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Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

Classical Indochina

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

Welcome

In three weeks, you will get to know the versatility of the former Indo-China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. You travel through magnificent scenery with beautiful karst rocks, wild rivers and gorgeous beaches. You will meet friendly people in rural countryside villages and are swept along in bustling cities. Of course, you will visit beautiful Buddhist temples and the overgrown ruins of Angkor Wat; in addition there are numerous cultural culinary delights. The beauty of pure Indo China leaves no one indifferent!

Travel documents

Passport:

It is your own responsibility to ensure you have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of your return.

Visas:

It is your own responsibility to make sure you have any necessary visas. Visa information is subject to change and differs depending upon your own nationality. For this trip, for most nationalities, you will need a visa for Vietnam and Cambodia.

Vietnam: Please contact you nearest Vietnamese embassy well in advance of travel to arrange your visa. *From 1st July 2015, nationals of UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are exempt from needing a visa to travel in Vietnam. (max. 15 days stay).

Cambodia: At present, visas can be purchased upon arrival for USD35. You will need a completed visa application form and one recent photograph (2 inches x 2 inches). Alternatively, contact your nearest Cambodian embassy, well in advance of travel.

Another option is to use a visa agency such as http://uk.cibt.com/ who can arrange all of the visas for citizens of a variety of nationalities.

You can check visa requirements for different countries through a site such as this one.

Accommodation and transport

Transport
During this three week trip we make extensive use of a private bus. Having our own vehicle allows us to stop at any time and at any place to take pictures or try a local snack (if time permits). In the bus, there is a no-smoking policy. The bus is not available for use during the free (non-travelling) days.

You travel once by comfortable night train in Vietnam: The planned train schedule is (subject to change!): Departure from Danang at 10.47 pm / arrival HCMC 4.05 pm (following day).
In the overnight train, you sleep in reserved (air-conditioned) compartments in second class with comfortable beds. It is a pleasant way to cover this long (and less interesting) journey! Breakfast is not included on the overnight train journey. Transfers to and from the airport are not included.

Travel distances
Luang Prabang airport to Luang Prabang: 4 km / 20 minutes
Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: 257 km / 6 to 7 hours
Vang Vieng to Vientiane: 160 km / 3½ hours
Vientiane to Savannaketh: 450 km / 8 to 9 hours
Savannaketh to Hoi An: 515 km / 10 hours
Hoi An via Danang to Ho Chi Minh City: 24 km / 40 minutes (bus) + 997 km / 15 to 16 hours (night train)
Ho Chi Minh city via Cu Chi and Tay Ninh to Phnom Penh: 298 km / 7 to 8 hours
Phnom Penh via Udong to Siem Reap: 318 km / 8 hours
Siem Reap to Bangkok: 281 km / 5 to 8 hours
Bangkok hotel to airport: 42 km / 1 hour
*Please note that the aforementioned times are approximate and depend heavily upon traffic/road/weather conditions at the time.


Accommodation

During this trip you'll stay in medium class hotels and guesthouses in 2-person rooms (including breakfast) with shower and toilet in the room. Most hotels have their own restaurant and sometimes a garden or a terrace.

The hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap have a pool, a nice way to cool yourself down from the tropical warmth! In exceptional cases, it may happen that another hotel without a pool has to be used. If this occurs, we will try to find a suitable alternative.

Travellers booking alone will do so on the basis that we pair them with another traveller. When doing this, we of course keep in mind to pair those of the same sex. If you prefer to ensure your own room throughout then this is possible. There is a single supplement charged and this should be added at the time of confirming your booking. There is no single room in the night train.

Guidance

Our tours are led by trained, local English speaking tour leaders. We know that our travellers appreciate being accompanied by these local tour leaders who, compared to their counterparts (living outside of the destination) have more detailed knowledge of their country. He/she knows the area well, can provide background information and ensure that the trip goes smoothly. He/she knows what to do if something were to go wrong, but is not a "walking encyclopedia". Therefore we would like to refer you to study a good travel guide (book) in advance of travel.

Your tour leader understandably expects a tip at the end, if she/he has completed the job well. Shoestring pay the tour guides a wage which is higher than that of most adventurous travel companies. Our guideline for tipping is between € 1, - and € 2, - per passenger per day (the equivalent thereof).

Difficulty

This journey is classified as Category C 

The difficulty of our trips varies greatly and the difficulty of any journey is subject to personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular journey, we have developed a classification system.

Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themselves well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.

This trip falls into Category C. This journey can be made by any reasonably fit person. There are a number of days with long hours of travelling, sometimes on bad roads. Keep in mind you are going through developing countries, with a much lower standard of living than you are used to. It is possible the weather or a lack of proper road maintenance makes roads inaccessible and in such cases we may have to take an alternative route. This makes a flexible and positive attitude more important than physical fitness. 

Nature of the Trip
In the course of three weeks we will explore the remarkable character of former Indochina through the infrequently visited countries of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. We shall travel through wonderfully varied nature, White Water Rivers and beautiful beaches. We will meet the hospitable natives in the countryside and the busy cities. There are many cultural highlights and the beautiful Buddhist temples and breathtaking remains of the Angkor Wat are must-see sites. No-one can fail to be moved by the pure beauty of this part of the world.

Sustainability

We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible. 

Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here

Insurance

Travel insurance, including medical repatriation insurance, is mandatory. It is not included with our packages and it is your responsibility to purchase suitable travel insurance. Make sure that it covers all the activities that you are likely to undertake, such as rafting and trekking. Many ‘free’ insurances that come with banking packages, credit cards etc, are quite often inadequate to cover you on our tours, so make sure you check the policy before you travel. You should enter your travel insurance details via your my.shoestring account and you are required to give a copy of your insurance policy to your tour leader upon arrival. Without proper insurance like this, you will not be allowed to join the tour as we will not be able to respond adequately in case of an emergency if you do not have the right insurance.

Address

Shoestring International
Entrada 223
1114 AA Amsterdam-Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
www.shoestring.com                    

You can call us on number +31 20 6850203 or +44 (0)1306 744797 and email us at [email protected]           

Opening hours Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM (Local times in Netherlands).

Country information

More country information about Cambodia

More country information about Laos

More country information about Vietnam

More country information about Thailand

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about Cambodia

Frequently asked questions about Laos

Frequently asked questions about Vietnam

Frequently asked questions about Thailand