Highlights of Cambodia & Laos - 13 days
Discover the wonders of Cambodia and Laos on this 13 day tour which kicks off in Phnom Penh, exploring Siem Reap and the incredible Angkor Complex, before taking in the highlights of Laos. Visiting royal palaces and beautiful temples, remote villages and picturesque Vang Vieng, then ending on a high in enchanting Luang Prabang.
Monday. Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy free time before a group dinner this evening.
Overnight: Phnom Penh | Dinner
Phnom Penh City Tour
Today we’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh starting at the National Museum of Fine Arts, housing the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. We continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decorations – the floors are paved with silver tiles and statues of Buddha are encrusted with thousands of diamonds.
We later come face to face with the horrors of the Pol Pot regime as we visit Toul Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was gruesomely transformed into a torture chamber under the Khmer Rouge and visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed.
Overnight: Phnom Penh | Breakfast
Phnom Penh - Siem Reap. This morning we fly to Siem Reap. Upon arrival we visit the Angkor National Museum for an introduction to Khmer civilization. This archaeological museum is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Angkorian artefacts found locally dating from the 9th - 14th centuries. Next we visit the mother of all temples – iconic Angkor Wat, which is believed to be the largest religious building in the world, containing thousands of wall carvings and bas-reliefs.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Angkor Thom & NGO circus project
Early this morning opt to see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Then we drive out to see the well-preserved temples of Banteay Srei, stopping at an exotic butterfly sanctuary, and the village of Preak Dak where you have the opportunity to plant a tree sapling as part of a local initiative to help low income farmers.
Then we return to the Angkor Temple Complex to explore the ancient city of Angkor Thom. The last capital of the Great Khmer Empire, it is home to the fascinating Bayon Temple, the Baphuon royal enclosure and the Terraces of the Elephants and Leper King. We continue on to Tra Prohm Temple, which unlike the other temples here has been left in the same ruined state that it was first discovered in with a tangle of trees growing out of its ruins. Tonight we attend the remarkable Phare NGO circus project which teaches children living on the streets how to become circus artists. Enjoy circus tricks and their interpretations of modern life and issues in Cambodian society in this popular show.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Tonle Sap Lake
This morning we drive to Kampong Phluk, a cluster of three villages of stilt houses built within the floodplain of Tonle Sap Lake which is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia. Here we'll see houses built on soaring stilts which hover over the Tonle Sap Lake whilst nearby, the petrified trees of a flooded forest are revealed whenever the water level drops. After a boat trip on the lake and lunch, we return to Siem Reap where the afternoon is free for you to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast, Lunch
Siem Reap - Vientiane (Laos). Bidding farewell to Cambodia transfer to Siem Reap Airport this morning to fly to Vientiane, via Phnom Penh. Upon arrival in Laos you will be met and transferred to our hotel in the capital. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight: Vientiane | Breakfast
After breakfast we explore the charming and laid-back capital of Laos with a city tour. We visit the oldest Buddhist monastery temple in the country - Wat Si Saket – and the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaeo, built to house the famed Emerald Buddha. Today it serves as the national museum of religious art. Learn about Laos’ tragic past and present suffering at the COPE Centre, an organization that works with victims of unexploded bombs and mines. Next visit Pha That Luang, the most important monument in Laos and a symbol of both Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.
We also stop to view the imposing Patuxay monument - Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe. Later in the afternoon enjoy time exploring the hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures scattered throughout Buddha Park. End the day with a sunset dinner besides the Mekong River.
Overnight: Vientiane | Breakfast, Dinner
Vientiane – Vang Vieng. We leave the capital early and journey north through lush countryside to Vang Vieng. Along the way we visit Ban Keun, famous for its salt extraction plant and a village of local Lao rice wine whiskey distillation. A next stop is the busy and colourful market of Thalat, where local hill tribes come to trade and shop and also visit the archaeological site of Vang Xang that dates back to the 11th century. Arriving at Vang Vieng, nestled on the banks of the Nam Song River is our delightfully rustic and rural hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time, perhaps opt to explore the local caves or take a bicycle ride through the surrounding countryside.
Overnight: Vang Vieng | Breakfast, Dinner
Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang. This morning we explore the famous caves of Tham Jang once used by the local people as a hideout during Chinese invasions. We observe the lifestyles of the local people at Ban Huai Ngai village before making our way further north to the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Luang Prabang.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast
Consider rising early this morning to view the daily ritual of saffron-clad monks and their procession down the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms from the residents. Afterwards we hop on a vintage Tuk-tuk to venture in style around the old quarter of Luang Prabang. First stop on this unique sightseeing tour will be the bustling Morning Market where we'll learn about local products. Then we stop at the magnificent Wat Xiengthong temple with its classical Laotian architecture. We end our morning with a visit to the the former Royal Palace, which is now a national museum and home to gilded rooms and Buddha artifacts.
This afternoon we visit ethnic minority villages en route to the beautiful Khouangsi waterfall. We wander around the H’mong Village of Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and the Khmu Village of Ban Thapene, meeting the locals and gaining a fascinating insight into the local culture. We then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast
Living Land Farm experience
This morning we head into the idyllic countryside to visit the Living Land Farm for a fun and hands on half day farming experience. Here we learn how rice is planted and cultivated in the rice paddy, we experience the life of a rice farmer and get to join try our hand at some of the farming activities, including ploughing the rice paddy with a water buffalo! Then we enjoy a tasty lunch of traditional Lao dishes at the farm's Rice House, while soaking up the spectacular views of rice terraces and mountains beyond.
The afternoon is free for you to independently explore more of Luang Prabang. Consider visiting the sobering UXO Centre to learn more about the Second Indochina War, take in more of the city's beautiful temples or head to the Ock Pop Tock weaving centre set in beautiful tropical gardens.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast, Lunch
Saturday. Spend the morning further exploring this delightful city before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel, Phnom Penh
Just 5 minutes from the Royal Palace, the Harmony Hotel in Phnom Penh is an elegant hotel with a great location. The spacious rooms feature plush furnishings with a smart decor of dark wood flooring and white walls with accents of colour. The hotel features a rooftop infinity pool and Jacuzzi with views across the river and the city, a perfect spot to relax after a busy day sightseeing. Guests can dine on a choice of Asian and Western dishes at the hotel's restaurant and enjoy a wide selection of beverages.
Angkor Paradise Hotel , Siem Reap
Not far from Angkor Wat, the Angkor Paradise Hotel offers elegant accommodation in a world famous setting. Guest rooms are beautifully furnished with traditional wooden floors and all mod cons. All rooms have either fabulous views of the city or the hotel's outdoor pool. The hotel also boasts a great onsite restaurant, fitness centre and pool terrace. The Angkor Paradise Hotel is situated a short distance from Siem Reap international airport and the majestic Angkor Archaeological Park.
Mercure Hotel, Vientiane
Renowned for offering travellers superb business and leisure conveniences in a pleasant surrounding, the fashionable rooms of this modern hotel are spacious and contemporary in design. Impeccable service is combined with superb amenities including a range of sporting facilities, entertainment services and a fitness centre.
Santi Resort and Spa, Luang Prabang
Set just outside the main town of Luang Prabang, the Santi Resort and Spa is a modern property set in manicured gardens. Guest rooms are set on two levels and are spacious with excellent amenities. Meals are served in the main restaurant and the outdoor pool is perfect for a cooling afternoon dip. If you need to get into town then take advantage of the free shuttle service that runs nearly every hour. Located on the outskirts of Luang Prabang.