For departures after 31 December 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
|Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam|
|Bangkok||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam|
We’ve got temples and beaches a’plenty, homestays and markets galore. You want bahn mi and boats? We’ve got ‘em ready. Because we care, and you’re a big deal, we’ll give you more…hit up Bangkok’s best, see wat’s up in Angkor, cycle Kampong Chum, get your facts straight at the Killing Fields, soak up dem beach vibes in Sihanoukville and disco a la Ho Chi Minh.
Although it’s a mother of a temple, Cambodia’s more than just its Wat.
Attend a weclome meeting at 6pm
Arrive early and take a short walking tour and visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs
Meals included: 1 breakfast
It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for – Angkor Wat. Best bits: sunset at Phnom Bakheng, Elephant Terrace, Bayon and Ta Prohm (the Tomb Raider one).
Day 2 Take a bus to Siem Reap (approx 8 - 9 hours).
Drive out to the Angkor temple complex to watch the sunset from one of the structures; Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup temple, Sras Srong, Phnom Krom or Phnom Bok
Day 3 Take an informative day-long tour of the Angkor complex, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Baphoun, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm and, of course, Angkor Wat
Day 4 Free time to do some exploring of your own Optional visit to the rose-coloured Banteay Srei Temple Perhaps visit Banteay Srei, located about 30 kilometres north of Siem Reap - considered to be the best preserved of all of Cambodia’s temples
Optional trip into the countryside to discover facets of rural life with a local site guide
Kick back in Siem Reap and just wander around the town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants.
Get your heart pumping with the flight of the gibbon zip line adventures where you can feel like a bird flying through the jungle
Kampong Cham. A strong name, for a strong location. Visit Ko Paen Island for a bike ride or explore some ancient mountain temples. Both activities are equal levels of awesome.
Travel by public bus to Kampong Cham (approx 4 hrs)
Explore the serene 11th-century Wat Nokor
Hire a bike to explore the rural island of Koh Paen, linked to Kompong Cham by a bamboo bridge (passable only in the dry season, take a ferry in the wet)
Take a closer look at Cambodia's cottage industry
Travel a little further to see the twin 'mountain temples' of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei
Discover Cambodia’s tragic history through the eyes of a local. Visit Tuol Sleng Prison where up to 20,000 Cambodians were executed and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields.
Meals included: 1 dinner
A homestay in a local village will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Partly because of the fascinating and friendly company, and partly because of the delicious home-cooked Cambodian food.
Travel by private bus into rural Cambodia (approx 3 hrs)
Witness everyday Cambodian life and enjoy a traditional-style dinner at a local homestay
Facilities are basic and multishare with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Sihanoukville is like Cambodia's version of Bondi Beach, but nicer. Actually, it's not like Bondi Beach at all, but it is tipped to be South East Asia's next hot spot. Get in before the crowds, you won't regret it.
Take a private bus to Sihanoukville (approx 3 hrs) - named for the Cambodian royal family
Sihanoukville is a beach town with welcoming people
Take a boat to one of the nearby islands, perhaps enjoy a barbecue lunch and relax on the beach
Make a trip out to the Ream National Park - home to a great variety of animal and bird species
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Shake the sand off your 'nads and jump on a bus back to the capital. Soak up more reminders of the country's horrific past in Tuol Sleng Museum, or visit Seeing Hands for a massage.
Take a local bus to Phnom Penh (approx 4 hrs)
Perhaps visit the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison or indulge in a traditional massage at the Seeing Hands Massage parlour. An initiative set up to support the visually impaired masseurs, who are also some of the best massuers in the city
Get to grips with Ho Chi Minh City, perhaps Vietnam's best. It's fast, it's loud and it's colourful. It also has the largest concentration of bars, pubs and discos in all of Vietnam. Uh oh.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh and explore this fascinating city.
Spend some time Vietnam shopping in the city’s main business district, or take a cyclo ride through the busy city streets to Saigon’s Chinatown district, Cholon
The trip ends after breakfast on Day 12
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.
• Free time to explore Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, the temples of Angkor and Bangkok.
• Local homestay experience in Cambodia.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Crossing cultures When you are taking a tour that covers 3 different countries, you will be tempted at times to draw comparisons between them. However, you will get the most of your travel experience if you try to understand and respect each culture and the people living there, regardless of whether you preferred the destination you were in previously. There are some cultural elements that do cross over between countries in South East Asia: · Patting someone on their head is considered extremely rude and insulting. · Public displays of affection are not acceptable, especially kissing. · Losing your temper or showing anger and shouting or yelling will lose respect immediately, to remain cool, calm and collected at all times is an admired quality · When visiting temples ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. They are places of worship please treat them as such. · The monarchy is held in high esteem in Thailand & Cambodia, please treat them with respect
Local Tour Guides By employing and training local site guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour guide’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Tipping Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in South East Asia. Your tour guide will be able to advise you in this area; however, as a guideline we would recommend tipping 10% of the total bill in restaurants and a small tip to hotel bellboys for carrying your bags. At you pre-tour briefing your tour guide will discuss with you the idea of running a tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then the tour guide pays the tips and keeps a record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing what is an appropriate amount to tip. It is customary to tip your tour guide, at the end of the trip, if you are happy with the service. A minimum tip of US$2 per day, from each member of the group, is the usual amount expected.
Thai Visas Please note that any travellers of certain nationalities (ie. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders) do not normally require a visa for Thailand if flying in and staying up to 30 days. However, travellers will only get 15 days of stay if arriving without a visa at a land border checkpoint from a neighbouring country. Travellers arriving in Thailand this way and planning to stay in the country longer than 15 days should obtain a Thai visa before they leave home. All other nationalities should check for visa requirements with their travel agents. Please note that those nationalities requiring a visa may need to acquire one before they arrive Thailand, as a visa on arrival is not available at certain land borders.
Infrastructure and Tet Holiday Period Please note that Vietnam and Cambodia are developing countries whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during the Tet holiday period (Vietnamese New Year), Chinese New Year and Songkran festival (Cambodian and Thai New Year). During Tet (Vietnamese New Year)/Chinese New Year most businesses will be closed as Vietnamese people usually spend this period returning to their homes and celebrating with their families. This will involve a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. Even if bookings are obtained, transport services during this period will be overcrowded and heavy delays are to be expected, so you will need to make sure that you pack your sense of humour. In order to facilitate your travels during the Tet period, we may need to substitute your train/plane journey with a private bus trip, if required. This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local cultures. Please be open-minded. Please note that, on your tour, you may link up with passengers booked on other tours in our Gecko’s Asia program.
(any additional information from trip notes that may only apply to some trips)
Due to the style of accommodation on our trips it might not always be possible to book you in a single room throughout the trip. If you book a single supplement it will not apply to nights in homestays. If you are unsure of where a single supplement will apply please check with your travel agent before booking.
BANGKOK PROTESTS Ongoing since November 2013
here has been ongoing protest's in Bangkok since November 2013. During this time when protest gatherings have been quite large Bangkok taxi drivers may not want to drive from the airport to your downtown hotel. If the public taxis will not take you please go back inside the airport and you can arrange a private vehicle transfer with the Airports of Thailand transfer services. These cost about 1200THB per car to the downtown hotels. Please refer to our safety page on the Gecko's website for more up to date information regarding these protests. http://www.geckosadventures.com/safety-updates
Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Gecko's Cambodia office can be reached on Tel: +855 92 555 969
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
2 October 2014