South East Asia Loop

Trip Code: TTSVC

Why we love it

This combination trip includes trips in Vietnam & Cambodia that are some of the most popular in the entire Intrepid range. Travel by boat, train, plane, private minibus, taxi and even on the back of a motorbike!, Angkor Wat. Need we say more? As well as a guided tour, you'll also have a pass to cover your whole time in Siem Reap. So you can explore this incredible temple complex as much and as often as you like., Settle in for the night and experience overnight train journeys, starting from Hanoi and Bangkok and waking up ready to head out and explore Chiang Mai and Hue., The two-day boat journey down the iconic Mekong River passes incredible rural scenery and is one of the must-dos to truly experience South East Asia., Discover the mysterious beauty of the Lao jungle as you walk side by side with recently rescued elephants on stroll through their natural habitat., Sample local food wherever you go, from a seafood dinner on Halong Bay, street snacks at markets, a meal at a buddhist nunnery, coconut candy and tropical fruits in the Mekong Delta, and dinner at KOTO restaurant., The perfect blend of included sights and free time to make your own discoveries in some of our favourite destinations, like Hoi An and Luang Prabang., Discover Kampong Luong and the countryside around Battambang with a visit to a floating village and a bike ride around farms and cottage industries., Have expert advice on hand the whole way with an experienced local leader to help you get the best out of your time in South East Asia, like Channa: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/channa-intrepid-leader-cambodia/, Travel from Vietnam to Thailand, experiencing the contrasts between three of the region’s most fascinating countries.

Is this trip right for me?

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 sightseeing tour by motorbike in Hue is great fun with bikes driven safely by professionals (and helmets provided), but alternative transport can be arranged for those who would prefer not to travel by motorbike

It can be surprisingly cool, especially at night from November to February. Make sure you have some warm gear packed for this period so you can be comfortable

Depending on where you come from, the weather in Vietnam might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to. We recommend checking online for what the typical temperatures will be at the time of year you are looking to travel to see what to expect - this page might be useful: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/vietnam/weather-in-vietnam

Laos is less developed than many other South East Asian countries. The roads can be bumpy, delays are common, and accommodation can be basic but always clean and comfortable. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful country!

Pak Beng, where we pause to break up our Mekong journey, is a remote and quiet town with little tourist infrastructure – a contrast to the traveller hubs of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang

Due to dam construction upstream, water levels aren't as reliable as in previous years. When the Mekong River is at its lowest from February to April, part of the journey may occasionally need to be made by land

The stories and history shared at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) are confronting and many travellers will find them upsetting. This is an important part of Cambodia’s recent history that we feel is important for travellers to know. If you would prefer not to join these activities your leader can recommend some optional alternatives. Some further information on visiting the Killing Fields can be found here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/importance-visiting-cambodia-killing-fields/

There are some long travel days by both private and public transport (up to 10 hours on the road), including the days that we cross from Vietnam to Cambodia and Cambodia to Thailand. Your leader and local guides will assist with the border crossings, but plenty of patience is advised

At times our accommodation may not have continuous hot water. Most travellers don’t find this a problem however, and are often keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 2,15 (Sleeper Train), Day 5,6 (Guesthouse) and Day 14 (Overnight Boat) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
Rooms booked only for day use are also excluded.
2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train and flight tickets. 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 new tickets.
3. This trip includes a domestic flight. Checked luggage allowance is a maximum of 20 kilograms, plus up to 7 kilograms carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges will need to be paid directly to the airline at check
4. Please note that the flight from Vientiane to Hanoi is still suspended. The only option is to take transit flight via Bangkok. You may need to go through Thailand immigration for this and register Thailand Pass for the transit. This may take a total of 8 hours to travel from Vientiane to Hanoi depending on flights availability on the day. Your tour leader may advise you on the confirmed flight for this section and immigration requirements. We'll revert to using direct flight once the flight route resumes.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, 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, INTERNAL FLIGHT LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE:
Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 20kg, with up to 7kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in., 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.

Physical rating

 
2

Joining your group

ASAI Bangkok Chinatown, 531 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok, 10100, THAILAND, Phone: +66 2220 8999

Joining instructions

Please make sure that you provide your flight details no later than 14 days before departure to book your arrival transfer with us.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met after exiting the Customs Hall. A transfer representative holding a sign with your name on will meet you at between Exit Door 3-4. If you cannot find your transfer representative, please go to the Information Counter at Exit Door 3. Ask them to call our transfer provider, Ms. Janet, on +66 64 649 0485. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

For arrivals at Don Muang International Arrival, when you are at the arrival hall, our representative will be in front of you at Gate 5. Please find the Intrepid Logo and check your name on the signboard held by the representative on your lefthand side. If you have trouble locating our representative, please call our transfer provider Ms. Janet, at +66 64 649 0485. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact our local office on the number in the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section.

Metered taxis are available outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor. Exit the Customs Hall, go down to the 1st floor and leave the airport at Gate 3, 4, 7 or 8. You will find a table with a “metred taxis” sign. The taxi fare will be the metred fare plus a surcharge of THB50-THB75 (depending on the driver’s use of toll roads). The total fare will be approx. THB400. Pre-paid taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finishing your trip

Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing), 2 Samsen 2, Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Banglumphu, Bangkok, 10200, THAILAND, Phone: +66 22827500

The Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions, such as the Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. We use the Canal Wing and rooms are equipped with a private en-suite. Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant. Please also note that no alcohol is served in this hotel, but there are lots of great bars across the road.

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. You can expect to be picked up three hours prior to your flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, ask the hotel staff to call our transfer provide, Ms. Janet +66 64 649 0485

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. THB700. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 22

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 2

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. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

INCLUDED BREAKFASTS:
At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/

FOOD ALLERGIES:
Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Climate & seasonal information

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.

LAOS FLOODING & LANDSLIDES:
The rainy season in Laos normally runs from May to October, coinciding with the typhoon season in South East Asia. Mountain areas are particularly vulnerable to landslides in the rainy season and flooding may occur along the Mekong river basins and elsewhere. Occasionally roads between Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane may be closed suddenly due to road conditions. Should this occur, your itinerary may be rerouted to fly between destinations and you will need to use your contingency funds to cover the cost of this change.

TET
11-16 February 2021, 31 January - 4 February 2022
Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure.

WET SEASON:
Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice.

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 (21-27 January 2023)
Khmer New Year (14 - 17 April 2023)
Royal Birthday of the King Sihamoni (14 May 2023)
Pchum Ben Day (24-27 September 2022, 13-16 October 2023)
Water & Moon Festival (7-9 November 2022, 26-29 November 2023)

WEATHER IN CAMBODIA
Any time of the year is a good time to travel in Cambodia, with each season having its advantages. The climate in Cambodia is generally hot and humid throughout the year. Temperatures stay in the 30Cs most of the year, dropping back to the 20Cs at night. There are officially two seasons in Cambodia – wet and dry. During November to May you can expect dry conditions, while June to October will have wetter weather.

SEASONAL FLOODING IN CAMBODIA
Severe storms and widespread seasonal flooding, including localised flash flooding, can occur without warning in Cambodia, particularly during the local wet season from July to November. The Cambodia/Thailand land border is occasionally closed due to flooding. Should land travel be disrupted and we need to fly, travellers will need to use their contingency funds to cover any additional costs.

In case of emergency

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 Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Intrepid's local Operator: +66 898 103 722

Intrepid's Cambodia Office: +855 92 555 969

Accommodations

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.

Transportation

OVERNIGHT TRAINS
Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned and have sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, with are curtains that close over the beds. A sleeping sheet and a pillow are provided, and our luggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a western and Asian-style toilet located at the end of the carriage, but no showers. Carriage lights staying on during the night, so an eye mask is a good thing to bring with you, as is warm clothes as the air conditioning can be cold. For more on overnight trains in Thailand and around the world: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-the-world/

VIETNAM FLIGHTS:
Please provide your exact name (including middle name) as per passport 45 days prior to your trip's departure date for flight tickets to be issued. Internal flights will be on the following safety audited airlines: Pacific Airlines, Vietjet or Vietnam Airlines.

UNACCOMPANIED FLIGHTS:
During peak travel times your group may be required to travel on different flights at different times of the day, and you may be unaccompanied on the internal flight. In this case you will be assisted by additional tour escorts on departure and arrival.

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


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