Epic Bangkok to Singapore

21 Days from $2,330

START: Bangkok

FINISH: Singapore

AGES: 18 - 29

THEME: 18 to 29s

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

This 21-day epic takes you from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the hectic jungle of Khao Sok and ends in ultra-modern Singapore. Sleep on a raft, kick back at Krabi and eat your way through Penang and Singapore. If this trip was a dish it would taste like Singapore’s chilli crab. Hot enough to keep you on your toes with a whopping great serve of salty ocean on the side.

Start: Bangkok

Finish: Singapore

Ages: 18 - 29

Theme: 18 to 29s

Accommodation: Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (9 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights), Raft House (1 night), Hilltribe Village House (1 night), Hostel (3 nights)

Destination: Singapore

Highlights

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Get your street food fix in bustling Bangkok and hit the nightlife in cruisy Chiang Mai, where the Nimman area is swarming with hipster bars and lounges.
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Trek deep – super deep – into the northern Thai hinterland staying in a traditional hilltribe village, eating and laughing with the locals.
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Learn the art of Muay Thai with a class in Chiang Mai. You’ll be defending yourself in no time!
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Khao Sok National Park is like stepping into another world. Cruise along the Cheow Lan Lake and spend a night on the banks in a rafthouse.
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How about jumping on a long tail boat and heading into the spectacular limestone cove of Railay Beach? It’s only accessible by water, but is definitely worth the trip.
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Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic urban centre to dig your teeth into. Master the metro, tackle the Petronas towers and explore the colourful Batu Caves.
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Eat on the roadside in Penang and get a taste of everything delicious in one of Singapore’s hawker centres.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. Once you’ve hit Khao San Road, you’re officially on holiday. There’s a welcome meeting at around 6 pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you arrive early perhaps take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or head to the magnificent Grand Palace. Our pick for cocktails is Bed Supper Club or Vertigo. Ask your guide for directions or grab your new travel mates and attempt to navigate the Skytrain.

icon check Day 2 : Sukhothai

Take a six-hour local bus to Sukhothai, AKA the ‘dawn of happiness’. That sounds like a pretty swell place to spend a day, right? Pick yourself up a pushy, and head out on a guided cycle tour of Sukhothai’s Historical Park and World Heritage-listed ancient city. Roll your bike around the temples and other archaeological relics within the area. Apparently riding a bike helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the bit of your brain responsible for memory. This is great, cos now you won’t forget all the gorgeous temples you cycle past today.

icon check Day 3 : Chiang Mai

Rise and shine for a five-hour private minivan drive to hillside Chiang Mai. Stop in at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang to meet some big-footed friends being nursed back to good health. Arrive in Chiang Mai in the late afternoon. With over 120 temples in the city centre alone, you can easily while away a few hours doing a temple run. On the other hand, if you’re all templed out, perhaps hit up the Night Bazaar and get haggling.

icon check Day 4 : Chiang Mai

Today you're free as a bird, maybe get flying on the Jungle Flight ziplining and negotiate the zipline and canopy course within the treetops. Or take an optional excursion to the temple at the top of Doi Suthep, which offers fantastic views over the city. Perhaps spoil yourself with a traditional Thai massage or try your hand at a local cooking class. It's totally up to you.

icon check Day 5 : Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong is a seriously good-looking tea plantation way up in the hills of the Golden Triangle. Not only are the views incredible, you’ll also get to meet some seriously lovely hill-tribe villagers as you wander. Today travel by public bus and minivan to Doi Mae Salong via Mae Chan (approximately five hours in total). It's the perfect place to relax and kick back for the day. Make sure you enjoy a cup of tea in a traditional Chinese teahouse overlooking the mountains. Check out the interesting market, which is full of produce and crafts made by hill tribe people. For something a little more adventurous, why not climb up the 719 steps to see the town’s Buddhist temple?

icon check Day 6 : Chiang Rai

While the Golden Triangle may have gained a little unwanted notoriety in the 1920s for its opium trade, today it remains a lush, mountainous, traditional intersection of Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma. In the morning take a three-hour ride in a minivan to this famous border. Pay a visit to the House of Opium Museum for a deeper insight into this area's problematic past. Continue your travels for around two hours to Chiang Rai, where you’ll stay the night. Perhaps head to Chiang Rai's night market, which is a great place to pick up some hill tribe handicrafts. 

icon check Day 7 : Chiang Mai/Overnight sleeper train

Like your temples creepy and kooky and quirky and weird? Good thing we’re stopping in at the White Temple this morning. Although it can be crowded with tourists, this temple is a modern wonder. In the afternoon, take a three-and-a-half-hour public bus back to Chiang Mai and board an overnight train for Bangkok (approximately 13 hours). Soft sleeper class trains are used for the overnight journey. The compartments are multi-share with air-conditioning and bunk beds that come with sheets and a pillow. Baggage travels in the carriage with you, and there's a food and drink service available on-board.

icon check Day 8 : Bangkok

Your train is scheduled to arrive into Bangkok early this morning. Transfer back to the hotel where the trip started. As there are no more activities planned for today, Enjoy a free day in Bangkok. Check out the areas you missed the first time around, and a chance to eat some more delicious Bangkok street food! The composition of your group might change today. Meet your new leader and group at the meeting at approx. 6 pm tonight.

icon check Day 9 : Bangkok – Overnight Train

Explore some of Bangkok's oldest neighborhoods on a walking tour with your leader. Visit the local Talad Noi Market, Chinese Temple and find hidden street art installations. Pass by Wat Pho and perhaps stop in to see who can spot the most images of Buddha. Rumour has it there are up to 1000. Then you'll cruise along the Chao Praya, and the afternoon is free for you to explore the sites of Bangkok as you please. Visiting the Grand Palace is recommended. Tonight, board your overnight train to Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).

icon check Day 10 : Khao Sok National Park

Arrive in Surat Thani early in the morning, then transfer by bus to Khao Sok National Park. It's an amazing environment, so colourful and vivid it almost looks like it's been CGI'd. These dense rainforests are abuzz with exotic animals and plants, and some walking trails lead to awesome waterfalls alongside the huge Cheow Lan Lake. Cruise along it and see the limestone cliffs set against the jungle backdrop. Stay in a simple raft house, which is literally ON the lake. Wait till you see the view when you wake up.

icon check Day 11 : Ao Nang

This morning you will take a longtail boat back to the pier (approx 50 mins) and then travel by minibus to Ao Nang, Krabi (approx 2.5 hours) Home to sweet white-sand beaches and limestone karsts jutting out of cerulean waters Krabi is a picture perfect paradise. The main street of this lively beachside town has heaps of bars and restaurants to grab a beer or meal at.

icon check Day 12 : Ao Nang

That's the trouble with paradise – there's too many ways to enjoy it. Today's a free day, so that means time to kayak or climb the karst rock formations that surround this place. If you take an optional kayaking activity you can head to Ao Thalane and paddle through mangrove forests, coves and narrow karst-walled canyons, keeping an eye out for kingfishers, herons and crab-eating macaque monkeys.

icon check Day 13 : Ao Nang

Today is yours. You are free as a bird. An island-hopping day trip is a great way to get a real sense of just how amazing this part of Thailand is. You can take a longtail boat out to stunning islands like Phi Phi, where the swimming is great and the views are even better. Like exotic, far-out film locations. You'll never tire of looking up at those karsts towering above the turquoise. The real adventure-types might opt to go rock-climbing. Either way you approach it, paradise is paradise.

icon check Day 14 : Penang

Today is a long travel day by minivan. Sit back, relax and Thailand disappear in the rearview mirror. Next stop: Malaysia! Cross the border Wang Prajan (the Thai checkpoint) and Wang Kelian (the Malaysian checkpoint). Penang is Malaysia's prized island. You may have heard that people from Penang are serious about their food, and it is delicious, but there is so much more to this place, such as a gorgeous coastline and a colonial heritage which thrives amid the skyscrapers over Georgetown. The Georgetown area is a cool (and World Heritage-listed) blend of religious sites of worship.

icon check Day 15 : Penang

Today your leader will take you on a guided orientation walk through the Georgetown area to check out the shophouses, Penang Museum, street art and clan jetties. When you have become old friends with this place, the rest of the day is yours. Check out Kek Lok Sii (the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia), Khoo Kongsi (amazingly ornate and one of the oldest clan houses in Malaysia), Cheong Fat Tze Museum (fascinating if you have an interest in Feng Shui). Then, perhaps go looking for delicious food. This place is famous for its cuisine, thanks to many cultures that have lived side-by-side here for ages. Be sure to try a refreshing ice kacang (a dessert made with crushed ice, syrup and a mixture of jellies, nuts and sweet beans), or a hearty nasi kandar (steamed rice accompanied by curries, fried chicken, seafood or vegetables). Or take to the unspoilt trails of Malaysia's smallest National Park at Teluk Bahang. What'll really help? Choosing to join an optional food experience at the local night market. Penang prides its self on its food, and local life centres around eating, so when in Rome (or Penang)! Today’s challenge: see if you can find the hawker stall on Kimberley St where Lean Joo Sean has been selling char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) since 1954. You can’t miss his white chef’s hat and the queue of hungry punters.

icon check Day 16 : Kuala Lumpur

You will have a free morning before setting off for Malaysia’s capital today. A short taxi ride will take you to the ferry terminal and then you will take the ferry to Butterworth (20 minutes), and then take the train to Kuala Lumpur (approximately 4 hours). The train will have you arrive into Kuala Lumpur in the evening. If you’re still awake, head out to a bar with a view and take in the city’s lights over a cocktail.

icon check Day 17 : Kuala Lumpur

Tried a durian yet? They stink, but they taste pretty good. Make sure you get a map and venture out on some walking adventures. You can hit Bukit Bintang, the Golden Triangle (for shopping), or Menara Tower (entry fee applies). If you're up for a day trip, the shrine-filled limestone caves of Batu Caves are an awesome sight and accessible by train from Kuala Lumpur.

icon check Day 18 : Kuala Lumpur

Today is another free day to explore KL. Get up early to get your tickets to see two of the world's very tallest buildings, the Petronas Towers. Ask your leader how the system works! The evening is best spent at the night market sampling the different cuisines on offer and bargain-hunting among the stalls of the famous Petaling Street. 

icon check Day 19 : Melaka

An intriguing blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese cultures, Melaka has a wealth of interesting architecture, distinctive food and proud cultural heritage. Take a public bus there (approximately 3 hours in total) and enjoy a free afternoon. Once the most important trading port of Malaysia, Melaka attracted Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders, and this diversity is reflected in its overall vibe. Check out Harmony Street where these communities have their places of worship, with a church, mosque, and a couple of different temples all on the one street. Peace out!

icon check Day 20 : Singapore

A public bus journey (approximately 5 hours) takes you to Singapore. Your leader will take you on a walk to give you an introduction to this ever-evolving city. There will be time to take in the retail hot spots and the 'booming cross-cultural culinary scene' before enjoying a final evening with your fellow travellers. It'll be a time to reflect. Who ate the most chilli? Who at the most durians? Who even ate one durian? When can we all pack up and move to Asia forever? Etcetera.

icon check Day 21 : Singapore

Farewell your newfound friends as your trip comes to an end today.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

6 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners
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Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Public bus, Songthaew, Taxi
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Accommodation

Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (9 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights), Raft House (1 night), Hilltribe Village House (1 night), Hostel (3 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Singapore - Leader Led Orientation Walk

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Astera Sathorn Hotel

143 South Sathorn Rd., Yannawa, Sathorn

Bangkok

10120

THAILAND

Phone: 22127090

Fax: 22123610

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Hotel MI Singapore

41 Bencoolen Street, Singapore

Singapore

189623

SINGAPORE

Phone: +65 62518822

Fax: +65 62663126

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and excludes Days 7 & 9 (Overnight Train) and Day 10 (Raft House) where you will be in shared accommodation.

2. Please provide your full name as per passport and passport number 45 days prior to departure in order to secure the train ticket in Malaysia. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

On this trip between Bangkok and Singapore your Group Leader will usually be a Thai national who is experienced in travelling in Malaysia and Singapore.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-field

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.

Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

THAILAND:

If entering by air most nationalities will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival. If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (some exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.

If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.

MALAYSIA:

Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.

SINGAPORE:

Most nationalities do not require a visa to visit Singapore. Tourists not requiring a visa will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival. Other nationalities should check with their Singapore embassy or consulate.

BORDER CROSSINGS:

Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The following are the international/administrative border crossings for this trip:

On Day 7 we cross the border from Thailand to Malaysia

- The Thailand border is Wang Pra Jan

- The Malaysia border is Wang Kelian

On Day 13 we cross the border from Malaysia to Singapore

- The Malaysia border is Johor Bahru

- The Singapore border is Singapore

To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website useful - http://www.timeanddate.com

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

The excitement of cities like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur can be overwhelming, but with the insider knowledge of your local leader you can cut through the chaos and bee-line it to the hottest spots

Dumbo isn't the only elephant that needs saving. Travel by private minivan to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital and witness the awesome work these guys do on a daily basis

Bike? Check. Shades? Check. Wind in your hair? Check. Sukhothai's Historical Park is the kind of dreamscape you don't have to wake up from. Unless the park closes that is

Khao Sok National Park is like stepping into another world – an essential experience in Thailand, nature-lover or not

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

You will visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

This trip involves some long journeys on the road, lots of public transport (songthaews, public buses) and 2 overnight train journeys, which can be tiresome. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a true local experience and the best way to travel long distances, meet locals and maximise time at your destinations.

On the overnight trains occasionally passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and/or you'll be sharing with locals or travellers from other groups. For your own security, take a lock for your luggage.

This trip is designed with a lot of free time, rather than set included activities to give you the flexibility and space for making your own discoveries. This is a great way to travel independently while drawing on the knowledge of local leaders.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

DENGUE FEVER:

Dengue fever occurs in Thailand, and is particularly common during the rainy season (November-March in Koh Samui and the south-east of the Thai peninsula and May-October in the rest of Thailand, including Phuket), peaking in July and August. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue fever.

MALARIA:

Malaria can be contracted throughout the year in rural areas, particularly near the borders with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Speak to your doctor about preventative medication if you are concerned about malaria.

OTHER:

Other mosquito borne illnesses, such as Japanese encephalitis also occur in some areas.

Always take preventative measures to protect yourself against mosquitoes such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

BOX JELLY FISH

Box jelly fish have been reported in Thailand waters throughout the year. Please be aware of this when swimming alone and follow any warnings from local authorities. Stings require immediate medical treatment and fatalities have been known to occur.

AIR POLLUTION

From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution.

ZIKA VIRUS:

There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

AIR POLLUTION AND SMOKE HAZE:

Bangkok and other Thai cities experience high levels of air pollution, which may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. These can be particularly high between the months of December and February. Smoke haze, which usually occurs across parts of north and north-east Thailand during March to April, can also aggravate these conditions. Regular air quality reports are available from the following website http://aqicn.org/city/bangkok/

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

SPENDING MONEY:

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

MEALS NOT INCLUDED

We recommend USD450 for meals not included.

EMERGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

The official currency of Thailand is the baht (THB). The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via ATMs which are available in most towns and cities. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels and more upmarket shops and shopping centres.

The official currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar (SGD).

TIPPING

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Carrying small notes of local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult.

Optional Tipping Kitty:

On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.

Please note this is a combination trip made up of 2 sections. There will be the option of contributing to a group tipping kitty on both sections of this trip.

Day 1 Optional tipping kitty for this section: THB 150 to THB 200 per person

Day 8 Optional tipping kitty for this section: THB 320 to THB 340 per person

Your Tour Leader:

You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, we have established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. We aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.

A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

MAIN LUGGAGE What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances (maximum of 30 minutes) including up and down stairs and in busy train stations. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Smaller bags are also better for fitting in storage areas of public transport. Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are suitable, or if you prefer, a back pack is also a good option. It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). DAY PACK A day pack for carrying essentials when exploring destinations. On overnight trains packing this with the essentials you need to access during the trip will also be very useful. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing: A mixture of covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers (depending on the season) are recommended. It is best to check the weather and seasonal information before travelling. Dress standards are conservative in Malaysia and parts of Thailand, especially outside major cities. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot climate. For visits to religious sites you will also need to wear clothing that covers shoulders and pants/skirts that go past the knee. Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes. - Wind and waterproof jacket - Comfortable shoes for walking and hiking: Closed-in shoes that are comfortable to walk for an entire day are recommended to protect your feet on city and countryside walks as well as longer treks. For longer hikes comfortable and supportive shoes with good grip are best. - Sandals/flip flops: Sandals with straps or shoes which are not likely to fall off are preferable for any water based activities. Easy to remove shoes are also good in the heat and for visits to religious sites. - Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Toiletries RECOMMENDED: - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and adhesive bandages. - Insect repellent - Water bottle. We recommend a 1.5litre capacity. While drinking tap water is not recommended some hotels will have filtered drinking water available. - Camera with spare batteries/power bank. You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items most days, however a spare battery or power bank are recommended. - Electrical adapter plug - reusable shopping bag for buying supplies - torch/flashlight - travel wipes, hand sanitiser - small towel - ear plugs & eye mask - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

GRAND PALACE, BANGKOK - DRESS CODE: On the 13th of October 2016 the Thai Government announced the passing of his majesty, the King of Thailand. This is a time for deep sorrow for Thai people. During this time of mourning, strict dress codes have been put in place for entry into the Grand Palace. You must wear dark (preferably black) full length pants or skirt down to your ankle and a Dark coloured t-shirt, shirt or blouse. Shoulders must be covered. Thai officials at the Grand Palace are enforcing this strict dress code and will not allow entry if you are not following these directions. Although on this itinerary the Grand Palace is not an included activity you may want to visit it in your own free time. We want to make you aware of this so as you can pack accordingly

PROHIBITED ITEMS IN SINGAPORE According to Singapore law, many items are prohibited from being brought into the country, or need to be declared. Prohibited items include (but are not limited to) tobacco products, any substance containing nicotine (including electronic cigarettes) and chewing gum. Please refer to the Singapore Government website for further information https://www.customs.gov.sg/individuals/going-through-customs/arrival/prohibited-and-controlled-goods

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

RAMADAN & EID AL-FITR:

In Malaysia, a country with a large Muslim population, the month of Ramadan is referred to as the ‘fasting month’, which culminates with the biggest Muslim holiday in Malaysia: Eid al Fitr or ‘Idul Fitri’. This ninth month on the Islamic Hijri calendar is considered the holiest month by Muslims, commemorating the first revelation of the Quranic verses to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. In bigger cities like Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown where there are many residents of Chinese origin as well as in popular tourist destinations there will be little disruption to services or being able to find places to eat. In other areas with a bigger Muslim population, businesses and services may have limited operation hours, alcohol may not be permitted during daylight hours and restaurants closed. Please note that drivers and leaders of Muslim faith are likely to be fasting over Ramadan. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Dates for Ramadan are: 16 May-14 June 2018, 5 May - 4 June 2019, 23 April - 23 May 2020.

Dates for Eid Al-Fitr are: 14-15 June 2018, 4-5 June 2019, 23-24 May 2020

LUNAR NEW YEAR:

Also known as Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, is the biggest and most important annual festival for Chinese and the Chinese communities world wide. During the first days of Chinese New Year many businesses close, as Chinese business owners are visiting their relatives in their home towns or home countries.Traveling during this time can be hectic as many people are on the move. Public transport and flights can be packed in the days leading up to the festivities, with traffic jams and delays common. Plenty of patience is required if you are in Malaysia during this time, but the festive atmosphere and local traditions make it an interesting time to be in the country. Public holidays in Malaysia for Lunar New Year are: 5-6 Feb 2019 & 25-27 Jan 2020.

OTHER HOLIDAYS:

Other major national public holidays in Malaysia are:

Malaysia Day: 16-17 Sep 2018, 16 Sep 2019

Agong's (Malaysian King) Birthday: 9-10 Sep 2018, 9 Sep 2019

Vesak (Buddha's birthday): 19-20 May 2019, 7 May 2020

Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year): 11 Sep 2018, 1-2 Sep 2019

Deepavali (Diwali): 6 Nov 2018, 27-28 Oct 2019

Hari Raya Haji: 22-23 Aug 2018, 11-12 Aug 2019

Malaysia Day: 16-17 Sep 2018, 16 Sep 2019

Prophet Muhammad's Birthday: 20 Nov 2018, 9 Nov 2019

CHINESE NEW YEAR:

An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2019, the Year of the Pig is scheduled to be held from 5th February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.

SONGKRAN FESTIVAL DEPARTURE 2019

The Songkran Festival is celebrated to mark the Lao New Year. The festival runs from the 13th to the 16th of April. Traditionally houses and villages are properly cleaned in preparation for the New Year, flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images, young people pour water over the elders for good luck. Songkran Festival is often referred to as the “water festival” as it is now common to throw water over each other during the festival period.

Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

The following departures will be operated during Songkran:

7th of April 2019

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

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GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid's Thailand office: +66 898 103 722

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:

While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS

Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME

Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION

If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Guesthouse (4 nights),Hotel (13 nights),Overnight sleeper train (2 nights),Raft House (1 night)

Kenya Safari!

Win a Classic African Adventure Tour to Kenya Overland Safari. Every NOVICA product purchased through the end of the year qualifies as an entry. Let the journey begin!
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