- 17 December
- 10 March next year
- 15 December.
Far less visited than neighbor Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are stunning countries with fascinating, and often tragic, pasts. Well endowed with both natural attractions and historical treasures both countries have a huge amount to offer, and our small group tours and tailor made holidays to Laos and Cambodia take in some of their best regions, from exquisite temple architecture to jungles and mountains filled with wildlife.
Laos, too often hidden from the limelight, is one of the best places in South East Asia to experience authentic local culture, from the daily processions of monks through the streets to the friendly smiles of villagers living on the banks of the Mekong. Cambodia is home to one of the most enigmatic sights in all of Asia, the incredible temples of Angkor, and its people are a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. Journey through a land that will touch your heart.
Visit the atmospheric royal city of Luang Prabang and head into southern Laos to look for freshwater dolphins and explore enigmatic temples. Follow the Mekong River down into Cambodia, meet local villagers and explore some its lesser known regions before heading to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, home to the incredible temples of Angkor. A stunning journey through a beautiful corner of Asia.
Day 1: Luang Prabang. Arrive in Luang Prabang and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore this enchanting city. Overnight at Villa Chitdara or similar.
Day 2: Luang Prabang. Explore the many sites of Luang Prabang. Visit Wat Visoun, the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa, as well as Wat Phou Si, on top of a hill and alongside the skeletons of anti-aircraft guns from the Indochina War. We also visit Wat Sai, a graceful temple dating back to the 18th century and the Royal Palace Museum with its ancient artifacts and personal possessions of the royal family. Overnight at Villa Chitdara or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Pakse – Tad Fane. Fly to Pakse in the south and transfer to the charming Tad Fane Resort, situated amidst stunning scenery on the Bolaven Plateau. We explore the area on foot, walking through local villages, coffee plantations and plains. The region is dotted with huge boulders and is home to unusual flora such as epiphytes and orchids, while pine trees give it a very unique feel. Overnight Tad Fane Resort. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 4: Si Phan Don. Drive to Si Phan Don, also known as the Four Thousand Islands. En route we visit the important Khmer temple complex of Wat Phou, a spectacular site dating back to the 6th century which has UNESCO World Heritage status. We also visit an elephant camp, and can ride on these animals up to the top of Phou Asa to see its enigmatic ruins. Continue to Si Phan Don by bus and boat, arriving late afternoon. Overnight Villa Muang Khong or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 5: Si Phan Don. Travel by boat to the Khone Phapeng and Li Phi Falls, the largest set of waterfalls in Asia and major obstacles to French colonization of the area. This part of the Mekong River is also home to a group of Irrawaddy dolphins, which we may be lucky enough to see. Have lunch in a local restaurant and then return to Don Khong island with free time to explore on your own. Overnight Villa Muang Khong or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 6: Anlung Choeuteal – Preah Rumkel. We cross the border into Cambodia and travel by boat to Anlung Choeuteal to look for Irrawaddy dolphins. This area offers excellent opportunities to spot these enigmatic creatures. After lunch in a local restaurant we head to Preah Rumkel, where a local community initiative has established homestay accommodation. This is a superb way to meet local villagers and find out more about their culture. Overnight at homestay. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Stung Treng. Travel by boat through one of the most stunning parts of the Mekong River, passing white sand beaches and scenes of truly unspoiled nature. We stop on the way to spot some of the region’s colorful bird life. Later we arrive in Stung Treng, a small town in northern Cambodia. Overnight at Gold River Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Kratie. Head south to Kratie. On the way we visit the ‘hundred pillar pagoda’ and the temple of Wat Vihear Kok. After lunch at a local restaurant in Kratie we take a local ferry to Koh Trong and explore this beautiful island on foot. Later we head back to Kratie and explore the two hundred year old pagoda of Wat Rokakandal. Overnight at Oudom Sambath Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Phnom Penh. A long drive takes us to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. On arrival we visit the ‘Russian Market’ – so called because it was once the haunt of Russian expatriates – a covered market with a wide array of goods including some beautiful regional crafts. We also visit Wat Phnom Pagoda, a picturesque hilltop temple much used by local people. We end the day with a sunset cruise on the Tonle River. Overnight Castle Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Phnom Penh. A full day exploring the city and learning about its past. Visit the National Museum and Royal Palace for a glimpse into the ancient history of Cambodia, and visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, used as a prison and torture center by the Khmer Rouge, as well as the notorious Killing Fields. Overnight Castle Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Battambang. Drive to Battambang, stopping en route at Cambodia’s former capital Oudong. On arrival in Battambang we discover Phnom Banan, an 11th century temple completed by King Jayarvarman VII, on top of a 400 meter hill and with beautiful views of the surrounding country side. We then head to Phnom Sampeou, a natural rocky hill offering a series of caves to explore. Overnight Stung Sangke Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Siem Reap. Drive to Siem Reap and visit Cambodia’s most amazing sight, the incredible temples of Angkor. A vast complex containing numerous temples and structures, Angkor is a truly breathtaking sight. Here we explore the centerpiece of the ancient city, the Bayon. The Bayon contains 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces. We also visit the Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of Leper Kings, as well as The Ta Prohm Temple. Overnight Angkorland Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 13: Siem Reap. This morning we visit the stunning Angkor Wat, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. Later we head to the exquisite Banteay Srey (‘Citadel of the women’). The temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. We also visit the unusual temple Banteay Samre, which has been superbly restored. Overnight Angkorland Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 14: Siem Reap. Tour ends with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Laos Cambodia Local Culture Cultural Journey