Southeast Asia Adventures: FAQs


Planning for a trip can be stressful – even when booking on to a tour as epic as ours. You’ll have questions about bookings, flights, discounts, getting in, health, where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, with whom, dressed in what, eating what, while trying to keep the costs down the whole time!

If we haven’t outlined the answers you need below, feel free to give us a call now on (+44) (0)20 3817 5974 or contact us 🙂


Who are we?

We made a whole page to answer just this question. Click here to read about us

Why should you travel with us?

You’re choosing pretty much the best value in Southeast Asian backpacker travel…

  • We take you to see the absolute best of Southeast Asia. All-encompassing, packed itineraries give you access to the top must-see sites you’ve read about, as well as all the hidden, off-the-beaten-track destinations you haven’t.
  • Experience travelling with an amazing group of like-minded people – not just those travelling with you, but our expert, fun-loving guides too! They’ll show you their part of South East Asia their way.
  • Give something back by volunteering in the local community.
  • We have an excellent commitment to safety – we do the hard work keeping you safe, so you can enjoy yourself to the full.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable travel – we want these stunning places to exist for future generations.
  • We like to think of ourselves as open-minded people, and our tours are for open-minded people too. We welcome travellers of any age, nationality, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender and sexual orientation.
  • We are a LGBT-friendly travel operator, so you’ll feel safe travelling with us, whatever your way of life – that means no judging and no harassing!

Who travels with us?

All sorts! We thought this was an important question too, so read about our customers – in all their diversity – in full detail here.


What’s included?

  • Western and local (English-speaking!) adventure leaders.
  • Accommodation in hostels and hotels which meet The Dragon Trip’s high standards. All have their own unique charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.
  • All train, boat and bus tickets.
  • Entry to a whole range of places plus a vast number of included activities.
  • All taxes and charges.

What’s not included?

  • Flights to and from South East Asia
  • Visas
  • Aside from the many free unmissable activities The Dragon Trip offers you, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
  • Food and Drink
  • Any train/bus tickets for journeys made after the trip
  • Any hostels for after your trip has ended

Who will guide the tours?

You will always have extremely knowledgeable, English-speaking guides!


How can I book my trip?

All you have to do is email us with your full name at and send in your deposit ($200/ÂŁ200) to guarantee a place in the tour of your choosing. The full amount will be due 60 days before your trip departure date. Once we have confirmed your deposit or full payment, then we will need your correct passport name, birthdate and passport number so that we can issue you your visa invitation letters and booking pack.

What is the payment policy?

For all trips, a deposit of GBÂŁ200 or US$200 is required in order to confirm your booking, and the remaining amount is due two months prior to your departure.

How do I pay?

After making a booking on our website, depending on whether you are paying in British pounds or US dollars, you will need to send your payment to our British account, or US account. If you are paying to our US dollar account, please make sure to let your bank know that you do not want them to use an intermediary bank and instead send it directly to the US dollar account at HSBC UK – otherwise you may be charged with a $25 intermediary bank usage fee! You can also choose to pay via PayPal, but they charge a %3.4 additional cost for their service. As soon as we see your payment come through we will issue you a receipt confirming it.

British ÂŁ bank account details:

  • HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip Pte. Ltd.
  • Account Number: 8153 1115
  • Sort Code: 40 02 08
  • Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
  • Swift Code: MIDLGB22 IBAN: GB82MIDL40020881531115

US $ bank account details:

  • HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip
  • Account Number: 7454 4436
  • Sort Code: 40 12 76
  • Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
  • Swift Code: HBUKGB4B IBAN: GB37HBUK40127674544436

Euro € bank account details:

  • HSBC Account name: THE DRAGON TRIP
  • Account type: FGN CURRENT
  • Sort Code: 401276
  • Account number: 76228606
  • Bank Identifier Code: HBUKGB4B
  • International Bank Account Number: GB77HBUK40127676228606

What is the refund policy?

You are entitled to a full refund for any reason up to 10 days after you make a booking, after this period, all payments are non-refundable. If you have paid or booked within 30 days of your trip departure date no refunds will be granted from The Dragon Trip and refunds must be pursued with your travel insurance provider.

What happens if there is an unforeseen emergency?

Examples of this would include:

– Terrorist attack
– Civil unrest
– Earthquake/Tsunami
– Bad Weather
– Flooding

The Dragon Trip will only pay up to the original costs outlined in the itinerary, but will not pay any additional costs* in excess of 40 RMB per person. Our official policy is to charge customers for any extra costs and advise them to request reimbursement from their travel insurance provider. Payment to The Dragon Trip should be made before the company makes additional purchases whenever possible.

*Additional costs may include (but are not limited to) arranging new transportation or booking new accommodation for the group.

Please note:

Because this policy involves emergency situations, it is always on a case by case basis. Adventure tour managers reserve the right to make an exception to this rule if the group’s safety is in danger or a decision needs to be made immediately (i.e. the next train is about to depart and we need to quickly buy new tickets without consulting the group). In these cases, it is acceptable for the company to make purchases without receiving payment from customers in advance.

After their tour, customers can request reimbursement from travel insurance. Many travel insurance providers offer some form of “Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage” which covers unexpected inclement weather or unexpected natural disasters. These are examples of relevant coverages included in most most policies:

• Trip Delay – generally from bad weather or carrier-caused delays. Trip Delay is reimbursement for meals and accommodations that you might incur if your trip is delayed for a covered reason. Trip Delay can happen at anytime throughout the trip. For example, you’ll be reimbursed up to the daily limit for meals and accommodations (to the policy maximum) if your departure is delayed for more than the number of hours required for a covered reason during your trip.

• Trip Interruption – you unexpectedly return home early from your trip. This reimburses you for your unused prepaid trip costs and one

If The Dragon Trip goes out of business, would I still be able to get a refund?

Yes, as stated below:

Total Payment Protection (topp) Policy cover.
In compliance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 an insurance policy has been arranged with Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (t&g), to protect customers’ prepayments in the unlikely event of our financial failure and paid in respect of:

  • non-flight inclusive packages commencing and returning to the UK
  • the ground handling aspects of packages where the customer is responsible for arranging travel to the destination offered in this brochure/literature/document/ on the website (subject to the terms of the insurance policy), for:
    • a refund of such prepayments if customers have not yet travelled, or
    • making arrangements to enable the holiday to continue if customers have already travelled

Customers’ prepayments are protected by a topp policy.  

In the unlikely event of financial failure please contact the claims helpline on 0870 0137 965. A copy of the policy is available on request.

This policy is provided by Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (t&g), registered number 02527363 and underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited (Hiscox), registered number 00070234. t&g and Hiscox are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (number 113849)

What if I miss the booking deadline for a trip?

Unfortunately, registration for our backpacker tours is closed 18 days before the departure date. You do have the option of arranging another trip as an independent traveller. This means that you will let us know where you would like to go, when you would like to go, and how many people you would like to go with and we will arrange all the Adventure Leaders, accommodations and transportation (all still at the most competitive price point). This is a much more flexible (and shorter) trip option, which many of our travellers do choose to do.

Is there anything I need to do after (if) I book through another agent?

Please kindly provide us with a scan or photo of your passport’s information page so that we may begin to issue you your visa invitation documents.


Which hostels do we use?

  • River View Guesthouse, Bangkok
  • Deejai Backpackers, Chiang Mai
  • Treehouse Homestay, Chiang Dao
  • Nomad Guesthouse, Chiang Kong
  • Donevilasack Guesthouse, Pak Bek
  • Vongprachan Backpackers, Luang Prabang
  • Rock Hostel, Vang Vieng
  • Central Backpackers, Hanoi
  • Halong Hideaway, Halong Bay
  • Gecko Hostel, Phong Nha
  • Sunflower Hostel, Hoi An
  • Vietnam Backpackers Hostel, Saigon
  • Ha Tien Happy Hotel, Mekong Delta Tour
  • Malibu Hostel, Koh Rong
  • Camping – Hammock, Koh Rong
  • Mad Monkey Hostel, Phnom Penh
  • Funky Flashpacker, Siem Reap
  • Lub d Hostel, Siem Reap

What is the standard of accommodation?

All of the hostels are clean, air-conditioned or have fans, are safe, have good showers, internet, washing machines and most importantly, have real Asian character. People who stay at hostels are usually young people aged 18 to 35 who are travelling on a smaller budget than people staying at hotels. So it is easy to make friends and fun to hang out at the bar (all the hostels we stay at have cool bars and lounging areas to hang out). If you would like to stay in a private room though, that is absolutely possible as well as we have room upgrades available at the time of purchase.

Do the hostels have WIFI?  Will I be able to keep in touch with friends and family while in Asia?

There is Wi-Fi and computers available for use in all hostels you stay in during The Dragon Trip. You can also purchase a SIM card very cheaply to stay in touch and your Adventure Leader can help you with this.

Do I need to bring power converters?

Asian electrical outlets are 220 volt and use the US standard plug shape. This means if your country uses 110 volt outlets- i.e. the US- you need a convertor for your devices; however with that being said, most computer and phone chargers are equipped to use either 220 volt or 110 volt outlets, but please check your specific device to be sure.

Do I need a sleeping bag or is linen supplied in the hostels?

All bedding –including on homestay and island stays – is provided.

Who looks after our bags when we’re on transport and/or day excursions?

The bags will be stored at the hostels where they are tagged and recorded. We have never had a case of anyone losing their luggage or having their luggage stolen so you can focus on having fun.

Can I upgrade to a private room?

Yes! If you’d like to upgrade to a private room the prices are listed below. Just email us at least three weeks prior to departure to let us know you’d like to upgrade. The upgrade fee is for the room, not per person- i.e. if you are a couple upgrading, then you split this price between the two of you.  Room upgrades include single, double and twin rooms.

  • 31 days: Double room is ÂŁ229 ($279) per person and ÂŁ399 ($519) for a single room upgrade.
  • 20 days: Double room is ÂŁ145 ($179) per person and ÂŁ299 ($379) for a single room upgrade.
  • 13 days: Double room is ÂŁ159 ($199) per person and ÂŁ179 ($219) for a single room upgrade

What time are the transport links?

  • Bangkok-Chiang Mai: 7:35pm-8:40am, 12 hours
  • Chiang Mai-Chiang Dao: 2-3 hours but including stop offs and activities
  • Chiang Dao-Luang Prabang: 2-day slow boat experience
  • Luang Prabang- Vang Vieng: 4 hours
  • Vang Vieng-Vientiane Airport: 3 hours
  • Vientiane-Hanoi flight: 1 hour
  • Hanoi-Halong Bay: 4 hours
  • Halong Bay-Phong Nha: 6:30pm-4:00am, 10.5 hours
  • Phong Nha-Hoi’an: 8 hours
  • Danang-Ho Chi Minh City: 11pm-4pm, 17 hours
  • Ho Chi Minh City-Koh Rong: Mekong Delta experience so some small journeys – includes 2.5 hours drive from the border to Sihanoukville
  • Sihanoukville-Phnom Penh: 4 hours
  • Phnom Penh-Siem Reap: 8:45am-3:30pm, 6.5 -7 hours
  • Siem Reap-Bangkok: 7:45am-4pm, 8 hours

What is it like on the trains?

You will be getting your own sleeper seat (full flat bed) for each overnight train ride. We try to get all our travellers in the same compartment as well so that you can have fun getting to know each other better, playing some games, and even sharing a few drinks.

Will we be sitting together?

If you or a fellow traveller has a seat that is not with the group, our Adventure Leaders have a process to help you switch your tickets, so that you are seated next to the group. In some train stations, the Adventure Leader will be able to board the train even when they won’t be travelling themselves. In this case, they will switch tickets with a local so that Dragon Trippers can sit together. Every group travels with a Dragon Trip emergency phone.

Do you provide an airport transfer service?

The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers or can give advice on how best to get to the airport.


How do I get Visas?

Nice and easy! They’re are available upon arrival in all the places we visit for the majority of nationalities but do check your country’s status before you travel. These will need to be paid for in USD ($).


What travel insurance do I need for Southeast Asia?

We require all our customers to have backpacker’s travel insurance when coming on the trip. We recommend purchasing a travel insurance that offers ‘Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage’.

Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number. We recommend using World Nomads as your travel insurance provider.

Do I need any special vaccinations for Southeast Asia?

We recommend you have Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid plus take malaria tablets.

I’m not very physically fit!  Is the trip suitable for me?

At its heart, the Dragon Trip is an adventure tour of China, but you can make your Dragon Trip as physically active (or inactive) as you want. Instead of hiking up Moon Hill, you could ask your Adventure Leader for a more relaxing activity like going for a massage!

I have a medical condition – is this OK?

Generally yes, but please do inform us of your specific requirements at the point of booking.

Do I need a first aid kit?

All of our Adventure Leaders have a fully equipped first aid kit with them at all times, but of course there is no harm in bringing your own small one along. We also advise that you bring your own antihistamine, anti-diarrhoea, and painkillers if you think you’ll need them. These are available in all of the cities.

If something happens, will I be able to get necessary medical attention?

Yes, our Adventure Leaders will take you to places with effective medical equipment. In the major cities, there are good quality hospitals.


Do I need to bring power converters?

Yes and these are available to buy in airports or various stores before you arrive. Make sure you get adaptors for Asia or for all of the world.

Do I need a sleeping bag or is linen supplied in the hostels?

All bedding is provided.

Who looks after our bags when we’re on transport and/or day excursions?

The bags will be stored at the hostels where they are tagged and recorded. On a couple of occasions, they will be stored at storage facilities in railway stations.

What should I pack for my trip?

We strongly recommend packing very light for The Dragon Trip. The cities all have places you can wash your clothes or pick up some supplies.

Suitcase or backpack?

Suitcase is OK, but a backpack/hold-all is much more convenient.

Packing suggestions:

  • First Aid Kit (with medicine for diarrhea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc)
  • Camera and charger
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts/Skirts
  • Long pants (for hiking)
  • Long trousers and sleeved shirts (when visiting temples and some of the local villages)
  • Swimming costume
  • Flipflops
  • Sensible walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Towel
  • Washbag
  • Flashlight/torch
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight waterproof
  • Earplugs (for a better sleep in the dorms, night train and sleeper buses)
  • Warm clothes for camping and homestays in the mountainous regions
  • Moneybelt (pickpocketing and motorbike snatching is common in some cities)
  • Locks for bags
  • Waterproof backpack cover

Bring electronic products at your own risk. Some customers choose to travel with iPhones, tablets and laptops, but although theft is extremely rare on The Dragon Trip there is petty crime in some areas we visit.

Will my phone work?

Your phone is unlikely to work but it’s possible to buy a SIM out there or use wifi for internet.


How do I get money in SE Asia?

ATMs are plentiful and you can withdraw money in all the places that we visit. We advise that you notify your bank that you will be travelling before you depart. As a note, many banks and cards do charge a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing money while abroad.

How much should I budget for food and drink on the Dragon Trip?

It really varies depending on your taste and budget. You can get a simple meal such as a bowl of noodles for ÂŁ1.50 or go for more high class options. Generally, we take travelers to affordable restaurants and recommend budgeting ÂŁ5-10 a day for food and drink.

What kind of restaurants will we go to?

Your Adventure Leader will always offer to take you for a group meal, where we go to a local restaurant, which we know is hygienic and has cheap and delicious food. If you are craving Western food, then there are lots of great options!

I’m a vegetarian/have allergies – will I be able to get the right food?

Yes! With so many food choices, Southeast Asia can meet the needs of individuals with special dietary needs or requests. Just tell your Adventure Leader and they can help you find something suitable. You will probably discover a new dish that you love!


Who are the adventure leaders?

Each group will be accompanied by English speaking Adventure Leaders. All our adventure leaders have the passion and knowledge to ensure that they can help you have a great time in each destination.

How experienced are they?  And will they be travelling with us?

Each of our Adventure Leaders is an expert in their area – so actually you will have a different Adventure Leader in each location. At the end of the trip for each location they will either travel with you just on the train or see you off onto your train and another Adventure Leader will pick you right back up as soon as you get off your train.


  • If you can’t find what you’re after, email us:
    • Any promotional code used must be presented and used at the time of paying your deposit and thereby confirming your booking. No special offers can be used on bookings which have already been submitted and confirmed.
    • Our prices are set in GBP ÂŁ, prices listed in American Dollars and Euros are for reference only, and although we update these regularly, they are occasionally inaccurate. If paying for your tour in a currency other than GBP ÂŁ, we do need to have received an amount which converts to the cost of your specific trip at the point of purchase. For currency conversion rates please check
    • Typical Group size is 20 people. Minimum group size is 3 people.
    • Accommodation is not provided the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the night of the last day of your trip.
    • Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the meeting. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number.
    • Please note, we work hard to keep our published itineraries as up to date as possible. However, as we are constantly striving to improve our trips, sometime the itineraries may change slightly between the time you make a booking and the time you go on The Dragon Trip.