Budget Holidays and Group Departures in Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam

Tour Itineraries for Group SET Departures.

Rounded Rectangle: Group Set Departures Indochina Loops Suitable for travelers on a budget seeking an authentic, meaningful holiday experience. Volunteer projects are included in each country.

Rounded Rectangle: ‘Keeping it Real’ Indochina Loop – 42 days Start & Finish Bangkok

This is the ultimate loop of Indochina, encompassing Bangkok, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Incorporating 10 days of meaningful volunteer projects throughout Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, the trip offering travelers a fantastic combination of cultural sightseeing and the opportunity to have a truly authentic local experience, helping communities in need.

Day 1 Bangkok Today is arrival day so no activities planned. This evening your guide will meet you for the tour briefing. No meals.

Day 2 Bangkok Guided tour of the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha in the morning. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own (B).

Day 3 Battambang After breakfast we leave Bangkok to the Thai Cambodian border. We travel the whole day from cosmopolitan Bangkok to the quiet Cambodian town of Battambang. You will meet with your Khmer leader at the border (B) Approx 8hrs drive.

Day 4 Battambang- Homestay In the morning enjoy a guided tour on the Bamboo Train, before transferring to your homestay at Tapon Village, about 15km out of town. Meet your host family and go on a guided tour of the village, where you have the chance to learn about their daily life. In the evening there is the opportunity to help cook your Cambodian dinner with the family (BD).

Day 5 Siem Reap After a traditional breakfast at your homestay, we take a boat along the Mekong River to Siem Reap. Option to visit Angkor complex to watch the sunset from Mount Bakeng (B) Approx 5hrs boat ride.

Day 6 Siem Reap Today we get up early morning to watch the sunrise from the famous ANGKOR WAT temple, followed by a day of sightseeing at the Bayon, Ta Prom and Elephant Leaper King Temples (B).

Day 7/8/9- Volunteer Project The next three days will be rewarding as we depart from the main tourist route to do community development work at a local orphanage (B).

Day 10 Phnom Penh Drive to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After a brief walking tour organised by your guide you are free to explore the old market on your own (B) (Approx 5hrs drive).

Day 11 Phnom Penh Guided tour of the National Museum and adjacent complex of the Silver Pagoda, Royal Palace, Toul Sleng Museum, Killing fields and the Russian market. Free afternoon to further explore the capital (B)

Day 12 Mekong Delta (Chau Doc) Today we continue on the boat to Chau Doc-Vietnam. You are expected to arrive in the late afternoon, where you will be met by your Vietnamese leader. You can watch the sunset or wander through the local market in the evening (B). Approx 4 hrs boat ride. Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City After breakfast, we embark on a small traditional boat to witness life in Mekong Delta region, then drive to the commercial capital of Vietnam- Ho Chi Minh City (B) Approx 2hrs drive.

Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City We embark on a walking tour of the city in the morning, visiting the old Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Re-unification Palace, War Museum and the vibrant Ben Thanh market. In the evening you will board the overnight Re-unification Express train to Nha Trang (B) Approx 8hrs.

Day 15 Nha Trang Arrive in Nha Trang in the morning.  You can sit on the beach soaking up the sun, take a boat trip, or perhaps visit nearby historical sites. Optional activities can include a boat trip to nearby islands for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Day 16 Nha Trang Full day to relax or indulge in more optional sightseeing, a mud bath or simply sunbathe by the South China Sea. In the evening we take an overnight train to Danang (B) Approx 12 hrs train ride. Day 17 Hoi An From Danang, it is only a short drive to the picturesque port town of Hoi An, once known as Faifo, an old trading town where you will still notice a strong Southern Chinese influence. Afternoon walking tour of the old town.

Day 18 Hoi An– Free day to get a wardrobe of clothes tailormade, relax at cafés by the river front or hire a bicycle and venture out to the countryside or beaches (B).

Day 19 Hue After breakfast we drive to the city of Hue, home to the old Nguyen Emperor regime. Our drive will take you through famous Lang Co beach and over Hai Van Pass. Upon arrival in Hue enjoy a guided tour of the Citadel (B).

Day 20 Hue You have the option to travel by boat along the Perfume River and visit Tien Mu Pagoda and the tombs of famous Nguyen Emperors. Afternoon you will board the overnight train to Hanoi (B) Approx 12hrs train ride.

Day 21 Halong Bay– Overnight on Boat Upon arrival you have option to sample Hanoi’s famous ‘Pho’ for breakfast. Then we drive we drive to Halong City and embark on a boat cruise around Halong Bay. (LD) Approx 3hrs drive. Day 22 Hanoi After breakfast, we’ll transfer back to Hanoi. Afternoon guided walking tour of the Hanoi’s Old Quarter (B)

Day 23/24/25/26 Drive to the picturesque valley of Mai Chau – Volunteer Project You will be spending the next four days in the countryside of north west Hanoi where modern capitalisation has still not touched the lives of the traditional villagers. This provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the lives of the local ethnic minority groups and help the kids at school by sharing your language skills. Accommodation will be basic at a local family house (BLD) All meals included.

Day 27 Hanoi Drive back to Hanoi in the afternoon (B)

Day 28 Vientiane A short flight to the sleepycapital of Laos. Upon arrival meet with your Lao leader and transfer to the hotel. Free afternoon to visit some of the sights around the quiet capital, such as Wat Sisaket, Victory Monument, Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo (B). Day 29 Vang Vieng This morning the drive north takes us to the beautiful Vang Vieng. This quiet town is set along the Nam Song River amidst rice fields and limestone karsts. Visit an organic farm and enjoy lunch. Option to explore some of the caves by bicycle, or float down the river in an inner tube (BL) approx 3hrs drive.

Day 30 Luang Prabang After breakfast we will leave Vang Vieng. The route will wind through scenic mountain passes and there will be plenty of opportunity to stop along the way for photos. Lunch will be at a local restaurant on the way (BL) Approx 6hrs drive

Day 31 Luang Prabang- Seuang River Project

After breakfast, we introduce our community service project with a survey of Seuang River Community-Based Tourism site – approximately 1 hr drive north of Luang Prabang. This session will also introduce the principles of Sustainable Tourism for the Elimination of Poverty – a central theme of our time in the villages (BLD).

Day 32/33/34 Volunteer Project

Over the next three days we will continue to work with our village hosts on the community service project. There will be opportunity to take part in the daily-life of the village: basket making, cooking, farming and of course playing with the kids (BLD).

Day 35 Seuang River Project -Luang Prabang In the morning we will say good bye to our hosts and then drive back to Luang Prabang for check-in. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this wonderful town (B).

Day 36 Luang Prabang – Pakbeng Early in the morning cross the Mekong by ferry with your guide to the Huay Xai pier. Transfer to the public boat which will take you on a two-day trip up the Mekong River to the Thailand border. We will stay overnight in Pak Beng (B).

Day 37 Pak Beng – Chiang Khong border crossing – Chiang Rai In the morning, check out and continue your journey upstream to Thailand. At the Chiang Khong border crossing, meet with your Thai guide and transfer to your hotel in Chiang Rai (B).

Day 38  Chiang Rai – Ban Ruammit Elephants –  Mirror foundation – Golden Triangle This morning after breakfast we will head out of town for the day. Go on an elephant ride and later meet a representative of the Mirror Foundation and  visit one of the villages the Foundation works with to learn more about the organisation. In the afternoon we will go to theGolden Triangle (BL).

Day 39 Chiang Rai- Chiang Mai This morning after breakfast we will leave Chiang Rai and drive along the mountain roads to Chiang Mai. We will stop for lunch along the way and still arrive in plenty of time to allow you to explore this city on your own (BL).

Day 40 Chiang Mai/Overnight Train After breakfast enjoy a day on your own sightseeing around Chiang Mai’s old town visiting the historical highlights of the city thatdate back to the mid 14th century. In the evening, we board our fan cooled overnight train for Bangkok (B) approx 12 hours.

Day 41 Bangkok We’ll arrive early in the morning to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. The day is free to explore the many sights of Bangkok. In the evening enjoy a farewell meal sampling amazing Thai cuisine (B).

Day 42 Tour Ends Tour ends after breakfast (B)

Note: Minimum donation of 1US$ a day per person is required during the volunteer days

Note: Please note, for placements involving children, we may request a Federal Police criminal background certificate from your country. This is to protect both the volunteers and the children we seek to assist.

Price: US$ 2587 Single supplement: US$ 353 Local Payment: US$ 600

‘Keeping it Real Indochina Loop’ Departure Dates: 17 Jan 09 14 Feb 09 14 Mar 09 18 Apr 09 16 May 09 20 June 09 18 Jul 09 15 Aug 09 12 Sep 09 17 Oct 09 14 Nov 09 12 Dec 09

Inclusions: Maximum group size: 15 Minimum group size: 4 Airport transfer to Hotel on day 1 Service of experienced Local leaders Transport: Private Van/Coach, Sleeper train, Boat, Elephant ride Accommodation: (All the accommodation are based on Twin share) Simple hotels- 27 Nights Sleeper air-conditioned train-4 Nights Boat- 1 Night Home-stay- 9Nights

Exclusions: All the Entrance fees during sightseeing days or on Optional visit International Flight ticket from Hanoi- Vientiane Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary Visa and visa costs Insurance (compulsory) Personal expenditures Tips and other costs not mentioned in the itinerary. Police Background check or similar official document from home country