Indochina vacation adventure

“Two weeks exploring Laos and Cambodia, with celebrated sights and rarely visited gems, markets, local food and friendly people.”

Highlights

Laos: Luang Prabang | Mekong River boat trip | Pak Ou Caves | Kuang Si Waterfalls | Phonsavan Town | Plain of Jars | Mines Action Group | Vientiane Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Killing Fields site | Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum | Siem Reap | Angkor Wat | Tonle Sap Lake | Banteay Kdei ruins | Phnom Bahkeng Temple | Preah Khan | Ta Nei Temple | Battambang | Phnom Penh

Travel Team

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09 Oct 2019
US $2400
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01 Nov 2019
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24 Nov 2019
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25 Dec 2019
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19 Jan 2020
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15 Feb 2020
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14 Mar 2020
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11 Apr 2020
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09 May 2020
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03 Jun 2020
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28 Jun 2020
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25 Jul 2020
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22 Aug 2020
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22 Sep 2020
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22 Oct 2020
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23 Nov 2020
US $2500
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24 Dec 2020
US $2500
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Vouchers
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Indochina vacation adventure

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

As a Company, our intention is always to combine the well-known tourist sites with off-the-beaten-track ones, thus diverting tourist revenue and contact into areas not usually benefiting, as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.

On this Indochina Adventure tour this includes traveling to rarely visited destinations such as Phonsavan, The Sangkar River and Kompong Chhnang. By keeping our group sizes deliberately small (a maximum of 12 persons) we can limit our impact on sites and communities as much as possible. Small numbers also permit us to use local cafes plus street and market stalls for drinks, meals and shopping.

Hotels we use are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all, fully-licensed guides and drivers are locally employed.

All hotels and several of the restaurants used on this tour participate in educational and training projects for underprivileged youths.

We support various projects and this tour includes visits to the following: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) and the Osmose community based tourism project, Saray, in Prek Toal village Cambodia, as well as participating in a tour with Butterfly Tours in Battambang. In Battambang, the handicraft and cottage industries tours are organized by local students who, as well as helping to finance their studies and practice their language skills, also provides training for underprivileged rural youths.

In addition, during free time, we suggest organisations our guests might like to such as Artisans Angkor which is involved with the education and welfare of people from poor rural communities, and Phare Ponleu Selpak which supports children, young adults and their families with educational programs and social support.

Entrance fees and/or donations go towards restoration, conservation and local development in among other places visited: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) while a portion of ticket fees at: The Plain of Jars, Luang Prabang Fine Arts Centre, Luang Prabang National Museum, Wat Saket, Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng Museum, Prasart Kuhanokor, the Angkor Archeological Park, Prasart Ek Phnom (Battambang), Beng Melea Temple Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, support conservation.

Community

We endeavour to make our tours as supportive to the communities we visit as we possibly can. We do this in various ways including avoiding any chain or international hotels - all accommodation used on this tour is independently owned by local residents. Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on regional, traditional Lao and Khmer food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.

Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – is deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.

All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.

With regards souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy directly from fabricants’ houses in the case of our or either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such Artisans Angkor for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.

Our Phnom Penh Hotel funds educational projects for local children and orphanages, providing corresponding information for guests as well as suggesting appropriate donations. All staff members are local residents.

Our Siem Reap Hotel has a policy of employing all of its staff members from underprivileged families. The aim is to educate, train and reintegrate young people and orphans from poor backgrounds whose opportunities are otherwise limited by a lack formal education.

As a small company our support projects are localised and targeted and we currently assist aid schemes in both northern Thailand and Myanmar’s Shan State. But on a micro-level we support and assist the the: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) and Saray community based eco-tourism project.

All guides and most leaders are local, while any foreign leaders employed have lived in the local communities for long periods and are experienced in customs, culture and as much as possible, language. They all provide suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning; genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes; to be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travelers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices

By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.

By limiting groups to a maximum of 12 persons we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus offering a greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allowing us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators on a personal and friendly basis rather than dealing with establishments primarily equipped for larger groups of tourists.

2 Reviews of Indochina vacation adventure

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 04 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


the most memorable was learning that I was to be the sole traveler on the Group Tour!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you want a group tour, check how many in the group first. 1:1 when you don't want it is very oppressive and exhausting. It is also quite lonely & not what you expect

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We did visit organisations that supported the local community and hilltribes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Read the operator's response here:

As discussed in our emails with you, we are so sorry that your otherwise enjoyable tour of Laos and Cambodia was compromised by your being the only traveler for part of the time. When people book, we do always ask to be informed if you do not wish to travel in groups smaller than 4. In your case there seems to have been confusion as we guaranteed the departure at your request, in order for you to book your own flights, despite informing you that we had not got the usual minimum number.

Reviewed on 05 Feb 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Treking through the jungle and then meeting a hill tribe in Laos - drinking local whisky with the "chief." Meeting other lowland tribes in Laos. These visits gave us an appreciation of how people live (very different to our own lives!) A day sailing down the Ou river into the Mekong river and another day sailing down the Sangker river in Cambodia. Visit to the Golden Triangle and a very enjoyable stay in Luang Prabang. Eating with fellow travelers, enabling us to sample different local dishes chosen by our guide (who was obviously much more knowledgeable about this and could also communicate in the relevant language). Visiting the killing fields in Cambodia - very thought provoking and sombre experience. Having a really excellent company guide in Thailand and Laos and getting on well with other travelers (most important).

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take a couple of sweaters and a fleece. We visited in January and although days in Laos were warm nights were cold in the northern part (had electric blankets on the bed at the riverside chalet in Nong Khiaw). This was a complete contrast to Thailand and Cambodia which were both warm enough in the evening for no sweater. Waterproof your walking shoes before setting out on your vacation. Make sure you have lots of small denomination notes in the different currencies (including dollars) to use for tips. Make sure you build in a substantial allowance for tips. These do add up as, whilst not compulsory, they can include company guide, local guide, drivers of the various transports and accommodation staff.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes we stayed in small local guest houses, lodges/chalets and hotels. We ate locally produced food at smallish restaurants and visited local enterprises where we could buy their products. In Laos our group size was 8 so visits to different tribes were not as intrusive as they might have been with a large group.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Thoroughly enjoyable, we had a variety of very stimulating and interesting experiences. We felt we were in the company of likeminded fellow travelers, which obviously added to the enjoyment.

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