountain areas are particularly vulnerable to landslides in the rainy season and flooding may occur along the Mekong river basins and elsewhere. Occasionally roads between Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane may be closed suddenly due to road conditions. Should this occur, your itinerary may be rerouted to fly between destinations and you will need to use your contingency funds to cover the cost of this change. TET 8 - 14 February 2024, 28 January - 3 February 2025 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. WET SEASON: Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice. WEATHER IN CAMBODIA Any time of the year is a good time to travel in Cambodia, with each season having its advantages. The climate in Cambodia is generally hot and humid throughout the year. Temperatures stay in the 30Cs most of the year, dropping back to the 20Cs at night. There are officially two seasons in Cambodia – wet and dry. During November to May you can expect dry conditions, while June to October will have wetter weather. SEASONAL FLOODING IN CAMBODIA Severe storms and widespread seasonal flooding, including localised flash flooding, can occur without warning in Cambodia, particularly during the local wet season from July to November. The Cambodia/Thailand land border is occasionally closed due to flooding. Should land travel be disrupted and we need to fly, travellers will need to use their contingency funds to cover any additional costs. During public holidays and festival periods in Cambodia some businesses may close, transport may be extremely busy and travel times may increase. The main holidays in Cambodia are: Chinese New Year (09-12 February 2024) Khmer New Year (13 - 16 April 2024) Royal Birthday of the King Sihamoni (14 May 2024) Pchum Ben Day (01 – 03 October 2024) Water & Moon Festival (14 -16 November 2024)

    A couple of rules

    We like to think our Intrepid travellers are all connected by a love of adventure and passion for seeing the world in a different way. We've laid down a few non-negotiable rules to ensure everyone feels connected, comfortable and safe on our trips. We ask that you respect your fellow travellers, group leader or local representative, and local people and places we visit in all circumstances. We don't tolerate any forms of violence and expect that you follow the local laws, customs and regulations in any destination we travel to. Any behaviour contrary to the above, including any behaviour that prevents our staff from performing their duty of care or continuing the itinerary as planned, may result in travellers being removed from the trip. If you consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect you to abide by local alcohol laws. To ensure the well-being of everyone on the trip, all decisions made by group leaders or local representatives and ground staff are final. Romantic relationships between travellers and group leader or local representative are not permitted while on trip. By travelling with us, you agree to comply with these rules and the laws and customs of all countries visited. If something is concerning you during your travels with us, please speak to your group leader or local representative immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in your Essential Trip Information’s Problems and Emergency Contact section.


    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    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 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 or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative 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. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below: Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +66 89 810 3722 Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +84 90 311 7770 Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +855 92 555 969

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip group leaders or local representatives, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection, advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately, many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive-bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/elephants-welfare ORPHANAGE TOURISM In recent times orphanage tourism has become increasingly popular in Cambodia. Orphanage tourism is what happens when good intentions and reality don’t quite synch up. Travellers who visit and volunteer in orphanages may genuinely want to help, but their efforts can often perpetuate a system where children are separated from their families and, in some cases, abused. That’s why we don't include visits to orphanages on any of our trips. For more on our position on orphanage tourism and the work we are doing to protect children in the countries we visit, see these links below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/the-fight-against-orphanage-tourism/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/why-were-rethinking-orphanage-tourism/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/sites/intrepid/files/basic_page/files/IG%20Child-Protection-Flyer-LR.pdf

    The Intrepid Foundation

    We created our not-for-profit, the Intrepid Foundation because you – our travellers – told us you wanted to make an even greater impact in the communities you visit. The Foundation works by teaming up with partners around the world so that together we can deliver greater positive impact at scale. Partners are identified by our local staff who live and work in our destinations. They harness their powerful community connections to determine the issues that matter most and select local partners who can deliver real solutions. Since 2002, the Intrepid Foundation has raised more than $14million dollars and supported more than 160 communities worldwide. Now, with over 40 partners all over the world, your donations are helping to restore forests in Kenya, empower women in Honduras and promote elephant welfare in Laos, to name just a few. For more information about the Intrepid Foundation, please ask your group leader or local representative or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ This trip supports Mandalao Elephant Conservation, the first non-riding elephant sanctuary in Luang Prabang, who actively promote ethical elephant care and create jobs in communities in Laos. Donations help care for rescued elephants at their sanctuary (including food and veterinary costs) while providing employment opportunities within the local community. Intrepid will double your impact by dollar-matching post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation. To find out more or make a donation, visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/t/mandalao-elephant-conservation

    Accommodation notes

    HOTELS: Most of the accommodation on this trip is in hotels (mostly 2 to 3-star). Facilities are often basic, with some properties not having a continuous supply of hot water on occasion. All rooms are either fan cooled or with air conditioning and twin share with private facilities unless stated otherwise in the daily itinerary. Double beds are not widely available in South East Asia. WINDOWLESS ROOMS: Some hotels in South East Asia 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 do not require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available. DAY ROOMS & EARLY CHECK IN: Please note in some destinations we will provide use of day rooms. These rooms are provided for shared group use before or after overnight train journeys. We have some days where we arrive at our destination before check in time and a day room is not included. If you have booked a Single Supplement for your trip, it will not apply to these day rooms. Your leader may be able to assist you in booking a room for your sole use (depending on availability) until our regular trip rooms become available for an additional charge. Please talk to your leader at the Welcome Meeting if this is a service you would like to request.

    Transport notes

    OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS IN VIETNAM: Compartments will be 4 berth to 6 berth depending on seasonal variations and the group configuration. We aim to secure 4 berth compartments where possible. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Passengers of different genders may be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. On occasion the group may be split between several carriages, however your leader will coordinate and give further information on the trip.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your group leader or local representative. If you have credit card insurance your group leader or local representative 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 your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. For travellers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travellers from these regions who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS The beauty of our style of travel is that it caters to travellers who are travelling solo and who want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. On our trips rooming is organised on a twin-share basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. As a responsible tour operator, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. In the case that your gender identity differs from what is indicated on your passport, please contact us so that we can discuss rooming options with you. We also have an optional single supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will be on a single room basis. On a small selection of itineraries some accommodations are booked on an open gender, multi-share basis (for example on a felucca in Egypt or an overnight train in Vietnam). In those instances it will clearly be stated in our Essential Trip Information prior to booking and travelling.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.


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