Does the very thought of a locked-in tour package give you a nervous rash? Here’s the best of both worlds, on a journey with all the ease and comfort of a tour, but the footloose freedom you’re itching for.
***Advertising content by Insider Journeys and Footloose Tours***
ONCE UPON A TIME, two friends fell in love with Vietnam and resolved to live and work there by organising easygoing, small-group tours of the place. That humble idea, 24 years ago, became Travel Indochina, which then evolved into the even more widespread Insider Journeys. Now with offices around the globe and offering a veritable bucket list of destinations, Insider Journeys nevertheless retains its primary mission: to give its guests authentic, experiential travel – not just visiting the land but getting to know its people, seeing their home through their eyes.
One size never fits all, though, and one traveller’s idea of luxury perfection can be another traveller’s not-quite-right, especially for those who relish a feeling of flexibility and independence. This is where Insider Journeys’ Footloose Tours come in. Set up to provide a unique but flexible experience, along with value for money, Footloose itineraries include all the essentials without locking you down to a full day, every day. A maximum of 20 travellers have the freedom to choose from a range of day tours and dining options at each stop, yet with the confidence that comes from Insider Journeys’ full support and expertise. You are looking at tailoring the tour your way – but you’re also looking at handpicked local guides and guaranteed departures.
A five-day, four-night journey that takes in the must-sees of this ancient, lush country, the Cambodian itinerary starts in Phnom Penh, balancing sightseeing and free time in the capital to make the most of this fascinating city.
Choices to cruise to the Silk Islands, take in the sunset on the Mekong or pay your respects at the Killing Fields memorial ensure you can shape your city stop your way.
A flight to Siem Reap, then either a half-day touring the Tonlé Sap Lake floating village, learning to cook Cambodian cuisine or cycling the breathtaking countryside are all on offer, though independent exploration is also on the cards – it’s up to you.
The next day is spent glorying in the utter splendour of Angkor Wat, before heading out from Siem Reap the day afterwards.
Insider Journeys Footloose Cambodia Tours start from $475* per person twin share.
Laid-back Laos is the perfect place to explore on a Footloose tour.
The five-night itinerary begins in the capital Vientiane, an elegant mélange of French colonial influence, extravagant temples and charmingly boutique shops and restaurants.
Discover the treasured temples of Wat Sisaket, the Patuxai Monument, reminiscent of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, and the splendour of the golden stupa of Pha That Luang, before a surprisingly upbeat visit to the innovative and very popular COPE centre, dedicated to helping those who have lost limbs.
Then be thoroughly enchanted by the mountain town of Luang Prabang, where you can wander the markets, explore the National Museum and rise early to see saffron-garbed monks receive alms, before swimming the clear waters at the pools of the Kuang Si Falls.
Insider Journeys Footloose Laos Tours start from $745* per person twin share.
See Saigon on its 10-day itinerary through the incredible tunnels of Cu Chi, and a walking tour of the city’s majestic landmarks, as well as optional tours by speedboat, foot or just your tastebuds.
Further stops include the old imperial capital of Hue and its captivating history, and the ‘Venice of Vietnam’: the wonderfully beautiful riverside town of Hoi An, home to do-it-in-a-day tailors, a rich history of trading preserved in its charming streets; enjoy the vast beach nearby, or even become a fisherman for the day.
No visit to Vietnam is complete without witnessing the natural wonders of Halong Bay, with a cruise overnight by junk boat and seafood feast making this a true highlight.
The northern city of Hanoi caps off a spectacular tour, where the streets of the Old Quarter beckon, as well as the ancient Temple of Literature and its passing parade of devout locals.
Insider Journeys Footloose Vietnam Tours start from $1,370* per person twin share.
*Prices are per person twin share based on low season and will vary depending on date of travel.