Take in the highlights of Cambodia and Laos on this 13 day adventure which travels from Phnom Penh to Luang Prabang. Visit royal palaces and ornate temples, gaze in wonder at incredible Angkor Wat, take in the beautiful scenery of Vang Vieng and more.
Monday. Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy free time before a group dinner this evening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today is free for you to independently explore Siem Reap or enjoy some rest and relaxation. Consider heading to the central market for some souvenir shopping, soaking up the sunshine by the hotel pool or heading down to the lively Pub Street.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday. Spend the morning further exploring this delightful city before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.
This journey brings you to the most popular sites in Myanmar and Cambodia in just 14 days. Follow our steps, you will discover Myanmar with its untouched world-wonders that you can’t afford to miss ...
Guest Name: Ms. Rhonda Jones
City: Phnom Penh
N.of Person: 2 pax
Travel date: 14-06-2020
Booked: Mekong Turtle Conservation Centre