Thailand, Laos & Cambodia: January 17 – February 1, 2015

Overview


Tour Leader: Karl Grobl. Limited to 10 participants.

Southeast Asia has long been a favored destination for adventurous travelers. On this trip we visit some of the most interesting and photogenic locations in the region.

We will start our tour in Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capitol city where we will explore the Grand Palace, cruise Bangkok’s canals, and photograph vendors in the floating markets and much more! Then it’s off to northern Thailand where we get to know and photograph hill tribes, including the famous Karen Long Neck tribe.

From northern Thailand we embark on a two day boat journey down the mysterious Mekong river to Luang Prabang, Laos. During our boat journey we will be traversing and photographing largely unexplored areas of the rural Laotian countryside, still rich in traditions and authentic Southeast Asian culture.
After a breathtaking two days on the river we emerge in Luang Prabang, one of the most beautifully preserved French colonial towns in Asia. There, we’ll photograph its green hills and gold temples, and see hundreds of Buddhist monks take their morning alms walk through town. From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the fascinating French colonial town of Luang Prabang, sleepy little Laos is certainly one of the highlights of Southeast Asia.

Next we’re off to Cambodia, which has finally emerged from decades of war and isolation and is now truly on the Southeast Asian travel map. Our first stop will be Cambodia’s bustling capitol city of Phnom Penh. We’ll photograph and explore this fascinating city while staying and dining at the world famous, photographer-friendly Foreign Correspondent’s Club. Following Phnom Penh, our group travels overland to Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore and photograph the stunning ruins of Angkor: a collection of over 100 temples set against the dramatic backdrop of lush jungle greenery and verdant fields. Stretching over some 400 Sq. km, including forested area, Angkor Archeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitols of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.

We hope you’ll join us on this trip of a lifetime!.

Itinerary
Day 1:
(Jan 17):
Tour participants arrive at Bangkok's brand new international airport and will be met by our local tour representative. Each guest will be sent via private taxi to the beautiful Siam Heritage hotel. Once settled in, participants will gather for our pre-trip orientation meeting, followed by dinner and a walking tour of B angkok's most vibrant night market. Those who are feeling jet lagged can opt for relaxation or perhaps even a rejuvenating Thai massage. We will spend the night in Bangkok.
Day 2:Wake up in Bangkok, enjoy a delicious breakfast at our hotel, then depart on our private tour: in the morning we depart for Damnern Saduak (Bangkok's famed "floating market"), where we explore and photograph the daily spectacle from our private long tailed boat. In the afternoon we visit and photograph Bangkok's ornate Royal Palace and the colossal reclining Buddha. Following our group dinner your evening is free. We'll spend the night in Bangkok.
Day 3:In the morning we go to visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Founded in 1351 it was the capital of Thailand until 1767, when it was sacked by the Burmese, and the capital was eventually moved to Bangkok. There we'll photograph the numerous ancient temples. In the evening we photograph the vibrant night market. Those who want to stay up late may even have the opportunity to shoot Muay Thai boxing up close! We will spend our final night in Bangkok.
Day 4: After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Chiang Rai where we are met and transported to Chiang Saen (Golden Triangle). We check in to the tranquility of the Imperial Golden Triangle Resort where tour guests can grab a quick lunch and then either relax by the pool or take a short orientation walking tour of the local area, complete with river views, Buddhist temples and bustling markets. Later we embark on a sunset photo shoot along the scenic Mekong River followed by dinner at a local riverside restaurant. We spend the night at the Imperial Golden Triangle Resort.
Day 5:After a delicious breakfast we meet our English speaking guide and our private van and depart to visit and photograph several local hill tribe villages including the famous long neck tribe. In the afternoon we are transported to the Myanmar (Burma) border where we cross over and photograph the fascinating market (the visit to Myanmar is
optional). After crossing back into Thailand, we are transported back to our hotel for a delicious dinner and then spend the night at the Imperial Golden Triangle Resort.
Day 6:We wake up early this morning for our one hour van ride to the border town of Chiang Kong where we meet our Laotian tour operator who will escort us across the river to Haui Xia, Laos. On the Laotian side our immigration papers are processed and we are delivered to our private boat for our two day river cruise to Luang Prabang. We spend the day on the boat enjoying and photographing along the way. Tonight, after the leisurely river cruise on the scenic Mekong we arrive at Pak Beng, a sleepy jungle settlement where we check in to our beautiful Hotel. At dinner we enjoy a local dance performance and overnight at Pak Beng .
Day 7:After breakfast we again board our private boat for the continuation of our Mekong river trip to Luang Prabang. Along the way we visitt the amazing Pok Au caves and several traditional riverside villages before arriving in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, where we check into our Hotel. For dinner we dine at a wonderful sidewalk café followed by a photographic exploration of Luang Prabang's vibrant night market. We spend the night in Luang Prabang.
Day 8: This morning we wake up early to photograph the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls being given offerings from the local people, including the ubiquitous sticky rice. At about 8:30 we return to our hotel and after breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided walking tour visiting the city's oldest and most beautiful temples. Today we also visit a local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Namay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, Khmu Village, then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall Picnic lunch by the falls, return to Luang Prabang by afternoon. Later we explore Street Night Market. We spend the night in Luang Prabang.
Day 9: Free day in Luang Prabang…..explore the local area, visit and speak with Buddhist monks in the monasteries, or enjoy shopping and photographing the Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. We spend the night in Luang Prabang.
Day 10:After breakfast we head to the airport to board our flight to Cambodia's vibrant capitol city, Phnom Penh. After arriving in Phnom Penh we enjoy dinner overlooking the river. We spend the night at the world famous Foreign Correspondent's Club.
Day 11:We are free to explore, relax, shop and or photograph the sites of Phnom Penh. We'll have the option to visit the famous Killing Fields. We spend another night at the FCC.
Day 12:After breakfast we board our private van for transport to Siem Reap. Along the way we witness local Cambodian life, rice fields and even stop for lunch in a town where fried tarantula is the local delicacy. Once we reach Siem Reap, we'll visit the famous Angkor Wat for orientation and a sunset photo shoot at the main temple. We'll spend the night at the beautiful Pavillon Indochine in Siem Reap.
Day 13:Angor Temples: With the help of our English speaking Angkor guide, we spend all day exploring 3 or 4 major Angkor temples and several "secret ones" too. We even schedule an optional model shoot at Bayon, using one of the traditionally dressed Apsara dancers and visit a famous Buddhist monk who might be performing ritual cleansing baths for Cambodians who come from all over the country to seek his treatments.
Day 14: Tonle Sap village / boat tour & Beng Melea: First we drive to Kompong Khleang, one of the largest settlements on the Tonle sp lake. Over 20,000 people live in high stilt houses which tower up to 10 meters over the water. It is a spectacular place which only gets a small number of visitors. There is a small island at the centre of the village which has a bustling market. We take a boat tour to see the floating market, then return for a lunch of fresh fish prepared in Khmer style at our boatman's house. After lunch we drive to the remote and recently "de-mined" Angkor site of Beng Melea for some amazing, "Indiana Jones" type temple exploration. Beng Melea surpasses even the famous Ta Prohm for atmosphere. The whole site of Beng Melea is bathed with dappled light from the jungle canopy making it a fabulous temple for adventurous photographers.
Day 15Sunrise shoot at Ta Prom: This morning we wake very early to explore and photograph sunrise at amazing Ta Phrom, where jungle tree roots still cover the ruined temples. After our morning photo shoot we return to the Pavillon Indochine for breakfast, then you are free to spend the remainder of the day re-visiting and re-photographing your favorite ancient temples and traditional villages around Angkor, or grab a guide and seek out your own new temples! That evening, we'll enjoy a gourmet farewell dinner at the famous Café Indochine.
Day 16
(Feb 1)
Guests are transported to the airport for their flights home.

Leader

Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. His images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, but the largest majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients. Karl’s non-NGO work is represented by Zuma Press, the premier international editorial picture agency and wire service. His 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award.

Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Cuba, and Haiti.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. One year later he returned to document the reconstruction. He has covered post conflict peacebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and East Timor, HIV/Aids issues in Africa and Asia as well as Human trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines.

In addition to his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl teaches photography workshops and leads international photography tours. He is a regular lecturer on photography and photojournalism and a long time member of the National Press Photographers Association. Karl is a member of the Advisory Counsel of Focus For Humanity, a non profit organization, who’s mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs. He also works as a technical consultant for several photographic and photography-related technology companies and was featured in a world wide advertising campaign for SanDisk memory cards.

Dates & Prices
DatesJanuary 17 - February 1, 2015
CostsCost: $6375.00 (+ $385 for 2 flights: Bangkok - Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang - Phnom Penh), The price is based on double occupancy. A single supplement of $775 applies.

Trip Leader: Karl Grobl -The trip will be limited to 10 participants.
Cost Includeincludes airport transfers, all ground transport, boat trips, all 15 nights hotel accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, 2 lunches, entrance-fees at tourist sites, dinner shows, and local guides.
Cost does not include:International flights (except where supplement is paid as above), passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees etc.
*All prices subject to change without notice, owing to the variable nature of international currency exchange rates and sudden changes in local costs

Photos
2009 South East Asia Photo Tour2009 South East Asia Tour Multimedia Slide Show
2008 South East Asia Photo Tour22008 South East Asia Photo Tour Multimedia Slide Show
2007 South East Asia Photo Tour2007 South East Asia Photo Tour Multimedia Slide Show

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Terms

Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $600 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Cancellation

  • On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee and less any monies spent on participant’s behalf such as airline or other tickets.
  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

Responsibility

Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change.

Health

It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

Trip Insurance

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Itinerary

While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Visa requirements are:

Thailand Visa Requirements, Health, Travelers Info

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html

Laos Visa Requirements, Health, Travelers Info

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_946.html

Cambodia Visa Requirements, Health, Travelers Info

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1080.html

Burma Myanmar Visa Requirements, Health, Travelers Info (please note that for our brief visit to Burma (Myanmar) we obtain a special “on arrival visa”)

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1077.html

Equipment

Suggested equipment: Digital SLR with lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer), laptop or netbook computer running image viewing software such as Breeze Browser or Photo Mechanic and an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop, or a combintation softward program similar to like Lightroom. Additionally we strongly recommend a back-up device such as external hard drive.

Trip Evaluation Form

Southeast Asia Photo Tour Evaluation Form:

We would love to hear your comments and suggestions from the recent tour. Please, if you have a few moments, fill out this form. Karl and I will personally review and discuss it. Your valuable input helps us to continuously improve our tours.
  • Please feel free to answer each question with as many or as few words as you deem necessary. Again, we appreciate any and all input.