Epic Cambodia to Vietnam

23 Days from $1,804

START: Bangkok

FINISH: Hanoi

AGES: 18 - 29

THEME: 18 to 29s

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Come for Angkor Wat, stay for the pho/amok/rice paper rolls (we could go on). This trip has it all. Scramble over the mighty ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap, discover history in Phnom Penh, and slurp pho in Ho Chi Minh City on this wild, 23-day trip.

Start: Bangkok

Finish: Hanoi

Ages: 18 - 29

Theme: 18 to 29s

Accommodation: Guesthouse (6 nights), Homestay (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Destination: Hanoi

Highlights

icon check
Spend a whole day at the biggest (and one of the most awesome) monuments in the world at Angkor
icon check
Appreciate the work of Friends International at their Futures Factory, a dining and creative space, dedicated to training vulnerable Cambodian youth to work in the hospitality industry
icon check
Experience local life during homestays in Chambok and the Mekong Delta. Get to know local families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal.
icon check
It's taken 400 miliion years for Phong Nha to get this good looking, so you'd better take advantage – explore a spectacular scene of caves, underground rivers, and caverns big enough to cruise into
icon check
Get on a bike in charming Hoi An; the best way to see the town and surrounding countryside. Also, the food here? You guessed it: completely delicious
icon check
Limestone karsts, blue-green waters, mysterious caves and super ancient jungle – Lan Ha Bay feels a lot like paradise

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Bangkok

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Bangkok has so much going on if you've got time to explore. Why not hit the canals for a riverboat trip to Chinatown? Visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha? Or indulge in some Thai massage?

icon check Day 2 : Siem Reap

Brace yourself for a long day of travel as you board a private minivan to Siem Reap (approximately 10 hours, including border crossing and lunch). Say 'Laew phop gun' to Thailand as you exit at Aranyaprathet, and enter Cambodia at Poipet. When you arrive in Siem Reap (150 km or so past the border), the markets are a great place to start practicing those haggling skills. Better yet, try some cheap and tasty street food. Get some rest and relaxation tonight before your Angkor visit tomorrow.

icon check Day 3 : Siem Reap – Angkor Wat

Time to visit the mighty Angkor complex with your guide. Get that camera ready, because it's going to be oh-so-pretty. Some of these temples are over a thousand years old, going back to the days when the Khmer Empire was top dog in South East Asia. These beauties were known to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. Let your mind be blown as you roam around the complex with your leader. Don't even think about missing the sunset. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160-square-kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap, so you'll have plenty of time to get to grips with the larger-than-life Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.

icon check Day 4 : Siem Reap

Today is a free day for you to experience Siem Reap in your own way. If you're all templed out, but still feel like something pretty out-there, you can opt for an Angkor zip-line course, which will have you soaring like an eagle over the rainforest (and perhaps getting that ticker started again, if Angkor Wat made it stop).

icon check Day 5 : Kampong Cham

Jump on a bus and head to Kampong Cham (approximately 5 hours). It's a public bus, which means you'll reaaally travel like a local. When you arrive, you might notice how chilled out this town is. It used to be an important trading hub in the area. Mingle with the locals and enjoy the change of pace. It's a slice of small-town Cambodia with plenty to see and do. You can explore the 11th-century Wat Nokor (also very chill, some might say 'tranquil'). You can hire a bike to explore the rural island of Koh Paen, linked to Kampong Cham by a fancy bamboo bridge (in the wet season you'll have to take a ferry over). The locals here make their living fishing and growing tobacco and sesame, so it's an awesome place to go for a closer look at some of Cambodia's cottage industries. A little further afield are the twin 'mountain temples' of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei.

icon check Day 6 : Homestay

Travel by private vehicle (approx. 5 hours) into countryside Cambodia to the region of Kampong Speu and the village of Chambok. Chambok is right next to the beautiful Kirirom National Park, so you can imagine how serene it is here. A homestay tonight is your chance to really immerse yourself in everyday life. Weather permitting, you might be able to trek to the awesome 40-metre waterfall nearby today too (this is optional). Not to mention feast on a traditional Khmer dinner, prepared by the talented women of the community.

icon check Day 7 : Phnom Penh

Catch a private bus to the capital city of Phnom Penh (approximately 3 hours). Cambodia's capital is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some mighty fine examples of French-inspired architecture. Top of the list of things to do: head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, and the infamous Killing Fields where a stupa made of some 8000 human skulls lies. Confronting but important to see, these sites are places to learn about the dark legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda to learn about brighter parts of Cambodian history. You can also explore Wat Phnom, check out the National Museum, take a cyclo tour of the city's key sites, or hit the pretty art-deco Psar Thmei aka Central Market (it's pretty AND pretty art-deco). Tonight, tuck in at the Friends International restaurant – not only will you get a serious taste of delicious local food, you'll also support an organisation that helps vulnerable local children.

icon check Day 8 : Phnom Penh

The perfect way to cap off your time in Phnom Penh would be to take an optional traditional massage at the Seeing Hands Massage Centre. The visually impaired masseurs here are some of the best in town, and it's a great cause to support. Also, let's be honest, after a week on Asia's bumpy roads you could probably use a little limbering up. Tonight will be your last night in Cambodia before you move on to Vietnam.

icon check Day 9 : Ho Chi Minh City

Travel by local bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 10 hours including two border crossings and lunch). You'll exit Cambodia at Bavet and enter Vietnam at Moc Bai. Your leader knows the drill, so they'll assist you with border crossing procedures. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and get your first taste of this fast-paced, fun city. You'll see it's a combo of all kinds of flavours, old and new, East and West. Get a French baguette, best taken with a cup o' joe (the coffee is excellent here). Don't miss Reunification Palace. And there are some fascinating things to see at the War Remnants Museum.

icon check Day 10 : Ho Chi Minh City

Today you may be required to move to a different hotel in Ho Chi Minh City for the next section of your trip. Your leader will let you know if this is the case, and will help with the transfer to the next hotel. You have a free day to consider many optional activities. Some of the Urban Adventures available in Ho Chi Minh City include Mekong Discovery, Cyclos & Markets, Cu Chi Experience and Saigon Street Food by Night. Your leader can help you book on the tour of your choice. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting this evening to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet any new travellers joining your group.

icon check Day 11 : Mekong Delta

Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. On arrival, we board our private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. Then head to our overnight local guesthouse along the water.

icon check Day 12 : Mekong Delta - Overnight Train

Rising early to the sounds of the delta coming alive, we enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding our boat, and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City to go check out a few more sites or some tasty street food snacks. Late this afternoon board an overnight train to Tuy Hoa, a beach town on the central coast (approx 11 hours). Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are all part of the experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals.

icon check Day 13 : Tuy Hoa

Arrive in Tuy Hoa early this morning for two days by the beach. Though Tuy Hoa is much quieter than its southern neighbours, you'll still find the perfect spot of sand to lay down a towel and plenty of dining options. Check out the Eglise de Mang Lang and Da Dia Reef, or head south to the Mui Dien lighthouse for a nature fix.

icon check Day 14 : Tuy Hoa - Overnight Train

Today is all yours! Soak up some more free time on the beach. Board an overnight train late in the evening bound for Danang (approx. 8 hours).

icon check Day 15 : Hoi An

Arrive in Danang and travel by minibus to Hoi An (approx 1 hr). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. It's also a shopping mecca – with much to browse and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied.

icon check Day 16 : Hoi An

There's no better way to explore the peaceful countryside of Hoi An than by bike. For a true insight into country living in Vietnam, join your leader in cycling past green rice paddies, over small creeks and through rural villages.

icon check Day 17 : Hue

Departing Hoi An, we can pass by My Khe Beach before crossing the dramatic Hai Van Pass to the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. After a quick stop, continue on to Hue (approx. 5 hours including stops). As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Your afternoon is free to go exploring. The Dong Ba market, which sells everything imaginable, is a great place to spend some time. Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

icon check Day 18 : Hue

Today is a free day. You may like to take a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River, and a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

icon check Day 19 : Phong Nha

Jump on the bus and make your way to Quang Tri. If you’re keen, it’s just a small fee to visit the Hien Luong Bridge and Vinh Moc tunnels. Hien Luong Bridge separated the North from the South during the war. The tunnels at Vinh Moc are an expansive network of limestone tunnels that locals used as shelters from the bombing. Travel onwards to Phong Nha and spend the afternoon exploring your surroundings. You'll stay just outside Phong Nha Town, which is near Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, an amazing landscape riddled with caves and underground rivers.

icon check Day 20 : Phong Nha - Overnight train

Enjoy a free day to explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. At 400 million years old, this World Heritage site is the oldest karst mountain range in Asia. You might like to take a boat through Phong Nha Cave, or check out the spectacular cavern of Paradise Cave. If caves aren’t your thing, chat with your leader about a kayaking adventure in Suoi Mooc. Otherwise chill out with a coffee and soak in the river views. Later today you'll head back to Dong Hoi and hop back on a sleeper train (approximately 8 pm to 5.50 am) – you'll be a pro at this by now.

icon check Day 21 : Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi very early (approx. 5.30 am) and transfer to your hotel. Then leave your gear in a day room at the hotel. The capital of Vietnam is a charming city with a population of over six million. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter, which is an architectural museum piece with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian countries, the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the contrasts of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface. Take a walking tour of the Old Quarter. You'll visit the Dong Xuan market, the biggest wholesale market in northern Vietnam, stroll through the ancient '36 streets' where you can discover an amazing selection of shops selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths. Your leader will point out some of the unique architecture around Hoan Kiem Lake and the myths and legends of the lake.

icon check Day 22 : Cat Ba Island

Travel by bus and ferry (approximately 3.5 hours) to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the UNESCO-listed Halong 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 with lunch on the boat, then get up close and personal with this other-worldly landscape by kayak. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy a dip at one of the beaches and a cold beer.

icon check Day 23 : Hanoi

Wake up in paradise, maybe starting your morning with a refreshing swim. Make sure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, because it's back to Hanoi this afternoon via ferry and bus. Tonight you can head out for an optional farewell dinner with your new friends and spend the evening swapping stories and contact details for the inevitable post-trip catch-up. 

icon check Day 24 : Hanoi

The trip ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

icon check

Meals

6 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners
icon check

Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Public bus, Private minibus, Remork (Tuk-tuk)
icon check

Accommodation

Guesthouse (6 nights), Homestay (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)
icon check

Included Activities

  • Cat Ba Island - Rice paper roll class

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Astera Sathorn Hotel

143 South Sathorn Rd., Yannawa, Sathorn

Bangkok

10120

THAILAND

Phone: 22127090

Fax: 22123610

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Van Mieu 1

54B Quoc Tu Giam Street

Hanoi

VIETNAM

Phone: +84 2437474254

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

2. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and excludes days 6 and 11 (homestay), days 13, 15 and 21 (overnight trains) and days 2, 3, 4 and 20 (guesthouse).

TRAVELLERS ON THE 31 DECEMBER 2019 DEPARTURE:

This is a combination trip, consisting of Essential Cambodia (TKYA) and Real Vietnam (TVYB).

As this departure commences in December and concludes in January, the first trip from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City will be running on the 2019 itinerary.

The second trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi will be running on the 2020 itinerary.

There will be changes to the second section of the trip: Tuy Hoa will be removed, and a homestay and hike in the Da Bac region will be added.

For full details of the second section of this departure, please view the 2020 itinerary on this page and review the Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi days of the trip.

Please note: this departure date is not affected by any change in duration.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup 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. We endeavour 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. 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.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. 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 valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests 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. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

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

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

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.

Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

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

THAILAND:

If entering by air most nationalities will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival. If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (some exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.

If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.

CAMBODIA VISAS:

If a point of contact is requested for your visa application, please write:

Intrepid Cambodia

92 Taneuy Street

Wat Bo Village

Siem Reap

Evisas are now available for most nationalities through the official website: www.evisa.gov.kh

Please note there have been reports of fraudulent evisa websites that mirror the official site. Intrepid recommends only using the official website listed above or arranging your visa through your booking agent.

VISA ON ARRIVAL

Visa on arrival is available for for most nationalities at airports or land border crossings for approx. US$35 (cost subject to change). You will need a passport photo for your visa.

OTHER VISAS

If you are not eligible for an evisa or visa on arrival you may need to submit an application through your local consulate. Allow up to 3 weeks for processing.

VIETNAM VISA:

Most nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa in advance to travel to Vietnam. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing with your nearest embassy or consulate, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Please check with your embassy or consulate for further requirements.

While it is possible to enter Vietnam via a land border with an evisa, previous travellers have reported being delayed and asked for additional payments. As entry to Vietnam is subject to local government approval, we have no authority to speed up the process. If this is of concern to you, we recommend getting a Vietnamese visa in your passport prior to travel.

Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of a maximum of 15 days, including British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes). This exemption period is currently effective until 30 June 2021, and is based upon meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. If you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant consulate or embassy). Please also check requirements if you plan to re-enter Vietnam.

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

If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 5th floor HiPT Building, 152 Thuy Khue Street, Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi, Ph +84 4 3715 0996.

Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.

BORDER CROSSINGS:

Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The following are the international/administrative border crossings for this trip:

Day 2 Thailand to Cambodia

The Thailand border is Aranyaprathet

The Cambodian border is Poipet

Day 9 Cambodia to Vietnam

The Cambodian border is Ba Vet

The Vietnam border is Moc Bai

To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website useful: http://www.timeanddate.com

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.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Spend a whole day at the biggest (and one of the most awesome) monuments in the world at Angkor

Get some quality time with the locals in Cambodia and Vietnam during your homestays in each country. It's these experiences that'll stick with you for years to come

Soak up the rays during your beach time at the beautiful town of Tuy Hoa

Get a better look at Hoi An than other travellers – from the seat of a bicycle

It's taken 400 miliion years for Phong Nha to get this good looking, so you'd better take advantage – explore a spectacular scene of caves, underground rivers, and caverns big enough to cruise into

Limestone karsts, blue-green waters, mysterious caves and super ancient jungle – Lan Ha Bay feels a lot like paradise

Experience local life during homestays in Chambok and the Mekong Delta. Get to know local families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal.

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and 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.

The trip also involves a few long days of travelling on public transport, which isn’t the most comfortable option, but definitely the most adventurous.

You'll be spending two nights with local families 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 experiences here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/community-based-tourism-vietnam/ and https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodia-homestay-experience

Vietnamese roads can be hectic and intimidating to cross. Never fear - your leader will show you how to do it like a local in Hanoi's old quarter

Your adventure in Hoi An involves jumping on a bicycle to ride around the lovely countryside. If you don’t feel up to it, there are plenty of other optional activities your leader can recommend

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

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 cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations 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 at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

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. Regular air quality reports are available from the following website http://aqicn.org/city/bangkok/

icon readmoreicon minusFood 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. There's no obligation to do this though.

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/

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/

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

SPENDING MONEY:

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

Budget for meals not included:

USD 500.00

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.

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. 

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. 

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. Carrying small notes of local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult.

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 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 tour leader.

Please note this is a combination trip made up of 2 sections. There will be the option of contributing to a group tipping kitty on both sections of this trip.

Day 1 Optional tipping kitty for this section: USD 18 per person

Day 12 Optional tipping kitty for this section: USD 18 per person

YOUR TOUR LEADER

You may 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.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please 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 amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

COMMISSIONS

Unfortunately, commissions in exchange for recommending particular shops or restaurants are an ingrained part of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye, we’ve tried to legitimise the practise with a centralised fund. Moneys are collected from recommended and fully vetted suppliers and funnelled back into our business. This keeps the trip cost low (for us and for you) and makes sure you only get the best experiences.

If you’re unhappy with any places your leader recommends, or feel the quality of the trip is being compromised in any way, please let us know in your feedback.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

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

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.

icon readmoreicon minusClimate 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 leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

CAMBODIAN FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS:

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 (25 - 27 January 2020)

Khmer New Year (14 - 17 April 2020)

Royal Birthday of the King Sihamoni (13 - 15 May 2020)

Pchum Ben Day ( 27-30 September 2019, 16 - 19 September 2020)

Water & Moon Festival (10 - 12 November 2019, 30 October - 2 November 2020)

CAMBODIA SEASONAL FLOODING:

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.

TET (20-24 January 2020, 11-16 February 2021):

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.

CLIMATE & CLOTHING:

For the majority of the year, the temperature in Vietnam is normally warm and humid, particularly from Hoi An southward. North of here, it can be cool between late November and March. If travelling at this time it is advisable to bring some some warmer clothing, particular if you plan to visit the Central Highlights or Sapa.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusA 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. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

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/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

For general 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 Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +855 92 555 969

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible 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/au/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

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation 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 / MULTI SHARE BASIS

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

CHECK-IN TIME

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

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION

If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

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

icon readmoreicon minusYour 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.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary 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 print and review a final copy 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 changes once on tour.

TRAVELLERS ON THE 31 DECEMBER 2019 DEPARTURE:

This is a combination trip, consisting of Essential Cambodia (TKYA) and Real Vietnam (TVYB).

As this departure commences in December and concludes in January, the first trip from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City will be running on the 2019 itinerary.

The second trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi will be running on the 2020 itinerary.

There will be changes to the second section of the trip: Tuy Hoa will be removed, and a homestay and hike in the Da Bac region will be added.

For full details of the second section of this departure, please view the 2020 itinerary on this page and review the Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi days of the trip.

Please note: this departure date is not affected by any change in duration.

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 may be 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 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.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Guesthouse (1 nt),Homestay (2 nts),Hotel (16 nts),Overnight boat (1 nt),Overnight sleeper train (3 nts)

Kenya Safari!

Win a Classic African Adventure Tour to Kenya Overland Safari. Every NOVICA product purchased through the end of the year qualifies as an entry. Let the journey begin!
icon up
BACK TO TOP

Your NOVICA Packages are Safe and Secure!

NOVICA's response to COVID 19

Every NOVICA item comes with our universal guarantee

Certified clean packing environment

Quality tested and verified by our region teams

Fair trade and 100% happiness guaranteed