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Face to Face with Asia - STA Travel

Face to Face with Asia - STA Travel

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Asia can be anything you want it to be. Go for the people and the massive diversity of culture and religion. Go for the ecology, the lush jungle and the absurdly exotic wildlife. Go for the food; the curries, the noodles, the local delicacies...or simply go for the sun and relaxation.

Asia can be anything you want it to be. Go for the people and the massive diversity of culture and religion. Go for the ecology, the lush jungle and the absurdly exotic wildlife. Go for the food; the curries, the noodles, the local delicacies...or simply go for the sun and relaxation.

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: STA Travel Australia on Mar 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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face to face with



Open up yOur mind tO thOse dreams and desires that abOund within the cOnfines Of yOur imaginatiOn. gO and live Out yOur ideals and aspiratiOns On the distant shOres Of a different cOuntry Or cOntinent. cOme face tO face with the wOrld and all its beautiful diversity. This brochure features some of our most popular accommodation, activities and adventure trips all hand picked for you.

why chOOse sta travel?
Now if this is the first time you’ve heard of us then where have you been living? We could say in a cave but that would be too cliché and we revolt against all things cliché, so much so that we’ve made our mark specialising in all the impossibilities that used to seem just a little out of reach. We have a wild and wonderful enthusiasm for all the experiences both diverse and magnificent that travel provides. We’ve been providing these kinds of adventures for over 30 years, so you should have heard of us by now! We’ve made it our mission to open up the world to eager, enthusiastic, adventurous travellers and are the world’s largest bona fide travel company for students and young adults – but whatever your age we enthusiastically await your call, email or visit as we’re more than happy to show you our unique perspective of planet Earth. No matter where you are in the world, the incredibly knowledgeable and friendly people that work for STA Travel are never far away. We’ve got over 400 STA Travel branches in 85 countries worldwide and 24/7 global travel help - an essential backup for all travellers on the move. If you’ve lost your tickets, want to change your dates or just need some local advice our help is always at hand. We’ve got thousands of exclusive offers on flights, accommodation, adventure trips and all the essential extras to help you plan your dream trip to Asia. This brochure showcases the best of them, so enjoy! come and talk to us by dropping into one of our branches around australia, calling us on 134 sta or visiting statravel.com.au

let us plan yOur perfect trip!
Visit statravel.com.au and get inspired. specialists We’ve been selling trips over to this part of the world for donkey’s years. The majority of our advisers have travelled to the destinations in this brochure and all of them have been expertly trained to give you the best advice. travel blOgs Keep your family and friends up to date – build your own travel journal! You can also find out about other people’s travel experiences and see blogs, photos and videos of people on their travels at statravel.com.au/blogs facebOOK We ❤ Facebook. It really excites us. We’re always posting new updates, pics and vids on our wall! It’s all about keeping you in-the-know. You can ask us any burning travel questions, even hook up with other travellers along the way. Click to be-fan us at facebook.com.au/statravel.au twitter Festival giveaways, new comps, flight sales… *tweet*! We won’t bore you with tweets about what we’re eating or what the dog’s doing. But we will tell you about new deals and the exciting stuff first - as soon as it happens. Come follow us at twitter.com/statravelau

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel



64 Oriental asia 72 CHINA 80 jAPAN 84 indian sub-cOntinent 87 INDIA 95 NEPAL

where shOuld i gO? Think about the countries you’d like to visit and what you want to see and experience. Asia can be anything you want it to be – go for the people and the massive diversity of culture and religion. Go for the ecology – the huge mountains, the lush jungle and the absurdly exotic wildlife. Go for the food - the curries, the noodles and the local delicacies. or simply go for sun and relaxation. Whatever Asia is to you, the chances are that we’ll be able to deliver it. So once you’ve flicked through this brochure and drawn up a rough plan, visit your nearest STA Travel branch and chat to one of our friendly advisers. All of our staff are seasoned travellers, so they’re full of helpful advice, tips and tales about the places that you’re planning to visit. getting arOund much of Asia is perhaps more modern than you may suspect. many of the countries we feature boast long, modern highways, efficient rail networks and shiny, new airports. This makes it very easy for us to zoom you around this wonderful continent… But there are a few exceptions. Due to climate, terrain or simple economics, there is sometimes no kind of decent transportation to speak of. Not to worry, you can trust STA Travel to find a way of getting you around comfortably, safely and on time. If you’re keen to get yourself on one of our fantastic adventure trips, then please don’t be put off if it starts in one country and finishes up in another. We sell ‘open jaw’ tickets which allow you to fly in and out of completely different locations (see pages 8-9).


mOney Each Asian country has its own individual currency, but you’ll usually be able to get by with American dollars, so it’s definitely worth taking some for emergencies. Every major town and city in Asia will have ATms, so you’ll have quick and easy access to your funds with your credit, debit or Travelex Cash Card (see page 5). We’ll help you to work out a budget when you book your trip, but think about where you’ll be going, how long you’ll be away for and what you’ll be doing whilst you are there. many of our adventure trips include nearly everything you need to survive, so you’ll only need a small amount of money per day to get by. This amount is normally calculated by establishing how many additional activities you want to enjoy and how much shopping, drinking and eating you intend to do whilst you’re away. make sure you book at least your first few nights accommodation before you leave. You’ll find that it’s quite a bit cheaper, so you’ll save yourself lots of cash. You certainly don’t want to find yourself scraping together a few dollars to afford a hotel bed after a long flight.

hOw can i bOOK?

picK up the phOne Or visit a branch and maKe a free appOintment with One Of Our advisers.

call: 134 sta click: statravel.com.au find your closest branch at: statravel.com.au/branches

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel

travel insurance Whether you’re exploring South East Asia or trekking in the Indian Sub-Continent you’d be crazy to leave home without travel insurance! We know it’s important for you to have an amazing trip and travel insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. However, our experience tells us, travelling without cover is simply not a risk worth taking. STA Travel offers travel insurance policies that cover you for a range of benefits, such as cover for medical, cancellation, emergency transport and accommodation and new for old luggage (subject to the policy wording). Plus, if things go wrong you’ll have access to the 24 hour emergency assistance team of Aussie Doctors, Nurses and Case managers. To discuss your travel insurance options, or for a quote, talk to your STA Travel adviser today!
Note: Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Please read the Product Disclosure Statement available from STA Travel in considering this product.


Keep tracK Of yOur cash traveleX cash card What the!?! We’re talking Cash Passports same size as a credit card but with no debt & better services. You never know what’s in store when you’re travelling overseas. So make sure you’re armed with a Cash Passport, the only prepaid travel money card that prepares you for the unexpected. With a free backup card, Travelex’s own 24/7 Emergency Assistance Services and access to VISA’s global network, Cash Passports are the most convenient way to access funds abroad. there are two types of cards available: cash passport card - Can be used at any VISA ATm Worldwide and it can be reloaded whilst overseas or better still, back at home by a family member. It’s available in AUD, NZD, GBP, USD and EUR offering you the ability to lock in your value no matter what happens to the exchange rate.

STudeNT (ISIC) ANd YOuTH (IYTC) CARdS If you want to get access to over 41,000 discounts worldwide then you’ll want to pick up a student (ISIC) or youth (IYTC) card. These puppies are available to you if you’re a full time student or lucky enough to still be under 26 years old. They’re only $25 each and you’ll save more than that along the way, so are well worth the spend! Not only that but they can also be used for discounts here in Australia: • Jeans West 5% off Wagamama 10% off meal (up to $30) Krispy Kreme Free glazed doughnut with any drink purchase Hoyts Free combo upgrade & student rates Mountain designs 10% off all full priced items Lonely Planet 15% off all online purchases Hard Rock Cafe 20% off menu price STA Travel Up to 40% off international trips

health It’s your responsibility to obtain proper and detailed medical advice in good time before your departure. We suggest that you visit the Department of Health website at www. health.gov.au for up to date information. Your local Doctor can also give advice on which vaccinations you’ll need for particular countries. visas Your trip of a lifetime will quickly grind to a screeching halt if you forget to sort out your entrance visas. Please don’t forget to check with one of our friendly advisers for visa requirements for the countries that you are planning to visit. If you do require visas, we should be able to help you get one – so you can sit back and relax. tefl make the best use of your time away, immerse yourself in a new culture, add to your resume and gain a skill for life. millions of people are learning English worldwide in the most far flung of places. Why don't you teach English abroad? Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a recognised qualification. Anyone can do it and there is no need for prior teaching experience - just enthusiasm. Learn to teach English as a foreign language either on-line or as part of a weekend course with our Premier TEFL course. once certified you can then take advantage of one of the many paid teaching opportunities available around the world. Fund your travels and never run out of cash. statravel.i-to-i.com/tefl Online courses fr $340 weekend courses fr $492

cash passport debit - The latest in cards, not only can you access your money at any VISA ATm around the world. You can now make purchases at any merchant that accepts VISA cards (Gucci, Prada anyone!). The VISA ATm card is now available in AUD, NZD, GBP, USD and EUR. features common to both cards: • Convenient – issued instantly, no need to carry id or wait until the bank is open to get money out Prepaid – no unexpected credit card bill upon your return Toll-free access to Travelex’s 24/7 emergency assistance services Second backup card (connected to the same pool of funds) provided for free. this means no inconvenience or delay if your original card is stolen or misplaced Ability to reload via BPAY anywhere in the world View balances, change PIN and find VISA atms online Flat $3.75 ATM withdrawal fee applies


• ulaanbaatar


beijing •
• Xian

seoul •

Osaka •

• tokyo


• shanghai


• lhasa • Kathmandu

delhi •

• hong Kong
Kolkata •

mumbai •
• goa



• hanoi


chiang mai • • chennai

• vientiane

• manila


CAmBoDIA bangkok • phnom penh • • ho chi minh city

colombo •


phuket •

• Koh samui

Kota Kinabalu •

Kuala lumpur • singapore •


Jakarta •

bali • • lombok


Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel







why fly with sta travel? Aside from our great prices, many of our airfares are unique & exclusive. We offer a wide range of products negotiated just for you. We can book just about anything you desire, from simple return tickets to tailor-made complex round-the-world itineraries. Here are some of the things that make us stand out from the crowd. • Lowest fares with leading airlines when you book in advance for students holding an ISIC card / youths under 26 (see page 5) or teachers holding an itic card. Flexibility to change your travel dates before and after departure. Flexibility to change your route before and after departure. The option to build your own itinerary using our exclusive sector fares. don’t compromise when creating your perfect trip. Fares available from all Australian departure airports. Open Jaw tickets - fly into one airport and out of another. 24 hour travel help, so wherever you are in the world, there is always an expert available to handle your queries. Over 400 STA Travel branches worldwide, giving you personal service as you travel the globe. Airfares that last up to 18 months. Sign up to our weekly newsletter by visiting statravel.com.au to make sure you don’t miss out on our best exclusives and the chance to win free flights! If there’s a particular destination that you simply have to visit, then challenge one of our advisers to help get you there. Add ON’S Add-ons are the best, kinda like fries with your burger or a lemon in your Vodka! They let you get to pretty much anywhere in the world you want to go. So to make your Asia trip even better, just add-on of our many unique sector fares (a one-way or return flight in addition to your international flights). Doing this means more zip-zapping beyond the arrival city of your international flight! If we really need to convince you, just think; once you’ve partied hard in Thailand you can pop over to India for curry & culture or explore the Philippines’ pristine beaches. rOund the wOrld This is something we specialise in. We practically invented the concept of flying Round the World, so we’ve got a huge range of choices and plenty of suggestions for you. There are loads of ways to include Asia in your Round the World trip. To kick start your imagination, we’ve picked out one of our favourites itineraries. Soak up the hustle & bustle of Bangkok before taking the back roads of Indochina to Hong Kong, exploring Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam along the way. From there you could venture into China and search for those cute & cuddly Pandas before you head onwards to London to say hi to the Queen and Big Ben. Loop around the world and stop off at the Big Apple for some up-town action in the city that never sleeps then nip across to the west coast for some California sunshine in star-studded Los Angeles. Australia – Bangkok – overland – Hong Kong – London – New York – Los Angeles – Australia • • • • • • •


• •

get the best price We’ve been helping folks get the best air-deals since before the dawn of time…..oK, so we exaggerate a little, but we have been doing this for ages! our advisers know exactly where to look and what to check. So talk to one of our travel gurus, or have a look at our great website and find yourself a deal that won’t break the bank. To get you started, here are a few insider tips that’ll help you get the very cheapest price. • • Buy an ISIC Card to be eligible for our exclusive negotiated student fares (See page 5). If you can help it, don’t leave it to the last minute. Many of our best prices are only available if you book in advance. Try and be a little flexible with your dates and check out flying on a weekday instead of the weekend. Think about flying outside of peak times e.g. if you are flying to europe the best deals are usually available for travel in feb or Oct. Keep it local and consider flying from your nearest airport.

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel

We hope you have an awesome trip, but to put it bluntly, if something does happen (and it happens all the time), you’ll want travel insurance, not a $50,000+ medical bill! We know how important it is for you to have an amazing journey and travel insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. However, our experience tells us travelling without cover is simply not a risk worth taking. Imagine getting sick in a foreign country and being refused treatment until you can guarantee payment of medical bills. Even worse, imagine getting the wrong treatment! It’s a scary thought, but these kinds of things happen all too often, all over the world. Having an emergency assistance team of experienced doctors, nurses and case managers on call to help you when you’re in trouble is why having the right travel insurance is so important. STA Travel Insurance gives you much more than medical cover. It also covers emergency transport and accommodation costs, includes cover for cancellation and for your belongings should they be lost, damaged, stolen or delayed. You wouldn’t go camping without a tent – you shouldn’t book your holiday without travel insurance! what maKes us different? No two travellers are the same, that’s why we’ve made a policy that lets you do more... • 24 hour emergency assistance Access to our 24 hour emergency assistance team for medical emergencies and evacuations, help with hospital bills and assistance should you lose your passport and travel documents New for old replacement Replacement of lost, stolen or damaged items less than 2 years old included • • Not sure when you’ll be back? No worries, you can see the four corners of the globe on the one policy and if you decide to stay longer you can extend your policy for up to 18 months For the adventurers We automatically cover loads of adrenalin pumping activities which means you can experience more and still keep your mum happy Working holiday / studying abroad Planning on working or studying whilst overseas? No problem, we cover working holidays and overseas study Cover for existing medical conditions We automatically cover many existing medical conditions and if your condition falls outside the auto cover criteria, cover can be applied for by completing a medical assessment form, and if accepted, paying an additional premium • the cOver yOu can eXpect No complicated plans to choose from, just great cover you can rely on. Here’s some of the inclusions you can expect with your international policy: • $unlimited overseas medical and dental cover • $unlimited additional expenses • $unlimited amendment or cancellation costs plus, cOver fOr: • Luggage and travel documents (including sporting equipment while in use) • delayed luggage allowance • Money • Rental car insurance excess • Travel delay • Resumption of journey • Special events • Hospital incidentals • Hijacking • Loss of income • disability • Accidental death • Personal liability chOOse eXtras that suit yOu just like making your own mix-tape, you can customise your STA Travel policy to suit your trip... • The annual multi-trip option If you plan on getting away a few times over the next 12 months, taking out an annual policy for multiple trips may be the cheaper option Choose an excess The higher the excess the cheaper the premium. You can choose between a $nil or $250 excess Increase your rental car insurance excess cover Hiring a car and don’t want to pay a massive excess if you have an accident? Some policies automatically cover rental car insurance excess of up to $4,000. If that’s not enough cover, you can buy additional cover Add cover for snow skiing or snowboarding Plan on going for a board or ski? Take this option if you want to be covered if you come unstuck. We don’t cover skiing or boarding outside resort boundaries Add cover for motorcycle/moped riding Plan on hiring a scooter while away? Take this option if you want to be covered


• •

mOre infO... Talk to your STA Travel adviser or go to www.statravel.com.au/insurance

The issuer of the insurance is Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC ARBN 127 740 532, ABN 18 964 580 576, AFSL No. 318 603, trading as Great Lakes Australia. Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Please read the Product Disclosure Statement (available from us) when considering this insurance product.

For those who want that travelling dollar to go further… Clean, comfortable, secure and perfectly adequate, these are no frills budget options. All of our hostels and some of our more basic hotels come under this category. The majority of our staysimple properties have great locations – in the heart of all the action, and many of them boast popular bars and vibrant social scenes. Facilities are generally limited, but this is compensated for by the friendly and helpful staff. many of these options will have shared bathrooms. Some of our favourite staysimple properties include Singapore’s Hang out, the Silvermine in Hong Kong and Al’s Hut in Koh Samui.


Star ratings are often not the best way to categorise hotels. Depending on what country you’re travelling through, perceptions of each standard can vary quite dramatically. To make things much easier for you, we’re giving you our own, very educated opinion on each property that we feature. We have three very straightforward accommodation categories to choose from: staysimple, staysmart and staystylish. Read below for a description of each.

Perfect for those who demand a little comfort when they travel. Quite often hotel prices in Asia are much cheaper than in Australia, so you won’t find yourself breaking the bank when you stay in one of our staysmart hotels. These are modern, international standard hotels, so expect a plethora of great facilities. All rooms will have private bathrooms, air-con and a host of modern amenities. You can also expect loads of great facilities – most will have a pool, gymnasium and a couple of restaurants. staysmart hotels are ideal for city stopovers. Some of our favourite staysmart properties include the Peace Bungalows on Koh Samui, the Shanghai mansion in Bangkok & the metropark in Hong Kong.

These are a little bit special. Adjectives such as unique, funky and intimate are definitely very apt. ordinary, they ain’t! most will boast something absurdly indulgent, such as a private pool, pillow menu or a cigar lounge. These hotels are relatively small in size, which means close and personal attention. Superlative service and an unforgettable experience are more or less guaranteed. After a fantastically hectic adventure trip, or an early morning flight, it definitely pays to splash a little cash and book yourself into one of these wonderful hotels. Some of our favourite staystylish properties include the Red Ginger in Krabi, the Cosmo in Hong Kong and the Seven Hotel in Bangkok.










Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel

STA Travel partner with leading tour companies who provide fantastic adventures across the globe to give you a variety of styles of travel and experiences to choose from when planning your big trip. They are our ‘perfect partners’ as they share the same passion for travel as we do and we guarantee you will get the cheapest price on their trips through us. our perfect partner for Asia is GAP Adventures. eXpect the uneXpected That’s the most important advice we can provide about the GAP Adventures style of travel. For the most part, you will be travelling in developing countries in areas very different from home – so the best approach is to keep an open mind. You could be invited to swill Gengis Khan Vodka at the Naadam Festival in mongolia. or you might get soaked by a mid-afternoon monsoon in India, but then realize that it’s one of the most delightful showers you’ve ever had. This is the beauty of adventure travel! transpOrtatiOn - miX it up You’ll get the best cross-section of culture. one day you might find yourself jumping on the back of a motorbike taxi in the chaotic streets of Hanoi, the next you could be sitting in an airconditioned private van driving along the coast. many tours feature flights and these are all included in the price. Whatever the method, you can be sure it will be more than just a way to get from A to B. unique accOmmOdatiOn - capturing the lOcal essence often you’ll spend the night in a hotel, other nights camping at high altitude, or on the water aboard a yacht. Perhaps you’ll be staying in a hill-tribe village in Northern Thailand, or enjoying the serenity of a mountain monastery in japan. Whatever and wherever it is, your accommodation will reflect the local flavour. Rooms are usually based on same-sex twin-share, and solo travellers don’t have to pay extra! internatiOnal grOups our adventures are sold all over the world. You’re likely to be travelling with a range of nationalities, exploring new countries and experiencing different cultures with a like-minded but diverse group.


diverse fOOd - a big part Of the travelling eXperience one of the great thrills of travel, is sampling the local cuisine and discovering new tastes and flavours. Your trip will give you plenty of chances to feast on the delicacies of the region, whether that’s with the meals included in the tour or when you branch out and discover your own culinary gems. However, when in remote regions such as on an expedition or cruise, most include meals. The food is hearty and fresh and you’ll be amazed at what the cooks and chefs can achieve. See trip details for meal inclusions. yOur trip leaders Each and every adventure is led by either a group leader or a GAP Adventures representative. They enrich your journey, providing practical tips on the regions you are travelling to, while giving you the inside scoop on the culture. They’ll offer handy language tips, make suggestions for things to see and do, recommend great local eateries and introduce you to their local friends. In a lot of instances the leaders are locals themselves, and if they’re not true locals, chances are they will have travelled through the region countless times and know it like the back of their hand.

travel respOnsibility GAP Adventures are involved in the Planet Positive Project, which includes planting one million trees in Africa, Asia and Latin America. To make this possible, they have partnered with Trees For the Future, an organisation that helps people improve their rural livelihoods through the introduction of environmentally sustainable land management projects focused on tree planting. nO lOcal payments! Unlike many other tour companies - GAP Adventures do not charge any local payments. The price you to pay to your STA Travel adviser is the full cost of the tour. You may choose to tip, but that is entirely at your discretion.

18 TO 35'S AdVeNTuReS We feature several fantastic trips for 18 to 35’s only. The group size averages around 25, so you’ll have just the right amount of new friends to share your experience with - on a long trip, that’s a big time bonus! Don’t worry though, the group size is small enough to have an intimate Asian experience, but big enough to make the dynamic rock! With a bunch of other like-minded 18–35 year olds, your travel posse will make it great, no matter where you are. Big Indochina Adventure, pages 56-57 Asian Adventure, page 58 Vietnam Highlights, page 59

12 Balance your karma, help others and spread your worldly love and goodness. our volunteering projects can change lives and are guaranteed at least to put smile on many a face – especially your own! WHAT’S INCLuded • Airport pick-up • Full cultural orientation • Accommodation • Meals on some projects • experienced and fully trained co-ordinators • emergency back-up team & crisis response support free tefl certificatiOn All teaching trips include FREE Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training - a qualification that’ll enable you to live and work as an English teacher in thousands of destinations worldwide.

thai elephant cOnservatiOn
3 weeKs $1,745

TeACH & CARe FOR cambOdian Kids
3 weeKs $1,495 AddITIONAL WeeKS FR $295

They’re big, grey, wrinkly and have big floppy ears. No, we’re not talking about your granddad, but big and beautiful Thai elephants! Spend time working with elephant keepers in Thailand’s Surin province. Feeding them a hearty breakfast of leaves and branches will be just one of your daily tasks. You’ll also head out on an action packed elephant adventure! Trek through breathtaking Chiang mai mountains, board a wildlife viewing bamboo raft, ride through the jungle and spend the night in a hill tribe village. These gentle giants are crying out for a little tender loving care. It’s difficult to imagine a more exciting and beautiful conservation opportunity. • • • • • • • • duration: Min 3 weeks L ocation: Surin, Thailand Arrival Airport: Bangkok A ctivities: Trekking, rafting, elephant ride, working with elephants and their keepers and touring bangkok W orking Hours: Flexible; usually Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm at the project and full days on the tour Getting to the project: Accommodation is on site Accommodation: Shared room in guesthouse, bamboo huts, basic home stay F ood: Some meals included, please enquire

once famed for all the wrong reasons and often missed off people’s travel itineraries, these days Cambodia is now making the headlines as a ‘must see’ destination. Phnom Penh has become a melting pot of cultures every bit as diverse as the architecture that cram’s its busy streets. But amongst the cafes, restaurants and street traders you’ll glimpse the problems of the past in the shape of biting poverty and large numbers of street children. Help the country on its journey from the dark past to a bright future by broadening the horizons of underprivileged youngsters through education, mentoring and coaching in the city’s many children’s homes. • • • • • • • • duration: Min 3 weeks - Max 12 weeks Location of project: Various locations within Phnom Penh Arrival Airport: Phnom Penh A ctivities: Providing general care and assistance in looking after the children - playing games, teaching english & basic life skills W orking Hours: Flexible; usually 8am - 11:30am & 1:30pm - 4:30pm as required by the project, all other time is free Getting to the project: dependent on location; accommodation on site or 15-30 minutes tuk-tuk ride (approx uSd15 per week) Accommodation: Shared room in guesthouse F ood: Not included; you will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately uSd70 per week)

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel


teach english at buddhist mOnasteries
2 weeKs $1,695 AddITIONAL WeeKS FR $345

cOmmunity wOrK with Orphans
1 weeK $1,395 additiOnal weeKs fr $230

Don’t let Vietnam’s relaxed attitude to life fool you; there’s so much here to see, visit and taste! In amongst the floating markets, bustling streets and emerald rice paddy fields you’ll also get to experience the famous Vietnamese hospitality by getting involved with playing games, singing songs and planning art projects in one of a number of local orphanages. You’ll play a valuable role in the overall development of the children and your efforts will last long after the suntan fades! If you enjoy a challenge this project is the perfect way to combine visiting an amazing travel destination, having lots of fun and helping others! • • • • • • • • duration: Min 1 weeks - Max 12 weeks Location: Various locations within Ho Chi Minh City Arrival Airport: Ho Chi Minh City A ctivities: Providing general care and assistance (some have special needs); playing games, teaching english & basic life skills W orking Hours: Flexible; usually Monday to Friday, up to 8 hours a day, all other time is free G etting to the project: dependent on location; 30 minutes -1 hour motorbike taxi ride (budget approx uSd25 per week) Accommodation: Shared room in a guesthouse F ood: Not included; you will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately uSd70 per week)

You may not particularly pride yourself on your use of grammar, you may use the odd bit of slang and you might even curse once in a while. But don’t worry, as long as you can fluently speak it and legibly write it, you’ll have a chance to teach those who can’t. You’re sure to learn as much as your students will as you teach in Nepal and with well behaved and positive students ranging in age from 8 to 25, it’s a great opportunity to gain a wide variety of experience and test your TEFL certification - which is included with the trip. Some schools are affected by pujas (festivals) giving you free time to plot a route into the mountains and go trekking! • • • • • • • • duration: Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks Location of project: Various locations in Kathmandu Arrival Airport: Kathmandu Activities: Teaching english W orking Hours: Flexible; 5 days a week approximately 2 hours per day, all other time is free G etting to the project: dependent on location; 30-50 minute bus ride (budget approximately uSd5 per week) Accommodation: Private room in guesthouse Food: Breakfast and dinner included

china panda cOnservatiOn
2 weeKs $1,945 additiOnal weeKs fr $460

cOmmunity wOrK in bangalOre
2 weeKs $1,395 additiOnal weeKs fr $230

This is a unique chance to get up-close and personal to the precious Giant panda in the remote Chinese wilderness. Life is rarely black and white… unless you’re a Giant panda on the brink of extinction - with an already low world population in decline there are certainly no grey areas in this conservation project, so do your bit and ‘panda’ to their every need! Based in majestic surroundings at the foot of the Qingling mountains, you’ll also have the chance to work with other fascinating species indigenous to China such as the Golden monkey, Crested ibis and the sheep-like takin. A truly different experience that’ll stay with you (and your CV) forever. • duration: Min 2 weeks - Max 4 weeks • ocation: Lougantai, Zhouzhi county, Shaanxi province. Remote L location, about 1.5 to 2 hours away from xi’an • Arrival Airport: xi’an • ctivities: Various types of work with animals, including helping A with feeding and facilities maintenance. also potential to teach english to the local community • Working Hours: Flexible; usually 5 days a week and 6-8 hours a day, all other time is free • etting to the project: 5-10 mins walk, accommodation on site G • Accommodation: Shared accommodation on site • ood: All meals included F

Some of the world’s most fascinating places are often also those in need of the most help - and that couldn’t ring more true for Bangalore. In one of India’s most interesting regions, you can combine sights like the magnificent Vidhana Soudha and budding Cubbon Park, drinking copious amounts of fresh coconut juice and using your talents to support the project through befriending, counselling, education and healthcare assistance. The children on this project will laugh just as much as you will, as you work your entertainment skills, singing and dancing for them - enriching their lives with your enthusiasm. You can also help with sports - if you have enough energy! • • • • duration: Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks Location of project: Bangalore Arrival Airport: Bangalore A ctivities: Various activities including general care and assistance in the local community - playing games with children, teaching english & basic life skills to all ages W orking Hours: Flexible; usually Monday to Friday 4 to 8 hours a day, all other time is free G etting to the project: dependent on location; 10-30 minutes walk, bus or auto-rickshaw ride (budget approx uSd25 per week) Accommodation: Shared room in guesthouse Food: All meals included

• • • •


Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel




SAIL IN A JuNK ON HALONG BAY A UNESCo World Heritage site and the place of many dreams, this spectacular bay will leave you breathless with its beauty. Sail in a traditional boat out around the limestone karsts, kick back with a beer and thank your lucky stars you’re in heavenly Vietnam. Check out page 61.


PARTY ON THAILANd’S BeACHeS Home to the infamous Full moon parties and a wealth of other fantastic on and off water experiences, the beaches of Thailand were made for partying. Lap up some sunshine and get with the good times. Why not combine it with some more island hopping? See pages 25 and 30-33.


swim with the fish in KOh taO With some of the best and most valuefriendly diving this whole planet has to offer you’d be positively bonkers not to take up this great chance to learn. Take your PADI or Advanced qualification and trace the pristine white beaches of Koh Tao. Check out page 31.


treK with nOrthern hill tribes Get up north (let’s face it, we know life up there is way more fun!) and out with the locals on a fantastic hill tribe trek. You’ll hop onto an elephant and stay overnight with a family on many of our top action-packed trips. It’s just not something you can do everyday! Pages 22-23.


watch sunrise at angKOr wat Check out the huge, looming temples at sunrise at this spectacular religious site. one of Asia’s best highlights, it’s an absolute must if you visit Cambodia. Finish your day’s sightseeing off with a mighty massage back in Siem Reap. Go there with our tours on pages 49-58 and 62.


hang Out with the Orangutans Slip into a secluded paradise that the majority of folk have yet to discover and head out in search of some of nature’s most interesting creatures. Get up close and personal with these little tykes with our Borneo Sabah Adventure on page 38! Pretty unmissable.


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indOchina discOvery
30 days, $2,579

joyous gasps of wonder, wide-eyed awe-struck stares and uncontrollable bouts of giddy happiness will become commonplace happenings as you and your group discover the heart and soul of Indochina. Absorb a history littered with grandiose ideas, dominant religions and intermittent conquests. From the ancient Khmer kingdom and colonisation of the French to the wild cruelties of the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot regime – the history of this wonderful region is nothing short of startling. You’ll marvel at the simplicity of the people and their cultures – their understanding, tolerance and kindness. You’ll wander through throbbing cities that perfectly blend the sophistication of Europe with the vibrancy of Southeast Asia. You’ll discover ancient temples and lost cities and you’ll bear witness to some of God’s finest ecological creations – pristine beaches, jungle piercing rivers and majestic misty mountains. You’ll also likely blend the old with the new by picking up more modern memoirs in the form of a sharp new suit! Be prepared to return home newly styled, but also far more enlightened and as a much more contented individual. highlights • Witness the wonders of Angkor Wat • experience a Phnom Penh walking tour • njoy amazing sunsets at Sihanoukville e • Lose yourself in Ho Chi Minh's markets • Bask on the beaches of Nha Trang • Wander the colourful streets of Hoi An • Check out the garden tombs of Hue • enjoy a Halong Bay boat cruise • explore the vibrant streets of Hanoi • Get off the beaten track in Vang Vieng • Absorb the rich history of Luang Prabang • Take a slow boat down the Mekong day 1: arrive bangKOK on the first day you’re free to relax, explore the city and adjust to the amazing frenetic pace and humidity of Bangkok. There’ll be a group meeting in the evening where you can meet your tour leader and your soon to be life-long friends. days 2-3: siem reap / angKOr wat Leave Bangkok behind and journey through some spectacular scenery into Cambodia. You’ll travel to Siem Reap, home of the amazing Angkor Wat. Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer Kingdom, is one of the wonders of the archeological world. Rediscovered at the end of the last century by French explorers, this vast ruined city is becoming one of the most popular sites in Southeast Asia. marvel at the tantalising blend of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture. (2B)

dAYS 4-5: PHNOM PeNH Explore this pleasant riverside city. Check out the colourful cafés, shady streets and the thriving markets full of vibrant textiles and curios. (2B) dAYS 6-7: SIHANOuKVILLe Relax on the white, sandy beaches of Cambodia’s southern coast. Take a boat trip out to one of the many uninhabited islands and enjoy fresh seafood and a cold drink as the sun slowly sets. Some would call it perfection - on a (satay) stick. day 8: chau dOc / meKOng delta Cross into the amazing mekong Delta. Check out this rich green river world of orchards and rice fields, floating markets and cottage industries. (B) days 9-10: hO chi minh city Lose yourself in the maze of Saigon’s central market, where you’ll find everything from bolts of brocade to flanks of beef. Write a quick postcard in Saigon’s stately French colonial post office, one of the many French-era buildings that add grace to this modern metropolis. Dine out like a King at a local restaurant and take a step back through time at the spine-chilling War museum.

days 11-12: nha trang Explore the local shops and markets, sit on a perfect beach soaking up the sun or visit nearby historical towns. opt for a nearby island boat trip to get in some snorkelling or scuba diving. days 13-14: hOi an Wander through the picturesque streets of this 16th century trading port. The buildings bear traces of Chinese, japanese, Vietnamese and French architectural styles. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca for tourists. Tailors can produce virtually anything overnight. For sun worshipers, Cua Dai Beach is 4km from town. (2B) dAYS 15-16: Hue Explore riverside garden tombs built for Vietnam’s last emperors. or take a motorbike trip out into the stunning countryside. (B) dAY 17: HALONG BAY / BAI CHAI HARBOuR Float through the strangely shaped islands that dot this vast, emerald bay in a traditional wooden junk (boat). Take the chance to enjoy a pre-dinner swim before you head to Cat Ba Island, where you’ll spend a peaceful and relaxing night. (L)

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel


dAY 27: CHIANG KHONG Continue by slow boat up the mekong and cross into Thailand at the Houeisay border. Chiang Khong is a small riverside town with cross border trading from nearby villages. day 28: chiang mai A drive through the hills of Northern Thailand takes us to Chiang mai where you’ll have the afternoon free before catching an overnight train. day 29: bangKOK Arrive into Bangkok early in the morning and set out exploring the many and varied sights. Check out the Grand Palace, Wat Po, National museum, and jim Thompson's House - just for a few suggestions! A trip along the Chao Praya river and through the canals (or Klongs) gives you a different perspective of daily life in this busy city. Get yourself into the colourful nightlife and enjoy a good few goodbye drinks. (B) day 30: depart bangKOK Your amazing adventure comes to an end on Day 30. Time to start planning the next one then!

days 18-19: hanOi Explore one of dozens of traditional guild streets that make up Hanoi’s thousand-year-old old Quarter and join Buddhist monks for prayers in a serene lakeside pagoda. In the evening you’ll have an option to attend a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theatre and sample some of Hanoi's amazing eateries. (2B) day 20: lac saO A long journey through scenic mountains takes you to the sleepy Laos town of Pak Xan. Explore the exotic local market brimming with weird and wonderful fruit and veg and watch the locals playing a game of petanque as the sun beautifully sets. day 21: vientiane There is a wealth of cultural delights to discover in the capital city of Vientiane - on foot, by bicycle or, for the less energetic, by tuk-tuk. Visit Laos' most important national monument, Phat That Luang, or meander down the dusty riverside tracks to find villages full of friendly children, dogs and chickens. Find plenty of local treasures at Vientiane's vibrant, colourful markets. Round off the day with a spectacular sunset over the mekong at one of the many riverside restaurants and lazy cafés. (B)

days 22-23: vang vieng This quiet town of Vang Vieng is set along the Nam Song river amidst rice fields and limestone karsts. Explore the caves by bike, or float down the river in a tyre tube stopping off for a cold drink and a zip line ride at one of the numerous bamboo bars. In the evening, soak in the beauty as the sun sets over the river. dAYS 24-25: LuANG PRABANG The beautiful town of Luang Prabang has a magical feel about it. Nestled in the hills of northern Laos on the confluence of the mekong and Khan Rivers, it is studded with ornate temples and French colonial architecture. Check out the impressive Royal Palace museum, untouched since the royal family departed in 1975. opt to hop on a songthaew to the beautiful Kuang Si falls, where turquoise waters cascade over limestone formations. (2B) day 26: meKOng river / paKbeng Begin a two day river cruise - a truly amazing ‘live like a local’ experience. Head up the mighty mekong River through magnificent jungle covered hills to Pakbeng, an ethnic minority town. Pack up your provisions and get your woollies out if you’re travelling from November to February, it can get just a wee bit chilly!


dO it yOur way
hanoi • • halong bay luang prabang • • lac sao • vang vieng chiang Khong • chiang mai • • vientiane • hue
THAILAND LAoS VIETNAm • angkor wat • siem reap • nha trang

Accommodation: Simple hotels (25 nts), sleeper train (4 nts) Transport: Local bus, air-con bus, walking, tuk tuk, local boat, junk boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch Budget: Allow USD450 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATID

upgrade the cOmfOrt
‘INDoCHINA ENComPASSED’ 29 DAYS fr $2,809 Tour Code: GAATIE ‘RoAm CAmBoDIA’ 10 DAYS fr $939 Tour Code: GAATRC

stay lOnger in bangKOK Check out pages 26-27.

• hoi an

finish in hO chi minh city

bangkok • CAmBoDIA phnom penh • • ho chi minh city sihanoukville • • chau doc

fOcus On laOs

‘RoAm LAoS’ 12 DAYS fr $1,169 Tour Code: GAAVRL


rOam bangKOK tO singapOre
14 days, $1,149

Flying into Bangkok and out of Singapore is exceedingly simple to organise. Trying to successfully travel between these two brilliant destinations in only 14 days ain’t so easy. Attempt to decide where you want to go and what you want to see, pick from a plethora of dodgy public transport options and then try and find somewhere comfy and central to stay in each of your chosen spots. Stress, hassle and bother! Fear not, help and relaxation is at hand! This hugely popular adventure trip will take care of just about everything, giving you time to absorb the very best highlights of Thailand and malaysia on your own terms. Explore three throbbing Asian cities, wander a multitude of markets and bazaars while munching on all kinds of delicious street food, laze on luscious Thai beaches and enjoy the open air of the malay countryside. This joyous journey guarantees to give you a fascinating insight into this unique and diverse part of our world. highlights • xplore the frantic streets of Bangkok e • outhern Thailand’s amazing beaches S • norkel in the warm waters around Krabi S • ycle the charming streets of Penang C • nhale the air of the Cameron Highlands I • ander Kuala Lumpur's night markets W • bsorb the colourful cultures of Melaka A • heck out the wonders of Singapore C day 1: arrive bangKOK Arrive at any time and head out exploring this amazingly atmospheric, colourful and beautifully noisy city. Feel that hustle and bustle! day 2: bangKOK jump aboard a long-tail boat or maybe a tuk tuk and explore Bangkok’s charismatic mix of markets and temples. Shop til you drop at the wealth of mega markets, start as you mean to go on with a relaxing Thai massage and feast both your eyes and stomachs on the deliciously tantalising tip top Thai cuisine. Yum!

dAYS 3-5: KRABI / AO NANG The beaches surrounding Krabi are simply idyllic. The guesthouse you’ll stay at in Ao Nang is close to the beach and provides the perfect spot to mellow out and relax. Try something adventurous like rock climbing or sea kayaking. Alternatively, kick back on a long-tail boat and glide between the remote beaches for a great day of superb snorkelling and sultry swimming. dAYS 6-7: PeNANG The winding streets of Georgetown are best explored by bicycle rickshaw. Check out the fort’s colonial architecture, pop into the colourful Indian quarter and visit lively Chinatown. After all that exploring, indulge in a meal at the waterfront’s bustling night markets. days 8-9: camerOn highlands Head for the Cameron Highlands, one of malaysia’s most famous hill stations. Established in 1885 by William Cameron, a British surveyor, it is surrounded by pretty tea plantations and strawberry fields. The cooler weather is perfect for a relaxing walk through the cloud-covered forest. A chance to catch up on your book, write a postcard or reflect on life and all its goodness.

days 10-11: Kuala lumpur There’s loads to see and do in Kuala Lumpur. Stare up at one of the world’s tallest buildings, explore the famous Batu caves or check out the oran Asli museum. The evening is best spent sampling some of the best cuisine in Southeast Asia and bargain hunting among the stalls of Chinatown's night market. day 12: melaKa With its historic fusion of Chinese, Indian, malay and Portugese influences, melaka remains one of malaysia’s great destinations. With the fascinating Peranakan architecture and newly restored buildings in jalan jonka, you’ll be more than happy strolling the streets all afternoon. Try a riverboat ride, stop in at the local historical parks, or climb the steps to St Paul’s Church. day 13: singapOre Arrive in Singapore at around midday with a free afternoon to visit one of Singapore’s many attactions. Do the famous night safari at the world-class zoo or shop til you drop on orchard Road. Splash out on your last night with a cocktail at the famous Raffles Hotel. day 14: depart singapOre Depart with bags brim full of superb souvenirs and a pretty big ol’ smile.



Accommodation: Simple bungalows (2 nts), hotels/guesthouses (10 nts), overnight train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, minibus, walking, ferry, songthaew, taxi Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATRM

bangkok •

INCLude THAILANd’S NORTHeRN HILLTRIBeS ‘Roam Southeast Asia’. 21 days fr $1,639 Tour Code: GAATRA gO in reverse ‘Colours of Asia’. Check out page 35

• Krabi penang • cameron highlands • Kuala lumpur • mALAYSIA melaka • • singapore

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel



• chiang rai • chiang mai • sukhothai

bangkok •
• Kanchanaburi • ayuthaya

currency: THAI BHAT price Of a beer: $2.60 pOpulatiOn: 64 mILLIoN

Khao sok n.p. •

• Koh phangan • Koh samui phuket • • Krabi Koh phi phi •

my favOurite eXperience
“It has to be the beaches of Koh Samui. Instead of souless swathes of welltrodden dirty sand, I found perfect pockets of paradise. I spent days lazing under beautiful tropical sunshine. In the evening, I’d wander to the nearest beach-bar, where I’d sip exotic cocktails and listen to chilled out music while wondering why oh why I’d booked a return flight home.” Alex the weather Thailand has an equitorial climate in the extreme south and a tropical monsoon climate in the centre and the north. Southwest monsoon season is from may to october and the northeast monsoon runs from November to April. In the centre and south, temperatures don’t vary dramatically and overall sunshine hours average 9-10 hrs a day, most of the year round. Bangkok experiences a cooler season (avg 26C°) from December to February and a hotter season from march to may. The islands get quite a lot of rain but this doesn’t stop visitors from flooding in (no pun intended!). lOcal grub Where to begin? Pad Thai - an absolute institution of a streetstall food. Delicious pancakes, quintessential red and green Thai curries, satay sticks, all kinds of tropical fruit, fresh coastal seafood and much much more! Tuck in! useful infO With over 200,000 monks, Thailand is one of the strongest Buddhist countries in the world – a serene spirituality pervades just about everything and everyone. useless infO A couple of this country’s crazy laws you’d better try to adhere to: it is illegal to leave your house if you’re not wearing underwear, you’re not allowed to swim across a river unless you have a coin in your pocket, you’re not permitted to stand on any of the nation’s currency and you must wear a shirt while driving a car. try befOre yOu fly Lucky Leonardo fans - it’s another great chance to watch ‘The Beach’ - or why not check out the brilliant 1996 novel by Alex Garland. Both will leave you gagging to get to beautiful Thailand.

welcOme pacKage
4 days, fr $209 • • • • 3 nights at the Royal Hotel Arrival airport transfer City & Temples tour Thonburi Klongs tour

Bangkok can sometimes seem a little daunting to visitors, especially if its your first time to Asia. It’s really not a good idea to arrive into this glorious city without at least your first night organised. Take this smart little welcome pack - a wonderful intro to Thailand’s cart wheeling capital. You’ll be picked up at the airport and safely deposited in a great hotel, where you’ll have three nights to get used to all the hustle and bustle. Hop on a half day “City & Temples” tour and enjoy a half day “Thonburi Klongs” spin along the canals. Soak up the fantastic atmosphere and settle into this city with ease. STABKK


rOam thailand
16 days, $1,259

Don’t spend all your time in Thailand in a Bangkok bar, or stuck on a sizzling island beach. While both experiences are understandably vital to many who visit this beautiful country, there’s also a whole lot more out there to see. This fantastic adventure ensures you get the absolute most out of Thailand. Hike through thick jungle and iridescent rice paddies in the mountainsides of the north and learn first hand about life in a hill tribe village. Enjoy meditative and serene rainforest walks in the outstanding Khao Sok National Park. Snorkel your way around paradise in the warm welcoming waters of Koh Tao. Don’t worry - you’ll also have ample time to lose yourself in the hedonism of Bangkok and laze on beautiful island beaches underneath the glorious sweltering sunshine. After 16 wondrous days, you’ll walk away from Thailand perfectly fulfilled and extremely contented. highlights • explore the frantic streets of Bangkok • Check out the wonders of Chiang Mai • Trek through the jungles of the north • Stay with the local hill tribes • Relax amongst the Khao Sok paradise • enjoy the beachside nightlife of Koh Samui • Snorkel the reefs around Koh Tao • Take in ancient pagoda & temple history day 1: arrive bangKOK Arrive in at any time and get on out exploring this urban jungle of wonder. day 2: bangKOK Delight in the dazzling Grand Palace and the city’s countless pagodas; if you’re a shopper, you could spend weeks sifting through Bangkok’s fantastic malls and open-air markets. day 3: chiang mai Try the fantastic street food, shop at the night bazaar, visit some of the hundreds of temples, or explore the beautiful surrounding countryside.

days 4-6: hill tribe treK From Chiang mai, you’ll start an amazing 3 day hill tribe trek. You’ll visit a diverse group of ethnic minorities, each with their own language, clothing and religion. Walk for approximately 4-5 hours each day along sloping hills and valleys and spend star splattered nights in the local village huts. A real chance to get to know the locals. A truly awesome experience! (3B, 2L, 2D) dAY 7: CHIANG MAI Return back to the northern capital and take care of any last minute shopping. Chiang mai is known for its distinctive handicraft (especially silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving). days 8-9: bangKOK Bound back to Bangkok. Visit the temples you missed, gardens you only passed through and shops you only so much as peeked in. days 10-11: KhaO sOK natiOnal parK Settle into paradise for two days of exploration and discovery. Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, perfect for people who want to hike and get out there amongst nature. Alternatively, choose to just chill out in a hammock by the riverside and watch the monkeys take their afternoon bath. (B)

day 12: KOh samui Experience one of Thailand’s most popular island getaways. Koh Samui offers everything you could possibly want in a beach retreat: white sandy beaches, coconut palms, fresh seafood and warm, clear waters. Take a tour of the island and its main sights before relaxing, cocktail in hand. dAYS 13-15: KOH TAO A beach paradise so laid back that even the palm trees don’t stand up straight! Snorkel or scuba amongst stunning marine life in some of Southeast Asia’s best reefs. day 16: depart bangKOK Arrive back into Thailand’s capital on Day 16. Trip ends upon arrival at Bangkok Railway Station.


Accommodation: Hotels (2 nts), simple fan-cooled hotels/guesthouses (4 nts) basic hill tribe villages (2 nts, multishare), sleeper trains (4nts), simple bungalows (3 nts) Transport: Local bus, train, elephant, walking, boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATRT

• chiang mai hilltribe trek

bangkok •

finish with a sailing trip ‘Thailand Sailing Adventure’ 7 days fr $1,349 Tour Code: GAATSA stay lOnger in bangKOK Check out pages 26-27.

Khao sok n.p. •

• Koh tao • Koh samui

Over 41,000 discOunts wOrldwide - get yOur isic card nOw at sta travel


siam discOvery
22 days, $1,679


over the next three weeks, you’ll get a real handle on the fascinating Southeast Asian culture. Trek into the countryside and get involved with the local lifestyle on an overnight stay with hill tribes - inhale the sights, sounds and tantalising smells of the Chiang mai night markets. move to the Thai rhythm of things with a famously relaxing Thai massage and chill out meditating as you peruse your way around temples. Fascinating, fun and full of frivolity – further south you’ll be treated to a wild night out on Koh Samui – a partygoer and beach junkie’s paradise. Get in some more ‘me’ time on Koh Tao where you’ll also have the chance to further discover underwater worlds, working your scuba magic on various snorkelling and diving options available. Conquer the Golden Triangle and intertwine your way of life with some proper Thai diversity. At the end of your trip you’ll have found plenty of interests, a haven of undiscovered gems, an infinite number of ways to have a great time and one very, very big smile.

days 2-3: Kanchanaburi / river Kwai Spend a memorable day at an intriguing historical site with options that include riding ‘Death Railway’, and exploring Erawan National Park - one of Thailand’s most beautiful. Venture in by boat or on foot, or just stay put and chill out with the locals. day 4: ayutthaya once a magnificent city, the serenity of Ayuthaya’s Buddhist monuments is overwhelming. Wander round in amazement before settling in for the night on your overnight train. dAY 5: CHIANG MAI Bargain-hunters, refrain yourselves! The night bazaar won’t cost you much money, but it will cost you space! The more adventurous can opt to cycle the alleyways in the old walled city. days 6-8: hill tribe treK Appreciate Thailand’s northern region on a trek through remote hill tribe villages, alongside terraced rice paddies and farms. Staying overnight in simple traditional hill tribe huts, it’s a privilege to meet the locals in their own homes and take part in their daily routine. Wake up to a birdsong, swim in the river and glide downstream on simple bamboo rafts. (2B, 3L, 3D)

day 9: chiang mai Relax with a well-deserved massage, enjoy the delicious night market food or maybe watch the sunset from the hilltop temple of Doi Sutep. days 10-12: gOlden triangle/chiang rai making your way to where Thailand, Laos and Burma converge, explore the infamous Golden Triangle region - both beautiful and mysterious. You can opt to go river rafting or take a trip to the excellent opium museum. dAYS 13-15: BANGKOK As hectic as the city is, Bangkok has plenty of appeal. Check out the dazzling gold of the Grand Palace and the city’s countless pagodas, sift through Bangkok’s malls and open-air markets and try out amazing new foods. Why not take a lesson or two in learning to cook them yourself? on Day15 board the overnight train south. dAYS 16-17: KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, a perfect place for people who want to get out and active with a hike through the surrounding nature. But you can always just relax in a hammock by the riverside watching the monkeys take their afternoon baths. day 18: KOh samui Welcome to one of Thailand’s most popular vacation getaways. Despite the abundance of good food and the great nightlife, there are still plenty of out of the way spots for those who just want to get away from it all.

highlights • Wander the bustling streets of Bangkok • explore the River Kwai and erawan N.P • Spook yourself on death Railway • Befriend a Buddhist in Ayutthaya • Snap up bargains at Chiang Mai’s market • Stay overnight in a hill tribe hut • Relax with a soothing Thai massage • Meditate your way into ancient temples • Party all night long on Koh Samui • Learn to dive & eat fresh fish on Koh Tao day 1: arrive bangKOK Arrive into Bangkok at any time and set out exploring this vast den of all things weirdly wonderful. meet your Tour Leader and fellow travelling buddies - soon to be your best mates.

2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR SUN SUN

Accommodation: Simple fan-cooled hotels/guesthouses (9 nts), basic hill tribe village (3 nts), sleeper trains (4 nts), simple bungalows (5 nts) Transport: Local bus, fan-cooled train, elephant, walking, boat, river raft, ferry Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides. Meals: 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners Budget: Allow USD250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATSD

• chiang rai • chiang mai hilltribe trek river Kwai • • ayutthaya Kanchanaburi • bangkok • • Koh tao • Koh samui

stay lOnger in bangKOK Check out pages 26-27.

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