FROM £3,285

From the dazzling cityscapes of New York to the sunny shores of San Fran – and all the bright lights, national parks and rock n’ roll in between, jump onboard this bucket-list-ticking journey that’s jam-packed with super-sized adventures. From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, check-out the east’s epic monuments and musical legacies before jumping on a flight cross-country to experience the best of the west. Stay up all night in the city that never sleeps, indulge in Creole cuisine along Bourbon Street, hike to your hearts content in Yosemite National Park and try your luck among the glitz of glamour of Sin City after dark. With plenty of adventures for the brave, flexibility for the free and a bold leader with all the insider, ‘been-there, done-that’ tips and tricks, this 20-day trip through a mix of the USA’s historic, natural and musical landscapes will ensure that at you never miss a beat – what are you waiting for?

Image by Patrick Langwallner

NYC TO SAN FRAN

START

New York, USA

MEALS

Breakfasts (3)

Lunches (1)

Dinners (1)

END

San Francisco, USA

TRANSPORT

Private Vehicle

DURATION

20 Days

ACCOMODATION

Camping (13)

Hotel (5)

Hostel (1)

GROUP

Max. Group Size of 13

ACTIVITES

8 Included Activities

Highlights

  • Discover the museums, memorials and monuments along the American History trail – from the small-town charms of Philadelphia to the capital-city icons of Washington DC.

  • Pump up your camping experience in the jaw-dropping Appalachian Mountains. Share stories around the campfire as you make s’mores (a traditional night-time campfire treat in North America) with your fellow travellers.

  • Get into the groove of Memphis and indulge in the kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charisma of this musical metropolis.

  • Take a bird’s eye view and admire the winding gorges and desolate rock landscape of the Grand Canyon by helicopter in an unmissable optional activity.

  • Cover Yosemite’s many trails over two full days and three nights dedicated to the park. You will be able to hike and explore until your heart (and camera) is content.

New York (Day 1)


Welcome to New York AKA the Big Apple! There are no activities planned today until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm, so if you arrive early perhaps check out Central Park and the Empire State Building or take a walk around Times Square – in fact we recommend arriving a couple of days earlier to make the most of what this incredible city has to offer. For the inside scoop on all the famous landmarks and local eateries, consider doing the half-day Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour with Urban Adventures (for more info visit urbanadventures.com). After your welcome meeting, why not join your new friends for dinner and grab yourself a slice of pizza, New York style.
Accommodation:
- Hotel
Special Information:
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.




Washington DC (Day 2-3)


This morning, kickstart your journey along North America’s history trail and drive south towards the nation's capital, stopping at Philadelphia on the way for a quick look at some of the highlights of the Old City, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the 'Rocky' steps. After touring around Philly, continue on to DC where your leader will point you in the direction of all the major sights on an orientation tour of the city. The total driving time from New York to Washington DC will take about 4 hours, so in the evening why not stretch out your legs on H Street – an artsy and energetic two-and-a-half kilometre (one-and-a-half mile) corridor in Northeast DC, renowned for its communal atmosphere and buzzing nightlife! The following day you are free to explore Washington DC, a city easily discovered on foot – we suggest grabbing a map and planning your day to ensure that you maximise your time in this iconic city. Choose from any of DC’s almost 100 world-class museums – the National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the Newseum are just a few. There are also many other small fascinating museums hidden around the city. The city is overflowing with famous monuments and buildings, so don’t miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Monument, FDR and Jefferson Memorials (some places charge an entrance fee, so make sure you bring some spare cash along). You’ll most likely do a lot of walking today, so maybe reward yourself with a relaxing evening. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) (Day1) Included Activities: - Philadelphia - City highlights stop Optional Activities: - Arlington National Cemetery - Free - Bike and Roll Tour - USD45 - International Spy Museum - USD21 - National Air & Space Museum - Free - National Archives - Free - National Gallery of Art - Free - National Museum of American History - Free - National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Free - National Museum of Natural History - Free - Newseum - USD22




Appalachian Mountains (Day 4)


Escape the city grind and venture into the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains. Stop by Shenandoah National Park, one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachians. Continue your journey along Skyline Drive – a famed mountain highway which winds through deep woods and past spectacular vistas. Stop to stretch your legs under the impressive oak trees and admire the gorgeous views. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite and pitch your tent in the heart of the great outdoors, share stories with your fellow travellers around the campfire and make s’mores (a traditional night time campfire treat in North America) – you may even learn some new skills! Total drive time today will be around 5 hours. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) Included Activities: - Shenandoah National Park Optional Activities: - Shenandoah National Park - Hiking - Free




Nashville (Day 5)


Head south this morning on a 4-hour drive to the USA’s Country Music Capital - Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campground, join your leader on a short orientation tour of Nashville’s Downtown area – focusing on the bustling entertainment hub of Broadway – a famed strip renowned for the honky tonk bars which offer live music every day of the week. The rest of the day is at your leisure, so perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis or check out some iconic music venues like Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium. The Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot in the evening to experience authentic southern food and live music. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) Optional Activities: - Country Music Hall of Fame - USD26 - Ryman Auditorium Tour - USD14 - Tennessee State Museum - Free - Wildhorse Saloon cover charge & line dancing - USD10




Memphis (Day 5-7)


Say goodbye to the glitz and glamour of ‘Nashvegas’ this morning as you continue your musical pilgrimage to the birthplace of rock and roll: Memphis, Tennessee (approximately 3.5 hours driving time). Join your leader on a short walking tour to familiarise yourself with the city. You’ll head down bustling Beale Street, where traditional blues clubs and ritzier tourist traps rub shoulders – but don’t worry, your leader will give you the lowdown on which bars are worth a look. After an included world-famous fried chicken lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore. If you have time, a must-see in Memphis is Sun Studio, the 'Birthplace of Rock', which boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum (at the former Lorraine Motel) where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. This evening, why not head out for a famous Memphis-style barbecue. With no activities planned today, consider heading out of the city to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home and the site of his tomb. Exploding with kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charm, here you can see the famous jungle room, as well as Elvis’s cars, private planes and much more. For an unusual and local experience, check out the popular Duck Parade at the famous Peabody Hotel – where ducks that live in the hotel perform waddle from their rooftop palace to splash in the lobby fountain (and then back again) at 11 am and 5 pm daily.
In the evening, get into the groove of Memphis and consider heading back down to Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as WC Handy, Howlin' Wolf and BB King. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) (Day 1) - Camping (with facilities) (Day 2) Included Activities: Memphis - World Famous Fried Chicken Lunch (Day 1) Optional Activities: - Graceland Museum - USD35 - Sun Studio tour - USD14 - National Civil Rights Museum - USD16 - Peabody Hotel Duck March - Free - Rock 'n' Soul Museum - USD11 Meals Included: - Lunch (Day 1)




New Orleans (Day 8-9)


It’s a long drive today as you head across the state of Mississippi and prepare to get down in New Orleans AKA the ‘Big Easy’ (approximately 8 hours). Get back to nature with a stop at Honey Island and perhaps opt for a tour down one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. It's pretty much in its original condition, almost a pristine wilderness and home to a variety of critters. Residents include nutrias (river rats), snakes and wild boars – spot alligators sunbathing on the banks and absorb the incredible scenery as you cruise through the eerie marshland. Continue your drive into New Orleans – with a mix of Creole, Cajun and European culture reflected in the city’s architecture, cuisine and music there’s plenty to explore and do. On arrival, your leader will point you in the direction of all the major attractions on a short walk of the eclectic French Quarter, the historic heart of the city, famous for its cast-iron balconies and vivacious nightlife. The rest of the time is yours! Perhaps take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District, or head out for a typical Cajun-style dinner and toast to your adventure. Enjoy a free day to fit in as much of New Orleans as you can! Perhaps cruise the Mississippi on a riverboat or visit the fascinating little Voodoo Museum. In the evening, perhaps check out a jazz show and dance the night away in the bars along Frenchman Street. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Optional Activities: - Honey Island Swamp Tour - USD25 - Bourbon Street - Free - Cabildo - USD10 - French Market - Free - Mississippi River Steamboat Jazz Dinner Cruise - USD85 - New Orleans School of Cooking - USD35 - Presbytere - USD7 - Preservation Hall Jazz - USD40 - Ursuline Convent Tours - USD8 - Voodoo Museum - USD7 - Cemetery Tour - USD25 Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 2)




Los Angeles (Day 10)


It’s goodbye to the Big Easy and hi to the City of Angels as you catch a flight from New Orleans to Los Angeles today (approximately 4-hours). On arrival, transfer to your accommodation with the group and (depending on the time) get out for a stroll along Venice and Santa Monica beaches. This evening, gather together for another meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your new group leader and welcome some new travellers on the next stage of your adventure. After the meeting, why not get to know your new travel buddies with an optional group dinner along the boulevard. Accommodation: - Hostel Meals Included: - Breakfast Special Information: Your group will not be accompanied on your flight, but will be met in Los Angeles by a new tour leader. Your new tour leader will meet the group outside the baggage claim at LAX.

As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, and this is also a great chance to meet the new group. It’s important that you attend the welcome meeting as your new group leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.




Joshua Tree National Park (Day 11)


Head away from the buzz of the big city and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants, cacti and spiky trees, bizarre rock formations and a pretty good U2 album. After a wander through the park, head to Lake Havasu on the Colorado River (at the Arizona border) and set up camp for the night. You might like to head out on a scenic hike around the town, learn the backstory of the city’s unique London Bridge, or even take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. Covering around 600 kilometres (372 miles) of ground today, there will be time to stop for short walks, photo opportunities and some roadside snacking. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) Included Activities: - Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee Optional Activities: - Colorado River - Swimming - Free - Joshua Tree National Park - Hiking - Free Meals Included: - Breakfast




Grand Canyon National Park (Day 12-13)


Drive towards the Grand Canyon, along a section of Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Arriving later in the Grand Canyon National Park, get ready to admire a natural wonder formed by over six million years of erosion by the Colorado River. When you think about its dimensions – 450 kilometres long, 630 kilometres wide and 1600 metres deep – it really does warrant the whole ‘grand’ title. You’ll spend two nights here which allows for a full day of exploration tomorrow. Check out the park’s massive scale on a walk on the rim or, if you’re feeling more active, hike into the canyon itself to stretch your legs. Spend the night at comfortable digs near the park. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) (Day 1) - Camping (with facilities) (Day 2) Included Activities: - Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee (Day 1) Optional Activities: - Helicopter flight (45 mins) - USD284 - Hiking - Free - IMAX movie - USD10




Las Vegas (Day 14-15)


Head out of the Grand Canyon and cross the western deserts of Arizona to the original sin city: Las Vegas. Vegas may be known for its casinos and late-night antics, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, see a world-class stage show, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller-coaster or stroll along Freemont Street, soaking up this neon-filled desert city. In the evening, head to Pink Taco for an included street taco dinner from the famous LA chain’s cantina located in Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel – a perfect way to begin a night out on the town. Later on, why not go see a stage show? Remember that tickets can sell out quickly for popular shows, so best to book before your tour begins. With another day in Las Vegas, continue discovering all things over-the-top. Food-focused travellers may want to check out one of the celebrity chef restaurants around town (Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck all have places here). See the Eiffel Tower of the USA, check out the Bellagio Fountains or visit one of the wacky museums on offer. If you didn’t head out last night, chat to your tour leader for the lowdown on Sin City's best shows, clubs and restaurants, and the option of hiring a limo for the night. You might as well go all out in Las Vegas, right? Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Street Taco dinner (Day 1) Optional Activities: - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15 - Fremont Street Experience - Free - Bellagio Fountains - Free - Monorail - USD5 - Eiffel Tower - USD22 - Mob Museum - USD27 - Neon Museum - USD20 - Limo (per group) - USD300 - Helicopter Tour of The Strip - USD104 Meals Included: - Dinner (Day 1)




Sierra Nevada / Keough Hot Springs (Day 16)


Head out of sin city to the Sierra Nevada mountain range today on your quest for greener pastures. The Sierra Nevadas are sandwiched between Central Valley and Death Valley, a scenic trip that will take you to the town of Bishop, where you’ll camp the night and visit some nearby natural hot springs. In town, perhaps go to Erick Schat’s European-style bakery for a delicious treat, or stop in tomorrow for a coffee and cake on the way to Yosemite. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities)




Yosemite National Park (Day 17-19)


Drive west into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to your destination: the magnificent Yosemite National Park. Passing by the striking Mono Lake, your private vehicle will travel through the Tioga Pass (weather permitting) and past serene vistas like Tenaya Lake and the Olmstead Point viewpoint, where you’ll catch a glimpse of one of Yosemite’s most recognisable features – Half Dome. You'll spend three nights in the Yosemite National Park so that there are two full days available to explore at your own pace. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours. Today is free to discover the wonders of the park. One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite boasts colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. The group leader will point you in the right direction from the village, before leaving you to spend the day as you please. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike under the cooling breezes of Nevada Falls (4-5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley. Visit the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way, and in the heat of summer a relaxing float down the Merced River is highly recommended. With a second full day in the park, there’s an opportunity to explore a different side of Yosemite, and the group leader will take you on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy, an often overlooked, elevated valley in the park’s northwest corner. The name comes from ‘hetchetci’, describing seeds from a grass that grows in the valley. It has a floor elevation of 1150 metres (3800 feet), and one of the main characteristics is its man-made reservoir, built in the early 20th century. The area attracts far fewer visitors than the more well-known Yosemite hiking points, and its remoteness makes it the ideal place to discover cascading waterfalls and beautiful wildflowers. Accommodation: - Camping (with facilities) (Day 1) - Camping (with facilities) (Day 2) - Camping (with facilities) (Day 3) Included Activities: - Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee (Day 1) - Visit to Mono Lake (Day 1) Optional Activities: - Raft Rental (seasonal) - USD30 - Cycling in Yosemite Valley - USD12 - Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free




San Fransisco (Day 20)


Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west for about 4 hours to San Francisco. The City by the Bay has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. This trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for a walk. No accommodation provided for tonight. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Perhaps check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an adventure cruise on the bay past Alcatraz Island. Better yet, consider booking an Urban Adventures sightseeing tour like Bridge and the Beach, where you’ll see a different side of the Golden Gate from Baker Beach (see urbanadventures.com/destination/san-francisco-tours). Optional Activities: - Adventure Cat Bay Cruise - USD45 Special Information: The arrival time depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 9 pm. This will give you enough time to be at the airport two hours before departure. Also, please note that this trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements to visit the island prison. Tickets must be booked in advance, as they are limited and sell out quickly. We recommend booking your tickets for the day after the trip finishes.





THAILAND, LAOS, VIETNAM, CAMBODIA  -  GROUPS OF 16  -  30 DAYS

SOUTH EAST ASIA

£2,412

Our South East Asia route takes you on a trip through the skyscrapers of Bangkok, humble streets of Laos, fishing villages of Vietnam and all the way down to the jungles of Cambodia; tackling the big four in the best way we know how. You'll travel via Boat, Longtail boat, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private minibus, Public bus, Motorbike, and Taxi.

Highlights

  • Sample food wherever you go! Whether its the street markets of Bangkok, or a seafood dinner on the waters of Ha Long Bay.

  • Book a day to trek through the jungles of Chiang Mai.

  • Take a two day slow boat down the Mekong from Thailand to Laos. Drink in the scenery and animals you might see lurking at the waters edge.

  • Meet some of our favourite gentle giants at the Luang Prabang MandaLao Elephant Conservation!

  • Chill out in the quaint town of Hoi An and learn about some of Vietnam's rich history.

  • Delve deep into the sights of Hue with a motorbike tour!

  • Ride some bikes with your new companions through the dirt roads of Battambang.

  • End your journey at the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat. Watch monkeys roam over the ancient temples as your learn about Cambodia's past.

Inclusions

​Meals:

  • Breakfasts (23)

  • Lunches (4)

  • Dinners (2)

Transport:

  • Buses

  • Trains

  • Boats

  • Flights

Accommodation:

  • Hotels (24)

  • Sleeper Trains (2)

  • Guesthouses (2)

  • Overnight Boat (1)

Activities:

  • Included in day to day summary

Bangkok (Day 1-2)


Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok, is famous for its tuk-tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious local food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you arrive earlier, why not venture out into this enigmatic city. Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore, so perhaps arrive a day or so early to uncover the Chinatown area, visit the magnificent (but very crowded) Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, indulge in a Thai massage or see the backstreets of Bangkok by bike on an Urban Adventure. Find out more at urbanadventures.com. After the meeting tonight, gather your fellow travellers together and tuck into some into world famous street food for our first optional dinner. Accommodation: - Hotel (1 night) - Overnight train (1 night) Included Activities: - Khlong boat canal tour (Day 2) - Wat Pho (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 2) Special Information: It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.




Chiang Mai (Day 3-4)


The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for its lively cafe scene and extremely welcoming locals, this place captivates many travellers. First, embark on a scenic, winding drive up a mountain (around 45 minutes) to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a most memorable experience. After making our way back down from the temple, check in to the hotel and plan the rest of your time here. In the evening you can choose to wander through the enormous, colourful Night Bazaar or perhaps relax at a fine restaurant along the riverfront. Make sure to sample some delicious traditional northern Thai food – the signature dish is kao soy, yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth, traditionally served with chicken or beef. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Doi Suthep temple complex




Chiang Khong (Day 5)


Take a journey through rural countryside to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong (approximately 5.5 hours). Formerly known as 'Juon', peaceful riverside Chiang Khong remains an important market town for the surrounding hill tribes and for trade with Laos. Stretch your legs with a stroll around town, and if you find yourself with time, then Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Luang are both well worth a visit while you’re here. Tonight, why not enjoy a final Thai drink and dinner, while Laos beckons from across the mighty Mekong. Accommodation: - Guesthouse




Mekong River (Day 6-7)


After crossing into Laos and for the duration of our time in the country we will be joined by additional Laos guides – a government requirement. Board a slow boat for the 2-day journey down the mighty Mekong River to Luang Prabang. The journey is relaxed, so you can experience the slow pace of village life and the breathtaking scenery along the river up close. The river boat is basic in nature, with a toilet, covered roof, and open sides to take in the fresh air. There are seats in the front of the boat and a small open area in the back where you can have a nap on the mat, play cards, read or have lunch. Dock at the small town of Pak Beng (after about 6 hours) to spend the night. Hmong and tribal Thai people are frequently seen on the main streets, where vendors sell local textiles and handicrafts. Accommodation: - Guesthouse (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Two day boat trip (Day 1) - Pak Ou Caves (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) Special Information: Our guesthouse here is very basic -– standard accommodation in this small, remote trading port. It can be quite cool from November to February so make sure you have some warm gear packed for this period. Due to dam construction upstream, water levels aren't as reliable as in previous years, and when the river is at its lowest from February to April, part of the journey may occasionally need to be made by land instead of by boat.




Luang Prabang (Day 8-9)


Once the heart and soul of the ancient Lao Kingdom (Lan Xang) and designated a World Heritage site in 1995, Luang Prabang is endowed with a legacy of historic red-roofed temples and French-Indochinese architecture, not to mention some of the country's most refined cuisine, a multi-ethnic population and rich culture. Rise with the sun this morning and witness a traditional alms giving ceremony. View the procession of saffron-robed monks on their daily outing collecting food offered by devotees, a practice that dates back centuries. The offerings must be collected early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk, it is believed you ‘het bon’ (make merit) which will be carried over into the next life. Your leader will guide you through the do’s and don’ts and help you to take part in this alms giving tradition. Return back to your hotel for breakfast and a free morning. In the afternoon, head south of town and stop for a sweet (socially responsible) treat at Laos Buffalo Dairy, an enterprise that works with the surrounding villagers by renting their buffalo, in order to produce delicious products including yoghurt, cheese and ice cream. The Dairy ensures a regular income for locals while ensuring the buffalo and their calves are well looked after. Why not contribute to this local business by purchasing an ice cream! Continue on to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, a picturesque, multi-level cascade that offers fantastically blue pools that are perfect for a mid-afternoon dip. Back in Luang Prabang this evening you’ll have free time to make further discoveries, including visiting the popular night market. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Kuang Si Waterfalls (Day 1) - Alms giving ceremony (Day 1) - Laos Buffalo Dairy social enterprise visit (Day 1) - Night Market (Day 1) - MandaLao Elephant Conservation trek (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2) - Lunch (Day 2)




Vang Vieng (Day 10-11)


Take a private minivan through dusty villages and winding mountain roads to Vang Vieng (approximately 7 hours). The mountain scenery is impressive, but the road can be rough, especially as attention is now being diverted from maintaining the roads to building the new railway from China. Situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng is surrounded by towering limestone karsts and is a great place to enjoy being out in and surrounded by nature. After checking in to the hotel, use tonight to plan out your next few days with your group and leader. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2)




Vientiane (Day 12)


Continue by private minibus to the country's capital, Vientiane (approximately 3.5 hours). Possibly Asia's most laidback capital, even here everything seems to be conducted at a relaxed pace. Vientiane has a wealth of cultural delights to discover on foot, or for the less energetic, by jumbo (tuk-tuk). Faded colonial mansions, tree-lined boulevards and old temples create an atmosphere of timelessness, particularly in the older part of town along the Mekong River. Pay a visit to Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane and home to almost 7000 Buddha images. Visit COPE vistors centre, an organisation dedicated to assistance those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordinance across the country. This is an excellent cause and a chance to educate yourself about Laos' devastating war history as well as buy a snack or drink from their Karma Cafe. This evening, maybe join your fellow travellers for dinner tonight. Accommodation: - Hotel Included Activities: - COPE visit - Wat Si Saket Meals Included: - Breakfast




Hanoi (Day 13)


Today you'll fly from Vientiane to Hanoi (approx 1 hour). Please note you will be unaccompanied on this flight. In the arrivals hall of Hanoi Airport you will be met by an Intrepid representative, who will take you to your Hanoi hotel. The flight usually arrives into Hanoi in the late afternoon.

As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. The welcome meeting is followed by a group dinner at KOTO restaurant. This organisation is dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of disadvantaged youth.
Accommodation: - Hotel Included Activities: - KOTO dinner Meals Included: - Dinner




Ha Long Bay (Day 14)


Travel by private minibus to World Heritage-listed Halong Bay, which is dotted with sandy coves, grottoes and 1600 limestone islands formed over millennia by wind and water erosion (approximately 4 hours). Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring Surprise Cave and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases. Once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery. To end the day, spend an evening aboard the boat beneath the night sky. What better way to get to know your fellow travellers than an old school sleepover in an unforgettable location? Accommodation: - Overnight boat Included Activities: - Overnight Boat Cruise - Cave entry Meals Included: - Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner Special Information: Your wooden junk-style boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar to enjoy lunch, dinner and breakfast.

We recommend packing a small overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi overnight.

Kayaking and swimming is restricted to designated zones within the bay.

There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case a group leader will be present on each boat. The route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.




Hanoi (Day 15)


Return by boat to Halong Bay. At approximately midday, return to Hanoi by bus. Arrive late this afternoon and enjoy free time until tonight’s train voyage. Be sure to grab a bowl of pho while you’re in town and slurp down this local specialty made from broth, noodles and meat. Maybe chill by Hoan Kiem Lake until you board an overnight train to Hue this evening. Accommodation: - Overnight sleeper train Meals Included: - Breakfast Special Information: There are shared day use hotel rooms available this afternoon in Hanoi if you would like to freshen up before the overnight train. There is one room provided for up to six members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day rooms.

Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group. Your leader will coordinate this and give further information on the trip. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food but we recommend that you stock up on snacks and drinks before departure.




Hue (Day 16-17)


Arrive in Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel. Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. Enjoy free time in the morning to rest or explore. If you choose the latter (and who can blame you) the bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the specialties that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables like banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Imperial Citadel, a sprawling city-within-a-city which contains the remains of temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc (Day 2) - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (lunch included) (Day 2) - Thien Mu Pagoda (Day 2) - Motorbike Tour Lunch (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 2) - Lunch (Day 2) Special Information: The motorbike tour has been assessed for safety and is closely monitored. To participate please ensure your travel insurance covers riding pillion on a motorbike up to 125cc. If you prefer not to participate, please let your leader know and they will arrange car transportation (cost included).




Hoi An (Day 18-19)


This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass (approximately 3 hours). After a photo stop en route, arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully-preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town to visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You’ll also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Old Town walking tour (Day 1) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2)




Ho Chi Minh (Day 20-22)


Today take a short, early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1.5 hours). Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam’s capital of commerce and culture. After landing, take a sightseeing tour around the city by bus. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, then stop in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the 20-year-long Vietnam/American War. Next morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a private boat to Ben Tre to visit the coconut gardens and stop at a local home to sample tropical fruits and coconut jams. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past coconut trees along the Mekong Delta. Take a tuk-tuk tour around the villages and learn about rural life and the industry created around coconut products like brooms and coconut fibre mats. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the Delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous elephant ear fish. Cruise the major waterways to Ben Tre boat pier, then return by bus to Ho Chi Minh City. This evening, perhaps head out to sample some local specialties as a final farewell with your fellow travellers and leader. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - War Remnants Museum (Day 1) - City tour (Day 1) - Mekong Delta Day Trip & Village Tuk-Tuk Tour (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2) - Lunch (Day 2) - Breakfast (Day 3)




Phnom Penh (Day 23-24)


Travel by public bus across the border, through rural Vietnam and Cambodia and onto Phnom Penh (approximately 10 hours including two border crossings and lunch). Cambodia's capital city is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture. If you're looking for a tasty beverage on arrival, head to the Foreign Correspondents' Club for a mojito on the rooftop or if you're in the mood for shopping, stop in at the art-deco Psar Thmei (Central Market) or travel out to Psar Tuol Tom Pong (the Russian Market) for the best range of local souvenirs. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (Day 2) - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2) Special Information: On the bus journey across the border, you will exit Vietnam at Moc Bai and enter Cambodia at Ba Vet. Your leader will assist you with border crossing procedures. If you’d prefer not to travel by bus today, you are welcome to book a flight instead (at your own expense).




Battambang (Day 25)


Travel by private minibus to Battambang (approximately 6 hours). Break up an otherwise long trip with a visit to Kampong Luong, a marvellously colourful village that floats on the water. Spend an hour traversing between houses and other boats before hitting the road once more. Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang, is a pretty riverside town of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and beautifully preserved colonial architecture. Why not take part in an optional cooking class to learn the secrets of local dishes such as amok, Khmer curry & fried spicy chicken. Accommodation: - Hotel Included Activities: - Tonle Sap Floating Village visit Meals Included: - Breakfast




Siem Reap (Day 26)


Spend a bit of time riding around the countryside by bike, travelling out to local cottage industries to meet with on-site producers. Get a better insight into rural life in Cambodia, share a few snacks, then continue by private minibus to Siem Reap (approximately 3 hours). Arrive in Siem Reap in the evening and relax as you prepare for your much-anticipated visit to Angkor tomorrow. Perhaps hit the markets for some delicious street food. Accommodation: - Hotel Included Activities: - Rural Food and Cycle Tour Meals Included: - Breakfast




Angkor Wat / Siem Reap (Day 27-28)


Temple-hop with your local guide and make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex. The temples, dating back as far as the ninth century, were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photo opportunities at any time of day. Watching a sunrise or sunset is a must. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap, so there will be plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) - Hotel (Day 2) Included Activities: - Three day Angkor Pass - Angkor Temples Guided Tour (Day 1) - Angkor Temples Guided Tour (Day 2) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) - Breakfast (Day 2)




Bangkok (29-30)


It's a long drive by private minibus from Siem Reap to Bangkok (approximately 10 hours including border crossings and lunch). Arrive in Thailand's bustling capital and take in this exciting world of tuk tuks, khlong boats, and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Perhaps head out to sample some local specialties as a final farewell with your fellow travellers. Accommodation: - Hotel (Day 1) Meals Included: - Breakfast (Day 1) Special Information: If you prefer not to travel by bus for the day, you are welcome to book a flight between the two cities instead. This flight will be at your own expense, however The Travel Co. can assist with Airport transfers where required.

Due to strict immigration laws your Cambodian trip leader will escort you to the Cambodian side of the border where you will say farewell before going through immigration unaccompanied. Once exiting immigration you will be met by one of our Thai trip leaders who will escort you to Bangkok. All of our trip leaders have been briefed to ensure this is a simple and smooth process.





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If you need to contact us, we run an email account to which our staff are always happy to answer your questions. Please allow us up to three working days to respond as we can be very busy at times. In the near future we are looking to have a direct contact number to answer your queries.