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?
NYC TO SAN FRAN
New York, USA
San Francisco, USA
Max. Group Size of 13
8 Included Activities
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.
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)
Appalachian Mountains (Day 4)
Nashville (Day 5)
Memphis (Day 5-7)
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.
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.
Los Angeles (Day 10)
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)
Grand Canyon National Park (Day 12-13)
Las Vegas (Day 14-15)
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.
Yosemite National Park (Day 17-19)
San Fransisco (Day 20)
THAILAND, LAOS, VIETNAM, CAMBODIA - GROUPS OF 16 - 30 DAYS
SOUTH EAST ASIA
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.
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.
Sleeper Trains (2)
Overnight Boat (1)
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.
Chiang Mai (Day 3-4)
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.
Mekong River (Day 6-7)
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.
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.
Vientiane (Day 12)
Hanoi (Day 13)
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.
Ha Long Bay (Day 14)
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)
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)
Hoi An (Day 18-19)
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.
Phnom Penh (Day 23-24)
Battambang (Day 25)
Siem Reap (Day 26)
Angkor Wat / Siem Reap (Day 27-28)
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.