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The Ultimate Gap Year

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The Ultimate Gap Year

Group Size: Varies

Trip code: TUGY

Duration: 3 to 12 months

Flexible itinerary
The best of Asia
Live and work in Australia

Taking a gap year? Postponing uni? We’ve got the perfect trip for you! Make memories that’ll last a lifetime on this epic four-country trip. Travel through Asia, exploring Thailand, Vietnam, and beautiful Bali, before heading to sunny Australia for a taste of living and working Down Under - it’s the perfect package for gap year travellers and pre-uni adventurers! You'll gain invaluable life experiences, venturing to new places around the world. And picking up some paid work in a far-flung destination looks great on your CV! It’s totally flexible too, meaning you can bolt on other destinations to build your dream trip. Travel solo and join our buddy lists so you can get to know your fellow travellers before you depart on this awesome round-the-world experience!

Trip highlights

  • Take a traditional junk boat cruise around Ha Long Bay, Vietnam!
  • Stay in a unique floating bungalow in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
  • Party in paradise on the Thai islands of Koh Phangan and Phi Phi
  • Learn to surf, spot dolphins and take a sunrise mountain trek on beautiful Bali
  • Explore the best of the Aussie East Coast, from the dunes of K'gari and boho Byron Bay to the jewel-like Whitsundays and the unforgettable Barrier Reef.
  • Live and work in Australia for up to a year with 12 months support from our job team and access to a comprehensive job database.
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What's included

Thai Adventure

  • 24 nights’ accommodation
  • 5 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Bangkok city boat tour
  • In-country transport (inc. internal flight)
  • Cookery class in Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Mai night market tour
  • Ethical elephant experience
  • Trekking in the northern foothills
  • Bamboo rafting
  • Koh Phi Phi viewpoint visit
  • Phi Phi boat trip with snorkelling and kayaking
  • Ao Nang street food crawl
  • Bor Thor mangrove forests kayak trip
  • Krabi boat trip including Hong and Poda islands
  • Khao Sok long-tail boat trip
  • Ang Thong National Marine Park visit
  • Koh Tao Snorkel Boat Trip

Vietnam Adventure

  • 11 nights’ accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Tour guide
  • All in-country transport (inc flight from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Rickshaw tour of Hanoi
  • Temple visits
  • Overnight boat trip on Ha Long Bay
  • Sea kayaking & caving
  • Bicycle tour of Ninh Binh
  • Rowboat experience in Ninh Binh
  • Sunset at Dragon Mountain Viewpoint
  • Vietnamese cooking class
  • Crab fishing boat tour
  • Cu Chi Tunnels Tour
  • Mekong Delta day trip

Bali Intro

  • 11 nights’ accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Tour guide
  • Airport pickup
  • All on-trip transport
  • Temple visits
  • Learn to surf experience
  • Waterfall swim
  • Visit to a local homestay
  • Bamboo basket weaving
  • Coffee plantation visit
  • Dolphin boat trip
  • Explore Gili Island by bicycle
  • Boat Trip to all 3 Gili Islands
  • Snorkel with turtles
  • Beach Party
  • Mount Batur sunrise volcano trek
  • Monkey Forest visit
  • Traditional Balinese massage

Australia East Coast Adventure

  • 33 nights’ accommodation & 2 overnight buses
  • 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners
  • Tour guide
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • All on-trip transport
  • Byron Bay surf lesson
  • Morning yoga in Byron Bay
  • Dolphin encounter
  • 2-night Whitsunday Island cruise
  • Magnetic Island forts walk
  • K'gari 4x4 driving
  • Atherton Tablelands excursion
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkelling
  • Wine and cheese night
  • Brisbane City tour and beach visit
  • Headland coastal walk
  • Rainbow Beach sand blow hike
  • Beach camping

Absolute Oz Jobs (with work option)

  • 7 nights’ accommodation
  • 3 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 free drinks
  • 12 months job support with tax file number, sim card, bank account and Medicare assistance
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Sydney walking tour
  • Sydney harbour cruise
  • Beach camp experience
  • Dolphin cruise
  • 4x4 sand dune tour
  • Sandboarding
  • Guided bushwalk
  • Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

We also provide...

  • A personal Gap 360 travel adviser who will help plan your perfect trip
  • Access to buddy list for most trips before travel
  • Assistance arranging flights and travel insurance
  • 24 hour emergency support
What's not included
  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Return airport transfers
  • Visas
  • Most meals
  • Optional activities
  • Local taxes in Australia: K'gari levy ($20) & Great Barrier Reef levy ($20) - subject to change
Further trip information

Explore the highlights of four amazing countries on the ultimate gap year trip. It’s the perfect mix of independent and group travel, and with options to customise your itinerary and add in any other destinations you like, you can design the perfect trip for you.

The Ultimate Gap Year itinerary

Thai Adventure – 25 days 

There’s nowhere quite like Bangkok so that’s where we’ll start our adventure! We’ll stay near the famous Khao San Road, right in the heart of the action! Visit temples, cruise the river, then party under the neon lights all night! On day 2 we’ll take an overnight train north to gorgeous Chiang Mai, where we’ll visit an ethical elephant camp, take a hill trek, and go rafting. Next, it’s the stunning tropical island of Koh Phi Phi, where you’ll enjoy snorkelling trips, viewpoint hikes and party nights. After 3 days in paradise, travel to Ao Nang for street food crawls, kayaking trips and a boat trip to Hong and Poda Islands. Then it’s spectacular Khao Sok National Park where we’ll spend the night in a floating bungalow on an idyllic lake. Next, there are more tropical islands on the menu, with Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Spend your day's snorkelling, diving, getting Thai massages, or just bumming around on the sublime beaches, and your nights partying with the sand between your toes, before travelling back to Bangkok ready to head to Vietnam! 

Vietnam Adventure – 12 days

Kick off your amazing gap year adventure in beautiful Hanoi, where you’ll explore the bustling city by rickshaw, taking in all the most impressive sights and soaking up the atmosphere. On days 3 and 4, you’ll have a real bucket list experience, with a traditional junk boat cruise around Ha Long Bay! Next up its lush rural scenes in Ninh Binh, with a riverside homestay, a bicycle tour and a river cruise, before travelling on to the ancient town of Hoi An. Explore Hoi An’s lantern-lit streets, go crab fishing, and whip up some tasty Vietnamese delicacies with a cooking class. Then jump on a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City for a taste of the city’s pulsing energy and fascinating history, before cruising down the mighty Mekong Delta, past floating markets, lotus flowers and traditional villages. Enjoy a final night of fun in Ho Chi Minh – Thailand here we come!

Bali Intro – 12 days

Arrive in beautiful Bali and head to the lively resort of Canggu, where you’ll laze on white sand beaches, visit picturesque temples, spend a day learning to surf in Seminyak, and enjoy some seriously banging nightlife! On day 4, we’re off to the spectacular mountain town of Lovina, stopping to swim at a waterfall and at two temples on the way. Day 5 starts in epic style with a dolphin-spotting boat trip, followed by a visit to a local homestay. The next day, hop on a ferry to the idyllic island of Gili Trawangan. Spend 3 amazing nights here, soaking up the sun, snorkelling over colourful reefs and dancing with the sand between your toes every night! We’ll also take you on a snorkelling boat tour around all 3 of the gorgeous Gilis. Round off the trip back on Bali, where you’ll stay in the cultural heart of the island – Ubud. Meet the cheeky locals at Monkey Forest, take a sunrise trek up Mount Batur and enjoy an included Balinese massage. Next up, we’re heading Down Under!

Australia East Coast Adventure – 5 weeks (36 days)

G’day sport! Start in stunning Sydney, where you’ll see the city’s most iconic sights, before heading up the coast to bohemian Byron Bay for golden beaches, surf lessons, beach yoga and more! Then travel on to Surfers Paradise for epic waves and buzzing nightlife. Day 9’s destination is glittering Brisbane for the perfect mix of beach and city life. Then get away from the skyscrapers on day 11 in the lush landscapes of Noosa. Next, it’s Rainbow Beach, where you’ll experience an unforgettable dolphin encounter! Days 15-17 are pretty special, with a stay on the incomparable K'gari (formerly known as Fraser Island). Conquer the sand dunes in a 4x4 and swim in crystal-clear lakes before camping on the beach – magical. Back on the mainland, you’ll discover the sleepy town of 1770, before boarding an overnight bus to Airlie Beach, the jump-off point for the dreamy Whitsundays. Take a 3-day cruise through these jewel-like islands, stopping to snorkel and swim, and sitting out on the deck under the stars at night. Next, it’s Magnetic Island for some Aussie wildlife and stunning walks, before your penultimate stop on the tropical paradise of Mission Beach. Your epic East Coast tour ends in Cairns, where you’ll have 5 full days to enjoy this fantastic backpacker destination, including an excursion to the Atherton Tablelands, and a snorkelling boat trip to the one-and-only Great Barrier Reef!

Absolute Oz Jobs (up to 12 months)

Our Absolute Oz Jobs programme is the ideal introduction to living and working Down Under. The first week is all about fun in the sun and meeting new friends. We’ll take you to all the hotspots in beautiful Sydney, including Darling Harbour, the iconic Opera House, and the best bars and clubs. You’ll enjoy a boat party, a walking tour from Bondi to Coogee and two nights in our epic Beach Camp, with bushwalks, dolphin-spotting and sandboarding.

Then it’ll be time to kick-start your Aussie job hunt with the help of our amazing jobs team. They’ll give you all the help and advice you need to secure paid work and accommodation, as well as 12 full months of follow-up support. You’ll also have access to our extensive jobs database, featuring over 1,900 job adverts at any time!

Not looking to work in Australia and would prefer to just travel? No problem! We can remove the Absolute Oz Jobs programme from the itinerary and extend the East Coast Adventure by a week so you still get to experience Sydney. Just select the "without work" option when booking. 

Want to add more destinations?

We have picked some of our top trips for this epic round-the-world deal for you however this package is completely flexible, meaning you can bolt on other destinations to build your dream trip. Want to add a stop in Sri Lanka? Sure! New Zealand adventure? It’s done! Let us know your dream destinations and we can tailor a trip to suit you!

***Download the trip notes for more detailed itinerary information***

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Arrival information

Thai Adventure

Arrive in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) where you’ll be met and taken to your starting accommodation in the city. There are no activities planned for today, apart from a welcome meeting this evening, so arrive whenever suits you best. However, please note that airport transfers are only available between 6am and 10pm on day 1. If you arrive outside these hours, or at Bangkok’s smaller airport (Don Muang), you will need to take a taxi to your hotel, which is very easy to arrange.

Your itinerary takes you on a full loop and ends in Bangkok, so the departure airport is the same as arrival. You can depart at any time on your end date. Return transfer from your Bangkok accommodation to the airport is not included however your guide can organise this for you if you like.

Vietnam Adventure

Arrive into Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) in Hanoi on day 1. You’ll be met by one of our local team members and transferred to your accommodation. 

Please note if your flight arrives before 7am you will automatically be booked an extra night so you can check into your room immediately. Please budget around £12 for this as you’ll need to pay on arrival.

The tour ends in Ho Chi Minh City on day 12. A return airport transfer is not included but is easily arranged. Let us know your onward travel plans and we can advise you about your best transfer options.

Bali Intro

Arrange your own arrival into Denpasar Airport (DPS) in Bali on day 1. An airport transfer is included, and you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation, where you can relax and meet the rest of your group.

Your trip will finish on day 12 in the town of Ubud. A return airport transfer is not included but your guide can help arrange this for you. A transfer by minivan to Denpasar Airport takes around 1.5 hours. We recommend you do not book an onward flight out of Bali until around 1pm on day 12 at the earliest.

Australia East Coast Adventure

Arrive into Sydney Airport (SYD). Your East Coast Adventure tour begins at around 11am on day 1. Because of the early start time, we recommend you arrive in Australia the day before and book an extra night of accommodation in Sydney. Please speak to a travel adviser for more information. 

An airport transfer is included on arrival. You’ll need to go to a pre-set meeting point at Sydney airport and a greeter will direct you to the shuttle bus which will take you directly to your hostel to begin your first week of fun and adventure!

Your East Coast Adventure finishes in the morning of day 36 in Cairns and you’ll need to make your own way back to Sydney for the Absolute Oz Jobs leg of the trip. We recommend booking an internal flight. Our travel advisers can help with this (extra cost). A return airport transfer is not included but is easy to arrange locally.

Absolute Oz Jobs

Arrival details for Absolute Oz Jobs are the same as for the East Coast Adventure. There are no activities planned for day 1 of Absolute Oz Jobs, so arrive at a time that suits you.

Extra Nights

Whilst we do try and put as many start dates together as possible, there may be independent travel days in between each sector of your trip. You can arrive in advance of the start date for any of the above programmes and still take up the inclusive transfer if you book extra nights of accommodation through us. If you’d like to arrive before the start date then please let us know in advance.

Accommodation & meals

Thai Adventure

24 nights’ accommodation are included on this leg of the tour. Most nights will be spent in hostels. Rooms are a combination of single-sex and mixed-sex dorms. We’ve hand-picked an incredible selection of premium hostel accommodation, perfect for travellers looking for an upscale look, and a sociable atmosphere. Rooms are dorm-style (usually 4-12 per room) with a Thai-chic feel and all your creature comforts taken care of.  

Accommodation at the elephant project is in simple huts close to the camp! Rooms are simple and rustic with dorm-style beds and mosquito nets. 

On the overnight trek we’ll be staying in a basic local accommodation and in Khao Sok National Park, we’ve got something really special lined up with a night in a ‘float-house’ – a Thai bungalow built on a raft! The facilities may be basic, but the setting is out of this world.

Please note: In some of the hotels along the way, you may be asked to pay a security deposit of £15 - £20. This is standard practice across Thailand. This is fully refundable on departure, as long as there’s no damage to your room.

5 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 3 dinners are included on this trip. You’ll have to buy the rest of your meals yourself. Thai food is generally very affordable and almost always extremely delicious, so it’s a great opportunity to get stuck into the local cuisine.

Vietnam Adventure

11 nights of quality accommodation are included on the Vietnam Adventure tour. You’ll stay in a range of accommodation including hotels, 'flashpacker' hostels, local homestays, overnight trains, and you’ll even have 1 night on a traditional junk boat in Ha Long Bay! Rooms are on a twin, double or triple share basis.

10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 2 dinners are included. You’ll need to buy the rest of your meals yourself. It’s a great opportunity to soak up Vietnamese culture and sample some local delicacies!

Bali Intro

12 nights of accommodation are included on the Bali Intro. The accommodation is of a great standard, with incredible swimming pools, private bathrooms, air conditioning and hot water. You'll be seriously spoilt! You’ll stay in a mixture of private villas and hotels. Most accommodation is twin or double share, but you’ll have 2 nights in multi-share, mixed dorm accommodation, with rooms sleeping 4-7 people. Free Wi-Fi is available in every location, and laundry services are available on all nights except 4 & 5.

Please note: On popular start dates two groups may be running at the same time. In Lovina on days 4 and 5 one group will stay at our beach side guesthouse with pool not far from the usual accommodation.

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners are included on this tour. You’ll need to buy all your other meals yourself.

Please note: For the Vietnam, Thai and Bali legs of the tour, our local teams have installed safe refillable water stations at every overnight stop on this tour and also at many of the activity destinations as well. In an effort to reduce the use of single use plastics, we ask that you bring your own refillable water bottle with you on your Ultimate Gap Year trip.

Australia East Coast Adventure

35 nights of accommodation are included on this group tour. This will mainly be in mixed hostel dorms, sleeping between 4 and 12 people. 2 nights will be spent on comfortable overnight coaches, 2 nights will be spent camping on K'gari, and 2 nights will be spent on board a maxi yacht!

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included. You’ll need to buy the rest of your meals yourself. Each stop will have a great range of restaurants and backpacker bars where you can find tasty meals. Alternatively, you can prepare meals in the hostel kitchens.

Absolute Oz Jobs

Accommodation for the first 7 nights of your stay is included, in a city centre hostel in Sydney during nights 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7, and in shared accommodation during your stay at beach camp on nights 4 and 5.

Your Sydney hostel features dorm accommodation with up to 10 people. The hostel is a hub of exciting city action, with its own backpacker bar, onsite café, kitchen with fridges and storage, 24-hour reception, phone booths on every floor, security lockers, laundry facilities, Internet and Wi-Fi, and a postal service.

Some meals are included in week 1: A welcome dinner and drink, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and 4 free drinks. Other meals are not included.

What do I do about accommodation after the first week in Australia?

After the first 7 days of accommodation some people decide to extend their stay in a hostel or to rent an apartment. The most popular option is to rent an apartment, and our team in Sydney can assist you with this. The advantage of renting is that it is the cheaper option and you get your own private room. Our customers often end up renting a place with the friends they meet in their first week on the programme. You can expect to pay around £150 per week.  The minimum contract is normally 3 months, but some agencies will ask you to commit to six months.

Alternatively, you can extend your stay in a hostel. This is a great option for those that want to travel around quite a lot. Hostels offer cheaper rates for those that want a long-term stay, for example for one month or more. It is really easy to book accommodation in hostels. You can often walk in and get a room that day, but we recommend that you make a reservation the night before.  Depending on where you stay in Australia, you can expect to pay around £140-£175 per week.

Minimum age & eligibility

The minimum age to join this package trip is 18. For the Absolute Oz Jobs programme, you must be aged 18-30 due to Working Holiday Visa restrictions. This trip requires you to show evidence that you have been fully vaccinated against covid-19 (final dose administered a minimum of 14 days prior to the start of the trip).

Vietnam

British nationals will need to apply for a visa before travelling to Vietnam. You can apply for an eVisa, which will allow for 30 days in Vietnam, through the official Vietnamese Government website. You must have a passport with at least 6 months validity from your arrival date.

Thailand

British nationals arriving by land or air can remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days. 

Bali, Indonesia

British visitors arriving in Bali (or anywhere in Indonesia) will be issued with a free visa on arrival, valid for a stay of up to 30 days. You must have a passport with at least 6 months validity from your arrival date.

Australia

Due to Working Holiday Visa (WH Visa) age restrictions, this trip is only available to 18-30-year olds. As you are planning to work in Australia, you’ll need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. You can book a Working Holiday Visa through Gap 360 or apply online. To be eligible, applicants need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a passport issued by an eligible country or region
  • Be aged 18-30 (inclusive) at the time of applying
  • Not be accompanied by dependent children at any time during their stay in Australia
  • Meet health, character, and financial requirements
  • Not have previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday visa (unless applying for a second visa)
  • Be outside Australia when they apply and when their visa is granted
  • Apply within 12 months of intended travel to Australia.
  • Be able to demonstrate you have sufficient funds to cover your expected living/trip costs during your stay (around $5000 AUD)
  • Have funds for a return or onward ticket to depart Australia (or an actual ticket)
  • Have health insurance

Please note, visa rules and regulations are subject to change. Please check the relevant embassy websites for the most up to date visa information.

Covid safety

This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:

Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.

Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.

Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.

Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.

Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.

Healthcare
Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.

24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.

It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.