Laos and Cambodia Tour Tailormade
Laos and Cambodia Tour – A 15 day tailormade tour from £2350 per person based on 2 people travelling and sharing a room.
Political isolation has in part protected Laos from rapacious capitalism leading to an enduring authenticity lost elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The UNESCO site of Luang Prabang is an example, highlighted for its well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage.
Still a bastion of Communism, since the dissolution of the USSR Laos has to some degree liberalised, though a sunny Lao disposition can’t hide an underlying freedom deficit.
The country also still lives with the effects of the ‘Vietnam War’, despite efforts at clearance an estimated 80 million unexploded mines and bombs remain from the US ‘secret war’.
This tour supports work to assist Lao people, often poor farmers, who bear the brunt of this legacy. Elsewhere, visits include projects working with small scale coffee producers to maximise returns and promote sustainable techniques.
There’s no mistaking that Laos is an emerging destination, but one where you can enjoy authentic village experiences and imbibe magnificent scenery, from vertiginous limestone cliffs to sparkling waterfalls.
Lao people are among the most welcoming and friendliest you’ll meet, characterised kindly by those in neighbouring states ‘water buffalo’.
Continuing into Cambodia, from Siem Reap, visit the incomparable and truly magnificent Angkor Wat and its overwhelming collection of temples. Scattered throughout a huge area of forest, they comprise one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders.
Travel to Battambang and explore a slower and rural side of Cambodia before ending the tour in Phnom Penh, where we learn about the country’s dark history, as well as experiencing the vibrant markets and riverside scenes on the banks of the mighty Mekong River.
Day 1 – Arrive Luang Prabang
Begin your Laos and Cambodia tour when you arrive in one of the most evocative cities in all of Asia. Transfer to your hotel and the rest of the day will be at leisure for you to relax or start to explore. No meals or guided activities today. Overnight Villa Maydou.
Day 2 – Luang Prabang and Kuang Si Falls
This morning we take a tour of Luang Prabang with visits including, Wat Xieng Thong, an exquisite 500 year old temple. Explore the atmospheric back streets before visiting the National Museum, situated in the former Royal Palace. Also visit a small museum dedicated the many ethnic groups of Laos. We take lunch in the town and thereafter, travel a short distance out of town to the impressive waterfalls of Kuang Si. There’s time to relax around the cascades and pools and take a refreshing dip. After a picnic lunch we visit the nearby sun bear refuge to learn about the impact of poaching, and conservation efforts in support of these wonderful but endangered mammals. Overnight Villa Maydou (BL)
Day 3 - Luang Prabang – Food and culture
For early risers, witness the sacred ritual of monks on their alms rounds, known locally as Sai Bath. Long lines of barefoot monks go through the streets to receive their morning rice from the local villagers. The rest of the day is an immersion into Lao food and local life. You start by visiting a local fresh food market where your local guide will explain some of the produce on show. By boat, you then cross the mighty Mekong and visit the home of your guide. After being greeted by villagers, experience a cooking lesson in the family home and enjoy the delicious food with your host. After lunch, continue upstream to the remarkable Pak Ou caves, home to some 3000 or so Buddha images. Cruising leisurely back down the Mekong to the city, you will stop on the way in a couple of small villages to observe local customs and industry and if you wish try a Lao rice whiskey! Overnight Villa Maydou (BL)
Day 4 – Trekking in the Laos countryside
Meet your local guide early this morning at around 07:30am. Starting at Ban Xieng Lom, cross the Nam Khan River trekking to the village of Ban Lao Theung, a traditional village where you can simply observe the people of the Khmu tribe going about their daily rituals. Continue trekking in scenery of soaring limestone rock faces, arriving for a local lunch in the Hmong village of Lao Sung village. Here you will be able to interact with the locals and play with the curious children, and through your guide learn about their rural existence. After lunch, descend back towards the Nam Khan River passing more sleepy villages on the way. Expect to arrive back in Luang Prabang late afternoon. Overnight Villa Maydou (BL)
Note – The total trekking distance today is around 17 km’s (11 miles) and is considered a medium level of difficulty. Clients should be used to trekking and we expect the trek to take 6 – 8 hours depending in on your pace. If you do not wish to trek, other excursions can be arranged.
Day 5 - Luang Prabang – Pakse – Bolaven Plateau
This morning take a local flight south to Pakse. Meet your local guide and enjoy a jeep safari on the beautifully verdant Bolaven Plateau, exploring coffee plantations and remote waterfalls by jeep and on foot. Imbibe the spectacular scenery of this region formed from the remnants of an ancient super volcano. Overnight at Sabaidee Valley Resort (B)
Day 6 – Bolaven Plateau – Wat Phou (UNESCO) - 4000 Islands
Start the day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phou. You then travel to the mystical 4,000 Islands a unique river archipelago where the Mekong River spreads out over a distance of some 14km’s. A short boat ride through the islands gives some sense of the tranquillity that makes archipelago so special. Upon arrival at Don Khone Island the rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Overnight Sala Done Khone (B)
Day 7 - 4000 Islands
This morning there’s a choice of some gentle cycling through rice paddies and fishing villages, or an exploration of the island by tuk-tuk. In the afternoon we join local fishermen to experience the 4,000 Islands from their perspective. Boarding a fishing boat, we head out to the fishing grounds and try our hand at the skilled practice of net casting. At dusk we continue to a suitably secluded and idyllic spot to enjoy a barbecue while listening to the guide recount local myths and stories. Overnight at Sala Done Khone (BD)
Day 8 - 4000 Islands – Pakse – Siem Reap (Cambodia)
After breakfast we cruise through the 4,000 Islands to Nakasong Pier and onward by road to Pakse. Near the border with Cambodia we visit Kon Phapheng Waterfall, the largest by volume in Asia, encompassing the entire flow of the Mekong in an amazing spectacle of nature. For the next part of our Laos and Cambodia tour, we take a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia where you will be met on arrival and transfer to your overnight accommodation. Overnight La Niche D’Angkor (B)
Day 9 – Temples of Angkor
This morning at 5:00am depart for Angkor Wat, the largest and most breathtaking monument at Angkor. We enter the temple complex from the quiet east side of Angkor Wat to avoid most of the tourists and spend the early part of the morning exploring one of man’s most magnificent creations before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast. Then continue to the South Gate of Angkor Thom and the temples of Bayon, Baphoun, Phimean Akas, The Royal Enclosure, the terraces of Elephants, the Leper King. Next up is Ta Phrom. This remarkable jungle-clad temple with overgrown trees exudes a haunting and exotic atmosphere. The magnificent tree roots push between the temple’s huge stone blocks in a strange embrace. Ta Phrom is particularly amazing in the late afternoon light after most of the crowds have left. Finish your Angkor experience with an unforgettable sunset at Pre Rup or Srah Sarong before returning to your accommodation. Overnight La Niche D’Angkor (BL)
Note: Visiting temples or other religious sites in Cambodia, visitors are advised to follow a dress code consisting of long trousers or skirt which covers the knees as well as covered shoulders. Skirts, short shorts, tank tops and revealing clothing are culturally insensitive and not allowed
Day 10 – Rural Cambodia, cooking, and the Temple of Banteay Srei
Today take the opportunity to learn some of the signature dishes of a local Cambodian family and take a leisurely bike ride in the sroksrai Khmer (Cambodian countryside). This morning you will visit a local market shopping for fresh produce and then cycle to the family home in the countryside. You will cook with the family and then enjoy lunch together. After letting your lunch settle,there will be further opportunity to cycle leisurely next to rice paddies and through small villages to observe traditional Khmer houses and if you wish, interact with the locals. Later in the afternoon, take a scenic drive to Banteay Srei, loosely translated as “Citadel of Women.”, housing some of the finest and best-preserved examples of classical Khmer bas-relief. Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon. Overnight La Niche D’Angkor (BL)
Day 11 - Siem Reap – Battambang
After breakfast, take to the water at Siem Reap pier, boarding a boat to Battambang. The route traverses Cambodia’s largest lake, Tonlé Sap, and allows time to take in the life of lakeside villages. There is a lunch stop, but you may want to take snacks and water for the journey. Check in to your accommodation and remaining time today will be at leisure to relax. Overnight at Battambang Resort (B)
Note – Sometimes the boat does not operate to Battambang, in which case you will transfer by road which is a drive of around 4 hours.
Day 12 - Battambang
Today you travel through the countryside to Ek Phnom, an ancient temple 15km north of the town, seldom visited by tourists. Along the way we pass small villages and can take the chance to observe traditional culinary craft skills such as making kralan (bamboo sticky rice), fish paste, rice paper and banana paper. Afterwards, return to town and visit the campus of Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit arts school. Stroll through the campus and you may observe students learning new tricks, music students practising beneath shady trees, and watch films produced by trainee animators. Later, after lunch at a local restaurant, the mood changes as we visit Phnom Sampeou’s notorious ‘Killing Caves’. Victims of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime were sadly executed here, their bodies brutally thrown into the chasm. A glass memorial records these events, while the bones of just some of those who perished have been collected to stand as a reminder of these horrific crimes. The hill’s summit offers commanding views over the Cambodian countryside and if you choose to stay until sunset, countless bats emerge from the caves to feed on the evening air. It’s possible to watch the spectacle from a comfortable chair while enjoying a cold drink courtesy of some enterprising local entrepreneurs. After sunset, return to the hotel. Overnight at Battambang Resort (BL)
Day 13 – Battambang to Phnom Penh via Udong
This morning, travel with driver only to Phnom Penh. The journey will be broken at Udong, the ancient capital of Cambodia where we can stop and walk up the hill, dotted with stupas and pagodas, culminating in stunning views of the Cambodian countryside from the top. Continue on to Phnom Penh for the last leg of your journey. Overnight Villa Langka (B)
Day 14 – Phnom Penh
Meet your local guide at around 8 am, and on foot and by tuk tuk visit Pshar Kandal, Phnom Penh’s oldest market to optionally delve into local delights such as Mi Char (fried noodle) Lort Char, Sachkor ang (BBQ beef) with papaya salad, noodle soup, Nom krok, small traditional snacks made from rice and coconut juice cooked in clay pots. Afterwards move on towards Pshar Chas where you may wish to try Banh Srung, a small noodle dish with coconut milk and spring roll slices and possibly Chek Ktis – a sweet dessert. Thereafter, walk to the French quarter to observe the intricate colonial era architecture. Continue to the 14th century stupa and small pagoda of Wat Phnom. This is the tallest religious structure in the city and the oldest building in Phnom Penh. Next stop is the Royal Palace, built in 1866 under King Norodom. Adjacent to the palace is the Silver Pagoda, named after its floor of 5,000 silver tiles. If time allows, call in at the National Museum, notable for its collection of Angkorian artefacts. Lunch is taken at Friends Restaurant which provides underprivileged street children an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the hospitality business. All profits are reinvested into the restaurant’s training programme. This afternoon we explore bleaker aspects of Cambodia’s past, visiting Choeng Ek and its infamous Killing Fields, and the brutal Tuol Sleng prison where thousands perished in the country’s darkest days. Overnight Villa Langka (BL)
Please note: When visiting the Royal Palace, long trousers, over-knee skirts and covered shoulders are required. Those wearing short skirts, small shorts, tank tops and other items of revealing clothing will be denied entry.
Day 15 - Phnom Penh Departure
At the appropriate time, transfer to the airport for your onward flight at the end of your Laos and Cambodia tour. (B)
Note – Contact us if you wish to finish your Indochina adventure with a beach stay or to extend your stay elsewhere in the region.
Dates & Price.
Prices for the Laos and Cambodia tour start from £2350 per person based on 2 people travelling together and sharing a room.
Minimum and maximum group size
The Laos and Cambodia tour is a private tour and so does not have a minimum or maximum group size.
On this Laos and Cambodia tour the solo occupancy room supplement is from £495.
Return flights from London to Luang Prabang and returning from Phnom Penh start from £650. Routing often will take you through Bangkok. Contact us for a quotation for flights.
Airport transfers are included both on arrival and departure on the tailormade Laos and Cambodia tour.
Alternative Accommodation and add ons
We very much recommend the itinerary as it has been designed to get a great feel for Laos and Cambodia. However, as this is a tailormade tour, we can change the itinerary to book alternative properties, add or take off days, or completely change this sample tour to suit you own personalised requirements.
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (please note local ‘station guides’ will be used for each location when the group size is less than 3 travellers. The same guide/tour leader will be used throughout when the group is 3 or more travellers)
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Transport, including travel by minivan, river and domestic flight
- Internal flights
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights (except from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap)
- Any airport taxes (included for flights within the itinerary)
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature