Day 1 Departure from UK.
Day 2 Arrival in Luang Prabang, via Bangkok. Time to relax before an afternoon boat trip up the picturesque Mekong River. Visit the village of Ban Muang Keo for a short trek to reach the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Return to Luang Prabang for sunset at Phu Si Hill and a chance to sample some local specialities in a riverside restaurant.
Day 3 Nestled in the mountains, long isolated from the outside world, we’ll discover World Heritage Site Luang Prabang’s fabulous temples, French colonial architecture and taste Lao delicacies (and the famous Lao beer!) in riverside cafes. Morning walking tour of the town including the National Museum & former king’s palace, Wat Xiengthong, Phu Si Hill Temple and the Fine Arts School to see how traditional Lao arts and handicrafts are being preserved. The afternoon is at leisure to allow you to wander the quiet, picturesque lanes or check out the hill-tribe handicraft market?
Day 4 Day trip through the surrounding hills to visit the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfalls and to discover the fascinating, traditional village life of some of the local peoples.
Day 5 Early departure for a drive along scenic mountain roads to Phonsavan Town in Xieng Khouang province – location of the famous and mysterious Plain of Jars. Stops on the way include Khmu and Hmong villages and a hidden cave temple that served as an army hospital during the Vietnam War - a reminder that this region played a major part in the conflict. Late afternoon arrival in Phonsavan and atmospheric dusk visit to one of the famous jar sites.
Day 6 Morning visit to the Mines Action Group to learn about the work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area. We then drive out to the picturesque Jar Site 2, and begin our 1 hour trek along the ridge to the impressive Jar Site 3, consisting of around 150 jars located on top of a hill, offering great views over the surrounding countryside. Lunch in Phonsavan before a flight to the Lao capital of Vientiane, and time perhaps to stretch our legs with a stroll along the Mekong waterfront for sundowners in a riverbank cafe?
Day 7 Day tour of some of the city’s fascinating sites including Si Saket Temple with its thousand Buddha images, the bustling morning market, Vientiane’s most famous monument – the That Luang Stupa, as well as the unusual Buddha Park. Less cheerful, but we feel important and highly informative, a stop will also be made at the excellent COPE Visitors Centre. This was established to highlight a major problem many of the local people face daily in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of the heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era.
Day 8 Morning flight to Phnom Penh and check-in to a small, comfortable, downtown hotel close to the historic riverbank quarter. Time to relax before stretching your legs with an introductory walking tour, taking in the historic French Quarter, Wat Phnom and the lively waterfront area as well as giving you a first-hand feel for the bustling street-life before finishing perhaps, with sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club?
Day 9 Day tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s fascinating capital city: the infamous Killing Fields site and the highly moving Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng help to explain the country’s recent tragic history. The picturesque Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda will provide plenty of photo opportunities whilst the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a chance for a local style lunch.
Day 10 Travel through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the small provincial town of Siem Reap in Western Cambodia – our base for the next few days while we visit the nearby Angkor Temple complex. Stops on the way include the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon, (tasting not compulsory), the rarely visited but well preserved 10th century temple of Kuhananokor and lunch by a scenic lake. A dusk visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei Temple completes our day.
Day 11 Angkor – an unforgettable two-day tour of this fabulous site – its vast jungle clad temples and mysterious stone carvings. Our programme begins with dawn at Angkor Wat, followed by a comprehensive morning tour of the temple itself. Late morning return to Siem Reap to escape the midday heat and for some lunch, siesta or relaxation. Afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom: Leper King Terrace, Preah Palilay, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, Baphuon and last but not least, (we’ll wait until the crowds have gone), the dramatic Bayon Temple with its famous faces.
Day 12 We’ll begin with a forest hike up Bahkeng Hill to visit the spectacular Phnom Bahkeng Temple and check out the views, before moving on to the huge jungle-clad ruin of Preah Khan. Dense jungle, enormous roots and trees and screeching parakeets make this atmospheric temple one of everyone’s favourites. After a midday break in Siem Reap Town, the afternoon programme continues with a short jungle walk to Ta Keo via the remote and rarely visited Ta Nei Temple. A visit to the famous Ta Prom ruins – the famous ‘Tomb Raider’ Temple continues our jungle theme and concludes our day’s visit.
Day 13 Morning trip to one of the more remote and less visited temple sites, the truly spectacular Beng Melea. A huge partially ruined temple complex, overgrown by jungle, lying to the west of Siem Reap, this is one of the most impressive Angkor monuments. Return to Siem Reap with an afternoon at leisure to relax by the pool, visit the National Museum, explore the markets or even take a Khmer cookery lesson?
Day 14 Morning transfer to Siem Reap airport for a return flight and evening arrival in the UK.
Day 14 Spectacular boat journey across the Tonle Sap Lake, past the flooded forest and Prek Toal bird sanctuary and on down the Sangkar River and its floating stilt-house fishing villages to the town of Battambang. Stop off on the way to visit the Prek Toal community water hyacinth weaving project. Time of arrival will depend upon water levels.
Day 15 Morning ride through the paddy-fields on Battambang’s famous ‘bamboo train’, followed by some leisure time to explore the friendly provincial town, or just chill-out in one of the many coffee shops. After lunch we’ll visit the surrounding villages and their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts, either by bicycle, or tuk-tuk for the less energetic.
Day 16 Travelling east, our first stop will be the lively and colourful local market in Pursat Town for a chance to stretch our legs, check out the weird and wonderful produce on display, meet the friendly locals plus of course plenty of photo opportunities. Moving on, we’ll stop at the fascinating river port town of Kompong Chnang where half the town is actually floating on the Tonle Sap River, and explore the bustling river front area before continuing to our days final destination - Phnom Penh.
Day 17 Morning transfer to Phnom Penh airport for a return flight home.
Note: this tour is offered with or without return flights from London. Persons not taking up the flight option should join the tour in Luang Prabang on day 2 of the itinerary and leave in Siem Reap on day 14 or Phnom Penh on day 17 of the longer version.
Please note these are photos of sample hotels and resorts; accommodation options may vary and are subject to availability
‘French colonial’ chic at the Villa Chitdara in Luang Prabang. Friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and central location make this a great spot for exploring the UNESCO old town.
Awesome view of sunset over the Mekong from the rooftop bar of the riverside Sengtawan Riverview Hotel in Lao’s capital Vientiane.
The superb Hilary’s Boutique Hotel in Phnom Penh. Refreshing pool, cocktail terrace and a quiet, yet central, location make this a consistently popular spot to stay in Cambodia’s capital. Read our Hilary’s review here.
Rooftop pool; spa, riverside location, super friendly staff and a 5 minute walk from the Old Market, City River is out first choice in Cambodia’s Siem Reap.
Another favourite in Siem Reap is the Casa Angkor Hotel – a beautifully converted old French villa in the heart of the town.
"Just writing to thank you for a wonderful trip to Laos and Cambodia. It was so well organised, Mark did a great job of looking after us in Cambodia and the guides you chose were all good – particularly Pong and Chet - were really fantastic and very warm people. Can’t praise them enough. Please pass on our thanks to everyone."
Jan and Gary Aldous, Dec 2014.
"Indeed, our trip was most enjoyable, the accommodation was selected carefully, the food was delicious and our guides and drivers were wonderful people; knowledgeable, kind and fun. Special thanks to Pong in Laos and Chet in Cambodia, they were really great, and of course to Mark. They put a lot of effort and thought into making this trip a memorable experience."
Alexander and Janeta Shinkova, Nov. 2014.
"What a fabulous 3 weeks! We seemed to do a lot of hunting to find the trip that ticked the boxes and you guys were it!"
"For me this trip has not disappointed……..from our unforgettable days in Laos (what a rich tapestry of culture, history, food, local village communities) and our introduction to Cambodia….a great balance of history, food, local life, scenery – and some great stories along the way. Thank for organizing such a memorable trip."
Anne Deane 2011.
"We have recently finished the Indochina Tour and just wanted to say what a fabulous time we had during our 3 weeks. The tour was brilliant from start to finish. Each day was well structured with lots of variety in the places we visited."
Nick Deller & Khamsin Rissone, 2008
"This was the greatest, most interesting, most enjoyable, best orchestrated (and any other superlative you would care to mention) holiday I have ever been on. The accommodation was far superior to what I had expected, the food was un-surpassable and the feeling of 'belonging', (greatly helped by our guides local knowledge and contacts), was almost immediate. ....we did more, saw more and enjoyed more than I could ever have hoped.
A great BIG THANK YOU to everyone who was involved, all the organisation, our tour-leaders, the local guides, guesthouse owners and of course the friendly, smiling peoples we were lucky enough to meet."
Matthew Partridge - August 2008
"This trip has surpassed my expectations by ….. (illegible) Everything has gone like clockwork and the things that we have done that have not been on the itinerary have added a lot to our experience of Indochina, (eg the Lao wedding and donating books to schools). It is a trip that I will highly recommend to others when I get back and we are already planning to travel with you again at some stage. Particularly enjoyed your choice of places to eat on the way – a great variety of local food to try and savour, (though I did draw the line at spiders). With all good wish for your business."
Please find below a list of suggested extensions for this tour. For reservations please use the tour booking form on the same page
A spare day in Phnom Penh? Escape the hustle and bustle of this fascinating, yet admittedly hectic city with a day out to nearby Koh more..
A hands on, Khmer cookery lesson in a beautifully restored French period cottage in Siem Reap. Learn to cook all your newly discovered Cambodian favourites: more..
Seen Angkor Wat and Bayon’s mysterious faces? Visited the tragic Killing Fields site, shopped in the Russian Market and had a sun-downer at the famous more..
Koh Mak; a wonderful unspoilt island lying in the eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand just south of its more famous neighbour Koh Chang. more..
Koh Samui’s location off the east coast of southern Thailand in the sheltered Gulf of Thailand makes it an ideal spot for some quality island more..
Scenic Koh Chang; a large island lying on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand with a mountainous, jungle-clad interior and a series of more..
A Bangkok day tour with a difference! Thailand’s capital: bustling, dynamic, hectic, congested, often hot, sometimes smelly(!), but always fascinating, exciting and also sometimes picturesque! more..