This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Peregrine.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent. VIETNAM: Australia: Yes - in advance Belgium: Yes - in advance Canada: Yes - in advance Germany Yes - in advance Ireland: Yes - in advance Netherlands: Yes - in advance New Zealand: Yes - in advance South Africa: Yes - in advance Switzerland: Yes - in advance United Kingdom: Yes - in advance USA: Yes - in advance When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. Some nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, but if you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance. Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure. If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.
Every Peregrine traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.
Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy and credit cards. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! You may be buying things as you go, so you should not bring too much from home. Many people find a backpack the most suitable type of luggage for our holidays. Medium-sized suitcases can also be used; however, you should avoid the large, bulky cases that are difficult to carry. The lockable suitcases on wheels are the best types to use. Be aware that some hotels in Asia are not over-endowed with lifts (elevators) and there may be occasions when you need to carry your luggage up stairs or along railway platforms, etc.
When packing, consider cultural differences which may mean that some attire that we wear at home is not appropriate in Asia and may be offensive to the local people. Beachwear in towns is not appropriate, nor is 'short' shorts, particularly for women. Light cotton pants are a better option. When visiting sites of religious significance, modest clothing should be worn. Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or jandals are appropriate footwear in the tropics.
When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. The majority of time the weather is warm in South East Asia; however, it may be distinctly cold up in the highlands. If there are specific requirements for a trip, these will be noted in the Trip Notes relating to that trip. Please note that in the last few years, the world’s weather pattern has gone somewhat awry. The effects of ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ are very real and this has resulted in unseasonable droughts followed by unseasonable deluges. Be prepared for the unexpected! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.
Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
Spare passport photos
Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
Metal chain and padlock to secure luggage on overnight trains – additional precaution
Small first-aid kit
Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions
Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
Electrical adapter plug
Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes
Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
Refillable water bottle
Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
Wind and waterproof jacket
Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
The unit of currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Bank notes come in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 500,000 VND. Polymer notes of 50,000 VND (pink), 100,000 VND (light green) and 500,000 VND (dark green) are now used together with the old paper notes.
Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
The local currency is Vietnam Dong (VND), but US dollars are also accepted. It is almost impossible to change VND into US dollars without a flight ticket showing your onward destination.
Only change money at official money exchange counters with a clear sign showing this status. Illegal exchange places like gold shops may offer a higher rate you may risk losing your money.
Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted, but outside main centres you may find cash the only acceptable currency. It may be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques.
ATMs are available in major cities and tourist areas.
You can have funds transferred to Vietnam via international money transfer companies like Western Union or Moneygram.
You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals/drinks not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and be reimbursed later by your insurance company. As a guideline we suggest that you allow US$20 per day in Asia would allow you to eat and drink reasonably well.
Optional Tours & Activities: We include many sightseeing activities on most of our trips; however, there are additional optional tours and activities that you may wish to undertake during your free time. These may incur additional expenses. These activities are not a mandatory part of our tours because, from past experience, we have found that our travellers have appreciated some free time whilst on tour.
International airport departure taxes are included in the price of International airline tickets.
Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture it is nonetheless part of the culture in this area of the world and it is often the way someone such as a waiter makes a living. As a guideline we would recommend a tip of 10% in restaurants and US$3-5 per person, per day for a local guide at a site. The same would be applicable for the driver of any private transportation that we use. If you are unhappy with a service of course you are under no obligation to leave a tip however if the service has been satisfactory please consider our advice above.
On arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your start hotel. Please see your final documents for full details of the hotel. Please make sure we are aware of your flight arrival details before you travel. Please meet our representative outside the arrivals area, as you exit from the customs hall. They will be holding a sign. It is important that they are holding this sign or display some identification identifying them as our official transfer staff. We have received reports of thieves parading as transfer drivers at the airport; please do not go off with anyone without proper identification.
If you are making your own way from the airport to the hotel it is a matter of catching a taxi. After clearing customs and immigration at Noi Bai Airport, make your way outside the terminal where there will be taxis waiting. The distance from the airport to the city is approximately 40 kilometres and it should cost about US$15-US$20 to get to the hotel (ensure you have settled on an amount with the taxi driver before you commence your ride). There is also a Vietnam Airlines bus to the city; inquire on arrival for directions to the bus. You should arrive by Day 1 of the itinerary.
Generally, your room will be available from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until a room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
Local Tour Leaders
By employing and training local guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Infrastructure and Tet Holiday Period
Please note that Vietnam is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during the Tet holiday period (Vietnamese New Year).
During Tet, most businesses will be closed as Vietnamese people usually spend this period returning to their homes and celebrating with their families. This will involve a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. Even if bookings are obtained, transport services during this period will be overcrowded and heavy delays are to be expected, so you will need to make sure that you pack your sense of humour.
Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Peregrine Vietnam office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770
The Spirit of Adventure
Please remember that our tours are of an adventurous nature. Our style of travelling means that it is more desirable to carry a backpack and a daypack on our tours. It is also possible to bring soft suitcases, but large heavy ones can be cumbersome and not always convenient to carry around.
Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control such as weather and road conditions. Any such changes may necessitate some alterations to this itinerary.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements deriving from past travellers' and local operator feedback. The information given in this itinerary may differ slightly to that in the brochure. It's imperative that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated itinerary please visit our website: www.peregrineadventures.com Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some of the changes that may occur in our itineraries could be due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transportation. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for the chance of possible modifications to the trip en-route.
Please make sure that you have access to at least an additional US$500. This money can be drawn upon in unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, etc) that result in Peregrine necessitating a change to our planned route.
Issues on your trip:
While we always endeavour to provide you the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader/specialist guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognize that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader/guide to speak to their direct manager.
Every place Peregrine visits is special – and we want it to stay that way. Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to local communities. On all our tours we strive to work in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Contributing to local environmental and cultural conservation, we are not only helping the community but giving our travellers a more authentic experience, whether it's enjoying a homestay in a tribal village or sleeping in small, family-run accommodation.
|Hanoi, Vietnam||Hanoi, Vietnam|
Accommodation: Lan Vien Hotel or similar, Hanoi
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Lan Vien Hotel or similar, Hanoi
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
At Peregrine we are always looking for ways to improve our trips and your feedback is invaluable to us and to our tour guides. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Peregrine. At the end of your trip we ask that you to take a few minutes of your time to complete our on-line feedback form. Just go to http://www.peregrineadventures.com/tour-feedback for our easy to fill out questionnaire. We’d love to hear what you have to say!
15 April 2014