Laos and Cambodia, neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia, are known for the World Heritage Sites of Luang Prabang and Angkor Wat and for their shared rich French colonial past. On this exploratory tour fly into Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, before continuing to Luang Prabang to visit the ancient site of temples, monuments and pagodas as well as the Pak Ou caves.
Fly to Pakse for a cruise to the 4000 islands and then on to Siem Reap – the base to explore one of the world’s grandest monuments, Angkor Wat, built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Drive on to visit provincial Battambang and ride the unique Bamboo train. The tour ends in Phnom Penh where you have the option to extend the city sightseeing to include the Genocide Museum and the ‘killing fields’, a poignant reminder of the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.
Day 1 Luang Prabang
You will be greeted on arrival in Luang Prabang and transferred to the Villa Shanti Hotel or similar for a three-night stay.
Day 2 Luang Prabang
Visit Talat local market and explore this veritable treasure-trove of beautiful temples and historical monuments including its many pagodas and the National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace. In the afternoon take a walk through the town to see its beautiful French-colonial buildings and the local market. View the town and its surroundings atop Mount Phousi at sunset.
Day 3 Luang Prabang
An excursion by boat to the Pak Ou caves today, located in the limestone cliffs at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. These caves are full of Buddha images of various styles and sizes that have been collected over centuries. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 4 Luang Prabang, Vientiane
In the morning take a flight to Vientiane. Visit the Victory Gate Patuxai, the temples of Wat That Luang and Wat Si Muang. Also see Haw Pha Kaew, once the royal temple of the Lao monarchy and now converted into a museum as well as Wat Si Saket, the oldest monastery in Laos. Stay at the City Inn Hotel or similar for the night.
Day 5 Vientiane, Don Khone
Fly to Pakse and transfer to Don Khone. Visit the pre-Angkorian Vat Phou temple. Stay at the Sala Don Khone hotel or similar for two nights.
Day 6 Don Khone
An early morning cruise around the waters of the ‘4,000 Islands’ today. Take a small longtail boat to Khone Island to chance upon the rare Irrawaddy freshwater dolphin. Return to the mainland in time for lunch followed by a trip by road to the spectacular roaring waterfalls of Khone Phapheng.
Day 7 Don Khone, Siem Reap
Transfer to Pakse in the morning and fly to Siem Reap. Check-in for three nights at the Lotus Blanc hotel or similar. In the afternoon, visit Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire with its centrepiece; the Bayon temple.
Day 8 Siem Reap
Visit Ta Phrom temple and the Banteay Srei temple, one of Angkor’s most significant structures, built in the 10th century. In the afternoon see some of the well-preserved carvings at Angkor Wat and witness the spectacular sunset in the countryside.
Day 9 Siem Reap
This morning take a short drive through the countryside to the Tonle Sap Lake, stopping to visit a local village en route. Board a local boat for a glimpse of life on this Great Lake of Cambodia to see floating schools, police stations and markets. The afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy the performance of the Phare Cambodian circus, with dinner in the evening.
Day 10 Siem Reap, Battambang
Take a morning drive (4 hours) to the riverside town of Battambang, home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country. Stay the night at the Classy hotel or similar. Take a tour of the town in the afternoon, including a ride on Cambodia’s bamboo railway.
Day 11 Battambang, Phnom Penh
A long journey by road (5-6 hours) towards Phnom Penh, set on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. Check-in to stay at the Le Mont Hotel or similar for two nights.
Day 12 Phnom Penh
Visit the Royal Palace and its silver tiled pagoda. See Khmer art and sculpture from different periods of Cambodian history in the National Museum. The tour ends at the Central Market. This afternoon visit the Genocide Museum and ‘killing fields’.
Day 13 Phnom Penh, UK
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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