Cambodian & Laos Explorer
Type: Exploration Tour
Duration: 13 Days
Best Time to Travel: October – April
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Cambodian & Laos Explorer - Itinerary
Discover the wonderful people and culture of Cambodia and Laos. This tour encompasses the recent turbulent history of Cambodia in the capital Phnom Penh and also its ancient glorious past with the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor and also in neighbouring Laos at Champassak. Laos is surely Asia’s most beguiling destination, blessed with stunning, dramatic scenery – as can be seen in and around Vang Vieng. At charming Luang Prabang Laos’ devotion to Buddhism comes to the fore as witnessed by the sweeping low roofs of the temples and the saffron clad monks taking alms every morning. Isn’t it time you discovered the real heart of Southeast Asia!
Arrive at Phnom Penh Airport where you will be met and welcomed by your Cambodian guide. Transfer to your hotel for checking-in and briefing of the tour.
Visit some of the capital’s most impressive sites including the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda containing the Emerald Buddha statue, the Royal Palace and Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh’s oldest shrine.
Visit the harrowing Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the notorious Killing Fields to fully appreciate the country’s recent, troubling history. On the way back, stop and witness the PSE (Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant), which provides accommodation and education for underprivileged children living in Cambodia.
We take lunch at Le Lotus Blanc (not included), the centre’s training restaurant.
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap.
After breakfast we explore the graceful 11th century Banteay Srei temple and Banteay Samre. We follow this with a visit to the impressive Ta Prohm Temple mystically enveloped by the jungle.
We enter Angkor Thom via the imposing South Gate and explore the ancient city. We explore the Bayon, a unique structure famed for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara – one of the avatars of Buddha. We also see Ba Phoun, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
Visit the magnificent Angkor Wat. Explore its extraordinary architecture for an opportunity to experience a spectacular sunset over the monuments.
Free day at leisure to relax or explore Siem Reap. The main market in the city centre is worth a visit and great for souvenir shopping.
Siem Reap - Champassak
Drive to Tonle Sap, the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia where we take a memorable boat ride to a floating village. For most of the year the lake is fairly small; sometimes only one metre deep and covering an area of 2,700 square km. However, during the monsoon season, the water is pushed up from the Mekong River into the lake, resulting in an increased area of 16,000 square km and a depth of up to nine metres, ultimately flooding nearby fields and forests. The floodplain provides a perfect breeding ground for fish. The livelihood of most of the local community depends largely on fishing and Tonle Sap accounts for 75 % of Cambodia’s annual inland fish catch. Return to the hotel.
Transfer to airport for flight to Pakse in Laos. Upon arrival pick up and transfer to Champassak.
Champassak – Khone Island
After breakfast, we head out to Wat Phou Temple, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated temples perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins.
Drive to the Khone Phapeng Waterfalls – the largest in Southeast Asia.
Champassak – Luang Prabang
This morning we begin by re-tracing the French colonial past at Ban Khone, where some colonial houses still stand and see the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. We continue our exploration of the area by tuk tuk to visi the beautiful Liphi Waterfall, which forms a natural border between Laos and Cambodia.
We arrive at Ban Nakasang by long tail boat and drive back to Pakse for our flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang we are transferred to our hotel for check in.
This morning we take a boat along Nam Ou River to visit the Pak Ou Caves. The caves are located in the steep rock cliff at the confluence of the Mekong and Ou rivers and are crammed full of Buddha images of varying styles, ages and sizes. Explore the caves and then cross the Mekong River at Ban Ou to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
We head to Khuang Si Waterfall where we can cool off with a refreshing swim or walk along the forest trails. We then return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon.
This evening we will visit The Night Market which has a large selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribes people.
Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng
Depart Luang Prabang and head for Vang Vieng.
Arrive mid-afternoon and remainder of the day at leisure.
Explore nearby caves before walking through some dramatic limestone karst scenery along the Nam Song River.
Visit more stunning caves surrounded by natural forest with the chance for a swim in a natural pool in front of the caves. Return to the hotel late afternoon.
Vang Vieng - Vientiane
Drive to the capital Vientiane.
Enjoy a city tour of sleepy Vientiane. We visit the ancient Wat Sisaket, a temple of thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha. Later we drive out of the capital and head to Buddha Park. This bizarre sculpture garden is full of Buddhist and religious sculptures dating back over 500 years including a giant stone pumpkin; its interior consisting of three levels representing hell, earth and heaven! Returning to Vientiane we stop at Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Return to hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- Hotel accommodation and daily breakfast
- Private transportation by car/ minivan
- Experienced English speaking regional Cambodian and Laos guides
- Flights: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap / Pakse – Luang Prabang
- Cool towels and drinking water in car / minivan
- Daily breakfast, meals as mentioned in itinerary
- Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival and departure transfers
What's Not Included?
- Drinks during meals
- Optional tours
- Cambodian and Laos visas
- Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
- Phom Penh – Ohana (Deluxe Balcony Room) (www.ohanahotelpp.com)
- Siem Reap – Tara Angkor Hotel (Superior Room) (www.taraangkorhotel.com)
- Champassak – Inthira Champassak (Duplex) (http://www.inthira.com/hotel_about.php?hid=4)
- Khone Island – Sala Ban Khone Hotel (Classic Room) (http://www.salalaoboutique.com/saladonekhone/)
- Luang Prabang – Sala Prabang (Classic Room) (http://www.salalaoboutique.com/salaprabang/)
- Vang Vieng – Villa Vang Vieng Riverside (Garden View Room) (http://www.villavangvieng.com/)
- Vientiane – New Rose Boutique Hotel (Superior Room) (http://www.newroseboutiquehotel.com/)