Laos Discovery
from $2020
Duration: 6 Days
A peaceful oasis among the chaos that defines much of Southeast Asia, Laos is a comparatively relaxed country that is nonetheless bursting with pride, history and colour. In this compact six-day trip, you’ll soak up the best of what Laos has to offer. Travel from the gilded capital Vientiane, where evidence of French colonial rule still exists among the myriad wats and stupas, to the lush forests and limestone cliffs of Luang Prabang.
  • Rise with the sun and watch saffron-robed monks shuffle between houses, where the faithful wait with offerings as part of an alms giving ritual.
  • See the crowning-jewel of Laos' spiritual monuments – Pha That Luang, a shining Buddhist stupa that sits on ground that has been considered holy for thousands of years.
  • Splash in the blue waters of Kuang Si Waterfall, where multi-tiered cascades ensconced by thick jungle give the appearance of a Laotian Eden.
  • Give something back with a visit to Ock Pop Tok, a sustainable and ethical textile partnership helping women to earn a living.
  • Taste the sweet and sour delights of local cuisine in Luang Prabang.
  • Cruise down the mighty Mekong River to the limestone caves of Pak Ou, which practically overflow with icons of the Buddha.
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket
  • Vientiane - That Luang
  • Vientiane - Victory Gate (Patuxai)
  • Luang Prabang - Ock Pop Tok visit
  • Luang Prabang - Night Market
  • Luang Prabang - Alms giving ceremony
  • Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre
  • Luang Prabang - Mekong River cruise & Pak Ou Caves
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Luang Prabang - Friends International dinner
  • Day 1 Location: Vientiane
    Welcome to Vientiane, the city of gold and green. With its lush parks and spectacular gilded shrines, temples and statues, the capital of Laos is a relatively calm and agreeable city. You'll be met on arrival at Vientiane airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, let your travel agent or hotel reception know. We'll be checking your passport details, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so it’s important you attend. Your hotel is located close to the bank of the Mekong River and Chao Anouvong Park, which hosts a nightly market near the water. If you have the energy, why not dive right into your Laotian adventure with a stroll along the promenade?
    Day 2 Location: Vientiane
    Get ready for a full day of spiritual and significant sightseeing in this chilled-out city. The scarlet and gold pillars and awning of Wat Hor Pra Kaeo are up first, followed by Wat Si Saket, one of the oldest temples in the city. Next, visit the grand stone archway of Pratu Xai, a war monument dedicated to those who fought for independence from French colonial rule. The crowning-jewel of Vientiane’s monuments is Pha That Luang, a shining Buddhist stupa that sits on ground considered holy for thousands of years. After spending some time admiring this Laotian icon, take a visit to COPE – an organisation that crafts and supplies prosthetics and orthotics free of charge. Spend a free evening in town, perhaps ask your leader where you’ll have the best chance of finding a khao jee (a baguette with salad, meat and pate).
    Day 3 Location: Luang Prabang
    Board a flight bound for Luang Prabang arriving less than an hour later. There are a bunch of local dishes that you should consider trying while you’re here, and lunch today is the perfect opportunity to get started. You might see local sausages called sai oua (made with pork, chilli, garlic, spices and herbs) hanging up to dry around town, or perhaps a whole barbecued fish is more your style? Whatever you decide, it will most likely be served with the ubiquitous sticky rice. Once you’ve eaten, make an afternoon trip to Ock Pop Tok, a sustainable and ethical textile partnership helping women to earn a living. Once the sun goes down, hit the lively night market, where locals sell food, trinkets, clothes and snake whiskey from blue and red tents.
    Day 4 Location: Luang Prabang
    Rise with the sun this morning and witness a traditional alms giving ceremony. View the procession of saffron-robed monks on their daily outing collecting food offered by devotees, a practice that dates back centuries. The offerings must be collected early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk, it is believed you ‘het bon’ (make merit) which will be carried over into the next life. Then, gain insight into the myriad of diverse ethnic groups in Laos through the textiles and handicrafts on display at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC). Dedicated to collecting and preserving these crafts, TAEC aims to engage both Laotians and foreigners on the importance of cultural protection. Hop on a boat and enjoy a leisurely lunch cruise down the mighty Mekong River. Take in the sight of verdant countryside while you eat (and if the weather is clear distant mountains) as you head towards the Pak Ou Caves. Disembark and spend some time exploring these holy limestone caves, where statues and carvings of the Buddha gaze down from every conceivable surface. Return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon and spend the rest of your day at your leisure. Perhaps take a dip in the hotel pool or venture out in search of some khao niao mamuang (sticky rice with fresh mango).
    Day 5 Location: Luang Prabang
    Discover a jungle paradise with a morning trip to the Kuang Si Waterfall, about 30 kilometres south of Luang Prabang. These multi-tiered falls are ensconced in thick green trees and snaking vines, giving the appearance of a hidden Laotian Eden. Return to town and enjoy a free afternoon. If you can't get enough of the local cuisine you might be interested in a cooking class where you can learn the art of mixing sweet, sour and spice. Those with an inclination towards the historical may enjoy a visit to the Lao National Museum. Located in a worn French colonial building, the exhibits trace the nation's contemporary and ancient history. From dinosaur bones and Khmer sculptures to an unexploded ordinances gallery and anti-imperialist literature, it's a fascinating place. In the evening, toast to your new friends with a final dinner at Kaiphaen Restaurant, a social enterprise where the food is delicious and authentic and your meal helps local kids get hospitality training.
    Day 6 Location: Luang Prabang
    Your adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast and hotel check out. If Laos has stolen your heart, why not stay on for a few days more? The Home Cooked Luang Prabang day tour from Urban Adventures might be just what you’re looking for to get the most out of your time in this incredible country.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    12DEC2020
    Return Date:
    17DEC2020
    2020NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    13 Aug 2020

    Trip title

    Laos Discovery

    Trip code

    TTKL

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    A peaceful oasis among the chaos that defines much of Southeast Asia, Laos is a comparatively relaxed country that is nonetheless bursting with pride, history and colour. In this compact six-day trip, you’ll soak up the best of what Laos has to offer. Travel from the gilded capital Vientiane, where evidence of French colonial rule still exists among the myriad wats and stupas, to the lush forests and limestone cliffs of Luang Prabang.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Plane,River boat,Private Mini van

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    [email protected] Hotel

    Ban Sisaket

    Chanthabouly

    Vientiane

    Pangkham Road

    LAO PDR

    Phone: +856 212651412

    Fax: +856 21265143

    Joining point description

    Centrally located near the Mekong River, [email protected] Hotel Vientiane features easy access to dining, shopping and commercial areas. It offers massage services, and free WiFi throughout the hotel. Incorporating modern and Asian-influence designs, each functional guestroom is fitted with wooden furnishings and has cable TV, a minibar, and tea/coffee making facilities. All rooms have a balcony with a seating area, IDD telephone line . The private bathroom is fitted with a hot and cold shower. A safety deposit box is provided at the 24-hour front desk. The hotel offers currency exchange and laundry services. Pik Thai Restaurant serves local specialties, as well as Thai, Chinese and Western dishes. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

    Finish point

    Chitchareune Muangluang Hotel

    Ban Thatluang Boun Khong Road

    Luang Prabang

    LAO PDR

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available every night on this trip at time of booking. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book a single supplement. 2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

    Group leader

    All 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

    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 leader 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 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. 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.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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. PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. LAOS: You can get your visa in advance, but a visa can easily be obtained on arrival at most airports from around 35-50USD (dependant on nationality). Please check with the consulate in your country for more details before you travel. If you are planning to get your visa at the airport we recommend bringing 2 passport size photos.

    Why we love it

    Rise with the sun and watch saffron-robed monks shuffle between houses, where the faithful wait with offerings as part of an alms giving ritual.

    See the crowning-jewel of Laos' spiritual monuments – Pha That Luang, a shining Buddhist stupa that sits on ground that has been considered holy for thousands of years.

    Splash in the blue waters of Kuang Si Waterfall, where multi-tiered cascades ensconced by thick jungle give the appearance of a Laotian Eden.

    Give something back with a visit to Ock Pop Tok, a sustainable and ethical textile partnership helping women to earn a living.

    Taste the sweet and sour delights of local cuisine in Luang Prabang.

    Cruise down the mighty Mekong River to the limestone caves of Pak Ou, which practically overflow with icons of the Buddha.

    Is this trip right for you

    The heat can be challenging in the tropics. Be sure to dress accordingly and stay hydrated, especially in April and May. Laos is a beautifully laid back destination, but it's also less developed than most in South East Asia, so a little bit of patience goes a long way. Roads may be bumpy and journeys may take longer than expected. You will visit a number of temples which requires a level of modesty. You will need to bring clothes that cover the arms and pants or skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All 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 manage and enjoy 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, 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 as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 As we start planning our return to running trips, the safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers will remain our priority and our return to operations will be done in a safe and responsible way. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the trip. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. DENGUE FEVER: Dengue fever occurs in Thailand, and is particularly common during the rainy season (November-March in Koh Samui and the south-east of the Thai peninsula and May-October in the rest of Thailand, including Phuket), peaking in July and August. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue fever. MALARIA: Malaria can be contracted throughout the year in rural areas, particularly near the borders with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Speak to your doctor about preventative medication if you are concerned about malaria. OTHER: Other mosquito borne illnesses, such as Japanese encephalitis also occur in some areas. Always take preventative measures to protect yourself against mosquitoes such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. 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.

    Food and dietary requirements

    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. 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.

    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. The official currency of Laos is the Kip (LAK) however, US$ are also widely used throughout Laos. We recommend USD200.00 for meals not included. 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. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. 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. 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. Optional Tipping Kitty: 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 for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which 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, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. Optional tipping kitty for this trip: LAK 82000 person 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. 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, we have established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. We 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.

    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 backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. 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. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    WET SEASON: During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions. FLOODING: On rare occasions we experience floods in Laos between Luang Prabang and Lak Sao of which may require group members to make alternative travel arrangements and book a flight to continue the itinerary. Any required flights will need to be covered by the traveller (see emergency funds section) and would cost approx. 100USD. This is a rare occurrence. 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 leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    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/

    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. 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 enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's local Operator: +66 898 103 722

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

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Laos include: * Mandalao Elephant Conservation Promoting ethical elephant care and creating jobs in the community. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/mandalao-elephant-conservation

    Accommodation notes

    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 Accommodation on this trip is on a twin basis. 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.

    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 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 your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. 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 This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    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 is 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, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. 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 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 leader know you are interested in the Group 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 leaders 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.

    Accommodation

    Hotel (5 nights)

    Banner Image
    Hero Images

    Make an Enquiry