Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 10:40

Thai Indochina Explorer

Thai Indochina Explorer Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 16 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 14 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: AOX
  • Carbon Footprint: 30kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Travel from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Bangkok, Thailand

Beginning in frenetic Ho Chi Minh City, we cross three countries in two weeks, making for a varied and fascinating trip. We encounter the majestic ruins of Angkor, the fertile Mekong Delta, and the sobering recent history of Vietnam and Cambodia. Getting off the beaten track, we journey into rural Cambodia with time to explore the pepper plantations of Kampot and a day trip by boat to a tropical island to relax and swim. A short stay in Bangkok rounds off our trip perfectly as we explore colourful markets with a mouth-watering array at meal times. The delicious cuisine is a treasure of this exotic region.

At a Glance

  • 12 nights in comfortable hotels and one night homestay guesthouse to experience Mekong Delta hospitality
  • Travel by private minibus or bus (subject to group sizes) and boat
  • Rural locations and city days

Highlights

  • Experience three distinctly different countries in two weeks
  • Overnight in the Mekong Delta at a homestay
  • Visit the moving Killing Fields of Cambodia
  • Explore the Angkor complex
  • Visit the Kampot pepper plantations
  • Visit the Royal Palace complex and Wat Po of Bangkok
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

This holiday is designed to help you see the best parts of Southeast Asia using a mixture of boats in the Mekong Delta and private buses. There is a lot to see, but the trip is paced so it doesn’t feel too rushed. On some days, there are a few longer necessary drives between destinations. However, there is plenty of time for sightseeing and the trip has numerous stops where we spend two or more nights.

Group

The trip is led by locally qualified Vietnamese, Cambodian and Thai English-speaking leaders.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 5

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

AOX- Thai Indochina Explorer

Land Only

  • Start City: Ho Chi Minh City
  • End City: Bangkok

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Ho Chi Minh City

The day is free to recover from the flight. Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is an exciting, absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, HCMC is now a bustling free-market city, where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market is highly recommended.

There will be a welcome briefing with your leader this evening followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Huong Sen Hotel (or similar)

Day 2
Visit Cu Chi tunnels; tour of Ho Chi Minh City

This morning, we leave the city behind and head west to the Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, this network covers three levels and approximately 150mi (240km) of tunnels. Traditionally, these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. People with claustrophobia may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine.

In the afternoon, we return to Ho Chi Minh City for a tour, which includes visits to the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum where there is an interesting record of the Vietnam/American War. Please note, some of the images are graphic.

Accommodation: Huong Sen Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Mekong Delta; visit floating market; overnight homestay guesthouse

Drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta, visiting a temple used by devotees of Cao Dai, an indigenous religion that fuses all the major religions of the east and west. En route, we pass magnificent countryside and stop at small cottage industries. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of the country’s fruit, sugar cane and coconuts.

In the afternoon, take a relaxing sampan cruise and arrive at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy Delta hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple homestay guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

Accommodation: Mekong homestay guesthouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Walking tour in the delta; visit Sam Mountain for sunset; overnight Chau Doc

This morning, we take a short walk around the surrounding village to learn about the daily lives of the people. We board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we rejoin our vehicle for a drive further into the Mekong Delta to the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, we enjoy a sunset visit to the top of the holy Sam Mountain, which has views stretching into Cambodia. The evening is free to wander around this town on the banks of the Mekong River.

Accommodation: Chau Pho Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
To Cambodia: visit pepper plantation then transfer to Kampot; sunset river cruise

After driving approximately one hour to the Tinh Bien/Phnom Den land border, we bid Vietnam farewell and cross into Cambodia. Our drive then takes us via the La Plantation Pepper farm, to enjoy lunch and an introduction to the Kampot Pepper farm. After, we transfer to Kampot town, which sits on a picturesque river. Upon arrival, we check into our centrally located hotel, our base for the next two nights, before boarding a local boat for a sunset cruise on the Kampot River. This waterway runs through the centre of town and can flow in both directions as it is closely connected to the sea.

Accommodation: Boutique Kampot Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6
Full-day boat trip to tropical Koh Tonsai island

Today, we jump on a local boat for the short trip to Koh Tonsai (Rabbit Island). Palm tree-fringed with a small beach, this is the perfect place to swim in warm water or relax and soak up the tropical surroundings.

Accommodation: Boutique Kampot Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Drive to Phnom Penh; free time

There may be the chance to rise early and do an optional walking tour with your leader to visit the Kampot fish market before returning to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, we depart Kampot and transfer to Phnom Penh, where we spend the next two nights.

During our time in the Cambodian capital, take the chance to wander among the traditional buildings, or shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter’s paradise.

Accommodation: Ohana Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Full-day sightseeing, including the Royal Palace and Killing Fields

We visit the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda inside the palace complex, so named for the solid-silver tiles that make up the floor. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings.

We also visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S21), which graphically displays the horrors of the four years when Pol Pot ordered the murder of between 2m and 3m Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1975 and 1979. It is a sobering but enlightening place to visit.

We complete our day with a late afternoon visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. A football field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the Killing Fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed.

Phnom Penh is a city in transition and, despite its horrific recent history, is now starting to find its feet. Some of its former French colonial buildings have been restored and there is a small but lively restaurant and bar scene developing along the riverfront.

Accommodation: Ohana Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
To Siem Reap

Today, we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approximately eight hours). En route, we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy – fried spiders.

We also stop at Sambor Prei Kuk, the most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments in Cambodia and some of the oldest structures in the country. We’ll also pause for a traditional Khmer lunch at a community restaurant before continuing our journey to Siem Reap.

Accommodation: Angkor Holiday Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10
Full day exploring the temple complex at Angkor

We spend a full day exploring the temple complex at Angkor, which French explorer Henri Mouchot described as ‘grander than anything of Greece or Rome’. This Unesco World Heritage site stands alongside Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. A truly magical experience and a photographer’s paradise. One evening, we will watch the sun set over this magnificent scene.

We visit the incredible Angkor Wat and the many temples inside the royal city of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which comprises 54 intricately carved towers in one temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on a traveller in 1925 who stated ‘we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.’ We also see less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, the latter still covered in jungle as it was first found.

Accommodation: Angkor Holiday Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11
Further time at Angkor; free afternoon

This morning, we continue our exploration of the Angkor complex with a visit to the small but charming temple of Banteay Srei (22mi/35km from Siem Reap town). Our route takes us past paddy fields and through pretty villages.

Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century and contains some of the finest examples of Khmer sculpture. Although much smaller than the later temples, all of the buildings are covered in exquisite carvings. The afternoon is free for you to independently explore the temples, wander around Siem Reap town or visit a floating fishing village and enjoy a boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake (optional).

Accommodation: Angkor Holiday Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12
To Thailand; transfer to Bangkok

We have an early start and bid farewell to Cambodia, embarking on a longer journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok. The journey to the border can take up to three hours. After the border crossing (which usually takes up to an hour), we meet our Thai tour leader and have our first taste of Thai food at a local restaurant before continuing onto the capital of Bangkok. Famous for tuk tuks, khlong boats and incredible street food, Bangkok is an assault on the senses and provides a real contrast to sleepy Cambodia.

Accommodation: Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 13
Tour of Bangkok including Wat Pho, free time

We board a long-tail boat for a tour of the canals. Please note, there may be a possibility of larger groups being accommodated in a bigger boat. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass local people selling wares by the river. We also visit the home of the Thai royal family at the Royal Palace complex followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of the most venerated images in Thailand. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 151ft (46m) long, 49ft (15m) high gold-plated reclining Buddha.

Please note, when visiting the Royal Palace, clothes covering your shoulders and knees are a requirement for entry.

Accommodation: Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14
End Bangkok

The tour ends this morning in Bangkok after breakfast. Catch your free transfer to the airport to begin your journey home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels and a Mekong Delta homestay

Thai Indochina Explorer

We stay in comfortable hotels for 12 nights and spend one night in a homestay in the Mekong Delta. Most of the hotels are three-star (local classification). The normal accommodations used on this trip can be found on the day-to-day itinerary; however, below are a couple of the notable places we stay.

Mekong Delta: Island homestay (night 3)

Thai Indochina Explorer

Our time in a guesthouse allows us to experience true Delta hospitality, as we are looked after by local people and stay by the Mekong River. The rooms are relatively basic; bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided, while there are shared bathroom facilities with a shower. The real highlight though is the hospitality of our hosts, the lush garden, and the food (homemade southern Vietnamese cuisine).

Kampot: Boutique Kampot Hotel (nights 5-6)

Thai Indochina Explorer

In the downtown area, less than a 10-minute walk from the Kampot Night Market, this boutique hotel is well located for our adventures. There’s a ground-floor cafe, a continental breakfast served each morning, and you can head to the rooftop terrace for stretching views to the distant peaks.

Bangkok: Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel (nights 12-13)

Thai Indochina Explorer

The grand Rembrandt Bangkok has 405 hotel rooms with contemporary décor. The amenities are plentiful, with a pool on the fourth floor, a rooftop restaurant serving Indian cuisine and a Mexican eatery with authentic dishes and signature cocktails. Also make sure to stop by 1826 for one of their innovative cocktails – it’s been named one of the best rooftop bars in Asia.

Worth knowing

  • The accommodation listed on the day-to-day itinerary are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.
  • Single supplements are available (on request) except the one night at the homestay in the Mekong Delta. Please advise your sales representative at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.
  • At the Mekong Delta guesthouse, you share one to three people to a room depending on group size.

Single supplement from £ 445

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner are included.

The food on this trip is a real highlight for many. Southeast Asian cuisine is known for its abundance of freshly prepared dishes with strong aromatic flavours. There is a focus on herbs and citrus, ensuring each dish packs a punch; chilli features highly too, but is easily avoided if desired.

Typically most dishes will come with rice and many are often served in a banana leaf with a variety of dips and herbs served separately. Visiting three countries means a different culinary experience every time you cross the border; ensure you try freshly made pad Thai noodles from the Bangkok street stalls, the fish amok curry in Cambodia for a creamy coconut-based fragrant curry; and the banh xeo (huge sizzling pancakes) in Vietnam.

Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta.

Vegetarian food is widely available; however, the offering will be fairly similar in most places within each country. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.

Transport

Throughout the tour, we use a private coach/minibus, usually with air conditioning. Most of the driving days are not long, usually no more than four hours, but there are a few days taking between five and nine hours (with stops along the way). Road conditions are fine in Vietnam and Thailand but generally not so good in Cambodia but improving all the time, and progress can be slow there.

Weather & Seasonality

The weather will be hot and humid throughout, with daytime temperatures between 28C and 34C (82F and 93F). At times, it may reach 40C (104F). It is only a little cooler at nights. The region is mostly dry between December and April; there’s a rainy season from May to November, when rain comes in short, heavy bursts with bright sunshine between.

In Cambodia, the weather is hot and humid year round. The dry season is late October to May and the monsoon season is normally between June and September; there is an obvious transitional time between those settled periods. The dry season has hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower. The monsoon season has short, sharp bursts of rain and is generally overcast all day, though this does not detract from the enjoyment of the place; you just need to take an umbrella!

In Thailand, the weather patterns are very similar to Cambodia. Expect year-round temperatures of 23C-35C (73F-95F). The rainy season will normally run from June to September when you should expect short, sharp showers but the sun will normally break through.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Huong Sen Hotel, 66-70 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Phone: +84 28 3829 1415
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 20 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Bangkok Airport (BKK) from the end hotel.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Ho Chi Minh City
Location end: Bangkok

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Light cotton clothing is recommended for most of the trip, as it is generally hot and humid. Please remember, you will be expected to cover your legs (to the ankle) and arms (to the elbow) during visits to some temples and palaces
  • Sandals
  • A first-aid kit is carried on each trip, but you should bring your own with diarrhoea treatment, painkillers, rehydration sachets, plasters and a blister-treatment kit.
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Swim suit
  • Large refillable water bottle
  • Light waterproof or an umbrella
  • Torch (flashlight)

There will be plenty of opportunities to get laundry done locally at a very affordable price so it’s fine to pack light.

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Practical Information

Passport

To enter Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia your passport must:
  • Have an expiry date at least six months after the day you arrive in each country
  • Be undamaged (including no water damage)
  • Be complete (no pages missing)
Vietnam also specifically requests that you have at least two blank pages, though you also need sufficient blank pages for Thailand and Cambodia.

Visa

Cambodia

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Cambodia. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Important advice regarding e-Visas:

Please note, e-Visas are not accepted at all border checkpoints when travelling overland into Cambodia.

This applies to the following borders/trips:

  • Tinh Bien,Vietnam/Phnom Den, Takeo, Cambodia border: Thai Indochina Explorer (Trip Code: AOX) and Southeast Asia Express (AOK)
  • Xa Xia, Vietnam/Prek Chak, Cambodia (Ha Tien crossing): South East Asia Adventure (Trip Code: FIJ)

You can only purchase a tourist visa on arrival at these borders as e-Visas will not be accepted.

More information can be found at:

Thailand

Travellers from the UK, US and Canada normally do not need a visa to enter Thailand. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip.Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Vietnam

UK passport holders normally do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for visits up to 45 days, while those with a US or Irish passport normally do need a visa to enter. Visa requirements for EU citizens vary by country.

Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through. Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/vietnam
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/vietnam
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Vietnam.html

Vaccinations and Health

Cambodia

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please confirm your vaccine recommendations and requirements with your doctor or travel clinic.

Dengue fever, a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, is a known risk in places visited. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Thailand

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, tuberculosis and typhoid. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please confirm all the above with your doctor or travel clinic.

Dengue and zika, both viral diseases spread by mosquitoes, are a known risk in places visited. There are currently no vaccines or prophylaxes available, so take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Vietnam

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to speak to your doctor or travel clinic about vaccinations for hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may want to consult your doctor or travel clinic for further advice.

Similarly, dengue and zika, both viral diseases spread by mosquitoes, are known risks in Vietnam. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so we strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Local Time

Cambodia's time zone: Asia/Phnom_Penh (UTC +07:00)

Thailand's time zone: Asia/Bangkok (UTC +07:00)

Vietnam's time zone: Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh (UTC +07:00)

Electricity

Cambodia's electricity: Plug types A (two flat pins), C (two round pins) and G (three rectangular pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Thailand's electricity: Plug types A (two flat pins, US standard), B (three pins, US standard), C (two round pins, European standard) and F (two round pins) – 220V, 50Hz

Vietnam's electricity: Plug types A (two flat pins, US standard), C (two round pins, European standard) and F (two round pins) – 220V, 50Hz

Thai Indochina Explorer

Money

Cambodia's currency: Cambodian riel (KHR); however, US dollars are widely accepted

Thailand's currency: Thai baht (THB)

Vietnam's currency: Vietnamese dong (VND)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widespread in Southeast Asian cities and are the easiest way of obtaining money.

  • There is a minimum 150 Thai baht (US$4.50) fee for all ATM transactions in Thailand.
  • In Vietnam, it is possible to draw a maximum 2m Vietnamese dong (approximately US$85) in major cities in one go.
  • ATMs in Cambodia dispense money in US dollars or Cambodian riel.

Credit card acceptance is now widespread in Southeast Asian cities at restaurants and shops catering for tourists.

If you would like to bring cash, there will be ample opportunity for you to change this. British pounds and US dollars are both easily exchanged. As you will probably be carrying much of your money in cash, we strongly recommend using a money belt.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need about US$300-US$375 for all other meals, which will allow you to eat well. Apart from the food, you should allow money for the Cambodia visa and money to cover soft drinks (more if you like a beer/alcohol) and souvenirs.

Optional excursions

Siem Reap

  • Boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake: US$10 – price dependent on numbers

Tipping

Tipping has become customary in the countries visited with the increase in tourism. The local staff will probably expect some gratuity and we suggest you allow for this. This is entirely at your own discretion; however, we suggest you allow a few dollars for tips for the local guides and staff.

The leader will suggest to the group that they donate a sum of US$35 per person towards a kitty. This money is used for tipping local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc. It ensures the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. If you do not wish to contribute to a central tipping pool, you are, of course, free to do so.

If you feel your leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, US$3-US$6 per person per day would be a reasonable starting point.

The ‘tipping kitty’ explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities. During the trip, we use a local leader from either Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia and different local guides from each country, allowing guests to interact with staff from all countries.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • During the trip, we encourage clients to visit the Friends restaurant in Phnom Penh, a social enterprise run by local NGO Mith Samlanh. Behind the restaurant, the organisation offers food, water, shelter, medical care, training and educational facilities for more than 1,800 homeless, vulnerable or abandoned children every day. By visiting, our business goes towards changing the lives of these young people and giving them the right direction towards schooling, employment or back to their families.
  • Guests stay overnight and eat a delicious home-cooked meal in a homestay in the Mekong Delta.
  • We do a lot to celebrate cottage industries on this tour, as this directly benefits local people and is fascinating and enjoyable for travellers. For example, in the Mekong Delta, we visit small businesses and factories selling handmade coconut sweets, rice paper, soya bean sauce and popped rice among other things.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal-welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • When visiting landmarks and cultural sites such as the War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi tunnels, Angkor, the Royal Palace complex and Wat Po, our fees contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of these places.
  • We provide clients with a reusable, locally made tote bag at the start of the tour, offering an alternative to single-use plastic bags and a souvenir to take home.

 Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food, which has not been transported long distances.
  • We choose to travel by road from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, and not use flights throughout the itinerary.
  • Vegetarian options are available at most accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own reusable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Please remember, you will be expected to cover your legs and arms (to the elbow) during visits to temples and sacred sites so packing a sarong or other suitable clothing is recommended. Also remember to remove hats when visiting a sacred site.
    • Do not rest your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice as this symbolises the burning of incense (which is usually reserved for times of mourning).
    • One should not show the soles of their feet or touch someone’s head, both are considered disrespectful.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.