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Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer Tour

Had a worry free amazing experience from the time we booked the trip till we arrived back home. Definitely recommend using them.

David, Jan 2018

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Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

15 days

Hanoi to Phnom Penh

ON REQUEST

Country(ies): Vietnam , Cambodia

Tour type: Tailor-made

Group size: Min: 1 | Max: 0

Accommodation: 4-star hotels, junk boat & sleeper train

Meals:

Transport: A/C minibus/car, junk boat, overnight train, flights, rice barge & ferry

Highlights: Hanoi's Old Quarter, Cruise on Halong Bay, Reunification Express, ancient Hoi An, colourful Saigon, Chu Chi Tunnels, cruise along the Mekong Delta to Cambodia, spectacular Angkor Wat

An exciting adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia, visiting famous sites such as the Chu Chi Tunnels, Halong Bay and Angkor Wat. You'll also spend 2 nights cruising along the Mekong into Cambodia.

Your Asian adventure begins in the north of Vietnam where you’ll spend 2 nights in the ancient city of Hanoi. You'll have a full day of sightseeing to visit some of the main highlights, these include Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, the Temple of Literature, the Fine Art Museum and Quan Thanh Temple. You'll have 2 free evenings in Hanoi so be sure to take the time to visit the famous water puppet theatre.

After leaving Hanoi behind, you'll travel 180km northeast to Halong Bay, which is listed as a World Heritage Area of Natural Beauty. You'll board a traditional junk boat for a 2 day cruise around the hundreds of small islands - you'll visit caves and have the option of swimming or kayaking. You'll end your Halong Bay cruise in the afternoon of day 4 and return to Hanoi to take the overnight sleeper train south to Hue.

Whilst on the train you'll have a bunk within a shared 4-birth cabin and toilets will be available at the end of each carriage. You'll have the opportunity to purchase some food whilst on the train, but because choices will be limited we would recommend taking some snacks onboard with you. The train should arrive into Hue in the mid morning, but be sure to rise early as the views from the train as it follows the coastline are spectacular and shouldn't be missed!!!

Once you've arrived in Hue and met your guide you'll be transferred to your hotel before beginning 2 days of yours. These will include visits to Thien Mu Pagoda, the Mausoleums of Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and you'll also take a boat trip on the romantically named Perfume River. The river divides the city and for hundreds of years has been an inspiration for artists and writers alike.

On day 6 you will journey to Hoi An via the city of Danang. The drive follows a scenic route which sees you climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and passes through the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co, where you should ensure you have your camera ready!!! Upon arriving Hoi An you'll be transferred to your hotel and have some free time to begin exploring.

To early western traders Hoi An was known as Faifo and it was once one of South East Asia's most important trading ports – today the town remains much of it old-worldly charm. Whilst here you will have a walking tour to visit such landmarks as the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple and more. Hoi An really is a lovely place to spend some free time so be sure to have a wander around the Old Quarter or visit the nearby Cau Dai beach in your free time.

On the morning of day 8 you'll return to Danang to take an internal flight to Saigon - or as it is known today - Ho Chi Minh City. You'll have a full day of sightseeing here which includes the Reunification Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Central Post-Office, China Town, and Thien Hau Pagoda. During the day you will also make a stop to visit the War Crimes Museum which gives a real sense how of the war affected and still affects the country today. From Saigon you will have a day trip to Tay Ninh Province where you'll get a real sense of rural Vietnam. You'll also visit the Chu Chi Tunnels.

After leaving Saigon behind, you'll start your journey towards Cambodia with a cruise along the mighty Mekong onboard the Le Jarai, a converted Rice Barge. The route passes through rural countryside, a real contrasts to the hustle and bustle of Saigon. Along the way you will pass through local fishing villages, see various temples, a floating market and a traditional matt weaver's house.

Your time in Cambodia will be centred on the two of the most well known cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Whilst in Phnom Penh you'll have tours to visit the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the central market and the Toul Sleng Museum and after flying to Siem Reap you'll have a whole day to explore the ancient capital of Angkor Thom which includes a visit to the amazing Angkor Wat Temple.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive to Hanoi

Arrive Hanoi Airport. After customs and immigration formalities you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free.

OVERNIGHT:

Hanoi hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Single Room Supplement (VETMVC)


Day 2 Full day sightseeing in Hanoi

Today you have a city tour of Hanoi which includes Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple which are located in Hanoi's Old Quarter. After a break for lunch, we visit the Temple of Literature. The temple was built in the 11th century and was Vietnam's first university. You'll also visit the Fine Art Museum and Quan Thanh Temple.

OVERNIGHT:

Hanoi hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Morning drive to Halong, overnight on Junk boat

In the afternoon we transfer to Halong bay 180km northeast of Hanoi. You'll enjoy an overnight boat cruise on Halong bay, which is listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. The trip of Halong Bay is unforgettable. The boat will stop at Thien Cung cave and Dau Go caves for sightseeing.

OVERNIGHT:

Halong Bay junk boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Return to Hanoi for overnight train

Today you'll continue the boat tour around Halong Bay. In the afternoon it's back to to Hanoi and some free time downtown for shopping. In the evening we transfer you to the railway station for the overnight train to Hue at approx 7:00pm.

OVERNIGHT:

Sleeper train

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Arrive Hue and begin tours

After arriving in Hue, you'll be picked up from the station and transferred to your hotel. After settling in you have a city tour which includes the mausoleum of Minh Mang, the former emperor, which has a tranquil setting in gardens and lakes. In the afternoon you'll visit the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled from 1802 until 1945.

OVERNIGHT:

Hue hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Hue Tour, drive to Hoi An via Danang

This morning your tour begins with a boat trip on the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda. After the tour you'll drive to Hoi An via Danang. The journey follows a scenic route which climbs over the 'Pass of Ocean Clouds' before dropping down to the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. After arriving in Hoi An this afternoon you'll checkin to your hotel and have some free time.

OVERNIGHT:

Hoi An hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Walking tour of Hoi An

Known as Faifo to early Western traders, Hoi An was one of South East Asia's major international ports and today it still retains that special old-world feel. Enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall and Phuc Kien Temple. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to have a new wardrobe made up, this is the time to do it. Free afternoon in Hoi An.

OVERNIGHT:

Hoi An hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Morning flight to Ho Chi Minh, afternoon tour

After breakfast you will drive to Danang for a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City, then transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon you have a city tour which includes The Reunification Palace (former Presidential Palace), Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Lam Son Square, Ben Thanh Market, Thien Hau pagoda, The Museum of HCM. The evening is free.

OVERNIGHT:

Ho Chi Minh City hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Visit Tay Ninh & Cu Chi tunnels

This morning you have an enjoyable drive through typical Vietnamese countryside to Tay Ninh Province. which is located in the west of Vietnam. Whilst in Tay Ninh you will visit the incredible Cao Dai Temple before continuing to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. The Chu Chi Tunnels are an underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. Later in the afternoon you'll return to Ho Chi Minh City.

OVERNIGHT:

Ho Chi Minh City hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10 Mekong Delta, Le Jarai Cruise to Can Tho

Today you will have a very relaxing day sailing along the Mekong onboard the Le Jarai, a converted rice barge. You'll sail through broad waterways and small creeks of the Mekong and enjoy an expertly prepared three course lunch. Along the way you will see traditional rural life including a local village, communal temple and traditional matt weaving at a local farmer’s house. Transfer to Can Tho to spend the night.

OVERNIGHT:

Can Tho hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Can Tho to Chau Doc

This morning you have a boat trip to visit Cai Rang floating market where you'll see the thousands of small boats jostling for positions as their owners try to sell their goods. You'll also visit the Binh Thuy old house and market. After lunch, visit Xu Lady and Thoai Ngoc Hau Temple. If time permits you may also visit Sam Mountain.

OVERNIGHT:

Chau Doc hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 12 Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

Depart for the 4 ½ hour journey up the river to Phnom Penh. In the afternoon, you will visit the Royal Place, Silver Pagoda, Toul Sleng and the Central Market.

OVERNIGHT:

Phnom Penh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13 Fly to Siem Reap, watch the sunset

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap and transfer to hotel. In the late afternoon watch the sunset from one of the most amazing vantage points.

OVERNIGHT:

Siem Reap hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 14 Angkor, full day tour

Full day visit to the ancient royal capital of Angkor Thom: Bayon, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda, Terrace of Elephants and Leper king and Ta Prohm temple. Lunch. Afternoon visit to the 7th World Heritage wonder of Angkor Wat, Ta Som, Ta Keo. Final night in Siem Reap.

OVERNIGHT:

Siem Reap hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 15 Transfer to airport for departure

This morning you will visit Angkor's oldest temple, Banteay Srei. This temple has the most interesting engravings among all the ruins. Later in the day you will be transferred to the airport for departure.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


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Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a local tour guide during sightseeing and activities
  • Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Flights as mentioned in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour leader, rafting guide and park guide
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Gallery


Dates and Prices

Please contact us with requests for any amendments to the standard itinerary and for prices to suit your preferred dates of travel and the number of travellers in your party.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

Hanoi


La Dolce Vita is a small hotel on a bustling narrow street in the heart of old Hanoi, 3 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake, about 30-45 minutes drive from the airport. The staff are excellent, rooms are a decent size and quiet, despite the busy location.

Local rating

Our rating

 La Dolce Vita La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita is a small hotel on a bustling narrow street in the heart of old Hanoi, only 3 minutes walk from Hoan Kiem Lake and 30-45 minutes drive from the airport. There are lots of shops, cafes and eating places very close by. The hotel staff are friendly and helpful. The rooms are a decent size and quiet, despite the busy location. Overall we find this a good mid-level option in central Hanoi.

V'Spirit Cruise

V'Spirit Cruise

Halong Bay


This newly built wooden junk boat is designed in the traditional style, but with contemporary, deluxe cabins and facilities, including sea-view windows in each AC cabin, private, modern bathrooms, and a comfortable sun-deck bar.

Local rating

Our rating

 V'Spirit Cruise V'Spirit Cruise

The newly built V'Spirit wooden junk boats are designed in the traditional style, but with contemporary, deluxe cabins and facilities. These include air-conditioned cabins with sea-view windows, moden en-suite bathrooms, and a comfortable sun-deck with loungers and a bar.

Delicious food is prepared and served on board, and is based around the fish and sea-food of the bay. You can even do some fishing for squid while on board. Other activities available on board include morning Tai Chi, massages, cooking demonstrations, and kayaking and fishing equipment is available.

Life jackets and safety equipment are carried on board.

Sleeper Train

Sleeper Train

Various


Vietnam's air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and a genuine Vietnamese experience in themselves, an integral part of your visit to Vietnam.

Local rating

Our rating

 Sleeper Train Sleeper Train

Vietnam's air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and a genuine Vietnamese experience in themselves, an integral part of your visit to Vietnam.

Each carriage has its own steward who ensures the train is kept clean and tidy. You will stay in a 4-berth cabin with 3 other passengers. If you are travelling as a couple or family, supplements can be paid to book all 4 seats and have the cabin to yourselves.

Bedding is provided onboard the train. The berths are on two tiers and we cannot pre-book lower tier berths. A ladder is provided but you therefore need a reasonable degree of mobility to climb up to the top tier berths.

When travelling in a group, we cannot guarantee that everyone in the group will be seated together in the same cabins. However, the train stewards are generally very helpful at arranging seat swaps, and the local travellers on the train are friendly and interesting to talk to during your journey too.

Romance Hotel

Romance Hotel

Hue


Housed in an 11-storey building, Romance Hotel offers 4-star accommodation and a beautiful rooftop swimming pool in Hue city, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage area. Featuring 2 on-site restaurants and 3 bars, it is within walking distance to the scenic

Local rating

Our rating

 Romance Hotel Romance Hotel

Housed in an 11-storey building, Romance Hotel offers 4-star accommodation and a beautiful rooftop swimming pool in Hue city, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage area. Featuring 2 on-site restaurants and 3 bars, it is within walking distance to the scenic Perfume River.

All ample rooms come with air conditioning and large windows offering plenty of natural lights. Magnetic locks, a cable flat-screen TV and minibar are included. Selected rooms have a spa bathtub and/or seating area. Attached bathroom is equipped with shower facility and a hairdryer. Extras include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.

Dong Ba Market and Truong Tien Bridge are within 0.6 miles from the hotel, while Dieu De National Pagoda is 0.9 miles away.

Operating 24-hour front desk, guests can enjoy soothing massage at Romance Spa, or have a good work out at the fitness centre.

Located on the first floor, Lucky Plaza serves an array of Vietnamese, Asian and European cuisines. Guests can enjoy international buffet breakfast at Romance Restaurant on 11th floor while enjoying views of Perfume River and sunset. Guests can also unwind at Rendez-vous Bar & Cafe, which have a selection of alcoholic drinks and beverages.

Kim An Hotel

Kim An Hotel

Hoi An


Kim An is a quiet, well located hotel with great friendly staff, clean rooms, a pool, and nice touches like free umbrellas, bikes and cooking classes for guests. It is 5 minutes walk to the Old Town, and 10 minutes by bike to An Bang beach.

Local rating

Our rating

 Kim An Hotel Kim An Hotel

Kim An is a quiet, well located hotel with great friendly staff, clean rooms, a pool, and nice touches like free umbrellas, bikes and cooking classes for guests. It is 5 minutes walk to the Old Town, and 10 minutes by bike to An Bang beach.

Lê Duy Hotel

Lê Duy Hotel

Chi Minh City


Le Duy is a small 20-room hotel in central Ho Chi Minh city. The location is ideal if you want to be in the heart of the city, with plenty of good eateries on the doorstep, a park across the road, and various markets nearby.

Local rating

Our rating

 Lê Duy Hotel Lê Duy Hotel

Le Duy is a small 20-room hotel in central Ho Chi Minh city. The location is ideal if you want to be in the heart of the city, with plenty of good eateries on the doorstep, a park across the road, and various markets nearby.

Harmony Hotel

Harmony Hotel

Phnom Penh


Featuring a rooftop infinity pool and a sun terrace, Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel is within a 5-minute walk from the Royal Palace. Guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar.

Local rating

Our rating

 Harmony Hotel Harmony Hotel

Featuring a rooftop infinity pool and a sun terrace, Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel is within a 5-minute walk from the Royal Palace. Guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

The property is just 550 yards from the Riverfront Park, while Wat Phnom and Chaktomouk Conference Hall 2 are 0.6 miles away. It is 2.4 miles to Aeon Mall. Phnom Penh International Airport is 5.6 miles from Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel.

Fitted with parquet flooring, air-conditioned rooms open up to views of the city. The seating area is fitted with a flat-screen TV, minibar and a desk. En suite bathrooms include shower facilities, a hairdryer and free toiletries.

Guests can approach the 24-hour front desk for currency exchange, business facilities and concierge services. A fitness centre is available for working out or guests can indulge in in-house spa treatments.

The in-house restaurant serves a selection of local dishes, along with a wide variety of drinks. Room service options are provided for guests' convenience.

Saem Siemreap Hotel

Saem Siemreap Hotel

Siem Reap


The 4-star Saem Siemreap Hotel is located in the garden village of Sala Kanseng, just 5 minutes' drive from the famous Old Market and Pub Street. Featuring elegant Khmer architecture, it also has an outdoor pool, spa treatments and a fitness centre.

Local rating

Our rating

 Saem Siemreap Hotel Saem Siemreap Hotel

The 4-star Saem Siemreap Hotel is located in the garden village of Sala Kanseng, just 5 minutes' drive from the famous Old Market and Pub Street. Featuring elegant Khmer architecture, it also has an outdoor pool, spa treatments and a fitness centre.

Offering free Wi-Fi, all the air-conditioned guestrooms enjoy views of the gardens, pool or city. A flat-screen TV, free fruit basket and free tea/coffee making facilities are included. En suite bathrooms are equipped with a bathtub.

Saem Siemreap Hotel is 4.3 miles from Siem Reap International Airport. It is a 15-minute drive from the World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat Temple.

The Silver Restaurant serves both Asian and Continental dishes, while The Ruby Lounge offers cocktails and spirits. Enjoy high tea at the Lobby Bar, as well as snacks at the Pool Terrace Bar.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.

Our Vietnam tours start and finish in either Hanoi airport (HAN) or Ho Chi Minh airport (SGN).

If you are booking a tour that combines Vietnam and Cambodia we may not include the connecting flight between the two countries in the tour price (see the inclusions/exclusions or extension option sections for details). This flight can often be built into your main international flight ticket, or we may be able to book this flight for you separately if you prefer - please contact us and we will advise you on available airlines, times and prices.


  2. Entrance Fees

The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.


  3. Tipping

Tipping is not part of culture in South East Asia in the same way that it is standard practice in other parts of the world. However it has become more customary but not compulsory in the tourist and service industry. Tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 5-10 per person per day would be appropriate for your guide(s).


  4. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Thailand: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Vietnam: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Cambodia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Laos: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.


  5. Passports and Visas - Vietnam

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

British citizens (plus Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Russian, Sweden, Norway, Finland, , France, Germany, Italy, Spain) are currently subject to a visa exemption scheme, so no visa is required for stays in Vietnam of up to 15 days. Other nationalities and those staying longer in Vietnam will need to obtain a visa in advance. As this isn't always convenient we offer the option of obtaining a visa on arrival approval letter which means that you can then purchase you visa on arrival in Vietnam. However if you try to board the flight without this letter or a visa you'll be refused board. Visa approval letter fees are normally USD 10 p/p for single entry, or USD 15 p/p for multiple entry visas. The visa stamp fee on arrival at the immigration desk is then USD 25 p/p for single entry, or USD 50 p/p for multiple entry.  These fees are given as a guide and may vary over time and subject to nationality. Please contact us if you have any queries.


  6. Voltage
Sockets are two round or flat pronged and 220 volts (Type A, B, C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

  7. Time
The time in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is GMT plus 7 hours. Daylight saving adjustments are not observed.

  8. Money - Vietnam

The Vietnamese currency is the 'Dong' (VND). Most people prefer to be paid in Dong rather than US dollars. It can sometimes be difficult to change large notes at smaller villages so try to keep a stash of smaller notes with you.

You can also change all major currencies with any private moneychangers, at the local markets, shops or hotels, or at a bank. Banks usually open from 8.00am to 3.00pm, except Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Although all major currencies are usually accepted, the US$ is by far the most widely accepted and preferred currency, with large notes ($50 and $100 bills) getting a better exchange rate. Travellers' cheques in major currencies are accepted at all banks, though a commission will be charged.

At banks throughout Vietnam you can draw cash, in both dong and dollars on all major credit cards. Approx. 3% commission will be charged for this service. Many souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels will accept payment with credit cards. There is, however, a 3-4% surcharge.

There are ATMs in Major cities like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hué, which accept major credit cards. We recommend that you consider bringing both credit cards, some cash in a hard currency (e.g. GB Pounds, Euros, US Dollars), and some travellers' cheques.


  9. Money - Cambodia

The Cambodia currency is the 'Riel' (KHR). US$ are widely accepted in the country and more or less work as a second currency. Because of its location so close to Thailand, you will find that Thai baht is also accepted in most places. Bear in mind that if paying in US$ or Thai baht, your change will be given back in riels.

It's also possible to change Thai baht or US$ with local private moneychangers, at some shops and markets or as usual, any banks that you may come across. These banks will also change most other currencies such as Sterling, Euros etc. The banks tend to open from 7.30am to 2.30pm.

If you have travellers cheques in major currencies then the banks will accept these although it is likely that a commission will be charged.

In Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, banks and even some travel agents will allow you to draw cash against most major credit cards but you can expect a surcharge of around 3-4%. These days, more and more shops, restaurants and hotels in the major tourist destinations will accept payment with credit cards. Until recently, Cambodia had no ATM's whatsoever but this is changing fast and it's now possible to withdraw money from ATM's located in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Most credit cards and some debit cards are accepted but its best not to rely on this as a way of accessing your funds while in the country.


  10. What to take
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Vietnam and Cambodia, though if your itinerary has many stops and different travel included within it, we recommend packing light and not bring any large cases. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Climate and Clothing: There are three reasonably well-defined seasons in this region, but unlike in Europe, where seasons are temperature based, Indochina is tropical and generally speaking warm all year round. Take light clothes with something warmer for the winter nights. Some light raingear would be useful in the wet season.

Other items: We recommend you also bring:

  • Cool footwear (sandals are ideal). If you are interested in exploring the reefs, a pair of reef shoes is recommended to avoid injuries. If you are trekking, then bring comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or light walking boots.
  • Swimming costumes - rash-guards/t-shirts are recommended for snorkelling to avoid sunburn.
  • Sunscreens, after sun lotions and personal hygiene products - Please adhere to 100ml restrictions for anything you wish to carry on hand-luggage on flights.
  • Prescription medications (if required) - please bring supporting documents.
  • Power adapter for phones, laptops etc
  • Sunglasses and hats
  • Basic first aid kit and toiletries
  • Money belt
  • Small torch
  • Dive certification card and log book if you intend to participate in SCUBA diving.
  • Sleeping bag if your tour includes any hill-tribe or village trekking

  11. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  12. Passports and Visas - Cambodia

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Many nationalities (including British, EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand amoungst many others) can obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap Airport (and some land borders). At the time of publishing the visa fee is $30.00. You'll need to make sure you have a passport sizes photograph for the visa. If you are arriving via Phnom Penh or Siem Reap Airports then you can obtain an e-visa prior to arrival at - www.evisa.gov.kh/ (these are not accepted at land borders).

As visa regulations often change we recommend that you check this information with your nearest consulate. Obtaining the correct visa is the responsibliity of the traveller.


  13. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  14. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  15. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  16. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  17. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign


  18. Transfers

Our South East Asia tours all include a 24-hour arrival and departure airport-hotel transfer service, and all other transfers throughout the tour. If you are already in the country then we will provide you with your first hotel details, contact numbers for our local representatives, and details of your first meeting time.

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