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Vietnam/Cambodia

This 17-day program offers a combination of guided excursions and free time to explore beaches and ruins, urban culture and awe-inspiring landscapes. Cruise the Mekong for a day. Overnight on a traditional sailing junk in Halong Bay. Witness the heights of Cambodia's past at Angkor Wat, and contemplate its lows by walking the infamous Killing Fields. Although many activities are included, there is still plenty of time to explore on your own and create the ultimate adventure.


Itinerary

July 11 : Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi at any time.

July 12 : Hanoi/Halong Bay (B,L,D)

Enjoy a Ha Long Bay cruise on a junk boat with visits to a cave and an island lookout. Savour a seafood lunch and dinner.

July 13 : Halong Bay/Huế (B,L)

Cruise back to the port and take a private van to Hanoi. Enjoy some time in the city before an overnight train to Hue.

July 14 : Huế

Guided tour of the Imperial Citadel, Royal Tomb and Tien Mu Pagoda. Optional countryside motorbike tour.

July 15 : Huế/Hoi An (B)

Drive the Hai Van pass. Take advantage of Hoi An's many options over the 2.5 days in town. Opt for a cooking class, riverboat trip, bike ride, beach time, tailor visit or My Son ruins.

July 16 : Hoi An (B, L)

Spend two full days exploring all Hoi An has to offer. Dive into the culture, hang out on the beach or get clothes tailor-made in one of the many shops around town. Enjoy a noodle making demonstration and lunch at Oodles of Noodles, a G Adventures-supported project.

July 17 : Hoi An (B)

Spend a free day exploring all Hoi An has to offer.

July 18 : Hoi An/Ho Chi Minh City (B)

Fly from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City with free time to explore this hectic city.

July 19 : Ho Chi Minh City (B)

Guided tour of Cu Chi Tunnels in the morning, free time in the afternoon.

July 20 : Mekong Delta (B)

Enjoy a boat cruise through the villages, islands, and markets of the Mekong Delta, and visit traditional candy factories.

July 21 : Ho Chi Minh City/Phnom Penh (B)

Travel day with border crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. Enjoy a cyclo tour through the city to benefit a local organization.

July 22 : Phnom Penh (B)

Guided tour of Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 Prison) and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields). Opt to visit the Royal Palace, the National Museum or the Central Market.

July 23 : Phnom Penh/Siem Reap (B)

Drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the home base for exploring incredible Angkor Wat.

July 24 : Siem Reap (B)

Enjoy a guided tour of the Angkor Wat temple complex. Opt to visit the Tonlé Sap floating village and the Angkor National Museum. Enjoy a traditional meal of Khmer food either at a local home in a village outside the city.

July 25 : Siem Reap (B)

Spend another day in Siem Reap, exploring more temples of Angkor or going further afield.

July 26 : Bangkok (B)

Cross into Thailand on this long travel day. Spend an evening exploring Bangkok.

July 27 : Bangkok

Depart at any time. We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this lively city.

Detailed Itinerary

July 11 : Hanoi

Arrive in bustling Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. As passengers will be arriving at various times today, there are no planned activities. Some suggestions include: Taking a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter – a maze of streets, each one traditionally devoted to a different product or industry. In the evening attend a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theatre. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) or Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Museum. The Mausoleum houses the remains of Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of the unified Vietnam.

You will have a scheduled group meeting in the evening around 6 PM. Please check at the reception desk or look for a G Adventures notice board with details of the actual meeting time. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your tour leader and fellow group members.

We overnight in the city center of Hanoi.

July 12 : Hanoi/Halong Bay (B,L,D)

A 4 hour drive takes us to Bai Chay harbor, our entry point to Halong Bay.

Thousands of islands rise dramatically from the waters of Halong Bay and, to further their beauty, intricate cave systems naturally exist throughout these limestone karst formations. Board a traditional junk boat at Ha Long Bay harbor and cruise out onto serene waters. Marvel at massive limestone karst mountains jutting out of the water, creating unforgettable spectacular scenery. Swim, kayak or go cave exploring on one of the islands, if conditions are right. Indulge in fresh seafood meals with a variety of dishes to sample. Drift to sleep in a cozy cabin on board.

On rare occasion Halong Bay is closed to tourist vessels by the government authorities due to extreme weather conditions. Should this occur, an alternate activity will be provided

Estimated travel time:
Hanoi to Halong Bay is 4 hours by private bus. Toilet stops can be made en route.

July 13 : Halong Bay/Huế (B,L)

Enjoy breakfast on board before a morning sail back to the port. Drive back to Hanoi for a little more time to enjoy the city before boarding an overnight train. You have enough time for shopping or further sightseeing until our overnight train to Hue.

Train travel in Vietnam is very basic and train cleanliness is often not a priority for train staff. Sleeper trains normally have 4 seats per compartment, which convert into sleeping bunks (two upper and two lower). A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although many people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. At times, passengers of different genders may be required to share a sleeper train berth and/or share a compartment with people not traveling in your group.

Simple food is available on the train but many people like to stock up on freshly baked bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure. Water should also be bought before the journey.

Estimated travel time:
Halong Bay to Hanoi is 4 hours by private bus. Toilet stops can be made en route.
Overnight sleeper train Ha Noi to Hue is approximately 14 hours.

July 14 : Huế

Arrive early to Hue, once the imperial capital of Vietnam. We start with an Imperial Citadel tour of the one-time capital city and UNESCO World Heritage site. See the walled fortress and former palace, which has many palaces, gateways, courtyards, and gardens to explore. The Forbidden Purple City (modelled on China's Forbidden City) inside the citadel was once home to the imperial family and was significantly damaged during the Vietnam War.

We then visit Tien Mu, one of the tallest and, perhaps, most elegant pagodas in Vietnam, at seven stories high. Take a step back in time touring this historic temple - built more than 400 years ago along the north shore of the Perfume River, it has been the site of many political protests.

Later, visit the Royal Tombs along the Perfume River in Hue. Embracing the concept of Feng Shui, these tombs are extremely ornate and provide fantastic insight into the lives of the former rulers.

After, opt for a vegetarian lunch at a local nunnery. With your free time in afternoon, you may want to take an optional motorbike tour of the area. Hop on the back of a motorbike and let your professional driver take you out into the countryside. Explore rice paddy landscapes and see local villagers at work in the fields. Take in temples, shops, a scenic overlook or two, or, perhaps, an ancient covered bridge – routes can vary on these interesting rides.

While in the city, try some local Hue specialties such as banh khoai (Hue savory pancakes), and banh bot loc boc tom thit (thin rice paper filled with meat and shrimp). Wash it all down with a Hue beer.

July 15 : Huế/Hoi An (B)

This morning we begin our drive to Hoi An. After crossing over the Hai Van Pass (weather permitting), with fantastic views in all directions, before arriving in Hoi An in the afternoon for our three night stay.

Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an important trading town with strong south Chinese influence and connections. You can take a walking tour of this living museum which includes the Museum of History and Culture, the Tan Ky house, the Japanese bridge, the Fujian Assembly Hall and lunch at a riverside restaurant to sample some of the local delicacies. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca for tourists in the region. Tailors can produce virtually anything overnight, with clothing, silk lanterns, lacquer ware and many other crafts abound. For sun worshipers, Cua Dai Beach, 4kms from town, makes for a great, flat bike ride.

Estimated travel time:
Hue to Hoi An by private minivan is approx 4 hours.

July 16 : Hoi An (B, L)

Spend two full days exploring all Hoi An has to offer. Dive into the culture, hang out on the beach or get clothes tailor-made in one of the many shops around town.

We get together as a group for an included lunch. Try some of the oodles of noodles (more than 26 types!) available in the city in this tasty cooking class. Run by Planeterra Foundation partners, STREETS International, the class was developed exclusively for G Adventures. Former street youth that are part of this hospitality training program, will help you prepare and cook a number of different types of noodles. This program helps these youth practice their English, increasing their skill-set and opportunities available to them in the tourism industry. Enjoy your yummy creations while learning more about the local cuisine and this initiative which empowers street youth through skills and employment training.

You may want to continue your culinary education in the evening. Take an optional cooking class to learn more about Vietnamese food and its distinct flavors. Tour the local market to buy fresh ingredients before preparing some popular regional dishes. Enjoy your creations when you're done!

July 17 : Hoi An (B)

Spend a free day exploring all Hoi An has to offer.

One suggested option activity is a day trip visit to My Son. Travel approximately one hour from Hoi An to arrive at My Son. Tour these Hindu temples built between the fourth and 14th centuries; the site is widely accepted as one of the most important Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia. Learn about the architectural style and history of a site that’s often compared to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Burma.

Another option is a lantern making class. Add a little light to your life! Visit Lifestart Foundation and learn how to make a traditional lantern from area residents. See how this project, supported by G Adventures, helps local Vietnamese with chronic disabilities gain sustainable employment.

July 18 : Hoi An/Ho Chi Minh City (B)

Drive to Danang for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the sprawling metropolis that was once the capital of South Vietnam and remains the country’s commercial center. Start exploring the small alleys and busy streets keeping an eye out for laquerware shops and delicious local food stalls.

Estimated travel time:
Transfer from Hoi An to the airport is 45 minutes. A flight time from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh is approx 1 hour.

July 19 : Ho Chi Minh City (B)

In the morning we take a guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex network of tunnels that the Viet Cong lived in to protect themselves from opposing forces during the Vietnam War. Try crawling through some of the tunnels (if you’re not claustrophobic). These tunnels stored ammunition, had underground hospitals, and served as a hidden base for attacking allied forces.

The afternoon is free time to visit the Thien Hau and Giac Vien pagodas and stroll through the immense Ben Than Market. There is also the Reunification Palace, the residence of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975, Cholon (literally translated: Big Market), the Chinese quarter and the War Remnants Museum.

We overnight two nights in Ho Chi Minh City.

July 20 : Mekong Delta (B)

Today we travel to where the mighty Mekong River approaches and empties in to the South China Sea. We board a small boat and navigate through the narrow canals, witnessing local lifestyle, floating vendors and small industrial boats. You will notice that many of the Vietnamese boats have eyes painted on the front to ward off evil spirits and to help guide the boat and crew safely back to land.

We disembark our boat to visit some cottage industries for which the area is famous such as delicious and chewy coconut candy, rice cakes, Vietnamese popcorn and pottery production. Don't miss the chance to try the unique regional 'elephant fish' at a local restaurant during our lunch break.

After a day of touring this unique region, we return to Ho Chi Minh City in time for dinner.
stalls.

Estimated travel time:
The round trip to Mekong Delta by private bus is approx 4 hours.

July 21 : Ho Chi Minh City/Phnom Penh (B)

Today we cross into Cambodia by public bus. The drive to the Vietnam/Cambodian border takes around 2 hours. After completing the border formalities, we continue by bus another 3 hours to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, arriving mid-afternoon.

After years of civil strife and political turmoil Cambodia is open for visitors. In the late afternoon we each get in traditional cyclos and depart from Wat Phnom. Tour busy streets to soak up the real vibe of the city. Pass the post office and Van's restaurant, both stunning colonial buildings, and make your way to the Royal Palace and National Museum. Go along the riverside road and take in the atmospheric cafes that line the street.

Estimated travel time:
Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh is approx 5 hours including a short lunch at the local restaurant and border crossing.

July 22 : Phnom Penh (B)

Meet a local guide to learn more about the dark side of Cambodian history. Visit to Choeung Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields. The grounds now stand as a powerful memorial filled with victims’ skulls and mass graves. Tour this somber, yet serene, site with a guide. After, visit Tuol Sleng Museum. Learn about the dark history and devastation that occurred at Security Prison 21 (S-21); the prison, used by the Khmer Rouge regime, is now Tuol Sleng Museum. Take a guided tour to hear the stories behind the somber photos lining the museum walls.

Afterwards, continue sightseeing on your own.You can explore the cities many sights: the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. There is time to visit the huge Russian Market packed with souvenirs and all the necessities of daily life. Late afternoon is a great time to visit Wat Phnom: the sanctuary where the city's namesake once stood. It is a Buddhist shrine, although a Taoist goddess and numerous monkeys also reside here. Wat Phnom is a popular hangout for residents of the city in the afternoon heat. A drink in one of the many riverside café’s watching the sunset is a fitting finale to the day.

July 23 : Phnom Penh/Siem Reap (B)

Drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the home base for exploring incredible Angkor Wat.

Estimated travel time:
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by private bus is approx 6 to 8 hours.

July 24 : Siem Reap (B)

Enjoy a guided tour of the Angkor Wat temple complex. Opt to visit the Tonlé Sap floating village and the Angkor National Museum. Enjoy a traditional meal of Khmer food either at a local home in a village outside the city.

Spend 2 days exploring Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer kingdom and one of the wonders of the archaeological world. See some of the highlights of this ancient capital, like sunrise at the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, the enigmatic Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm, also known as the 'Tomb Raider' temple.

July 25 : Siem Reap (B)

Spend another day in Siem Reap, exploring more temples of Angkor or going further afield.

One option is to tour the floating villages of Tonlé Sap. See what life is like living on a lake — rice planting, pig farming, even attending churches and school, are all done on top of water.

You may also consider takeng in Phare, a unique circus that injects Cambodian culture and history in its inspiring shows. See acrobatics, contortion, and aerial arts melded with theatre, modern dance, and more. Performers train for up to 10 years to master their art. Arrive before 20:00 (entrance closes at 20:05). Come early if you wish – the cafe opens at 18:00 and there is an option to enjoy dinner with the show.

You can also learn about the story of Angkor and the Khmer empire at the interactive Angkor Museum. Explore the museum’s inspiring galleries and interactive technology, which bring Angkor’s past to life.

July 26 : Bangkok (B)

It's a long travel day today as a private bus ride takes us from the countryside of Cambodia to the modern kingdom of Thailand. The drive from Siem Reap to the border is around 3 hours. Please be aware that the border crossing formalities can take up to one hour. Upon entering Thailand, we continue our journey to Bangkok.

We have time to check-in to our centrally located hotel and head out for an evening meal to celebrate the end of a wonderful journey.

Approx travel time:
Siem Reap to Cambodian border 3 hours.
Border crossing formalities, up to 1 hour
Thai border to Bangkok, 4 hours

July 27 : Bangkok

You are free to depart at any time today or we can book you extra hotel nights so you can spend more time in Bangkok.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). Find out which programs pair well with this trip by clicking here.

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can offer still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

In some major cities in Vietnam, many hotel rooms do not have windows.

There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this tour. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 15 kg (33lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's 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. They 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. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 15 kg (33lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.

Suggested Checklist

•Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs
•Overnight bag (You will not bring your big luggage Halong Bay as it will be kept at out Hanoi hotel. A normal bookbag is fine for this.)
•Insect repellent
•Small Flashlight
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (small denominations preferred, see personal spending money and FAQ)
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket or umbrella
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for hot weather (We recommend packing 7 or 8 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once or twice)
•Comfortable walking shoes (You will be walking a lot)
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Camera
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Dramamine
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Washcloth (Most hotels don’t have them and some people like having a washcloth)
•Reading/writing material
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Phrase books

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•2 Passport size Photos for Cambodia (You will need another 2 for Vietnam if you get the visa on arrival)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Night 2, Halong Bay boat; Night 3, Sleeper train

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

As currency exchange rates fluctuate we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency and this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 in US cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Travelers checks have security advantages, they can be difficult to change. Visa and MasterCards are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that if carrying US Dollars, they should be in good condition (ie- not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently. Also, please know that they use US dollars in Cambodia.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. No meals are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Hanoi

Hoa Lao Prison USD 1
Army Museum USD 1
Taxi to each museum - approx USD 2
Museum of Ethnology- USD 1 plus transport
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum - free entrance (Please note that Mausoleum is only open in the mornings on Tue-Thu & Sat-Sun. Closed Mondays, Fridays and full months of October & November. Please check ahead as Mausoleum may be periodically closed at other times also.)
Temple of Literature- USD 1
Fine Arts Museum - USD 1
Women’s Museum - USD 1
Army Museum - USD 1
Taxi to each museum - approx USD 2

Halong Bay

Kayak Rental for 1 person USD 10

Hue

Bicycle Hire - USD 1

Hoi An

Cooking Class - USD 20-25
My Son Cham Ruins including car transport - USD 24
Tu Bon River Boat Trip- USD 5

Ho Chi Minh City

Cyclo tour- USD 4
War Crimes museum- USD 1
The Reunification Palace - USD 2
Saigon Water Park- USD 4

Phenom Penh

National Museum- USD3
The Silver Pagoda- USD6.25

Siem Reap

Tonle Sap Lake Tour- USD5-15

Bangkok

Grand palace- USD11
Jim Thompson’s House- USD3.5
National Museum- USD1.5
Royal Barge Museum- USD1.5
Klong(Canal) Tour- Approx $10-30 dependent on numbers

Costs

The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2,089 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD(Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$125 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1500-$2000 USD
See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$25-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $50-$65 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $30-$40 USD to tip local guides and drivers.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

$200-$300 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets.

Vaccines

You will need to see your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations)

Visa

Americans need a visa for Vietnam. The cost for a traditional visa for Americans is $70 USD. Instead, if you wish you can get a Visa on Arrival, which costs $20 for the approval letter, which must purchased before you leave for the trip and then an additional $25 when you arrive in Hanoi for the stamping fee, for a total of $45. For Cambodia the cost for Americans is about $20-35 USD. (Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. We will provide you with the starting hotel information roughly 30 days before departure. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

Some of our programs have an optional airport transfer that can be paid for in advance. If you book the airport transfer someone will meet you at the airport with your name on a sign and will take you to the hotel. To see the price for an airport transfer, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

When you arrive at Noi Bai Intl Airport in Hanoi you have a choice of an airport transfer, a taxi or Vietnam Airlines shuttle bus to get you into the city. The airport is 35 km outside of the city and the drive should take between 40-50 minutes depending on traffic. The airport taxis are a safe and convenient way to arrive at your hotel. The cost is approx 17 USD and is paid directly to your driver WHEN YOU GET TO THE HOTEL. The other option is to take the Vietnam Airlines shuttle bus which drops everyone at the Vietnam Airlines office downtown, The cost of the tickets is 45000 Dong (approx 3 USD). From the Vietnam Airline office there are taxis that can take you to your hotel with the meter on about 2-4 USD.

WARNING - Please be wary of illegal taxi drivers. They will try and coax you away from the main airport taxi services and then charge a much increased price either in US Dollar or get you to change money into Vietnamese Dong before you understand the exchange rate and thus charge you at least twice the going rate.

Unfortunately, there have been cases in Vietnam of people misrepresenting themselves as G Adventures representatives at both Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh airports. We recommend that you do not take advantage of any offers of "help" at the airport, and rather just organize a meter taxi for yourself to our starting point hotel.

If you have a pre-booked transfer, please look for the G Adventures representative, who will be holding a G Adventures sign at the arrival halls. Please check carefully once you exit the baggage hall as there seem to be hundreds of people waiting outside in the arrival area.

Please check that your driver knows your name and the hotel you are going to. If in doubt ask them to ring their manager to confirm your transfer.
If you are unable to locate our G Adventures representative, please wait up to 30 minutes, call our local staff on our emergency number, or take a taxi to the starting point hotel.

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your tour leader. If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. G Adventures will refund the transfer cost if this occurs.

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is in your best interests to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans need a visa for travel in Vietnam. There are two ways to get a visa: Traditionally through your local embassy/visa service company where you have the visa in your passport before you depart or instead "a visa on arrival". To be clear the "a visa on arrival" option requires you to go through the application process before your trip, although you do not have to send your passport to them. It also costs less than the traditional visa process.

You can google search "Vietnam visa pre-arranged" or "Vietnam visa on arrival" to find out more. GEEO cannot vouch for any particular company, but we have had past participants recommend www.myvietnamvisa.com. The price on their website is currently a $19.99 service fee for an "approval letter". You would then bring this approval letter, 2 passport photos and a filled out Vietnam visa form which can be pre-printed in advance. You would give these documents to the customs official at the Hanoi airport along with $25 USD for the visa. For more information on this process please follow this link to Tripadvisor.

Please visit this website to get instructions on the traditional process through the Vietnamese embassy:
http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/services/visa-application-process.

They say processing time is 5 days, but I recommend applying for the visa 60 days prior to departure to be safe. I honestly think the Vietnamese embassy's website is confusing and found the "Visa on arrival" services less expensive and easier to understand.

If on any forms they ask for the local operator's contact details, please use this information:

Wide Eyed Tours
Add: No 48, Lane 76, Yen Phu street , Tay Ho Dis, Hanoi , Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 39262241. Ext 301
Fax: 84 4 3926 2369

G Adventures has told me you do not have to enter a Visa Approval/Reference Number because you will be in Vietnam for less than 3 months.

When you arrive in Vietnam with your visa letter, make sure you go to the correct line. There is a window (not well identified) where you first go to get the visa in your passport, then wait in line.

The Cambodian visa can be purchased at the border easily. Please bring 2 passport photos with you and the visa should cost $25-$35 USD. Sometimes you need the passport photos, sometimes you don't. You should have them just in case.

For Thailand, Americans do not need a visa for stays of less than 30 days. (Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)

Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Night 2, Halong Bay boat; Night 3, Sleeper train

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your tour leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Included breakfasts will usually be asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

What is group travel like?

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 travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers 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.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We have been running Vietnam and Cambodia programs since 2011. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to this region for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1600 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Hanoi by, which would usually mean departing the USA on the prior day. You can arrive at any time you choose.

Your trip ends in Bangkok. You should book your return flight from there and can depart anytime you wish on the last day of the trip.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is confirmed to run so you may purchase your flights whenever you wish.

Where can I purchase my flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Be aware that petty theft can be an issue in some Vietnamese towns and cities especially late at night. A common tactic is opportunists on motorbikes that drive by and snatch bags. Please always leave valuables and passports etc in your hotel, in safety deposit boxes if available, and only carry with you enough cash to spend for the day. Bags should always be carried over the neck and not left to sit on your shoulder.

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in Thailand. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $25 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $199 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: The ITIC card is for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, please email us and we can go over your options.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead, we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants roughly 90 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tank tops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.

Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia use a combination of both American and European outlets, know as type A and type C plugs. In all three countries the voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

What is the weather like?

Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand's wet season runs from around May to October. The wet season is characterized by a downpour for a few hours each day rather than all-day torrential downpours. The advantages of this season are lower temperatures, cleaner air and smaller crowds. North Vietnam is typically dryer than South Vietnam during this time of the year.

What is train travel like in Vietnam?

Train travel in Vietnam is very basic and train cleanliness is often not a priority for train staff. Sleeper trains normally have 4 seats per compartment, which convert into sleeping bunks (two upper and two lower). A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although many people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. At times, passengers of different genders may be required to share a sleeper train berth and/or share a compartment with people not travelling in your group.

Simple food is available on the train but many people like to stock up on freshly baked bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure. Water should also be bought before the journey.

Train journeys in Vietnam are an experience and allow you to get a real taste of Vietnam.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before traveling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $200-300 USD in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries, it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt, my main backpack, and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a backup account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet, and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip, I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA Visa TravelMoney Card that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1-$2 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Should I bring a gift for the homestay?

My advice is to ask your tour leader at the start of the trip what is appropriate to bring and then purchase that locally in Luang Prabang instead of bring something with you from home. This way you aren't taking up luggage space and you are helping the local economy by buying locally. Keep in mind most of these people have terrible dental care so giving them candy is often not the best idea. If you want to bring something from home, consider bringing stickers, which are cheap and don't take up much room in your backpack.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"Don't have any expectations about ANYTHING. It's Vietnam - it's loud, it's dirty, it's crowded, it's hot. It's got good food, inexpensive gifts, great sites. Keep an open mind!"

"You MUST be able to carry your own luggage on this trip."

"I would recommend a cooking lesson at the 'Little Hanoi' cooking school. It is amazing and the instructor 'Tin' is a culinary artist. Our guide recommend it to us...and it was phenomenal. One of the highlights of the trip and we stumbled into it on the last day. It's run by a small family and 'Tin' is their head chef."

"Make it clear for the Vietnam trip that you should have two bags, one large bag and one backpack big enough for overnight trips. This was not clear those in my group and some people did not feel prepared. "

"Very few places accept credit cards, make sure you have plenty of money in the ATM"

"Bring $2 bills (Vietnamese people think they're good luck)"

"There are plenty of opportunities to have your laundry done very inexpensively (about 1 USD per kilo) so only bring enough clothes for about a week to save space. "

"Looking back at the website I do see that it says that there are tailors that can make anything overnight in Hoi An but I didn't see this and wasn't as prepared as I could have been to have stuff made (knowing what I wanted, getting measurements from others for gifts etc) maybe this could be highlighted more..."

"I think it is already in there, but emphasize the need for small bills ($1, $5, $10). I brought plenty with me, but many of my tour group members struggled to get change."

"Prepare for super hot weather! Bring lots and lots of $1 bills to Cambodia. Make sure you have clothes for the temples to cover your knees and shoulders. Come with a picture of a piece of clothing you love so they can make it in Hoi An. "

"When you get to Vietnam with your visa letter you do not go get in line like everyone else. There is a window (not well identified) were you go actually get the Visa in your passport, then wait in line."

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

2089.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 5

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This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • G Adventures Tour Leader, local guides

  • 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners. (Allow USD $200-300 for meals not included.)

  • Halong Bay caves entrance
    Halong Bay boat cruise with seafood lunch and dinner
    Imperial Citadel and Tomb entrance (Hue)
    Noodle making demonstration and lunch at Oodles of Noodles, a G Adventures-supported project (Hoi An)
    Cu Chi Tunnels entrance and tour (Ho Chi Minh City)
    Mekong Delta day trip
    Cyclo tour (Phnom Penh)
    Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) entrance and guide
    Angkor Wat complex entry and guide, including sunrise tour (Siem Reap)
    Local Khmer dinner in nearby village with a local family (depends on departure)
    Border crossing support
    Internal flight

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities using Train, local bus, aircon bus, plane, walking, cyclo, boat

  • Hotels (14 nts), sleeper train (1 nt), junk boat (1 nt)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance