Australia Terms and conditions

Travel Indochina

A division of Stella Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 84 003 237 296

SMALL GROUP JOURNEY CONDITIONS OF RESERVATION

The information is offered to you, the client, by Travel Indochina ABN 84 003 237 296 (“Travel Indochina”, “we”, “us” or “our”) of 403 George Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia.

Important Notes -

  • The travel industry in much of Asia, is still in its infancy. Whilst the freshness of novelty of tourism in these countries is part of the appeal to many visitors, others might see things differently. It is important to recognise that the level of service and standards in some areas, whilst improving, is not yet comparable to service standards in more mature travel destinations.
  • The information contained in these conditions of reservation (“Conditions of Reservation”) is an invitation to you to travel with us and can only be accepted by us. Once we have accepted your booking and you have paid your deposit there will be a legally binding contract between us.
  • The Conditions of Reservation can only be varied or modified in writing by us. You must not vary or modify the Conditions of Reservation without our prior written agreement.
  • It is your responsibility to read the Conditions of Reservation carefully and if you do not understand them you must contact your travel agent for further information.

Deposit – Subject to the Important Notes above, upon confirmation of your booking, a non-refundable deposit is payable to Travel Indochina within five working days (within one working day if booking is made inside 65 days prior to departure) as follows:

  • Tours less than $AU2,000 per person - $AU500 per person per journey
  • Tours $AU2,000 or more per person - $AU600 per person per journey

Receipt of the non-refundable deposit from you is deemed evidence that you have read and accepted these Conditions of Reservation.

Balance of Payment – You must pay the balance for the journey to Travel Indochina and provide full details of your travel insurance not less than 65 days prior to departure from Australia. Failure to pay in full by this due date or to provide full travel insurance details may result in the cancellation of your booking. If your booking is made less than 65 days prior to departure, you must provide full payment and complete booking details (including full insurance details) to us immediately. Your booking cannot be accepted or confirmed until we have received full payment and complete booking details from you.

Late Bookings - Applications for bookings that are made less than 7 days prior to the scheduled departure from Australia will be subject to a late booking fee of $AU50 per application, with the late booking fee to be paid at the time of booking.

Brochure Validity – Prices on this website are valid for travel for the date ranges shown for each journey. We will use our reasonable efforts to ensure the prices do not change but we may be required to impose surcharges depending on currency fluctuations, changes in government legislation, air prices, fuel surcharges or other variables outside our control. You acknowledge and agree that you shall be responsible for the prompt payment of all surcharges and price increases. While, we will use our reasonable efforts to provide clients who have paid a deposit a grace period to make full payment and avoid surcharge, this is not always possible or practicable. In order to minimise exposure to surcharges we recommend you pay in full as early as possible. Information on this website is valid at time of publication but is subject to change. Please be sure to confirm details of journey arrangements at the time of booking.

2009 Journey Information - Prices, dates and itineraries for travel after December 2008 are particularly subject to change, because our journeys will be subject to content review late in 2008.

Journey Cancellations & Refunds – Requests for cancellation of confirmed bookings must be made in writing and addressed to your travel agent and will be subject to the following cancellation fees applied per person, per journey:

Note: Refunds will not be given after journey commencement, even if services are unused or cancelled for any reason.

Journey Amendments – No amendments to your journey will be processed until the deposit has been received. Up to 65 days prior to departure, one permitted amendment per booking is permitted free of charge. Travel Indochina has the right to charge for subsequent permitted amendments, as follows:

    • More than 65 days prior to departure – $AU100 per booking
    • 65 – 50 days prior to departure – $AU300 per person, per journey
    • Within 50 days prior to departure – standard Cancellation Fees will apply, and full price will apply to new arrangements

These amendment charges are in addition to any charges passed on to us by any suppliers such as airlines, hotels or other tour operators.

Permitted amendments include, without limitation, changes to accommodation or travel arrangements. Name changes are not permitted as many suppliers deem a name change to constitute a cancellation and re-booking.

An amended booking which is subsequently cancelled will be subject to the cancellation fee of either the original departure date at time of amendment or the subsequent date, (whichever is the greater).

Airfares, Cancellations & Amendments - Separate terms and conditions will apply to your airfares. It is your responsibility to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions that relate to your airfare and contact the relevant airline if you require further information. Cancellation and refund policies associated with airfares vary according to airfare terms and conditions and the relevant airline. Discounted airfares are often non-refundable and non-changeable after ticket issue. Depending on the reason for airfare cancellation and the type of insurance policy you possess, air cancellation fees may be recoverable from your insurance company. You understand that at no time are you entering into a contract with us for the supply of air travel and you must not make a claim against us in this regard.

Insurance -Medical facilities across Asia are often unable to provide the full range of medical services that are available in developed countries, making evacuation a requirement in many non-life threatening medical situations. The costs of evacuation as well as international standard care are extremely high. In the most serious emergencies, travellers may not be capable of authorising payment for an appropriate medical response that is urgently required. This may delay or prevent the provision of critical and possibly life-saving medical attention.

It is a condition of travel on Small Group Journeys that all travellers are adequately covered by travel insurance prior to arrival. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. Your insurance details must be supplied to us at the time of booking. If you fail to provide the requested insurance information, we reserve the right, acting in our sole discretion, to cancel bookings and apply charges as per our cancellation policy. Travellers will be asked to provide their insurance details upon arrival in Asia as part of the registration process, and in the event that possession of an appropriate insurance policy is unable to be confirmed, in the interests of the traveller and fellow travellers, Travel Indochina reserves the right, acting in its sole discretion, to prohibit participation in the journey. In such instances, we will use our reasonable efforts to assist with onward travel arrangements for the relevant traveller, however full Cancellation Fees will apply.

Note that travel insurance ‘attached’ to credit cards is often limited in scope (eg. not covering serious medical, repatriation or evacuation expenses) and in any case is usually effective only if travel arrangements have been purchased with the card. Please note also that government regulations in Asia do not always require or enforce the possession of liability insurance by hotels, transport and other suppliers. Even when insurance is in place, it can be for very limited coverage only. Travel Indochina does its best to work with suppliers who possess liability insurance, however it is not always possible to find and contract with such suppliers.

Small Group Journeys Led by Western Tour Leaders - A Western tour leader will accompany groups if 7 or more travellers are booked on a journey 30 days prior to its departure. Tour leader scheduling occurs 30 days prior to commencement of the relevant tour. If a journey increases to 7 or more travellers within 30 days of commencement we will use our reasonable efforts to secure a Western tour leader but this cannot be guaranteed. Most of our tour leaders live in Asia and have in-depth knowledge of Asia and a passion for local cultures, customs, and history. Tour leaders work in partnership with local guides to provide an optimum service for clients. The maximum group size on our journeys is 15 travellers (16 for Family Small Group Journeys).

Small Group Journeys Led by Local Guide Only - If you book a Small Group Journey which has less than 7 travellers, 40 days prior to departure you will be advised that the journey will likely operate with local English-speaking guides only (ie. a Western tour leader will not accompany the local English-speaking guides). In some situations there will be a single local guide for the entire trip duration, however, in most cases there is a separate local guide in each city. Travel Indochina takes great pride in the quality of local guides it recruits and trains and has operated many very successful locally-led Journeys, where groups are usually 4 to 6 people in size. However, 35 days prior to departure we do ask that you confirm you are happy to travel with local guides. If you do not want to participate in the journey with local guides only, you must immediately notify us in writing. No cancellation or amendment fees will apply, as long as you advise us at least 35 days prior to departure. Any cancellations made within 35 days prior to departure will attract a 100% Cancellation Fee.

Minimum Numbers - Usually a minimum of 4 confirmed travellers will be sufficient for the departure of a journey. We can operate some journeys with as few as 2 travellers, while some specialist trips cannot operate with less than 7 travellers. Where minimum numbers are not reached at least 40 days prior to departure, or where the group size falls below minimum numbers between 40 and 35 days prior to departure, you will be given the following options:

    • An alternative departure date or an alternative journey commencing on a date close to the date of the originally booked journey. No amendment fee will apply. Any price difference will be deducted from or added to your cancellation invoice.
    • The option of undertaking the journey on an ‘independent’ basis. In that case you will travel privately, with different local guides at different cities. There may be additional costs to arrange the journey on an independent basis; if so, we will advise of these costs. This option is available for most, but not all journeys.
    • Cancellation of participation without penalty, as long as we are advised at least 35 days prior to journey departure.

Travel Indochina can not accept responsibility for costs incurred to change or cancel flight tickets not booked by Travel Indochina which are issued more than 35 days prior to departure, unless we previously guaranteed in writing that the journey will operate.

Single Travellers – ‘Willing to Share’ - Single travellers may avoid paying a single supplement by electing to travel on a ‘Willing to Share’ room basis on our Small Group Journeys. If we are unable to match a Willing to Share traveller with another Willing to Share traveller of the same sex, we will confirm a single room at the twin share price. We advise travellers seeking a single room to book and pay the single supplement.

When sharing a hotel room with another Willing to Share non-smoker, you must not smoke in the hotel room. We will use our reasonable efforts to match non-smokers and people of approximately the same age, but this is not always possible.

The Willing to Share option is not available on Deluxe journeys, Family Journeys, the New Vietnam (flight) journey, or for travellers under the age of 18. On all overnight train trips and home stays all clients will be in shared compartments, even if a single supplement has been paid. This is because of cabin/ room design for these services. The Willing to Share option is generally not available for booking requests received within 45 days of departure.

Families & Children – Our Small Group Journeys are open to people 12 years of age and over. As travellers under 18 cannot participate in the journey on a Willing to Share basis, such travellers will need to either share a room with a parent or another family member, or pay the single supplement. There are no reductions in price for 12 to 17 year olds. We have however developed a separate range of Family Small Group Journeys (minimum age 5, accessible on this website).

Triple Share – It is not possible to guarantee triple share rooms on our Small Group Journeys. This is because many hotels either do not have triple-bed rooms, or have fold-way beds only, which often make for a cramped room. Travellers can request a triple room at the time of booking, however the booking will be confirmed as double/twin plus a Willing to Share. During the journey a triple share room will be provided wherever possible, but usually a double/twin room plus a Willing to Share room will be provided. There are no reductions in price for triple sharers.

Health, Mobility & Fitness - Each Small Group Journey in our brochure has a grading to assist you in choosing a holiday best suited to your level of fitness. A guide to gradings is as follows:

    • Easy These journeys avoid the more arduous road travel by flying between major cities. They are suitable for travellers of all ages and levels of fitness. An average level of mobility and agility is required as these journeys still include some walking, often in hot and humid conditions, as well as getting on/off boats and walking up/down flights of stairs. Accommodation is generally comfortable by international standards.
    • Moderate These journeys involve some long distance overland/overnight travel and can include one or two nights of basic accommodation in more remote areas. These journeys are suitable for most travellers of average fitness and mobility with a spirit for ‘soft’ adventure. Travellers will be expected on occasions to carry their own luggage for short distances.
    • Adventurous These journeys involve some long-distance travel and at least 2 nights in very basic accommodation. On these journeys there may be nights when clients will sleep out on boats, on trains, in a hill tribe village or in other basic accommodation. A traveller should be quite fit and be prepared for travelling in remote parts of third world Asia to get the most out of an ‘adventurous’ journey. Travellers will be expected on occasions to carry their own luggage for short distances.

Minimum Fitness Levels/ Statement of Fitness – It is essential for group dynamics that the presence of a less able traveller does not significantly affect enjoyment of the journey for others in the group. We ask you to carefully consider the above gradings and think carefully about the Small Group Journeys most appropriate for your level of health and fitness. While it is not a requirement to undertake rigorous fitness regimes to join our holidays, travelling with us does require a capacity and willingness to engage in physical activity. All our trips, whatever their grading, require walking and general mobility. Travellers must be able to walk reasonable distances unassisted, negotiate uneven surfaces, climb stairs and board boats as the journey requires. Some journeys involve long distance travel and occasional basic accommodation.

We have established the following Minimum Fitness Criteria, relevant for all our Small Group Journeys. These criteria have been established both in your own interests and in the interests of your fellow travellers. By making a booking for a Travel Indochina Small Group Journey you are explicitly acknowledging and agreeing to the following:

1) That all members of my party have the necessary levels of health and fitness to undertake a Travel Indochina Small Group Journey.

2) In particular, that each member of my party can do the following unassisted (Minimum Fitness Criteria):

    • Walk 2-3 kilometres comfortably (in humid and hot conditions).
    • Walk up 4 flights of stairs comfortably.
    • Walk comfortably along rough and unstable surfaces.
    • Negotiate boarding small boats, trains etc.
    • Carry their own luggage (in the case of children, this can be with the assistance of an adult)

3) That a doctor will be consulted should I be unsure about the ability of any member of my party to perform the above activities.

4) That if a member of my party is unable to do any or all of the above, that person will be ineligible to participate in a Small Group Journey.

5) That I will declare any pre-existing medical conditions (physical or mental) and/or any other relevant information which may affect the ability of a member of my party to undertake the journey/s, overall group dynamics, and/or which Travel Indochina should reasonably expect to be made aware of, in advance of final booking confirmation.

6) That I will declare details of medication taken by members of my party on a regular basis, in advance of final booking confirmation.

7) That, upon commencement of a journey or at any stage during a journey, the tour leader has the right to prevent members of my party from journey participation. This right is exercisable if the tour leader decides, in his/her sole discretion, that a member of my party is unable to perform any of the abovementioned Minimum Fitness Criteria activities, or if I have omitted to declare a pre-existing condition which affects my interests, the interests of my party, or the interests of the rest of the group. In such a circumstance, a refund will not be provided for unused services. Final confirmation of a booking is subject to receipt of complete and accurate information about the fitness of all members of your party. If you are at all concerned about the physical ability of any member of your party to undertake a Small Group Journey, we recommend tailored travel arrangements. We would be happy to assist in organising these.

Tour Leader Authority – When on the journey you must abide by and comply with the authority and reasonable directions of the tour leader who represents Travel Indochina. At all times the decision of the Travel Indochina tour leader will be final on matters regarding group dynamics, and individual or group safety and well-being. If a tour leader takes the view that you are unable to meet the ‘Minimum Fitness Criteria’ above, in your interests and in the interests of the group, the tour leader may in his/her sole discretion prevent you from further participation in the journey. Additionally, should you fail to comply with a decision or direction of the tour leader, interfere with the well-being of the group, fail to respect the rights or beliefs of your fellow travellers or commit an illegal, obscene or otherwise inappropriate act while on journey, the tour leader may in his/her sole discretion prevent your further participation in the journey. In such instances, we will use our reasonable efforts to assist with onward travel arrangements for the relevant traveller. No refund will be given for any unused portion of the journey.

Consumer Claims - We strive to ensure your arrangements are delivered smoothly, however there are times when problems arise on the ground. You should first try to resolve service problems with the provider of the service. If the problem cannot be resolved you should contact the emergency contacts provided in your detailed itinerary. If you fail to take these steps you may be affecting your recourse for a future claim. If a problem is not resolved during your journey you should send us written correspondence detailing the nature of your complaint as well as the efforts you went to resolve the problem while in Asia. Please send this correspondence to us, with supporting documentation, via your travel agent, within 30 days of the date of service delivery. We will not consider claims made after this period.

Liability Disclaimer – To the extent permitted by law and subject to the statutory warranties referred to below, Travel Indochina:

(a) does not guarantee the accuracy of, and disclaims all liability for any inaccuracies relating to the information contained in this brochure including, without limitation, descriptions of accommodation, photographs and general product and service descriptions, much of which is provided by the respective suppliers;

(b) disclaims all warranties, terms and conditions with regard to such information, products and services, including all implied warranties, and conditions, of suitable quality, fitness for a particular purpose, title, and non-infringement;

(c) excludes liability (whether that liability arises under contract, tort (including negligence) or statute) for any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage (including without limitation loss of revenue and loss of, or damage to, data) suffered or incurred in connection with use of the information contained in this brochure or your participation in a journey;

(d) in relation to all other loss or damage, limits its liability to a maximum of the cost of the journey booked; and

(e) disclaims all liability and will make no refund in the event of any delay, cancellation, overbooking, strike, force majeure or other cause beyond its direct control and will have no responsibility for any additional expense, omissions, delays, re-routing or acts of any government or authority.

Travel Indochina acts as contractor only for the persons or companies providing or offering the means of travel conveyance, transport, accommodation or other services (‘Suppliers’) and all receipts, tickets, vouchers and coupons are issued subject to the terms and conditions under which such transportation and services are offered by such persons. Some of these Suppliers limit or exclude their liability, and action against these Suppliers may be subject to international convention between countries. To the extent permitted by law, Travel Indochina excludes all liability in respect of any acts, errors, omissions, representations, warranties, breaches or negligence of any such suppliers or for any personal injury, death, property damage or other expenses resulting from the supply of goods or services by these Suppliers or by any third party.

The inclusion or offering or any products or services in this brochure does not constitute any endorsement or recommendation of such products or services by us.

You are solely responsible for the suitability of any travel services which you purchase from or through Travel Indochina. In particular, we are not liable for any inconvenience caused or expense incurred as a result of any unsuitability of travel services.

These Conditions of Reservation must be read subject to any statutory provisions. If such statutory provisions apply to limit the disclaimer referred to above, to the extent that Travel Indochina is entitled to do so, the liability of Travel Indochina will be limited at its option to:

(a) in the case of supply of goods, the replacement of the goods, or supply of equivalent goods, the payment of the costs of the replacing the goods or requiring the goods, the payment of the cost of having the goods repaired, or the repair of the goods; and

(b) in the case of services, the supply of the services again, or the payment of the cost of having the services performed again.

Indemnity – You agree to indemnify, and keep indemnified, Travel Indochina and any of its officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any claims, causes or action, demands, recoveries, losses, damages, fines, penalties or other costs or expenses or any kind arising out of our in relation to any action, inaction or omission by you including, without limitation, your breach of:

(a) these Conditions of Reservation;

(b) any laws or the rights of a third party.

Small Group Journey Documentation – A Small Group Journey dossier is available from this website. The dossier outlines tour details as well as initial pre-departure information. Upon receipt of full payment from you will be provided with a detailed itinerary and a comprehensive pre-departure guide with useful, detailed information about your holiday destination. This information is generally provided to you 2 weeks prior to departure, and will not be provided until you have paid in full. Should there be a discrepancy between information contained in this brochure and journey documentation, journey documentation information will prevail. Close to date of departure, we recommend you download a journey dossier from our website, to be sure you carry an up-to-date version while travelling.

A Flexible Attitude – All of the journeys described in this website have been carefully planned and researched. From time to time however, we may adjust journeys in order to improve them from an operational perspective. Local conditions may sometimes require adjustment to journeys during their operation. Whilst we endeavour to avoid such scenarios, they are an occasional, unavoidable feature of travelling in this region. If such journey adjustments become necessary, a flexible attitude will ensure that they do not impact on your overall experience and the experience of other group members. Please note that we reserve the right to levy extra charges over and beyond the trip price, when, due to exceptional circumstances we are forced to pay for additional, unforeseen tour arrangements.

Travel Indochina prides itself on high levels of operational integrity. We are also proud of our travellers and the positive and informed approach they exhibit in dealing with different and sometimes challenging local conditions.

Luggage - Standard-sized bags (preferably soft bags), backpacks or soft cases only are permitted on our journeys. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and kept to a reasonable minimum. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles and trains is limited. Some flights booked through Travel Indochina (domestic and international) have a luggage limit of 20 kilograms per person. You may be required to carry your own luggage at times where porters are not available – you should be capable of carrying your own bags on and off trains, and up and down stairs. If you are doing lots of shopping during your travels, it may be necessary for you to forward any excess to the city where your journey concludes, or ship purchases directly home. Keeping the amount of luggage you carry in check will ensure your safety and comfort, and the safety and comfort of your fellow travellers.

Our Privacy Policy - You consent to our processing personal information about you and other members of your party. We will hold your name, address and any other details you supply us with on our database. This information will be used to make your travel arrangements and to send you information about Travel Indochina. In order to make your travel arrangements we will need to pass your details to companies and individuals outside Australia, where less stringent data protection controls may be in place. We will not pass on your details to any third parties that are not responsible for your travel arrangements. A link to our full privacy policy can be found at the bottom of the front page of this website.

Visas - At the time of publication Australian passport holders require visas for Vietnam, China and India, which must be acquired prior to your departure. Visas for Cambodia and Laos are also required and can be obtained on arrival through one of the international airports or land borders. No visa is required for Thailand provided you are staying less than 30 days. Your Travel Agent or Travel Indochina can assist you with acquiring visas. However, the timely acquisition of a valid visa and other official travel documents remains your responsibility. It is highly recommended that you allow a minimum of 10 working days for visa processing. Please note if you leave and re-enter any country that requires a visa you may need to obtain a double entry visa for that country. Please also note that most countries in Asia insist that passports are valid for at least six months after date of entry into Asia.

Family Small Group Journeys – For families with younger children (aged 5 and above) we have developed a range of tailormade Family Small Group Journeys, details of which appear on this website.

    • For booking purposes we define families as comprising two or more people – one person 5 to 17 years inclusive, and the other 18 years or older.
    • There is a limit of 3 children per adult.
    • Triple sharing is usually possible, but must be requested at the time of booking.
    • In cases where separate rooms are booked we will request (but cannot guarantee) inter-connecting rooms.
    • Please note that our child price applies to children under the age of 12. Children aged 12 to 17 inclusive must pay the adult price.

Families come in all shapes and sizes; contact us with any special requests or questions.

Errors and Omissions – We reserve the right to correct any errors in rates quoted or calculated for any service, with immediate effect. We will use our reasonable endeavours to notify you of such corrections.

Governing law - These Conditions of Reservation are governed by the laws of New South Wales, Australia. You herby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of New South Wales’ courts in all disputes or any other action arising out of or in relation to these Conditions of Reservation or any journey.

Assignment – We may, and you may not, assign, convey, subcontract or delegate any rights, duties or obligations hereunder.

Performance of these Conditions of Reservation by us, our affiliates and suppliers is subject to existing laws in New South Wales, Australia and any destination of your journey. Nothing contained in these Conditions of Reservation is in derogation of the right or requirement to comply with law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your journey or information provided to or gathered by us in relation to your journey.

If any part of these Conditions of Reservation is determined to be invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely reflects the intent of the original provision and the agreement shall continue in effect.

Travel Indochina reserves the right to change the terms, conditions, and notices contained herein and will use its reasonable efforts to notify you of any material change. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

All contents of the publication are © 2007 Stella Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd ACN 003 237 296. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Travel Indochina is a trade mark of Stella Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd.