Highlights of Indochina tour

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01273 823 700

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2016: 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 13 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec, 25 Dec
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Holiday type

Small group adventure holiday

These small group journeys have a maximum of 16 like-minded travellers which ensures that all travellers have an amazing overall experience with the destination and that they enjoy the flexibility that comes with the small group dynamic. On this trip you will stay at boutique accommodation with character. Our numbers are discreet enough for us to interact with local families in their homes and meet people in markets, bazaars and temples Ė something thatís just not possible when you arrive as part of a large tour group. Along with our unique combination of Western tour leader and local English-speaking guide this will ensure an unforgettable travel experience.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Highlights of Indochina tour

We believe that travel should entail an exchange of knowledge and perspectives, a sharing of wealth, and a genuine appreciation of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laosís beautiful natural environments. This philosophy underpins the heart and soul of our style of travel. We recognise that poorly planned itineraries or poorly informed tourists contribute less to cross-cultural understanding and less to the livelihoods of local people.

This is an epic journey that is bound to stir the imagination. In Vietnam we experience wonderful diversity from industrial Saigon to beautiful Hanoi. At the latter there is the opportunity to visit Kotoís (know one, teach one) Ė a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training centre staffed by disadvantaged young people Ė to try their infamous Koto smoothie. Our offices also finance the Loretto Foundation in Saigon (which assists disadvantaged, poor and disabled children through education), and The Fred Hollows Foundation (which provides ophthalmologic services to underprivileged Vietnamese).

Journeying onwards through Laos we travel to Kuang Si waterfalls, one of the many beautiful waterfalls near Luang Prabang. On the way to the falls we stop at a Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre to gain a detailed insight in to the various ethnic minority groups which have been so central to the formation of present day Laos. We also stop at one of the larger local markets in Luang Prabang where you can see many products produced by the various ethnic minorities and learn more about the diverse range of natural products on offer.

In Cambodia we have facilitated a very significant donation to the World Monument Fund in Cambodia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the maintenance of a select number of archaeologically precious temples in Angkor. During this journey we actively encourage our travellers to patronise or financially assist numerous not-for-profit organisations in Cambodia including Made in Cambodia (which sells items made by underprivileged Cambodians) and the Sunrise Orphanage in Siem Reap. Our offices also finance the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, which provides health care services to poor Cambodians and through which we sponsor the training of a Cambodian nurse.

This small group tour to Vietnam include visits to the Streets International in Hoi An and the Spiral Foundation in Hue. Both of which are not for profit organisations that aim to help Vietnamese form a grass-roots level

Often from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds Streets provides young Vietnamese with skills, from front of house to qualified chefís, in the hospitality industry that will last them a lifetime. Based from the streets Cafe and Restaurant ,we have arranged for some of the students at Streets to give members of our groups a walking tour of one of one of Hoi Anís rarely visited markets as well as a walking tour of some of Hoi Anís back-streets that are rarely seen by tourists. In a group of two or three, and with a supervisor from the organisation present, these tours will help the students earn valuable credits towards their qualifications and give our travellers a truly unique insight into everyday life in Hoi An. Upon returning to Streets Cafe and Restaurant you can relax with a cold drink and sample some of the cafeís and students incredible food.

The Spiral foundation aims to help deaf and mute Vietnamese become self-sufficient and fully independent members of Vietnamese society. As artisans the employees of Spiral make jewellery and personal souvenirs with all profits going to various medical causes around Vietnam. As part of a small group you will see how they do this first hand and have a go at making your own souvenir to take away with you. We also make a donation for every client that visits the center that will hope will fund 15 open heart surgeries over the course of the year.

On this journey our local guides are trained to share their knowledge of cultural and other local issues in a balanced, informative way; in this journey alone you are likely to meet several local guides from different areas in Cambodia, and provinces in Vietnam and in Laos. They share real experiences from their own lives and insights into their family life, influences and beliefs, thus providing our travellers with a deeper understanding of the places they visit. This is what motivates our guides, not shopping commissions.

Our offices in Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) and in Vietnam (Saigon, Danang and Hanoi) are staffed with local people wherever possible and we have a long term aim of filling management roles with competent local staff. This presence in Vietnam and Cambodia means we are much better able to control the content, the actions of our suppliers, and the style of our small group journey.

Reviews of Highlights of Indochina tour

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 08 Mar 2013 by

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


I appreciated the variety - everything from overnight in a village in Vietnam and
being entertained by the locals in that beautiful place, to crawling through Cu
Chi tunnels (very dark)to Silk production, making rice paper ... also liked
Angkor Wat and associated temples, fascinating.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Jut go and enjoy it

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


I don't know about reduced environmental impact as I flew from the U.K. but we
did try to help local charities and gave tips to people who 'did' for us and
beggars.

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


Very good

Reviewed on 02 Dec 2012 by

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


Luang Prabang - such a pleasant place

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Ian Richards an exceptional tour leader

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


I was disappointed - whilst there was emphasis on plastic bags I found the guides explotative of local people. Two of us (the olders tow in the group) feslt very uncomforatble about the visits to 'untouristy ' villages and the prying involved - the guides didn't want to go to the usual 'toursity visllages' because of the toursits - yet these are the places where there is a psychological contract to invade..............When the two of us raised this with the tohers we were rather shocked to get their determination to get 'good photos' and complete oblivion to the human rights aspects

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


I hate tour groups so it was difficult - a little too much ephasis on the group! I needed to escape!
However I generally thoughts the info parts and the getting us from place to place and the quality of orgaisation ranged from good to excellent

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for the review of our Highlights of Indochina small group tour. It is very pleasing to hear that overall you had an enjoyable trip and that our tour leader Ian Richards left such an impression on you, he is indeed one of our most popular tour leaders and an asset to the company. We also canít help but agree with your assessment of Luang Prabang in Laos Ė it is a wonderfully ambient town and a staff favourite for sure!

Although we limit our passenger numbers to 16 on all departures our small group tours, as you state, are still just that, group tours. We do have a longer version of this journey which does include more free time but due to this one being a "highlights tour" we have to cut out some areas of free time in regions we would really like to include it in!

With reference to our local guides we are a little concerned to hear this as we directly employ many of our local guides and most of them have been with us for a number of years. I have forwarded your feedback to our local guide manager for him to review as heís always keen to improve the service we offer by tailoring the training our local guides receive.

Thank you again for your feedback.

With kind regards,

The Travel Indochina team

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