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See the very best of Southeast Asia on this affordable backpacking tour. As well as the must-see highlights, spend time exploring the less-known parts of these amazing countries. Jam-packed with activities, there is something for every type of traveler.

Duration: 13, 20 or 31 days
Dates:  Click on BOOK NOW
Start time: Dependent on duration. Meet up 17:00 on day 1 or 21:30 on day 12
End time: Day 12 at 12:00 or day 31 at 16:00
Eligibility: General level of fitness required
Age: 18-35

Highlights

  • Meeting other travelers, looking to explore Southeast Asia
  • Backpacking Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam without breaking the bank
  • Have the choice of bolting on lots of exciting optional extras!
  • Eating your fill of delicious Southeast Asian cuisine
  • Exploring the major sites and cities of this region

Bangkok, Thailand

Description

We offer three tour options in Southeast Asia.

Choose from:

  • The first half of the tour: 13 days from Thailand to Vietnam
  • The second half of the tour: 20 days from Vietnam to Thailand
  • The full loop: 31 days from Thailand to Thailand

These backpacking tours are affordable, exciting and the perfect way to spend your full holiday or in combination with another trip. Led by experienced local tour leaders, these trips offer a full range of sites, experiences and activities. Designed by on-the-ground experts and backpacker feedback, these tours have been created to ensure you get everything possible out of this exciting adventure. To make your experience even more memorable, check out the optional activities that you can add to your itinerary!

On arrival in Thailand, you’ll begin your tour in Bangkok. For the 20 days option, you’ll pick up the tour in Hanoi in Vietnam.

Day one – Bangkok, Thailand

  • Begin your trip in lively Bangkok and meet your group and leader at 5pm
  • Soak up the views on a rooftop bar
  • Board the sleeper train to Chiang Mai
  • Optional activities: choose to arrive two days earlier and take the riverboat cruise, visit the magnificent Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew – home to the emerald Buddha –  or experience the legendary nightlife

Day two – Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Wake up to rural views in Chiang Mai, the 700-year-old cultural capital of Thailand
  • Visit the local elephant jungle sanctuary (entry included)
  • Relax by the hostel pool before taking in the bustling night markets and listening to live music
  • Optional activities: join a cooking class to learn how to make delicious Thai food, Muay Thai Show

Day three – Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • The perfect day for those who love adventure – there are plenty of adventure options to choose from.
  • Spend the evening exploring the night markets
  • Optional activities: for adrenaline junkies – try the zip line, drive a quad bike or white water raft down the Mae Taeng River

Day four – Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Cycle through peaceful countryside in the northern Thai villages
  • Visit Wat Doi Suthep Temple
  • Relax or explore on your free afternoon
  • Head to ‘Zoe in Yellow’ – an infamous Chiang Mai bar
  • Optional activities: Wat Doi Suthep Temple visit, night out

Day five – Chiang Dao, Thailand

  • Gaze at the spectacular views over the countryside
  • Arrive at the Tree House, where you will be eating dinner and sleeping
  • Trek to stunning Waterfalls near the Lahu Village

Day six – Chiang Kong, Thailand

  • Cycle through stunning countryside before lunch
  • Head back to Chiang Mai to head to Chiang Kong where you will stay over night

Day seven – Pak Beng, Laos

  • Jump back on board the slow boat to beautiful Pak Beng where you can try ‘buffalo curry’ – a delicious local curry

Day eight – Luang Prabang, Laos

  • Board the slow boat again and head towards Luang Prabang – an iconic UNESCO Heritage city
  • Spend the evening wandering around Hmong Night Market

Day nine – Luang Prabang, Laos

  • Volunteer at Big Brother Mouse Centre by helping young people to improve their conversational English skills
  • Spend the afternoon at one of the biggest waterfalls in the area – Kuang Si Waterfalls to hike and swim
  • Optional activities: volunteering, learning about rice farming at the Living Rice Farm

Day ten – Vang Vieng, Laos

  • Swim in the amazing Blue Lagoon 2

Day eleven – Vang Vieng, Vietnam

  • Bike to Pha Ngern view point to soak up your surroundings
  • Swim in the amazing Blue Lagoon, go tubing – a highlight for many backpackers – or have a go at rock-climbing
  • Optional activities: Rock Climbing, tubing or cycling trip

Day twelve – Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Fly into Hanoi and take the bus from the airport to the accommodation
  • Optional activities: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and learn about Vietnam’s political history, visit Thang Long, built in the 11th Century and explore the Temple of Literature

For those starting the 20-day Vietnam and Cambodia leg of this tour, you will meet the rest of the group (those on the full 31-day tour) at the accommodation at 18:30

  • Optional activities: Head out for an epic bar crawl through the city’s Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh

Day thirteen – Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Visit the Hoa Lo Prison and learn about the history of the city (entry included)
  • Eat Vietnamese culinary delights on a street food tour at the Old Quarter
  • In the afternoon, spend time at Hoan Kiem Lake
  • You could also spend your evening at the Hanoi Opera House or watching a Water Puppet Show
  • Optional activities: Street food tour, Hoan Kiem Lake, Opera and Water Puppet Show

If you are booked onto the 13-day tour – your journey ends here. As there is so much to see in Hanoi, we recommend organizing your return journey or onward travel for the evening.

Day fourteen - Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Imperial Citadel for a culture-packed morning (entry included)
  • Enjoy an optional group lunch before a free afternoon to explore or relax

Day fifteen - Halong Bay, Vietnam

  • Head to paradise – Halong Hideaway tour (tour costs included)
  • Eat lunch on the boat before jumping into the sea
  • Stay on a private backpacking island and eat a BBQ dinner with sea views

Day sixteen - Halong Bay, Vietnam

  • Kayak in the morning before lunch (included)
  • In the afternoon, head back to Hanoi to freshen up before hopping on a bus to Phong Nha

Day seventeen - Phong Nha, Vietnam

  • Arrive early in the morning
  • Bike to Bong Lai Village, there will be a chance to play volleyball
  • For the afternoon, relax by the pool before a night of karaoke (included) – this is dependent on trippers preferences
  • Optional activities: bike tour, relax by pool

Day eighteen - Phong Nha, Vietnam

  • Opt to have a free day or head to the National Cave Park – Paradise Cave and Dark Cave
  • Optional activities: National Cave Park Tour

Day nineteen - Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Jump on an early bus to Hoi An arriving at lunch
  • Tour the Old Town – including the Japanese Bridge
  • Optional activities: Tour of Old Town, Experience a night out in Hoi An

Day twenty - Hoi An, Vietnam

  • In the morning you could go hop on board a coconut basket boat and head into the farmlands for a tour
  • Alternatively, you could do a 1-day tour of Ba Na Hills (Vietnamese Disneyland) home of the world’s longest cable car and the Golden Bridge, held up by two giant stone hands!
  • The third option, is to spend the morning on the beach.
  • Optional activities: coconut basket boat tour, Ba Na Hills tour, beach visit

Day twenty one - Saigon, Vietnam

  • Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (often referred to as Saigon) mid morning
  • Take part in a walking tour of Saigon
  • Head to the incredible food market at Ben Thanh before heading to a rooftop bar to start a bar crawl
  • Optional activities: walking tour, food market, bar crawl

Day twenty two - Saigon, Vietnam

  • Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and explore Vietnam’s political history
  • Head to the War Remnants Museum
  • Optional activities: Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum

Day twenty three - Ha Trien, Vietnam

  • Prepare for an early rise to head to the Mekong Delta
  • In the morning, you will arrive at Can Tho to see the floating markets before stopping for lunch
  • Explore the Tra Su Forest, accessed by motorboat, before heading back to the accommodation for dinner (all food and tour costs included)

Day twenty four - Koh Rong, Cambodia

  • Depart Vietnam to cross the Cambodia Ha Tien Border
  • Drive to Sihanoukville for lunch before boarding a boat to Koh Rong
  • You will have a free evening to relax in one of the many beach bars or explore

Day twenty five - Koh Rong, Cambodia

  • Spend the morning scuba diving – you can opt for a beginners course or a fun dive (for those who are PADI qualified)
  • The rest of the day is free to relax and sunbathe
  • Optional activities: Scuba diving

Day twenty six - Koh Rong, Cambodia

  • Board a boat that will take you on an island hopping adventure (tour and food included)
  • The tour will stop at different spots, allowing you to fish, swim and camp (if the weather permits)
  • Camping will involve everyone getting stuck in – helping to cook, collect fire wood and set up hammocks

Day twenty seven - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • After a night camping, head back to the port and take a boat to Sihanoukville
  • Board a bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s exciting capital city

Day twenty eight - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • Tour the S21 Prison to learn about Cambodia’s harrowing past (tour included) followed by an optional visit to the Killing Fields where an audio guide is available
  • Visit the Grand Palace in the afternoon
  • Optional activities: Killing Fields and Grand Palace

Day twenty nine - Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Arrive by bus and visit local villages around Siem Reap – feeling brave? Take part in the Fear Factor Challenge and try some foods that were prominent during the Khmer Rouge
  • You will then have the a free evening

Day thirty - Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Wake up early to head to Angkor Wat for an incredible sunrise view (included)
  • Head to Pub Street – the legendary backpacking hub for the evening
  • Optional activities: Pub Street

Day thirty one - Bangkok, Thailand

For your final leg, travel by bus to Bangkok, arriving at 16:00 at Kho San Road.

This is the end of the tour so say goodbye to your fellow travelers and either return home or continue with your own independent travel.

Accommodation

  • All hostel/home-stay accommodation is included for the duration
  • You will be staying in thoroughly checked accommodation that is clean and comfortable
  • The group will be staying in the same accommodation and you can expect to share a room with 4-8 people
  • If you would like to have your own room or twin upgrade for your tour, you can pay a supplement for this
  • A full list of accommodation will be provided prior to departure
  • Pre and post tour accommodation per night costs £15 per person for a dorm bed or £40 per night for a twin room bed
  • Airport transfer is also available for £25 each way from Bangkok and £40 from Hanoi

Food

When a meal isn’t included your tour leader will suggest an option good, hygienic, local eatery.

Meals included with your tour:

13 Day

Chiang Mai: Day 2 – Lunch and Dinner: Day 3 – Breakfast and lunch

Hanoi: Day 12 – Breakfast

 

20 DAY 

Hanoi:  Day 1 – Breakfast

Halong Bay:  Day 2 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner: Day 3 – Breakfast and lunch

Phong Nha:  Day 4 – Breakfast: Day 5 – Breakfast

Hoi An: Day  6 – Breakfast: Day 7 – Breakfast

Ho Chi Minh: Day  8 – Breakfast: Day 9 – Breakfast: Day 10 – Breakfast

Koh Rong: Day  12 – Breakfast: Day 13 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner (only included only between Sep 30th to June 1st when camping): Day 14 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner (only included only between Sep 30th to June 1st when camping)

 

31 Day 

Chiang Mai: Day 2 – Lunch and dinner: Day 3 – Breakfast and lunch

Hanoi: Day 12 – Breakfast

Halong Bay: Day 13 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner: Day 14 – Breakfast and lunch

Phong Nha: Day 15 – Breakfast: Day 16 – Breakfast

Hoi An: Day 17 – Breakfast: Day 18 – Breakfast

Ho Chi Minh: Day 19 – Breakfast: Day 20 – Breakfast: Day 21 – Breakfast

Koh Rong Island: Day 23 – Breakfast: Day 25 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner (only included only between Sep 30th to June 1st when camping): Day 26 – Breakfast (only included only between Sep 30th to June 1st when camping)

Fancy volunteering at an elephant and wildlife sanctuary before?

We’re also offer animal welfare volunteering opportunities in Thailand and Laos.

Our wildlife and elephant sanctuary can collect you from Bangkok airport and can be easily added to the start of the tour. We also have a beautiful elephant sanctuary just outside Luang Prabang in Laos with transfer included too!

Travel arrangements

Airport: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Hanoi Airport (HAN)

Arrival day:

  • For those starting in Bangkok, you will meet the group on day 1 before 17:00 
  • For those starting in Hanoi, you will meet the group on day 12 10.30

Departure day:

  • For 13 day people ,those departing in Hanoi will finish on day 13
  • For those on the 20 or 31-day tour, you will finish at 16:00 in Bangkok
  • Pre and Post-tour accommodation is available for both departure cities

Included

  • Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
  • Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
  • Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
  • In-country support
  • Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
  • Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
  • Thorough orientation on arrival
  • Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
  • Advice on visa requirements
  • Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help offset your carbon emissions
  • A combination of Western and local tour leaders (all English speaking)
  • Internal travel – train, boat and internal flight
  • All included activities
  • All taxes and charges

Not Included

  • Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
  • You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
  • Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
  • Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
  • Independent travel costs
  • Home country travel costs
  • Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
  • All optional activities – highly recommended!
  • Cost of food and drinks

 

More Information

A more detailed day-day itinerary will be supplied on booking. The exact itinerary is subject to slight changes and variations depending on the weather and circumstances.

You need to be over 18 to do this tour. This tour is designed for the backpacking market with 30 as an upper age limit.

Each tour has an enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour leader. You will have a combination of western and local leaders. All leaders will have fully equipped first aid kits and are English speakers.

On the tour, there are some optional activities that are mentioned in the itinerary.

These prices are approximate:

• Cooking class – 800 THB / 20.2 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Muay Thai show – 400 to 600 THB – 10.1 to 15.2 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Zip lining, White water rafting, ATV quads – 2400 to 5600 THB / 60.8 to 141.9 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Night food market – pay for what you order (Chiang Mai)
• Half day Mae Taeng biking tour – 1600 THB / 40.5 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Wat Doi Suthep Temple – 150 THB / 3.8 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Monk chat – 40 to 100 THB / 1.00 to 2.5 GBP (Chiang Mai)
• Clubbing at Zo in Yellow – pay for what you drink (Chiang Mai
• Optional group dinner – pay for what you order (Luang Prabang)
• Hmong night market – pay for what you order (Luang Prabang)
• Watch Takbat Lao ceremony (Luang Prabang)
• Volunteer at Big Brother Big Mouse (Luang Prabang)
• Rice experience – 344,000 KIP / 29.5 GBP (Luang Prabang)
• Night out at Utopia – pay for your own drinks (Luang Prabang)
• Laos ethnic village tour – 25 USD (Luang Prabang)
• Half day rock climbing – 180,000 KIP / 15.4 GBP (Vang Vieng)
• Bike to Pha Ngern view point – 40,000 KIP / 3.4 GBP (Vang Vieng)
• Tubing – 60,000 KIP / 5.1 GBP (Vang Vieng)
• Bar crawl – pay for your own drinks (Hanoi)
• Hoa Lo Prison – 30,000 VND / 0.99 GBP (Hanoi)
• Optional group lunch – pay for what you order (Hanoi)
• Visit Hoan Kiem Lake (Hanoi)
• Water puppet show – 100,000 VND / 3.3 GBP (Hanoi)
• Coffee tasting (Phong Nha)
• Bike to Bong Lai Village – 120,000 VND / 3.9 GBP (Phong Nha)
• Rest afternoon by the pool – 60,000 VND / 1.9 GBP (Phong Nha)
• National park tour – 1,350,000 VND / 44.6 GBP (Phong Nha)
• Night out – pay for your own drinks (Hoi an)
• Coconut basket boat and farming (Hoi an)
• Ba Na Hills tour – 1,390,000 VND / 46 GBP (Hoi an)
• Beach visit (Hoi an)
• Lantern making experience – 250,000 VND / 8.2 GBP (Ho Chi Minh)
• Optional group dinner – pay for what you order (Ho Chi Minh)
• Rooftop bar and bar crawl – pay for your own drinks (Ho Chi Minh)
• Optional group lunch (Ho Chi Minh)
• Saigon water-bus tour – 30,000 VND / 0.99 GBP (Ho Chi Minh)
• Night market (Ho Chi Minh)
• Cu Chi tunnels – 230,000 VND / 7.6 GBP (Ho Chi Minh)
• War Remnants Museum – 40,000 VND / 1.3 GBP (Ho Chi Minh)
• Beach party at hostel (Koh Rong)
• Scuba – 80 USD (Koh Rong)
• Killing Fields (Phnom Penh)
• Grand palace – 10 USD (Phnom Penh)
• Optional group dinner – pay for what you order (Siem Reap)
• Bar crawl – 5 USD which includes a shot in every bar (Siem Reap)
• Floating village tour – 21 USD (Siem Reap)
• Boozy bike tour – 29 USD (Siem Reap)
• The Cambodian Circus – 28 USD (Siem Reap)
• Bug market visit (Siem Reap)
• Final group dinner – pay for what you order (Siem Reap)
• Pub street – pay for your own drinks (Siem Reap)

 

Typically, 20 people take part in each tour.

Yes! There are laundry facilities at the accommodation along the route. Your tour leader will tell you when it is best to do laundry, based on when there is enough time in one place for laundry to dry.

You’ll be able to store your luggage in your room. There are safes in the room and a safe for valuables at reception. There will be occasions when your luggage will be kept in storage facilities at railway stations.

The climate is warm all year round in South East Asia.

  • The cooler season is from December-February ranging from 15-30C.
  • March-June is the hottest time of the year with temperatures between 30-45C,
  • The rainy season is between July-November when it will be around 25-35C.
  • You can organize your visa on arrival in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia so no need to get them in advance. This is the case for most countries, but do check your country’s status before departure.
  • To get a visa in Laos, you will need passport photo and $35 ($36 for some weekends and holidays).
  • For a visa into Cambodia, you will need to bring a passport photo and $36. The costs may vary depending on your nationality.
  • For the majority of nationalities, you can get a free tourist visa on arrival in Thailand and Vietnam.

You should always visit your GP or local travel clinic to find the most up to date information about vaccinations.

There are many modern medical facilities and hospitals and you will always have access to medical help while you are on the tour.

Whether you are a solo traveler or traveling as a couple, pair or group, you are welcome to join the tour!

Throughout your tour, you will be able to communicate with your tour leader. Your tour leader will not accompany you for all activities, but is contactable at all times. For each leg, you will have a different English-speaking tour leader, who is an expert in that area.

Staff at Oyster’s head office and in-country will be responsible for your safety and welfare while you are on the  tour. This will start from the moment you arrive at the meeting point. Before and after these times, you will be outside Oyster’s responsibility and should make sure that you act safely and avoid risk. This is also true if you choose to leave the project during your time off. We will give you plenty of guidance and advice about this.

The upgrade fee is per room, not per person:

13 day: 

  • Double room is £250 (Based on two people sharing)
  • Single room is £250 (Based on one person)
  • The room upgrade is available in all destinations aside from in the homestay in Chiang Mai.

20 day: 

  • Double room is £450 (based on two people sharing)
  • Single room is £450 (based on one person)
  • The room upgrade is not available in Halong Bay, Ha Tien or on Koh Rong island.

31 day:

  • Single room is £675 (One person to a room)
  • Double room is £670 (Two people sharing)
  • A room upgrade is not available in the homestay in Chiang Mai, on Halong Bay, in Ha Tien or on Koh Rong island.

All bedding is provided. Towels are not supplied but can be rented from the hostel reception for a small fee.

There are plenty of ATMs so accessing money in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia is straightforward. We advise that you let you bank know in advance that you are traveling.

We recommend a budget of £5-10/ $7-15 for food and drink each day .

Yes, there are so many different options to choose from. The tour leader will be able to help direct you to suitable restaurants.

You will be heading to some remote areas where, depending on your network, your phone may not work, but you can get a local SIM or use WiFi for internet if you need to.

GMT +7 in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Most Asian electrical outlets are 220V. They typically use the US standard plug shape.

Got a question or want to chat to Project Manager Georgie who has first-hand experience of the project? Call +44 1892 771977or email: – [email protected].

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