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Interested in this trip in 2014? Please check out the new 18-day "Indochina Explorer."

Indochina Cultural Journey

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2013 - December 31st, 2013 Last Updated:
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Introduction

There’s a magic about South East Asia that casts a spell on many who visit this exotic region. Explore the cultural best of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Encounter history, both ancient and modern, and witness the unbelievable splendour of Angkor Wat. From the natural beauty of Halong Bay and Chiang Mai’s temples to khantoke dinners and Khmer lunches, our expert guides will share the natural, historical and cultural beauty that has persisted in this region. More than a tour—this is an adventure of discovery.

  • Partaking in a cooking class and learning how to make your favourite Thai dishes
  • Visiting Buddhist temples and observing the daily life of monks
  • Learning about Cambodian history both ancient and recent
  • Experiencing the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City on a thrilling cyclo ride.
Duration: 15 days
Start/Finish City: Bangkok to Bangkok
Service Level: Upgraded
  • All the adventure you want, with a softer landing
  • Handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services
  • Upgraded and private transport, including flights to maximize time
  • More included meals, activities and transfers
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Discovery Adventures
Say hello to your world.

Engage the extraordinary cultures, wildlife and landscapes through exhilarating, educational and immersive activities while achieving a greater appreciation for our planet. These trips are as much about doing as seeing — all with a comfortable feel.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Indochina Cultural Journey (ATICD)

Day 1 Bangkok

Upon arrival you will be transferred to hotel. There are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok.

Please plan your arrival at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting.

At this meeting your CEO will ask to sight your travel insurance, check that you have a visas for Vietnam and complete some other paper work. Please note that you MUST arrive on tour with your Vietnam visa. Please refer to the visa information section of these trip notes for more information on obtaining your Vietnamese visa. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members.

Our hotel is located in heart of Silom, very close to the BTS Skytrain which allows easy access to most of Bangkok including MBK, Siam Paragon shopping areas. The hotel has a beautiful pool and has wifi available.

Day 2 Bangkok (1B)

This morning we take a boat ride through the klongs (canals) of Bangkok, where we catch a slice of local people living a simple life inside such a vibrant city. We also visit the halls and murals decorating the Grand Palace, built in 1782. After a rest and some lunch you will join your Discovery Adventure Guide for a one hour Thai Language lesson.

Tonight's accommodation is an overnight sleeper train. Beds are dormitory style, with bunks on two layers along the side of the train carriage. There are curtains along each bunk for privacy. Your luggage will be accessible during the journey. The train has air-conditioning and clean bedding is provided for each bunk. There are both western style and asian style toilets at the end of each carriage. Food and drinks are served on the train but you can always bring your own food from the shops and restaurants in the train station.

Approx travel time:
Overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: 12-13 hours

Day 3 Chiang Mai (1B,1D)

We arrive early into Chiang Mai, and settle into our exquisite surroundings, taking a relaxing break from the fast pace of Bangkok. Later in the day we visit Doi Suthep Temple. Established in 1383, this is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand. The views and serenity, our reward after climbing over 300 stairs to reach the top, are amazing.

In the evening, we enjoy a Kantoke dinner, sampling several small dishes of exotic Thai flavors and relaxing to some Thai music and dance.

Our hotel is located in the heart of Chiang Mai city, within 5 a minute walk of the famous night bazaar. The hotel has great views of the city. The rooms are all air conditioned with en suite bathrooms. Wifi is available for an additional cost. There is also a pool for a relaxing afternoon swim.

Day 4 Chiang Mai (1B,1L)

Today, we try our hand at creating some of the dynamic taste's we’ve been eating for the past few days at a Thai cooking school. With our teacher, we visit a local market to learn more about the main ingredients in Thai cooking and then take our purchases back to the school where the teacher will explain and demonstrate the basics of some of the more popular Thai dishes. We then enjoy the results for lunch.

In the evening, we are treated to a traditional Thai massage and explore Chiang Mai’s popular downtown night market where all the locals and visitors are spending the evening.

Day 5 Siem Reap (1B)

We catch our plane to Siem Reap, Cambodia, the gateway to the temples of Angkor. You will be able to get your Cambodian visa on arrival. Ask your CEO for further information.

The former capital of the Khmer kingdom, Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the great wonders of the archeological world, rediscovered at the end of the last century by French explorers. This vast ruined city is becoming one of the most popular sites in Southeast Asia. We arrive in the afternoon, and catch our first views of Angkor Wat at sunset.

You will have the evening to enjoy a nice Khmer dinner and then visit the night market for a little bit of shopping.

Our hotel in Siem Reap is a very well appointed hotel with all the amenities for your stay. It is located near the Angkor Wat temples and the old city of Siem Reap. The rooms are all air conditioned twin or double share rooms with a relaxing swimming pool to use after a long day of temple touring. Free wifi is also available.

Approx travel time:
Transfer to airport Chiang Mai: 20 min
Flight Chiang Mai to Siem Reap: 4 hours (via Bangkok)
Transfer airport to hotel Siem Reap: 20 min

Day 6-7 Siem Reap (2B,1L)

Over the course of two days, we visit some of the highlights of this ancient capital, such as; the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, the enigmatic Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, which is a temple in the jungle also known as the 'Tomb Raider' temple.

Included visit to a Planeterra-supported restaurant in Siem Reap. Planeterra and G Adventures built the New Hope Training Restaurant that provides skills training in the tourism and hospitality sector to underserved people in the Siem Reap community. This restaurant has been built directly in the New Hope Cambodia Outreach Centre, which was founded to provide accessible education and health care for the community. Siem Reap has undergone a recent boom in tourism, an opportunity that was not benefitting many of the local people. The restaurant trains groups of marginalized Khmers skills to access new job opportunities. G Adventures travellers visit the restaurant, and funds from the restaurant go to support the program as well as the health and education centre in the same compound.

Day 8 Phnom Penh (1B)

We travel by private bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. Here we explore the dark side of Cambodian history with visits to Choeng Ek Memorial, the site of the infamous Killing Fields that were the execution grounds for Pol Pot and the Khumer Rouge during their rein from 1975 - 1979. We also visit Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. This is a haunting look into history which serves to remind everyone that genocide must not be ignored or those lost, forgotten. Depending on timing, we may do these visits on the morning of day 9.

We also have the option to take a cyclo city tour along the waterfront and passing key city sites and to visit the famous Foreign Correspondents club for drinks.

Our hotel in Phnom Penh is located a 2 minute walk from Sisowath Quay and the waterfront. The rooms are all twin / double share with air conditioner and en suite bathrooms. There is a beautiful pool and wifi in the hotel.

Approx travel time:
Private bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 6-7 hours

Day 9-10 Ho Chi Minh City (2B)

In the afternoon of Day 9 we head to the Airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. With a population of approximately 7 million, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. The huge number of people rushing about their daily business gives it a dynamic atmosphere. Ho Chi Minh City is characterized by a vast variety of sights and sounds, from ancient pagodas, mosques and cathedrals to the former Presidential Palace and the War Museum. Explore Dong Khoi Street (the Rue Catinat from Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American) to the bustling markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Much of the city's life takes place on the streets which are lined with stores, shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath selling everything from soup to sophisticated electronics. The French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee. During our time here, we take a short cyclo orientation tour of the city’s main highlights.

On day 10 we take a half day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels with a local guide. This network of over 125 miles (200 km) of tunnels became legendary during the 1960's when they played a vital part in the war, allowing the Viet Cong to control a large rural area only 25 miles (40 km) from Ho Chi Minh City. At its heyday, the tunnel system stretched from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cambodian border. The network, parts of which were several stories deep, included trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major site giving the visitor a unique experience and feel for what underground life during the Vietnam war was like. Our afternoon will allow some free time for independent exploration or shopping; we can try our hand bargaining at the Ben Thanh Market, hire a cyclo (pedicab) for sightseeing or take a boat ride on the Saigon river.

Our hotel in Saigon is located a 10 minute walk from the Ben Than Market and a 15 minute walk to the Reunification Palace. The hotel is very comfortable with twin and double share air conditioned rooms. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel and there are computers to use for free in the lobby.

Approx travel time:
Private transport to Cu Chi tunnels: 1 1/2 hours each way

Day 11 Hanoi (1B)

This morning we take a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Classic French colonial architecture, beautiful decor and a scenic location makes Hanoi a fantastic place to visit. The capital of Vietnam is a charming city of about 4 million people, famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards and vast public parks. The city center is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town of the 1930s. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian countries, Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake reflects this struggle with modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and tangles of ancient streets. The city hums with the never-ending flow of bicycles, cyclos, the latest Mercedes Benz and motorbikes.

In the afternoon we head out for a city tour of the old quarter and then an evening at the world famous water puppet show.

Our hotel in Hanoi is located a 20 min walk or a short taxi ride away from Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter. The rooms are comfortable twin / double share with air conditioning. There are computers for use in the lobby as well as free wifi in the rooms.

Approx travel time:
Transfer to airport HCMC: 30 min
Flight HCMC to Hanoi: 2 hours
Transfer to hotel Hanoi: 45 min

Day 12 Halong Bay (1B,1L,1D)

Early on day 12 we enjoy a visit to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum and House On Stilts before our drive takes us to Bai Chay Harbor, the entrance to Halong Bay where we board a junk boat, our home for the evening. This traditional wooden sailing boat offers a unique way of navigating the lime karsts of Halong Bay with all the comforts of a motorized, floating hotel. Once settled in, you start your cruise around the majestic Halong Bay, while enjoying a delicious seafood lunch.

Halong Bay is a breathtaking secluded harbor with 2,000 limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of Bac Bo gulf. It is one of the most scenic regions in Vietnam and has been referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. The area of about 1,500 sq km is dotted with innumerable beaches and grottos, created over thousands of years by waves and wind. After lunch we will have the chance to explore some of the limestone caves dotted around the bay. In the evening the cook will prepare a sumptuous meal as the boat weighs anchor in the heart of the bay and we spend a very peaceful night beneath the stars.

Approx travel time:
Private bus Hanoi to Halong Bay: 4 hours

Day 13 Halong Bay/Hanoi (1B,1L)

On the morning of Day 13 we continue the cruise past the many islands and visit one of the caves by small bamboo boat. After an early lunch on board the boat, head back to Hanoi where the rest of the afternoon is free for shopping or visiting one of the many historical museums. For our final night dinner we have the option to visit KOTO, a restaurant set up to help disadvantaged street children.

Day 14 Bangkok (1B,1D)

Today we say goodbye to Vietnam and board a plane back to Bangkok. Explore this wondrous city, or just relax by the pool. What better location to say our fond farewells than a farewell dinner with a view. We'll reminisce about our wonderful journey and enjoy a delicious buffet 81 floors over Bangkok at the Baiyok Tower.

Approx travel time:
Halong Bay to Hanoi: 4 hours
Transfer to airport Hanoi: 45 min
Flight Hanoi to Bangkok: 2 hours
Transfer to hotel Bangkok: 45 min

Day 15 Depart Bangkok (1B)

Depart any time today.

We look forward to receiving your evaluation regarding this tour itinerary and your CEOs performance. We value your input into what we could improve to make this trip even better and of course love hearing about what we are already doing well! You will be sent a post tour email on your return with details on how to go in line and fill in this simple form. Thank you so much in advance.

What's Included

Arrival transfer - Welcome gift - Introductory language lesson - Boat tour of the Klong canals - Tour of the Grand Palace - Visit the Doi Suthep Buddhist Temple - Kantoke dinner with traditional food, music and dance - Thai cooking classes - Traditional Thai massage - Visit to Chiang Mai night market - Guided tour of Angkor Wat temple complex - Visit and lunch at New Hope, Planeterra supported project - Tour of Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Choeung Ek memorial (the Killing Fields) - Ho Chi Minh City cyclo tour - Tour of the Cu Chi tunnels - Hanoi City Tour and water puppet show - Halong Bay traditional boat trip with entrance to Halong Bay caves- Farewell dinner at the Baiyok Tower

Highlights

Partaking in a cooking class and learning how to make your favourite Thai dishes, Visiting Buddhist temples and observing the daily life of monks, Learning about Cambodian history both ancient and recent, Experiencing the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City on a thrilling cyclo ride.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

Discovery Adventures is operated in conjunction with G Adventures, the world leader in sustainable adventure travel. An award winning company with over 800 employees and 17 operational offices worldwide, G Adventures has 20 years experience in creating culturally interactive travel experiences. G Adventures advocates a triple bottom line business philosophy where equal attention is given to the environmental, social and economic impact of tourism to achieve long-term environmentally responsible growth whilst protecting destinations & cultural heritage for future generations.

Group Leader Description

All Discovery Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our expert group tour 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. They 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. Group leaders are experts in their region with a broad, general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local expert guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, Avg 10

Meals Included

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners.

Meals

Travelling with Discovery Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful foods and flavors that are available in the world. Some meals are included in the trip price in more remote regions or as a highlight where we can share a local specialty or cultural experience. In many places where there is a choice of eating options, we like to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company, but there is no obligation to do this. Your CEO will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD200-250 for meals not included.

Transport

Private bus, boat, train, tuk tuk, plane, cyclo, traditional junk boat, walking

About our Transportation

Train
On this trip is an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Berths are not in compartments, but are arranged 'open plan' either side of a central aisle. During the evening and morning, pairs of seats face each other. At night, seats pull together to form the bottom bunk, and an upper bunk folds out from the wall. The attendant will make up your bunk with a proper mattress and clean bedding, and will hook up the curtains which are provided for each bunk to give you privacy. Luggage is stored under the seats (please do not bring hard cases or extra large bags for this reason). Security is not a problem, it's a fun way to travel and explore your adventurous spirit. There is a shared washing area with two sinks, and both western and squat toilets, at the end of the coach. Beverages are available for sale on the train, as well as food which is not always to everyone's tastes. There are various food shops in the train station and we recommend you pick up your dinner here and bring it with you on the train.

Local Flights

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this tour. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 20 kg (44lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Comfort hotels (12 nts), sleeper train (1 nt), junk boat (1 nt).

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops

About Accommodation

The accommodation level for most Discovery Adventure tours are comfortable, in mid-range hotels, motels, lodges, guest houses, etc. You'll often enjoy air-conditioned rooms, complete with en suite bathrooms and some amenities. Accommodation and amenities can vary by Country and region and please remember that standards can be different from what you are used to in your home country, which is part of the appeal of adventure travel. Some trips may include camping, permanent tented camps or more rustic lodges, depending on the remoteness of where you are visiting. Please see your trip details for more information, specific to your tour. Porterage is not included, but can be arranged directly at most hotels.

Joining Hotel

FuramaXclusive Sathorn, Bangkok
59 Silom Soi 3 (Piphat 2), Silom Road
Silom, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel: (66) 2 266 8030
Fax: (66) 2 266 8033
Email: fxsathorn@furama.com

Joining Instructions

An arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour and our driver will be waiting for you with a Discovery Adventures Sign with your name on it. Please look for the Discovery Adventures sign near Exit 4 (towards the airport's official 'Meeting Point').

When arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced 'su wan na poom') in Bangkok proceed to the Arrivals Hall where you can change money into Thai Baht. (You may be approached by nicely dressed, official looking touts offering an expensive limousine service to your hotel; ignore these offers.) You have already paid for an included transfer to your hotel and you should be able to find a representative with your name on a transfer board near the Airport Information Counter at Entrance Door number 3 in the Arrival Hall.

**Please note, the arrival transfer included occurs on Day 1 of the tour. If you plan to arrive prior to Day 1, you will be required to arrange pre-tour accommodation through G Adventures to be eligible for the transport from the airport. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer please meet your driver near the information counter at Entrance Door number 3 of the airport, in the arrival hall. If for any reason you can not locate you driver please call the emergency transfer phone number at +66 (0) 800 562777.


If you have still have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

If your call is specifically concerning Bangkok Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at:+66 81 847 3034 (081 847 3034 from within Thailand) or +66 86 339 5881 (086 339 5881 from within Thailand)

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for Discovery Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.

Checklist

Documents
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•USD Cash (small denominations preferred)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•Discovery Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Suggested
•Day pack for daily personal items
•Watch or Alarm clock
•Flashlight or Headlamp
•Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
•Insect Repellent
•Water bottle
•Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
•Small towel and swim wear
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
•hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
•Money belt
•Shorts for summer months (June – September)
•Long trousers
•Shirts/T-shirts
•Warmer clothes for Nov-April.
•Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
•Pocketknife
•Camera and extra memory card/film
•Extra batteries (recommended)
•Electricity Plug Adapter
•First-aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofin, malaria pills, band aids/plasters, tape, anti-histamine, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Items: reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, Maps.

Donation items for New Hope project in Cambodia:
Should you have extra room in your suitcase, the project we visit in Cambodia is always happy to accept donations. Items that are always needed are: Clothing for children & young adults (new or good second hand clothes are great) the other thing they have difficulty getting in Cambodia are children's building blocks & leggo. As well, the medical clinic is always in need of the following items:
• Children’s Multivitamins with iron (Hugely Important!)
• Inhalers for patients with Asthma
• Zinc 25 mg/ Zinc 10mg
• Digital thermometers (preferably with replaceable batteries)
• Elastic bandages
• Gauze pads of various sizes( 5x5, 10x10, etc.), sterile and non-sterile
• Bandaids and plasters – different sizes
• Betadine swabs/betadine solutions
• Blood pressure cuffs
• Absorbent underpads (often called “Chux”in the U.S.)
• Cotton swabs
• Vaseline gauze
• Small/medium/large gloves (latex/medical gloves)
• Hand gels/sanitizers/alcohol/Liquid hand soaps

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

Please note that visas for Thailand are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your Governments Foreign Ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travelers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in.

THAILAND - Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand for stays of 30 days or less but if you do they are available on arrival at Bangkok Airport.
Please note that certain nationalities (including: Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan and Ukraine) may not be able to obtain visa at a land border. If staying in Thailand for more than 30 days, you will be required to obtain a tourist visa in advance. New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa if their stay is 90 days or less. For other nationalities, please ask your travel agent.

CAMBODIA - The visa cost for Cambodia is paid on arrival into Siem Reap Airport, which is $25 USD. You can also apply online for an e visa at http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/e-visa/vindex.aspx

VIETNAM - Visas for Vietnam need to be arranged ahead of time (BEFORE your trip) as the processing time varies and they are not available at the borders. We enter Vietnam on day 8 of the trip. Please ensure your visa "valid from date' is on or before day 8 of the trip.

Some nationalities don't require a Visa for Vietnam for shorter stays - please contact your Foreign Ministry for up to date entry/exit requirements.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

During this tour the local currencies you will use are the Thai Baht, US Dollar, Cambodian Riel and Vietnamese Dong. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season, or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.


Bike ride, Bangkok – $25 USD
Thai kickboxing exhibition, Bangkok - $50 USD
Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market (taxi transport both ways), Bangkok - $6 USD
Jim Thompson's House, Bangkok - $3 USD
Grand palace (Bangkok) - USD11
Wat Po (Bangkok) - USD2
Klong(Canal) Tour (Bangkok) - Approx $10-30 dependent on numbers
Thai massage (Bangkok) – USD10 per hour
Doi Suithep (Chiang Mai) - USD2 (plus transport)
Bicycle tour (Chiang Mai) - USD30 for Half Day
Thai Cookery Course (Chiang Mai) - USD30 for Half Day
Kan Toke Traditional Dinner (Chiang Mai) - USD30
Landmine Museum, Siem Reap - $1 USD
Half day village tour, Siem Reap – $10 USD (transport additional)
Tuk tuk to Tonle Sap lake and boat trip, Siem Reap - $20 USD


All prices are per person in US dollar amounts (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical information pertaining to the country you are traveling to well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as a full supply of any personal medical requirements. In Asia, you will not find the same drugs as you get at home. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. Also note that for legal reasons our Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. For travelers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. Discovery Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if, in the reasonable opinion of the CEO, they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Be aware that petty theft can be an issue in some Vietnamese towns and cities especially late at night. A common tactic is opportunists on motorbikes that drive by and snatch bags. Please always leave valuables and passports etc in your hotel,in safety boxes if available,and only carry with you enough cash to spend for the day. Bags should always be carried over the neck and not left to sit on your shoulder.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Associated Planeterra Project

Planeterra and G Adventures built the New Hope Training Restaurant that provides skills training in the tourism and hospitality sector to underserved people in the Siem Reap community. This restaurant has been built directly in the New Hope Cambodia Outreach Centre, which was founded to provide accessible education and health care for the community. Siem Reap has undergone a recent boom in tourism, an opportunity that was not benefitting many of the local people. The restaurant trains groups of marginalized Khmers skills to access new job opportunities. G Adventures travellers visit the restaurant, and funds from the restaurant go to support the program as well as the health and education centre in the same compound.

Local Dress

When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no very short shorts. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Shorts should be knee-length.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.