Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia small group vacation

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28 Jan 2020
US $2210
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08 Feb 2020
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14 Mar 2020
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01 Aug 2020
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17 Oct 2020
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06 Nov 2021
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27 Nov 2021
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18 Dec 2021
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Vietnam is a cultural treasure trove, offering up several UNESCO World Heritage sites like the ancient traders town of Hoi An and the turquoise waters of Halong Bay. When we visit these fascinating sights not only do we learn about Vietnam’s rich history and diverse culture, but our entrance fees help to contribute to the upkeep of these special places, ensuring they are looked after for generations to come. We also include an overnight train journey on this trip. Traveling by public transport is not only a great way to get a flavour of the country and mix with local people; it’s better for the environment as it reduces our reliance on specially chartered vehicles.

Cambodia is a country with a difficult past and the more recent influx of tourists has brought with it not only much needed foreign revenue but also ecological and environmental issues. The Tourism Industry in Cambodia is starting to look at responsible travel in more depth but it has been slow progress. The country is considered to be one of the most environmentally vulnerable in Asia, having lost a large percentage of its natural rain forest through illegal logging with resulting soil erosion adding to the difficulties experienced by local people.

One of the biggest problems in Cambodia is heavy polluting vehicles that plough through the towns and countryside. We only use small, efficient minibuses that are much more sustainable, as well as boats where possible as a means of transport.

We encourage our guests to carry refillable water bottles which can be purchased from us before the trip. This reduces the need to purchase single use plastic bottles and more and more of our customers are joining in.

On this trip we stay in small local hotels in both Phnomh Penh and Siem Reap. We also do not include a lot of meals on the trip to ensure that our customers have the opportunity to eat in smaller local restaurants which has a beneficial impact on the local community and a positive environmental impact in that produce is not imported or transported over distance.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. Cool Earth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Hoi An is known for the beautiful lanterns that traverse its narrow streets, glowing a multitude of colours by night. In our free time here we have the option to visit a local lantern factory, where we learn about the skills involved in making lanterns by hand, skills that have been passed down over generations. We even have the chance to buy and make our own, supporting the local artisans and their beautiful craftwork right at the source.

In Cambodia, we help to support vulnerable communities through business; during our free time in Siem Reap we may choose to visit the land mine museum which helps to support affected families and land mine clearance. In Phnom Penh our Tour Leader will organise a group meal at the ‘Friends’ restaurant, where young people with limited resources are trained on all aspects of running a restaurant. This organisation also has worked with our hotels to ensure children are not exploited in any way.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

Climate

1 Reviews of Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia small group vacation

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 28 Dec 2019 by

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


The people in our group were excellent. Halong bay, Anker wat and Han hoi were the best

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


Drinking water is provided or easily available so a filter bottle is not necessary but a refillable bottle is useful. There are good cheap options to wash clothes so pack less

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


The staff were local and benefited, I chose a vacation with train travel rather than internal flights, I hope the operator chose a tailor to take us to to who does not exploit people or child labour

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


The vacation was very good overall. If we traveled independently we would have spent less time in big cities, would chose different restaurants.

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