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Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

Classical Indochina

Book from € 1,599.-
GROUP SIZE: 6-24 | 21 DAYS

Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

  1. Are there opportunities to swim?
  2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  3. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  4. Do I need a visa?
  5. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  6. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  7. Do they cater for vegetarians in Cambodia?
  8. How are communications in Cambodia?
  9. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  10. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?
  11. Is Cambodia dangerous?
  12. What about my passport?
  13. What are other activities and sports I could do?
  14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  15. What is the best time to travel?
  16. What is the electricity situation?
  17. What is the recommended currency for Cambodia?
  18. What is the time difference?
  19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  20. What kind of luggage should I take?
  21. What kind of transportation is used?
  22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  23. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to swim?

There is no opportunity on our trips to Cambodia

2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (on arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

3. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

This will not be necessary.

4. Do I need a visa?

UK/EU citizens need a visa for Cambodia, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. You can also check on that website if a visa is required for any other nationalities. Make sure you find out if you need a visa at least a month before departure so you do not run out of time.
If you need a visa, please click here to find details of the embassy you need to contact unless you use a visa service. Shoestring does not organize your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialized visa agency like www.travcour.com. It is a good idea to visit this website in any case, as it provides much more detail.

5. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

A mosquito net is not compulsory but you could benefit from bringing one along with some string to hang it.

6. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and contact after your local practitioner or a specialized health centre and make an appointment to get your shots and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program. People who already have had a few shots might do with two weeks. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

7. Do they cater for vegetarians in Cambodia?

The main ingredient in Cambodian food is rice. Side dishes consist of vegetables, fish and meat and especially the fish sauce prahoc, which is an essential ingredient in Cambodian cuisine. Vegetarians will be catered for but the majority of the dishes will be spicy and rice based.

8. How are communications in Cambodia?

The international access code for Cambodia is +855. The outgoing code is 001 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the United Kingdom). Phnom Penh's area code is (0)23; the code for Siem Reap is (0)63. Domestic and international calls can be made at post offices or telecom offices in most towns. Mobile phone operators cover Phnom Penh and other major cities. The country uses GSM networks, so US phones are not compatible. Mobile phones can be rented at Pochentong International Airport on arrival. Internet phones are available in some Internet cafes and provide a cheaper alternative for international calls. Internet cafes provide a fast and inexpensive service in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other main towns.

9. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveler (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

10. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?

We will stay in comfortable hotels in twin bedded rooms with en-suite facilities.

11. Is Cambodia dangerous?

There is some risk from terrorism due to continuing terrorist activity in South East Asia, and travellers are advised to be vigilant in public places and areas frequented by foreigners. Cambodia remains one of the most heavily land-mined countries in the world. Visitors should travel with a local guide and never stray off the main paths. It is not advisable to travel anywhere at night. Caution should be taken in the capital, Phnom Penh, especially at night, as street crime is a problem, and there have been several incidents involving foreigners around popular tourist nightspots in Phnom Penh. After dark there is also a risk of violent crime in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Visitors should be aware that bag snatching is becoming an increasing problem on tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis and while walking in the main towns. Due to the large numbers of tourists involved in road accidents on motorcycles, police in Siem Reap have banned rental outlets from hiring motorcycles to tourists.

12. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months at the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

13. What are other activities and sports I could do?

There are many activities that you can do in Cambodia, you should try a massage from the blind masseurs of ‘Seeing Hands’. Take an optional trip to the beautifully crafted Banteay Srei complex and visit the abundance of wonderful temples.

14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

As in many Asian countries, Cambodia holds sacrificial festivals. The three-day festival of Bonn Chaul Chnam (the New Year) is celebrated in April and also marks the end of the harvest period. People bring sacrifices to thank the gods for the harvest and to secure their favours for next year. This takes place on altars in the home and in the temples. The traditional games that are played after the sacrifices are an interesting and enjoyable spectacle.
A second sacrificial ceremony is held in September, this time in honour of the dead. The fifteen day festival of Bonn Dak Ben culminates in the night of Bonn Phchum Ben. It is believed that if there have been no sacrifices by midnight on this night, the dead relatives will unleash a curse on the family out of anger, which will plague them for a year.
Independence Day, the most important Cambodian festival, is celebrated on the 9th of November and marks the day in 1953 when Cambodia gained official independence from France. Every year this event is celebrated with a large-scale gala parade featuring marching bands and military forces for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. All of this takes place in front of the King.

15. What is the best time to travel?

The areas which we shall visit have their rainy periods between May and October, with November to April generally characterising the dry period. However, downpours can occur at any time during the year, so consider this when packing suitable clothing. Warm temperatures and often very strong sun are prevalent the whole year round. The best time to visit Cambodia is between the end of October and March, as these months see the least rainfall and the temperature is less stifling.

16. What is the electricity situation?

What voltage and plugs are in use in Cambodia? Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

17. What is the recommended currency for Cambodia?

Riel (KHR) is the official currency and is divided into 100 sen. Foreign currency is difficult to exchange with the exception of US Dollars. Most transactions require cash. US dollars and Thai Baht are accepted, although smaller transactions are usually done in riel. A torn US dollar note renders it useless. Credit cards are only accepted in a limited number of tourist-orientated hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh and larger towns. There are a few ATMs in Phnom Penh, but they shouldn't be relied upon as a source of money; travellers cheques in US dollars or sterling can be cashed at a limited number of banks and larger hotels, though travellers cheques are not recommended due to limited acceptance.

18. What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference with home.

19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

Thin cotton clothes are recommended. For the evenings, high collared and long sleeved T-shirts or thin cotton turtle necks are the order of the day, to provide protection from mosquitoes. Taking too little is preferable to taking too much, as any clothing you feel you lack can be bought very cheaply whilst on holiday. An umbrella is useful, as protection against the rain as well as for use as a sun parasol. A woolly jumper is necessary during the winter or in the mountainous regions. Rainwear is a must during monsoon season, and a pair of good, worn-in hiking boots and a pair of sandals or flip-flops is all the footwear you need.
Remember that to visit any Buddhist sites you must be barefoot, so sandals will then come in useful. Other important items are sunglasses, a bag for bedding, a hand towel, sun creams, toiletries, a first-aid kit, a headscarf, a (video) camera with sufficient film, spare batteries, a torch, a pen-knife (make sure you do not carry it in your hand luggage d

20. What kind of luggage should I take?

Pack all your luggage into a weekend bag or backpack. Do not bring a suitcase, as this will become a burden when travelling. When travelling by van or tour bus, luggage must be placed on the roof. If many large suitcases are being transported, this can make the bus top-heavy and dangerous to drive. A small backpack or shoulder bag is also recommended for everyday hand luggage. For the storage of important documents, we advise a thin cotton money belt which you can wear under your clothes. Make sure you have a change of clothes in your hand luggage during the flight and that you can go without your main luggage for 48 hours, in case of any delays. Take with you in your hand luggage, any prescribed medicines, malaria medicine and your toothbrush. Also make sure that your luggage is not too heavy, as it will have to be hoisted up and down from the roof of the tour bus many times a day.

21. What kind of transportation is used?

Transportation will be provided in private (mini)buses and public buses (for small groups)

22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

Touching the head of someone else is extremely impolite in Cambodia, even a friendly pat of a child’s head. The head is seen to house the soul and must be treated as sacred.

You must be bareheaded and bare-footed in all holy sites in Cambodia. If you walk round a pagoda, you must walk in a clockwise direction. If you carry your shoes in your hand, use your left hand, as shoes are regarded in the same way as the feet and may not point towards the sacred site. If you sit with your feet pointing to a Buddha statue or a monk, you are guilty of one of the most deeply offensive gestures. Taking photos of Buddha statues are also not appreciated by the locals.

Monks must not be touched under any circumstances

23. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to swim?
  2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  3. Do I need a visa?
  4. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  5. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  6. Do they cater for vegetarians in Laos?
  7. How are communications in Laos?
  8. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  9. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?
  10. Is Laos dangerous?
  11. What about my passport?
  12. What are other activities and sports I could do?
  13. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  14. What can I expect for camping facilities?
  15. What is the best time to travel?
  16. What is the recommended currency for Laos?
  17. What is the situation with electricity in Laos?
  18. What is the time difference?
  19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  20. What kind of luggage should I take?
  21. What kind of transportation is used?
  22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  23. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to swim?

Yes, you can find waterfalls in which you can swim.

2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you can pre-book transfers (arrival only) and extra nights. Please add these to the booking form when making your trip reservation.

3. Do I need a visa?

UK/EU citizens need a visa for Laos, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. You can also check on that website if a visa is required for any other nationalities. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so you do not run out of time.
If you need a visa, please contact your nearest embassy unless you choose to use a visa service. Shoestring does not organize your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialized visa agency like www.travcour.com.

4. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

Yes, it is advisable to prevent being stung from the mosquitoes.

5. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and contact after your local practitioner or a specialized health centre and make an appointment to get your shots and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program. People who already have had a few shots might do with two weeks. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

6. Do they cater for vegetarians in Laos?

Vegetables and fish are eaten more regularly than pork, beef or chicken. What makes Lao cuisine special is the combination of herbs. These include coriander, lemon grass, fresh basil, lemon, garlic, Laos root, shrimp paste, chilli peppers and coconut milk. Fruit is available everywhere, depending on whether or not the particular fruit you seek is in season. There is a large selection, including banana, papaya, pineapple, apricot, apple, lychees, custard apple and coconut to name but a few.

7. How are communications in Laos?

Mobile phones will only work in the major cities; it is advisable to check the coverage with your service provider before leaving as the local mobile phone companies have few active roaming agreements with other network operators. Internet cafes are widely available in tourist areas.

8. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveler (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

9. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?

Accommodation is provided in medium class hotels in double rooms with private facilities including breakfast.

10. Is Laos dangerous?

Theft occurs in these countries as in any country. Pay good attention to valuables. Money and important documents are best not stored in handbags or wallets, but worn on the body in a money belt or bag attached to the inside of your clothes. You will find that you are received in a very friendly and hospitable manner. Laos is certainly not a country in which you should feel unsafe.
If you are interested what the Foreign Office has to say, please click here.

11. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months at the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

12. What are other activities and sports I could do?

There are plenty of oppurtunities to go trekking and on bicycle tours.

13. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

There are a huge number of annual festivals in Laos, especially in the period from November to February. Many festivals are linked to Buddhist and follow the lunar calendar, meaning that the dates of the festivals are different each year.
February: Boun Pha Wet is celebrated, which marks the reincarnation of Buddha as Prince Vessentara.
April: Songkran (the New Year) is celebrated in mid-April. Buddha’s are washed with perfumed water, monks are honoured by the sprinkling of water over their hands and houses are thoroughly cleaned.
May: The Visakha Busa is celebrated. This occasion is held in honour of the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
August/September: Hor Khao Padap Din is celebrated and is a show of respect for the dead. At the same time in Luang Prabang, Boun Suang Heua is celebrated, and boat races are held.
October/November: In the capital Vientiane, the That Luang festival is held at the

14. What can I expect for camping facilities?

Keep in mind you are going through developing countries, with a much lower standard of living than you are used to.

15. What is the best time to travel?

Laos has a tropical climate which can be divided into three distinct seasons. Between March and May it is very hot, followed by the monsoon season between May and September. The months between November and March can be very cold.
The best time to visit Laos is between the end of October and March, as these months see the least rainfall and the temperature is less stifling, although Laos can sometimes be quite cold at this time of year.

16. What is the recommended currency for Laos?

The Lao Kip (LAK) is the legal currency, divided into 100 cents. There are no international ATM facilities in Laos. Major credit cards are accepted at some international hotels and tourist orientated establishments. Travellers cheques can be cashed at most banks in Vientiane and major towns, though have limited acceptance. Most transactions are conducted in cash: American Dollars, Thai Baht or Lao Kip.

17. What is the situation with electricity in Laos?

What voltage and plugs are in use in Laos? Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

18. What is the time difference?

Please check the World Clock in order to find out the exact time difference with the UK.
Please mind that the time can change depending if the UK is on day light saving time or not.

19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

Laos is a tropical country, so thin cotton clothes are recommended. . For the evenings, high collared and long sleeves T-shirts or thin cotton turtle necks are the order of the day, to provide protection from mosquitoes. An umbrella is useful. A woolly jumper is necessary during the winter or in the mountainous regions. Rainwear is a must during monsoon season, and a pair of good, worn-in hiking boots and a pair of sandals or flip-flops is all the footwear you need. Other important items are sunglasses, a bag for bedding, a hand towel, sun creams, toiletries, a first-aid kit, a headscarf, a (video) camera with sufficient film, spare batteries, a torch, a pen-knife, a lighter, a small supply of snacks, an alarm clock, writing equipment, books, a diary with important addresses and contact numbers, a good tour guide and the booking papers for this trip.

20. What kind of luggage should I take?

Pack all of these things into a weekend bag or backpack. Do not bring a suitcase, as this will become a burden when traveling. A small backpack or shoulder bag comes in handy for hand luggage. Valuable papers are best kept in a thin cotton money belt, to be carried underneath your clothes. Take care to have an extra clean set of clothes in your hand luggage, so that you can do without the other luggage for 48 hours, just in case it arrives later than you do.

21. What kind of transportation is used?

You will travel by Minibus and by boat.

22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

In Asian countries such as Laos, differences of opinion are rarely displayed in public. Short and revealing clothes are generally not acceptable. Public displays of affection are taboo in Lao society. Avoid touching anyone on the head or using the feet to point at anything. Appropriate dress and behaviour when entering places of worship is essential. The Lao government prohibits any sexual contact or relationships between Lao nationals and foreigners, unless married under Lao law; penalties may involve heavy fines or imprisonment. It is illegal not to carry an identity document. Photographing military sites is prohibited.

23. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?
  2. Are there opportunities to swim?
  3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  5. Do I need a visa?
  6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Vietnam?
  9. How are communications in Vietnam?
  10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  11. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?
  12. Is Vietnam dangerous?
  13. What about my passport?
  14. What are other activities and sports I could do?
  15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  16. What is the best time to travel?
  17. What is the recommended currency for Vietnam?
  18. What is the situation with electricity in Vietnam?
  19. What is the time difference?
  20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  21. What kind of luggage should I take?
  22. What kind of transportation is used?
  23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  24. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?

In Hoi An and in the Ha Long Bay area you will have the opportunity to go on the beach. Snorkelling or diving is possible in these areas, but not particularly interesting.

2. Are there opportunities to swim?

You can have the opportunity to swim at the beautiful Hoi An beach and in the magnificent Ha Long Bay.

3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

Since we use hotels, a sleeping bag is not necessary. If you go trekking in Sapa, sufficient bedding (blankets) will be provided.

5. Do I need a visa?

You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. Please check the embassy if you need a visa for Vietnam and check out the current situation right here. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so that you do not run into time problems. 

*From 1st July 2015, nationals of UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are exempt from needing a visa to travel in Vietnam.

6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

You don’t need to carry your own one. In many hotels you can request mosquito nets or electric anti-mosquito devices for your room.

7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and contact after your local practitioner or a specialised health centre and make an appointment to get your shots and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program. People who already have had a few shots might do with two weeks. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Vietnam?

Vegetarian dishes are available everywhere, but don’t expect perfection in this field. ‘Toy an chay’ is the translation for ‘I am a vegetarian’. The best vegetarian dishes are bamboo soup, cooked mushrooms or a vegetarian soup called s-p rau.
Anyway, steamed rice and vegetables are the base of the local cuisine, so the choice is not limited.
Vietnam is a paradise for tropical fruits lovers. You can find coconuts, papayas, pineapples, apricots, apples, lychees and mango. Unusual fruit include the delicious pink dragon fruit, the purple mangosteen, the pungent durian fruit and the water apple. Baguettes are remnants of the French colonial period and are available throughout the land. On the streets you can buy baguettes (with pâté for meat eaters) and cheese.

9. How are communications in Vietnam?

The international country code is +84. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code City/area codes are in use, e.g. Hanoi is (0)4 and Ho Chi Minh City is (0)8. GSM 900 mobile networks cover the major urban areas. Internet cafes are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Internet access is often available at post offices in rural areas.
In the main cities and tourist places internet café are widely available. Post service is generally quite reliable and most international forwarding companies have office in the bigger cities.

10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveler unless you have booked a single room. Sometimes it means that you need to share your room with someone of the opposite sex. 

11. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?

In Vietnam we mostly use accommodation in hotels, staying in twin rooms with en-suite facilities.

12. Is Vietnam dangerous?

Theft occurs in Vietnam as in any country. Pay good attention to valuables. Money and important documents are best not stored in handbags or wallets, but worn on the body in a money belt or bag attached to the inside of your clothes. Pickpockets in Ho Chi Minh City are increasingly targeting tourists. However Vietnam is definitely not a country where you should feel threatened.

13. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months at the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

14. What are other activities and sports I could do?

You can experience boat trips, hire a bike or go hiking. On a cultural side, you can enjoy a typically Vietnamese water puppet show, visit interesting museums and buildings, sample the atmosphere of remote tribal villages and suck in the merchant-like local life style in a great number of markets and floating markets.

15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

Although the Vietnamese calendar is the same as our Gregorian calendar, some Vietnamese holidays are based on the lunar calendar. The exact dates are different every year, depending on the position of the moon.
Tet Nguyen Dan (usually abbreviated to Tet) is celebrated in January/February and is the Vietnamese New Year, the biggest annual celebration. The Tet celebrations are officially three days long, but many Vietnamese have the week off. Festivities such as processions, dragon dances, fireworks and flower parades are organised, but in the main it is a family celebration and is not targeted at tourists.
Trung Nguyen is the day of wandering souls (July/August), where gifts are offered to spirits forgotten or neglected by their surviving relatives.
Tet Thrung Thu is the mid-autumn festival, held at the end of September, when ‘moon cakes’ are sold everywhere and children with beautifully shaped lanterns walk through the streets. 

16. What is the best time to travel?

There are no good or bad seasons to visit Vietnam. There are many different climates in the various regions of Vietnam due to the pronounced elongation of the country, which ensures that at any given moment there will always be beautiful weather in one particular place and miserable weather in another.
In the North of the country the winters are ‘cool’ with temperatures between, 12-20 Celsius, and the summers are hot and humid. The temperature can drop to zero in the mountains during the winter. The rainy season stretches from June until September.
In the South of the country it is warm and humid the whole year round with a rainy season from May until October. Central Vietnam has a similar climate to the South, but sometimes endures bad weather in the autumn as a result of storms at sea.

17. What is the recommended currency for Vietnam?

The official currency is the Dông (VND). Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureau de change, hotels and on the black market. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are becoming more widely acceptable in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but it is best not to rely on them elsewhere.US currency acts as unofficial tender and is useful as a back-up. Euro and Pounds are widely accepted and changed, in the major cities banks. Dông can be withdrawn from ATMs, but they are limited to major cities and tourist areas. Withdrawing is almost always possible with Maestro, Cirrus, Visa and Mastercard.

18. What is the situation with electricity in Vietnam?

What voltage and plugs are in used in Vietnam? Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

19. What is the time difference?

Please check the World Clock in order to find out the exact time difference.

20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

Don’t bring too much baggage. Vietnam is a subtropical country, so thin, cotton clothing is advisable. A sweatshirt can be useful in the cooler evenings, especially in the winter. All you need for your feet are a pair of good walking shoes and a pair of flip flops/sandals (easy to be removed before entering temples). An umbrella will come in useful. Headgear, sunglasses and sun cream are useful against the sun . Other important items include swimwear, insect repellent and T-shirt with long sleeves, toiletries, a beach towel, a first-aid kit, a (video) camera and sufficient film and batteries, a torch, a pocket-knife, an alarm clock, writing equipment, books, your passport,  all relevant travel insurance details and documents.

21. What kind of luggage should I take?

We ask you to bring a frameless backpack or a strong weekend bag to carry your luggage. Don’t bring a suitcase, as these are very tricky to transport. We find that 12 kilos is the maximum weight for your requirements. A small backpack or shoulder bag is best for your hand luggage. For the storage of valuables or important documents we advise that you bring a thin money belt that you can wear under your clothes.

22. What kind of transportation is used?

In Vietnam we use private mini-bus, trains and local flights.

23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

The Vietnamese are very friendly people, especially in the South.
Do not criticize anyone in public. Being criticized in the presence of others is seen as a severe loss of face and is one of the worst things that can happen to a Vietnamese person. Getting angry is counter-productive.
If you enter a house or temple, you will be expected to remove your shoes.

Like us, men shake hands as greeting, although women usually only nod their head. Nuns and monks often greet each other in the traditional way by folding their hands in front of them and bowing slightly. It is polite to return this sort of greeting.
Caution: women are not allowed to touch Buddhist monks. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.

Do not expect that Vietnamese people will have the same concept of time and being on time. They live more in the here and now, worry much less than us about the future, and have much more patience.
 

24. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?
  2. Are there opportunities to swim?
  3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  5. Do I need a visa?
  6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Thailand?
  9. How are communications in Thailand?
  10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  11. How is the electricity situation?
  12. Is Thailand dangerous?
  13. What about my passport?
  14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  15. What is the accommodation like?
  16. What is the best time to see wildlife?
  17. What is the best time to travel?
  18. What is the recommended currency for Thailand?
  19. What is the time difference?
  20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  21. What kind of luggage should I take?
  22. What kind of transportation is used?
  23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  24. What other activities and sports could I do?
  25. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?

Thailand has a wonderful coast and tropical islands. There are many coral reefs and exotic fish are easy to spot. You will have the opportunity to snorkel or dive off some beautiful Thai beaches.

2. Are there opportunities to swim?

You will have the possibility to swim in beautiful tropical sea water and, depending on the tour, also to swim in clear water in Kanchanaburi and/or in the Chang Mai area.

3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

For some of the optional, locally booked trips it is advisable to bring a sleeping bag. You may prefer to hire one once you are in Thailand. 

5. Do I need a visa?

You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. Please check the embassy if you need a visa for Thailand. You can check the current situation here. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so that you do not run into time problems. The current information is that a visa is not necessary for UK/EU citizens for stays of up to 30 days.

6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

You don’t need to bring a mosquito net with you. Malaria is not considered a high risk throughout most of Thailand. Insect repellent and t-shirts with long sleeves are useful for avoiding bites.

7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and then contact your GP or a specialised health centre to make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you arrange this at least six weeks before departure to allow time for a full program. Two weeks should be enough for people who have already had a few injections. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Thailand?

In Thailand there is plenty of choice for vegetarians. Rice and vegetables are the basic ingredient of the local cuisine. Thai people have no regular mealtimes; they tend to eat simply when they are hungry. For this reason, food is available virtually round the clock. In the cities there are special food markets, where it is easy to find tropical fruit such as coconut, mango and pineapple. Foods tend to be spicy. There are many levels of spiciness, and sauces are used to add extra fire. If you would prefer milder food, ask for “mai pet” (not spicy).

9. How are communications in Thailand?

The international country dialling code for Thailand is +66. The outgoing code is 001, followed by the relevant country code. City/area codes are in use, e.g. Bangkok is (0)2 and Chiang Mai is (0)53. International direct dial facilities are available throughout most of the country. Mobile phone networks cover most towns, cities and holiday resorts; operators use GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 networks. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveler (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

11. How is the electricity situation?

Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in Thailand. You could also consider taking a universal electric plug adaptor.

12. Is Thailand dangerous?

In general Thailand is a place where you can feel safe.
Theft occurs in Thailand, so keep an eye on your valuables in the same way that you would do back home. Money and important documents are best kept in a thin money belt worn under your clothes. 

13. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

The number of festivals in Thailand is immense, especially between November and February. Many festivals are related to Buddhist rituals and follow the lunar calendar so the dates vary.
April: Songkran (New Year) is celebrated in mid-April. Buddha statues are washed with perfumed water, houses are cleaned and respect is shown to monks by the sprinkling of water over the monk’s hands. The crowds are cooled with ice water. Tourists can also expect to be drenched by happy Thai folk. If you wish to remain dry on this day, it is best that you shut yourself in your hotel room!
May: The rocket festival is held in the North and North-East. Fireworks are set off in their thousands in order to bring plenty of rain. Dance processions accompanied by loud drums make their way through the streets.
November: Loy Krathong, the festival of floating lights, is one of the most beautiful festivals. It is held beside rivers and canals in the evening during full moon.

15. What is the accommodation like?

In Thailand we mostly use mid-range accommodations, such as guesthouses and lodges. Most have twin rooms with private ensuite facilities.

16. What is the best time to see wildlife?

Hornbills are most frequently observed in Thailand between January and May. In the jungle of Koh Sok there are almost 50 species of mammals including bears, leopards and gibbons and over 180 species of birds including hornbills. You will probably see gibbons, which are widely present all year around. In Thailand, the abundant tropical fish and corals are remarkable.

17. What is the best time to travel?

The coolest period in Thailand is between October and February. During this period the rain is infrequent and this is therefore generally seen as the best time to travel. Between May and July rain showers can fall but dry periods prevail. Travelling during this time is pleasant as nature is lush and there are not as many tourists at the main sites of interest.

18. What is the recommended currency for Thailand?

The baht is the official currency of Thailand and it comes in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50 and 20 baht notes. Coins come in denominations of 10, 5, 2, 1 and 0.5 and 0. 25 baht. Foreign Money can usually be changed in the larger cities. There are ATMs which issue baht in most sizeable towns and cities.
Some more upmarket hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. In banks in the bigger cities you can withdraw cash with your credit card.

19. What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference 

20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

Don’t bring too much baggage. Thailand is a tropical country so thin, cotton clothing is advisable. A sweatshirt can be useful for the cooler evenings, especially in the winter. All you need for your feet are a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of flip flops (easy to remove before entering temples). An umbrella will come in useful too. As protection against the sun, bring a hat, sunglasses and sun cream. Other important items include swimwear, insect repellent and a long-sleeved T-shirt, toiletries, a beach towel, a first-aid kit, a (video) camera and sufficient film and batteries, a torch, a pocket-knife, an alarm clock, writing equipment, books, your passport, sufficient travellers cheques and money, all relevant travel insurance details and documents.

21. What kind of luggage should I take?

We request that you bring a frameless backpack or strong weekend bag to carry your luggage. Don’t bring a suitcase as these are very tricky to transport. We find that 12 kg is the maximum weight for your requirements. A small backpack or shoulder bag is best for your hand luggage. For the storage of valuables and important documents we advise that you bring a thin money belt that you can wear discreetly under your clothes.

22. What kind of transportation is used?

In Thailand we use air-conditioned buses and sometimes trains.

23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

Touching other peoples' heads is extremely impolite in Thailand. The head is seen to house the soul and must be treated as sacred. 

it is considered rude to point at somebody and pointing with your foot is an even greater sign of disrespect.

You must be both bareheaded and bare-footed in all holy sites in Thailand. If you walk round a pagoda, you must walk in a clockwise direction. If you carry your shoes in your hand, use your left hand. Another deeply offensive gesture is sitting with your feet pointing towards a Buddha statue or a monk. Photos of Buddha statues are also not appreciated by the locals.

Monks must not be touched under any circumstances, especially by women. If a woman wishes to give something to a monk, it is best to do it via a man or lay the object down in front of him. Women are also best advised not to sit next to a monk. It is extremely impolite to get in the way of a monk.

24. What other activities and sports could I do?

In Thailand there are so many possible activities that is difficult to list all of them! You can experience elephant riding, rafting and bamboo rafting. You can go on bike rides or a boat trip, hike in the jungle or try to swim under a waterfall! In the islands and on the coast you can enjoy windsurfing and other watersports.

25. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.