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Cambodia and Laos Vacation

Duration: 14 Days/13 Nights
Start Date: On Request
Depart: Bangkok
Rate from: $932 P/P

Indochina Tour 14 Days - Indochina Vacation 14 days 13 nights

Laos and Cambodia are the two hidden gems of the former French Indochina. Starting in Bangkok, we explore the bustling Thai capital before flying to Chiang Rai, then crossing into Laos and spending a week in this unique, but little-known country. We take the slow boat to Luang Prabang, where royal palaces and temples tell the story of the rich Lao culture and heritage. A visit to the mysterious Plain of Jars takes us even further back in time to an archaeological site said to be 2000 years old, whilst nearby Hmong villages remind us also of the country’s cultural diversity. The capital, Vientiane, is a sleepy yet charming town on the Mekong River, with its old buildings still exuding the mood of the French colonial days. Just in the last couple of years the Kingdom of Cambodia has arisen from the ashes of war and internal strife, and its monumental treasures are again on show to travellers. The incredible temple complex near Siem Reap has astounded archaeologists since its rediscovery and subsequent recovery from the jungles, 150 years ago. The famous Angkor Wat is but one of many glorious monuments in that area. Phnom Penh, now reconstructed, still contains vestiges of the French colonial era in its historic architecture.
  • Bangkok
  • Chaiang Rai
  • Luang Prabang
  • Vientiane
  • Siem Reap
  • Phnom Penh
Price Details
Class 2 Pax 3 - 5 Pax 6 - 8 Pax 9 - 10 Pax
Cost/pax Please contact us for details
  • Peregrine tour leader
  • Local guides
  • Arrival transfer, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees.
  • Departure taxes
  • Visas
  • Other meals, insurance.
  • Tips, any additional optional tours or activities during free time, and items of a personal nature.
Cambodia and Laos Vacation - Itinerary
Day 1 - Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok where you are transferred to the comfortable and centrally located Royal Benja Hotel. A pre-trip briefing is held in the evening, to meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a Welcome Notice on the hotel noticeboard located near the hotel lifts which will provide your tour leader's name and the exact time and location of your Welcome Meeting. Until this meeting we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Bangkok has to offer, including trying some of Thailand’s famous cuisine. After the group meeting in the evening we may adjourn to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a meal together (this is optional and at your own expense). The rest of the evening is free - perhaps a quiet drink or a visit to the bustling night markets of Bangkok.
Day 2 - Bangkok - Chiang Rai (Breakfast)
We enjoy a city tour of Bangkok. This city tour is all done on the different forms of public transport available to the citizens of Bangkok (Skytrain and river ferry) to give you a true taste of life in this busy and varied city. We visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a must for first-time travellers to Bangkok. We also visit Wat Po, home of the famous Reclining Buddha. (When visiting temples and palaces in Thailand, please dress conservatively in order to respect the local culture). We then transfer to the airport and fly up to the northern city of Chiang Rai.
Day 3 - Huay Xai - Pakbeng (Breakfast)
Today is a very early start as we need to leave Chiang Rai before dawn and travel approximately 2½ hours to Chiang Khong. After completing border formalities we take a small boat across the Mekong River to Huay Xai, our first stop in Laos. For centuries Huay Xai was a disembarkation point for Yunnanese caravans led by the Chinese Muslims on their way to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, in ancient Siam. Today it is a hustling ferry town on the banks of the Mekong River. We transfer to the boat pier, where we board our slow boat for the trip down the Mekong River. The pace is very relaxed - a perfect way to observe the local lifestyle close up. We arrive in the evening in Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River, hence the town’s name ‘Pak’ meaning ‘mouth’ in Lao. Hmong and tribal Thais are frequently seen on the main street of Pakbeng, and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicrafts. We spend the night in a simple hostel. Please be warned that the accommodation standard is very basic, but also bear in mind that you are travelling in a remote area. Please have an open mind and come with an adventurous spirit!
Day 4 - Luang Prabang (Breakfast)
We continue on our private slow boat on our journey down the Mekong River, gaining more insights into local rural life along the way. Just before arriving at Luang Prabang we stop at Pak Ou (meaning ‘mouth of the Ou River’), where the famous Tam Ting Cave houses thousands of Buddha images of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devoted villagers. We also stop at the village of Ban Sang Hai, where they make the potent local rice-wine. Our travel time will vary greatly, depending on the water levels, but we hope to arrive in Luang Prabang in the early evening. This beautiful town, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, has been claimed by UNESCO to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’.
Day 5 - Luang Prabang (Breakfast)
In the morning we have the option to rise early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries. The people of the town wait out the front of their houses with food for the monks to collect and take back to the temple. It is done early as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk you ‘het bon’ or make merit, which should augur well for your next life! Following breakfast we visit the major temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers, and Wat Wisunalat, which is the oldest temple in the city. After our tour we enjoy the chance to walk around the local shops, which are well known for their hand-weaving and other interesting artefacts. Here is a chance for the shoppers to try their hand at bargaining. We visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, an interesting structure that dates from the early years of the 20th Century and combines traditional Lao architecture with French colonial influence. The collection of treasures and artefacts reflects the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign, who was deposed in 1975. In the afternoon we embark on another highlight of our stay - a 29 kilometres journey south of town to visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. In the evening in Luang Prabang we are free to make further discoveries including walking around the popular Night Bazaar. Another great optional activity is to sample a traditional Lao massage and herbal sauna.
Day 6 - Phonsavan (Breakfast)
In the mid-morning we take with us our spirit of adventure and travel on our private bus to remote Xieng Khuang Province, an area that was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. The high altitude means that the weather will be relatively cool. We visit the province’s old capital of Muang Khun that was largely destroyed in the bombing raids, as well as the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe who have an interesting local culture and a colourful history. The Hmong people wear distinctive costumes and live at high altitudes. We spend the night in a basic hotel in the small town of Phonsavan, which is the province’s current capital.
Day 7 - Phonsavan - Vientiane (Breakfast)
In the morning we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. It is said that these jars are over 2000 years old, but there is no reliable way of dating them and archaeologists are still mystified as to their original purpose (opinions vary from burial urns to rice whisky vats). We are then transferred to the airport to catch our flight to Vientiane - the capital of Laos.
Day 8 - Vientiane (Breakfast)
A city tour acquaints us with the major sights of the capital. We visit the imposing Patuxai monument (also known as the Anousavari, which translates as ‘Victory’ in Lao - hence the name Victory monument), which is Vientiane's version of the Arc de Triomphe and dominates the city's main thoroughfare. It has also been nicknamed the ‘Vertical Runway’, which refers to the fact that it was built in the 1960s from funds the US Government had given to the Lao Government for the expressed purpose of extending the runway at the airport! Wat Si Saket is the oldest temple in the city, while the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha image before it was taken by the Siamese in the late 18th Century. We visit both temples and the most famous structure in Laos, the That Luang stupa. A drink in a riverside bar watching the glorious sunset over the Mekong River is the perfect way to finish our day.
Day 9 - Siem Reap (Breakfast)
You are transferred to the airport, where you say goodbye to your Lao tour leader and fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Please note that you are likely to be unescorted on this flight and will be met on arrival in Siem Reap by your Cambodian tour leader or a local representative. You will also meet other members of the group who will accompany you on the Cambodian sector of the tour.
Day 10 - Siem Reap (Breakfast)
Siem Reap is our base for visiting the world-famous temples of the ancient city of Angkor, home to the powerful Khmer Empire that held sway from 802 AD to 1350 AD. We spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided tour. Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. The impressive Bayon temple is the centrepiece of all this. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure. It is the only one of Angkor's temples with its entrance facing to the west (the others face east), the reason being that it was constructed as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and a westerly countenance was seen to represent a sunset. Ta Prohm temple is an incredible sight, with large trees embedding themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. We can end the day with a sunset view of Angkor Wat from Phnom Bakheng.
Day 11 - Siem Reap (Breakfast / Lunch)
Our ticket for the Angkor ruins enables us to spend more time exploring this memorable archaeological area. It is an early morning start as we travel out to Banteay Srei, famous for its detailed and intricate stone carvings. It is not a big temple, but has been sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. Back at the main temple complex, Preah Khan contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. We include a visit to the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills which will enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. We also enjoy a lunch prepared by students at the school.
Day 12 - Phnom Penh (Breakfast)
You have a free morning before leaving Siem Reap. If you wish to stay in town, you can relax outside one of the cafes or visit the market in town, which sells some interesting artefacts and handicrafts. Another option would be to relax by the hotel pool or enjoy a massage by one of the famous blind masseuse of Siem Reap. Flying to Phnom Penh you notice a change of pace, as you arrive in Cambodia’s capital. A relaxing drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club is a great way to start your evening.
Day 13 - Phnom Penh (Breakfast)
A full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and therefore closed to the public; however, we are able to visit the Silver Pagoda which lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country and was previously spared from destruction by the Khmer Rouge. Wat Phnom is the temple which gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th Century. The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful, but unavoidable, part of Cambodia's recent history and visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of this tragic legacy. (Note: These sites are a major part of sightseeing in Phnom Penh; however, if you do not wish to visit either of them, please inform your tour leader.) An ideal way to spend your last evening in Cambodia is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.
Day 14 - Phnom Penh (Breakfast)
The tour ends after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Vietnam Anz Travel can arrange additional customized trips for you if the above itinerary does not match your expectations.

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