The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your booking
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|TKKHC||Monday 03 Jun 2013||Saturday 22 Jun 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 10 Jun 2013||Saturday 29 Jun 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 17 Jun 2013||Saturday 06 Jul 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 24 Jun 2013||Saturday 13 Jul 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 29 Jul 2013||Saturday 17 Aug 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 05 Aug 2013||Saturday 24 Aug 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 12 Aug 2013||Saturday 31 Aug 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 19 Aug 2013||Saturday 07 Sep 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 02 Sep 2013||Saturday 21 Sep 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 09 Sep 2013||Saturday 28 Sep 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 23 Sep 2013||Saturday 12 Oct 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 30 Sep 2013||Saturday 19 Oct 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 07 Oct 2013||Saturday 26 Oct 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 14 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 21 Oct 2013||Saturday 09 Nov 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 28 Oct 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 04 Nov 2013||Saturday 23 Nov 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 11 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 18 Nov 2013||Saturday 07 Dec 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 25 Nov 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 02 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 09 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|TKKHC||Monday 16 Dec 2013||Saturday 04 Jan 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 23 Dec 2013||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 30 Dec 2013||Saturday 18 Jan 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 06 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 13 Jan 2014||Saturday 01 Feb 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 20 Jan 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 27 Jan 2014||Saturday 15 Feb 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 03 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 10 Feb 2014||Saturday 01 Mar 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 17 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 24 Feb 2014||Saturday 15 Mar 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 03 Mar 2014||Saturday 22 Mar 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 10 Mar 2014||Saturday 29 Mar 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 17 Mar 2014||Saturday 05 Apr 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 24 Mar 2014||Saturday 12 Apr 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 31 Mar 2014||Saturday 19 Apr 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 07 Apr 2014||Saturday 26 Apr 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 14 Apr 2014||Saturday 03 May 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 21 Apr 2014||Saturday 10 May 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 28 Apr 2014||Saturday 17 May 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 05 May 2014||Saturday 24 May 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 12 May 2014||Saturday 31 May 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 19 May 2014||Saturday 07 Jun 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 26 May 2014||Saturday 14 Jun 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 02 Jun 2014||Saturday 21 Jun 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 09 Jun 2014||Saturday 28 Jun 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 16 Jun 2014||Saturday 05 Jul 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 23 Jun 2014||Saturday 12 Jul 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 30 Jun 2014||Saturday 19 Jul 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 07 Jul 2014||Saturday 26 Jul 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 14 Jul 2014||Saturday 02 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 18 Jul 2014||Wednesday 06 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 21 Jul 2014||Saturday 09 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 28 Jul 2014||Saturday 16 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 04 Aug 2014||Saturday 23 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 11 Aug 2014||Saturday 30 Aug 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 15 Aug 2014||Wednesday 03 Sep 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 18 Aug 2014||Saturday 06 Sep 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 25 Aug 2014||Saturday 13 Sep 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 01 Sep 2014||Saturday 20 Sep 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 08 Sep 2014||Saturday 27 Sep 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 15 Sep 2014||Saturday 04 Oct 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 22 Sep 2014||Saturday 11 Oct 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 29 Sep 2014||Saturday 18 Oct 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 03 Oct 2014||Wednesday 22 Oct 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 06 Oct 2014||Saturday 25 Oct 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 13 Oct 2014||Saturday 01 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 17 Oct 2014||Wednesday 05 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 20 Oct 2014||Saturday 08 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 27 Oct 2014||Saturday 15 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 03 Nov 2014||Saturday 22 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 10 Nov 2014||Saturday 29 Nov 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 14 Nov 2014||Wednesday 03 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 17 Nov 2014||Saturday 06 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 24 Nov 2014||Saturday 13 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 28 Nov 2014||Wednesday 17 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 01 Dec 2014||Saturday 20 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 08 Dec 2014||Saturday 27 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Friday 12 Dec 2014||Wednesday 31 Dec 2014|
|TKKHC||Monday 15 Dec 2014||Saturday 03 Jan 2015|
|TKKHC||Monday 22 Dec 2014||Saturday 10 Jan 2015|
|TKKHC||Friday 26 Dec 2014||Wednesday 14 Jan 2015|
If you want to spot the breathtaking views of 3000 limestone islands rising out the jade coloured waters, then visit the Titop Islands of Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Hanoi is the capital, and it is a place where the old and new world meet. Where French and Asian cultures mix. Still standing are historical towers and temples, there are over 600 that are spread across the city. A visit to the capital is not complete without a visit to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. The traditional Vietnamese pit orchestra creates a lively atmosphere that interests people of all ages.
You can have a traditional Vietnamese meal. The blends of herbs and sauces added to pork, chicken and fish create some delectable dishes. If you want a vegetarian meal, then there are many to choose from as a lot of people in Vietnam are vegetarians. One dish is Xoi which is sticky rice cooked in coconut milk. A simple dish yet there are so many varieties that are created.
Vietnam is a chance to escape from the rest of the world and explore for days on end. What more could you want from a place with outstanding views, beautiful food and a friendly welcome.
Phnom Penh celebrates life with optimism and colour, and there are a wealth of riverside eateries, bustling markets and historic sites - both tragic and inspiring - to discover.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
You'll be met on arrival at Phnom Penh airport and transferred to your hotel. Please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture.
For those with extra time, consider a visit to Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple situated on a hill for which the city is named - according to legend, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill. Or checkout the National Museum - housed in a beautiful traditional building, it contains many outstanding examples of Khmer craftsmanship. And for a more relaxed experience simply stroll along the famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the busy river traffic.
Confront Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It's estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here.
Head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng and standing in this peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9000 corpses have been exhumed from the area.
Learn about a brighter period in Cambodian history with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Phnom Penh - Guided tour Choeung Ek (Killing fields)
Phnom Penh - Guided tour of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
National Museum, Phnom Penh - USD3.00
Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour, Phnom Penh - USD3.00
Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh - USD2.00
Hotel (2 nts)
A vibrant nightlife, mouth-watering food, a time-worn French feel and certain famous temples on its doorstep - Siem Reap is a little town with a big, pulsating heart. Immense, awe-inspiring, extraordinary - the Angkor Wat temples are all this and much more. Built in the 12th century, this former Khmer city is nothing short of spectacular.
A short flight takes us to Siem Reap (approx 1 hour), the gateway to Angkor.
Temple-hop with our local guide to make the most of our visit to the world-famous Angkor complex. These temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photographic opportunities at any time of day - watching a sunrise or sunset is a must. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 sq km, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap so we'll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
Visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB). This centre rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and is a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. It's also a centre of education and information for the local population.
For the energetic consider the short trek (approx. 40mins) up the hill to the river of a thousand lingas (phallic symbols) descending into a pretty waterfall. This Hindu site pre-dates Angkor Wat by some 200 years; making it one the most ancient sites in the region.
Enjoy a delicious Khmer lunch with our friends at local organisation, Sala Bai - a training centre that is working with disadvantaged family's to develop a career in hospitality.
2 days with a local guide
Angkor Wat - 3 day pass
Lunch at Sala Bai
Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
Boat trip, Tonle Sap Lake - USD15.00
Khmer cooking class, Siem Reap - USD15.00
Khmer traditional massage, Siem Reap - USD10.00
Landmine Museum, Siem Reap - USD3.00
Remork to Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap - USD10.00
Siem Reap - Kbal Spean (river of a thousand lingas), Siem Reap - Free
Hotel (3 nts)
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting and dynamic city brimming with street vendors, cyclos, temples, shops and colonial architecture.
We take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds; a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of the city's life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath, selling everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.
Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Hotel (1 nt)
The Mekong Delta is the lifeblood of Asia, and this fertile region within Vietnam is a maze of canals brimming with life, markets and tropical foods.
Before we travel to the Mekong we enjoy a buffet breakfast at KOTO restaurant, which aims to teach street children hospitality skills. We then head south to Cai Be (approx 3 hrs) where we board our boats to cruise the Mekong Delta and explore its intricate waterways. This is our introduction to a world where life depends on the river. Often referred to as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam, the fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits, flowers and rice, as well as it fantastic views while boating along the canals.
Visit an orchard where you can sample tropical fruits, before continuing on to visit some local cottage industries. Around sunset we make our way up one of the many canals to our homestay where we enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialities. At our homestay we'll be sleeping on simple camp beds in a dorm-style arrangement. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Shared toilet and bathroom facilities are basic with cold water only.
Mekong Delta - boat cruise and homestay
1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Homestay (1 nt)
With countless food stalls, restaurants, museums and markets, the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City have something for everyone to enjoy.
Before returning to Ho Chi Minh City we visit the busy Cai Be floating market. We then visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, as well as a unique sense of what underground life was like during the American War.
We then experience the hustle and bustle of old Saigon on a city tour and explore some of the city's more interesting sights, including the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace.
Board an overnight train to Nha Trang. Conditions are basic and cleanliness might not be as we would expect back home, however overnight trains are a truly Imaginative Traveller experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have 4 berth compartments (occasionally 6 berths depending on seasonal variations), which are made up of bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you will be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Cu Chi Tunnels
HCMC - Reunification Palace
HCMC - War Remnants Museum
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', Nha Trang's sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make an idyllic picture, and a cosmopolitan feel prevails in the town itself.
A highlight for many travellers is our boat trip amongst the islands. From the main boat, we take basket boats to shore and visit a fishing village, snorkel in the turquoise waters, enjoy a seafood buffet, and pass the afternoon lazing in deck chairs or swimming.
Nha Trang - Boat trip
Hotel (2 nts)
With lantern-lit streets, vibrant markets, skilled tailors, artisan shops, ancient houses, colourful temples and beautiful smiles, Hoi An is a Vietnamese wonderland.
We take a short flight to Danang and then travel by minibus to Hoi An (approx 1 hr). 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.
Your leader will take you on a walk around the Ancient Town.
You have plenty of time to explore. Your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking course or you can rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby Cua Dai Beach, also known as China Beach.
If you can muster an early rise the next morning, the wonderful local market is well worth a visit to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables.
Visit the ruins of My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the 4th and 12th century.
Hoi An - Ancient town
Hoi An - bike hire, Hoi An - VND30000.00
Hoi An - cooking course, Hoi An - VND125000.00
Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip, Hoi An - VND800000.00
Hoi An - Thu Bon river boat trip, Hoi An - VND100000.00
Hotel (3 nts)
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.
We drive to Hue via China Beach and the spectacular Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with spectacular views of Lang Co Beach. We stop for lunch en route at beautiful Lang Co.
Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the American 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.
Enjoy a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River. The trip includes 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. We also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees, and we may visit what many believe to be the most majestic of all the royal tombs, Minh Mang.
Most groups will visit either a Buddhist nunnery or monastery and have lunch while in Hue. Not only does the lunch provide economic benefits to these pagodas which rely on donations to survive, it also enables our groups to get an insight into the unique traditions and food of Vietnamese Buddism. Due to the high passenger numbers visiting Hue, six different monasteries and nunneries are visited so as to share the wealth and minimise impact.
Hue - Imperial citadel
Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
Hue - Royal tomb
Hotel (2 nts)
Hanoi is famous for its tranquil lake settings, French-colonial architecture, ancient temples, delectable cuisine and as the resting place of the revered former leader, Ho Chi Minh.
We fly from Hue to Hanoi and take a city tour through the ancient '39 streets' to discover an amazing selection of shops selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths and CDs. We then take in a performance of the famous water puppet theatre.
Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is considered as one of the crucial museum in maintaining and promoting the treasure of cultural, artistic heritages of Vietnamese ethnic communities.
Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum
Hanoi - Temple of Literature
Hanoi - Water puppet show
Hotel (1 nt)
Halong Bay is a place of surreal beauty, with ethereal limestone islands jutting out of jade waters and atmospheric caves and grottoes carved out by time.
We travel by private minibus to Halong Bay (approx 4 hrs) and board our private boat to cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famed South China Sea, as well as to explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. Our sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where we enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner.
Due to recent unforeseen late changes by local authorities in Halong Bay a large proportion of boats are now no longer permitted to stay overnight, thus resulting in a shortage of boats. To ensure we can accommodate all travellers overnight on a boat we are occasionally using a larger boat (approx. 12 cabins) and splitting our groups across different boats. A group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
Halong Bay - overnight boat cruise
Overnight boat (1 nt)
With a vibrant Old Quarter to explore, delicious food to discover and a city where ancient meets modern with ease, no wonder Hanoi is a favourite with travellers.
We return to Hanoi by bus (approx 4 hrs), stopping at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals working on the traditional art of ceramics.
Your afternoon is free to explore Hanoi's sights and to do some last-minute shopping. You could also see Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and house.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum, Hanoi - VND50000.00
Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison, Hanoi - VND15000.00
Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi - VND170000.00
Hotel (1 nt)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.imaginative-traveller.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).
Unofficially however, US currency (US$) runs the country and is the currency you should bring, mostly in cash - notes should be 2006 series onwards. ATMs also dispense in both KHR and US$.
The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
Some establishments will accept US currency (USD), but usually only for large purchases and in some restaurants and hotels that cater to tourists. It's not possible to exchange Vietnamese Dong outside the country, so convert or spend all your Dong before leaving.
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange; clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.
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, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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 Imaginative Traveller destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 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.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
During public holidays and festival periods in Cambodia many businesses may close, transport may be extremely busy and travel times may increase. During these times please be patient and consider these moments as an opportunity to interact with the locals. Particularly worth noting are Khmer New Year (3 days in mid-April), Pchum Ben (3 days in early October) and Water Festival (3 days in late November).
Tet is Vietnam's New Year festival, held annually in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. While this can be a fascinating time to travel and experience this event, expect some shop closures and busier than usual local transport. Opening hours at some tourist sites may also be affected or closed. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
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.
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 Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (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.
A single supplement is available on this trip. The single supplement is not available on the following nights:
Day 8 - Homestay
Day 9 - Day Room
Day 9 - Overnight Train
Day 18 - Overnight boat on Halong Bay
Hotel (16 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Overnight boat (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
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.
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.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
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. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. 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.
19 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private vehicle, Private minibus
All Imaginative Traveller 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. Imaginative Traveller endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Imaginative Traveller 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.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
07 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130107), 11 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130111), 14 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130114), 18 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130118), 21 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130121), 28 Jan 2013 (TKKHC130128), 04 Feb 2013 (TKKHC130204), 18 Feb 2013 (TKKHC130218), 25 Feb 2013 (TKKHC130225), 11 Mar 2013 (TKKHC130311), 25 Mar 2013 (TKKHC130325), 01 Apr 2013 (TKKHC130401), 08 Apr 2013 (TKKHC130408), 15 Apr 2013 (TKKHC130415), 22 Apr 2013 (TKKHC130422), 29 Apr 2013 (TKKHC130429), 06 May 2013 (TKKHC130506), 13 May 2013 (TKKHC130513), 20 May 2013 (TKKHC130520), 27 May 2013 (TKKHC130527), 03 Jun 2013 (TKKHC130603), 10 Jun 2013 (TKKHC130610), 17 Jun 2013 (TKKHC130617), 24 Jun 2013 (TKKHC130624), 01 Jul 2013 (TKKHC130701), 08 Jul 2013 (TKKHC130708), 15 Jul 2013 (TKKHC130715), 22 Jul 2013 (TKKHC130722), 29 Jul 2013 (TKKHC130729), 05 Aug 2013 (TKKHC130805), 12 Aug 2013 (TKKHC130812), 19 Aug 2013 (TKKHC130819), 26 Aug 2013 (TKKHC130826), 02 Sep 2013 (TKKHC130902), 09 Sep 2013 (TKKHC130909), 16 Sep 2013 (TKKHC130916), 23 Sep 2013 (TKKHC130923), 30 Sep 2013 (TKKHC130930), 07 Oct 2013 (TKKHC131007), 14 Oct 2013 (TKKHC131014), 21 Oct 2013 (TKKHC131021), 28 Oct 2013 (TKKHC131028), 04 Nov 2013 (TKKHC131104), 11 Nov 2013 (TKKHC131111), 18 Nov 2013 (TKKHC131118), 25 Nov 2013 (TKKHC131125), 02 Dec 2013 (TKKHC131202), 09 Dec 2013 (TKKHC131209), 16 Dec 2013 (TKKHC131216), 23 Dec 2013 (TKKHC131223), 30 Dec 2013 (TKKHC131230), 06 Jan 2014 (TKKHC140106), 13 Jan 2014 (TKKHC140113), 20 Jan 2014 (TKKHC140120), 27 Jan 2014 (TKKHC140127), 03 Feb 2014 (TKKHC140203), 10 Feb 2014 (TKKHC140210), 17 Feb 2014 (TKKHC140217), 24 Feb 2014 (TKKHC140224), 03 Mar 2014 (TKKHC140303), 10 Mar 2014 (TKKHC140310), 17 Mar 2014 (TKKHC140317), 24 Mar 2014 (TKKHC140324), 31 Mar 2014 (TKKHC140331), 07 Apr 2014 (TKKHC140407), 14 Apr 2014 (TKKHC140414), 21 Apr 2014 (TKKHC140421), 28 Apr 2014 (TKKHC140428), 05 May 2014 (TKKHC140505), 12 May 2014 (TKKHC140512), 19 May 2014 (TKKHC140519), 26 May 2014 (TKKHC140526), 02 Jun 2014 (TKKHC140602), 09 Jun 2014 (TKKHC140609), 16 Jun 2014 (TKKHC140616), 23 Jun 2014 (TKKHC140623)
No. 69, St. 174, Sangkat Phsar Thmey III, Phnom Penh
Khan Daun Phenh
The Cardamom Hotel is located in the heart of vibrant Phnom Penh, a walk or quick 'motoremork' (Cambodian tuk tuk) away from landmarks such as the Central Market, Wat Phnom, the National Museum, the Royal Palace, the Independence Monument, and Sorya department store as well as a handy local supermarket. The hotel has a total of 102 guests rooms, a lobby bar, restaurant and free WiFi. Check-in is 14:00.
A complimentary arrival transfer is included on day 1 of this trip. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. Imaginative Traveller provides one complimentary arrival transfer per booking even if clients are arriving at different times. Your driver will be waiting for you as you leave the customs hall, holding an Imaginative Traveller sign bearing your name.
Should you have any difficulties please contact the following local number: +855 925 55 969 or +66 898 103 722.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
11 Feb 2013 (TKKHC130211), 04 Mar 2013 (TKKHC130304), 18 Mar 2013 (TKKHC130318)
No. 18, Street 47& 84, Sangkat Stass
Khanh Doun Penh
Phone: 855 23430066
Fax: 855 23430077
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and 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 in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Thien Thai Hotel
45 Nguyen Truong To St
Ba Dinh District
Located in the Old Quarter, Thien Thai is within walking distance of the nearby Dong Xuan market and the Ho Tay Lake (West Lake). All rooms have telephone, TV, air conditioning, electronic safe, en-suite bathroom, hair dryer and mini fridge.
A taxi from the hotel to the airport will cost approx. 15USD (310,000VND) and take approx 45 minutes.
A departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to trip departure. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Imaginative Traveller.
If you have booked a departure transfer, please ask your leader to confirm the time of departure. If you have any problems please call our hotline:
+84 903 117 770.
Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our local Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia & Philippines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia). Imaginative Traveller's Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770.
We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked. Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia:Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas can be organised either in advance or on arrival. Check with your embassy or consulate and allow approx 3 weeks for processing. It is also possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing for approx. US$25 (cost subject to change) - you will need a passport photo.
If a point of contact is requested, please write: Freedom Hotel, Road #6, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. Some nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, but if you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance.
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: Imaginative Traveller Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.
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.
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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most 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 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.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation.
When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
All Imaginative Traveller 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, Imaginative Traveller 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
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, 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, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group 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 Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
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.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City.
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
We highly recommend the Imaginative Traveller travel insurance which is tailored specifically for adventure travel and covers ALL activities featured in any of our tours. For more details please go to http://www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-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 group 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.
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
• It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
• We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
• Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavour to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don't buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don't leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn't at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you'll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare's projects can be found on their website.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.com
Carbon Offset C02-e 429.00 kgs per pax.
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