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Indochina Adventure (Extended version)

This fascinating and varied tour takes you from the remote, ancient mountain capital of Laos - Luang Prabang - to Cambodia's bustling Phnom Penh and the fabulous temples of Angkor

16-day Laos and Cambodia tour

This 16-day Laos and Cambodia tour – an extended version of our Indochina Adventure – will lead you through the heart of Southeast Asia from the remote mountains of northern Laos to the steamy jungles and enigmatic, creeper-covered, ruined city of Angkor.

Beginning in the ancient Lao royal capital – now World Heritage Site – Luang Prabang, you’ll discover the beautiful temples and French-period architecture of the region’s best-preserved town, before crossing spectacular mountain ranges to reach the remote and mysterious Plain of Jars.

From here our journey continues to the contrasting, contemporary capitals of laid-back Vientiane and hectic, vibrant but charming Phnom Penh. After discovering the Cambodian capital’s colourful street-life and markets as well as its sometimes tragic historical sites, we’ll travel overland through picturesque countryside and past traditional villages to Siem Reap and the spectacular jungle temples of Angkor.

Our tour concludes with a fabulous boat journey across the Tonle Sap lake and past the unique floating villages of the Sangkar River to Battambang where we’ll discover the traditional handicrafts and cottage industries of the surrounding villages before a return overland to Phnom Penh.

An unforgettable tour of some of the best-known, plus rarely visited sites Indochina has to offer including a wide variety of stunning landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ancient ruins, vibrant contemporary street life and local markets, plenty of friendly locals, and lashings of wonderful Southeast Asian cuisine.

For those with less time to spare, note that a 13-day Indochina Adventure finishes at Siem Reap International Airport.

Cambodia

Itinerary

Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.

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Day 1 - Luang Prabang - Mekong boat cruise

Arrival in Luang Prabang.  Time to relax before an afternoon boat trip up the picturesque Mekong River to Muang Keo village from where a short hike takes us to the famous Pak Ou cave temples – overlooking the river and filled with thousands of ancient gold lacquered Buddha statues.

Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Boat, Walk,  Meals: D, 

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Day 2 - Luang Prabang - city walking tour

Discover World Heritage Luang Prabang’s fabulous temples, French-era architecture and sample Lao delicacies (and the famous Lao beer) in riverside cafes. A morning tour includes the former Royal Palace, now National Museum, Wat Xiengthong and the Fine Arts School to see how traditional Lao arts and handicrafts are being preserved. Afternoon at leisure to explore the quiet, picturesque lanes or check out the hill-tribe market?

Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

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Day 3 - Luang Prabang - into the countryside

Day trip through the surrounding hills to visit the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfalls and commendable Free the Bears rescue centre. Stops en-route allow us to discover the fascinating, traditional village and rural life of some of the local inhabitants.

Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

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Day 4 - Plain of Jars - over the Central Highlands to Phonsavan

Overland along scenic mountain roads to Phonsavan Town in Xieng Khouang Province – location of the famous and mysterious Plain of Jars. Stops en-route include Khmu and Hmong villages and a hidden cave temple that served as an army hospital during the Vietnam War. Late afternoon arrival and an atmospheric dusk visit to one of the famous jar sites.

Overnight: Phonsavan Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

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Day 5 - Plain of Jars - morning tour and flight to Vientiane

Visit the Mines Advisory Group to learn about the work they do in clearing the area’s landmines and unexploded ordnance before a visit to the picturesque Jar Site 2 with a short hike to the impressive, hill-top Site 3. Afternoon 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?

Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Minibus, Plane, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

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Day 6 - Vientiane - tour of some of the City's sights

Tour of some of the city’s fascinating sites including Si Saket Temple with its 1,000 Buddhas, the bustling morning market, Vientiane’s most famous monument, That Luang, as well as the unusual Buddha Park. A less cheerful, but highly informative stop will also be made at the excellent COPE Visitors Centre, established to highlight the problem of unexploded ordnance left after the Vietnam War.

Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 7 - Phnom Penh - introductory walking tour

Morning flight to Phnom Penh and check-in to a small, downtown boutique-style hotel. Time to relax before an introductory walking tour, taking in the historic French Quarter 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?

Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Plane, Walk, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, D, 

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Day 8 - Phnom Penh - city tour

Day tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s fascinating capital city.  The infamous Killing Fields and highly moving Khmer Rouge Museum at Tuol Sleng help to explain the country’s recent tragic history while the picturesque Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda provide plenty of photo opportunities. A visit to the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a chance for a local lunch.

Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 9 - On the road - overland to Siem Reap

Travel through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the provincial town of Siem Reap in Western Cambodia – our base for the next few days while we visit the nearby Angkor Temples. Stops on the way include the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon (tasting not compulsory), a rarely-visited but well-preserved 11th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A sunset visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei completes our day.

Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 10 - Siem Reap - dawn at Angkor Wat

Angkor: an unforgettable tour of this fabulous site with its vast jungle-clad temples and mysterious stone carvings. We begin with sunrise and a morning tour of Angkor Wat. Return to Siem Reap to escape the midday heat and an afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom: Leper King & Elephant Terraces, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Baphuon and last but not least, (we’ll wait until the crowds have gone), dramatic Bayon Temple with its famous faces.

Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

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Day 11 - Siem Reap - jungle temples

Morning visit to the spectacular Phnom Bakheng Temple before moving on to the vast ruin of Preah Khan. Dense jungle, enormous roots and screeching parakeets make this atmospheric temple one of everyone’s favourites.  After a break in Siem Reap, the afternoon continues with a short forest hike to Ta Keo via the remote and rarely visited Ta Nei. Ta Prom – the famous ‘Tomb Raider’ temple – continues our jungle theme and concludes our day’s visit.

Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

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Day 12 - Siem Reap - Beng Melea and afternoon at leisure

Morning trip to one of the remoter temple sites, the truly spectacular Beng Melea. This huge partially ruined temple complex, overgrown by jungle, 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 perhaps check out the famous mine-detecting giant rats at the Apopo Centre?

Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

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Day 13 - Sangkar River - by boat to Battambang

Spectacular boat journey across the Tonle Sap Lake, past the flooded forest and Prek Toal bird sanctuary and on down the Sangkar River with its unique floating and stilt villages to the town of Battambang. Stop-off on the way to visit the Prek Toal community water hyacinth weaving project.

If water levels are low during the dry season, part of the trip may be overland.

Overnight: Battambang Transport: Boat, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 14 - Battambang - village and cottage industries tour

Morning tuk-tuk tour of some of the surrounding villages to visit some of the local residents and learn about their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts. An afternoon at leisure to perhaps stroll around the town and check out some of its varied architecture and tempting coffee shops or check out the famous ‘bamboo railway’?

Overnight: Battambang Transport: Bike, Walk, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, 

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Day 15 - Battambang to Phnom Penh - return to the capital

Travelling east we’ll stop at the fascinating river port town of Kompong Chhnang on the Tonle Sap River, and explore the colourful and bustling riverfront area before continuing to our day’s final destination – Phnom Penh – for a farewell local-style dinner.

Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 16 - Phnom Penh - morning at leisure and end of tour

Morning at leisure in Phnom Penh; relax by the pool or some last-minute shopping and departure.at your convenience.

Extra nights in Luang Prabang prior to or Phnom Penh after your tour are available on request.

Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.

Overnight: Departure Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.

Cambodia, Laos and Cambodia tour, Angkor

Just a few of the many highlights

From Laos's World Heritage Luang Prabang over the mountains to the mysterious Plain of Jars and on via Vientiane to Cambodia's vibrant Phnom Penh and the fabulous temples of Angkor

  • Explore the ancient temples, colonial architecture, narrow lanes and bustling markets of UNESCO World Heritage Luang Prabang
  • Travel by boat to the spectacular cave temples at Pak Ou on the banks of the Mekong River
  • Take a boat journey up the spectacular Sangkar River to discover the unique floating villages and spectacular bird-life
  • Tour of Phnom Penh - fast recovering from it's tragic history to regain it's place as one of Indochina's most attractive and fun cities
  • Experience dawn at Angkor Wat - watch the sunrise over the silhouette of this iconic building
  • ..and last but not least, sample the sumptuous, varied and contrasting cuisines of Laos and Cambodia

Air Departures (UK)

  • 31 August 19 2,800 GBP
  • 8 October 19 2,800 GBP
  • 31 October 19 2,800 GBP
  • 23 November 19 2,800 GBP
  • 24 December 19 3,000 GBP
  • 18 January 20 2,800 GBP
  • 14 February 20 2,800 GBP
  • 13 March 20 2,800 GBP
  • 10 April 20 2,800 GBP
  • 8 May 20 2,800 GBP
  • 2 June 20 2,800 GBP
  • 27 June 20 2,800 GBP
  • 24 July 20 2,900 GBP
  • 21 August 20 2,800 GBP
  • 21 September 20 2,800 GBP
  • 21 October 20 2,800 GBP
  • 22 November 20 2,825 GBP
  • 23 December 20 3,025 GBP

Land Departures

  • 1 September 19 1,950 GBP
  • 9 October 19 1,950 GBP
  • 1 November 19 1,950 GBP
  • 24 November 19 1,950 GBP
  • 25 December 19 1,950 GBP
  • 19 January 20 1,950 GBP
  • 15 February 20 1,950 GBP
  • 14 March 20 1,950 GBP
  • 11 April 20 1,950 GBP
  • 9 May 20 1,950 GBP
  • 3 June 20 1,950 GBP
  • 28 June 20 1,950 GBP
  • 15 July 20 1,950 GBP
  • 22 August 20 1,950 GBP
  • 22 September 20 1,950 GBP
  • 22 October 20 1,950 GBP
  • 23 November 20 2,025 GBP
  • 24 December 20 2,025 GBP

Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Luang Prabang

*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.

We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...

Villa Chitdara, Luang Prabang view

  • 'French colonial' chic at Luang Prabang's Villa Chitdara
  • Friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and central location
  • Great spot for exploring the old World Heritage town

Chanthapanya Hotel, Vientiane view

  • Well-appointed rooms with pool, restaurant, bar and gym
  • Great location, a short walk from town centre and riverside
  • Centrally located yet quiet position

The 252, Phnom Penh view

  • Small, boutique-style and low-key
  • Quiet but central location near cafes and restaurants
  • Garden setting with pool and cafe

City River Hotel, Siem Reap view

  • City River is out first choice in Cambodia's Siem Reap.
  • Rooftop pool; spa, riverside location, super friendly staff
  • Only a 5 minute walk from the bustling Old Market district

Delux Villa Battambang view

  • Small and friendly, low-key resort in Battambang
  • Swimming pool and lush, garden setting
  • Quiet but convenient central location

*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.

Visa Info & Notes

Visas – Laos: 30-day tourist visas are issued at the visa on arrival counters at international airports as well as any land entry point. These are available for most nationalities with the exception of certain African and Middle Eastern countries. (You can check the list at this link.) For some reason, Swiss, Luxembourgeois and Russian passport holders are exempt from visas while any nationalities not included in the visa on arrival list will need to apply at a Lao embassy or consulate beforehand.

The fees are only payable in $US except for Thai/Lao land crossings where baht are accepted and this is where things do get slightly complicated as pricing does vary from country to country. Most European passport holders plus South African, Australian and NZ are charged $30 with the exception of Swedish who pay $1 more and British who pay an extra $5.  US citizens are also charged $35 while, for reasons we can’t fathom, Canadians pay $41. (Note a $1 overtime fee is charged for public holidays and outside of standard Lao office hours.)

Visas – Cambodia: Citizens of Asean countries do not require visas while passport holders from certain African and Middle Eastern nations need to apply in advance. For the majority of nationalities though, a visa on arrival is issued at international airports and all land borders including arrival from Laos and the Mekong entry point from Vietnam.  Visa fees and conditions are subject to change but are usually $30 payable in cash in US dollars although certain land crossings may cost a few extra dollars in random ‘service fees’. A passport photo is required. Tourist visas are issued for 30 days from date of entry into Cambodia.

E-visas (thus cutting down on queuing time at the airport) are now available for many nationalities at this link and cost $36 with a stated processing time of 3 working days. These are accepted at international airports and certain land crossings only and do not include the Mekong crossings from Vietnam or Laos.

https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

Both: A passport photo is required for both Laos and Cambodia while 1-page tourist visas for both are valid for 30 days from entry.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry and you may be refused entry if your passport is damaged, in poor condition or does not have at least 2 blank pages remaining.

When entering Laos or Cambodia make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport and keep your departure card.

 

Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of £10-15 or $15-20 total per person for the week in Laos and around $20-25 for 10 days in Cambodia. With regards guides who accompany you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $3 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)

 

Meals: breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Lunches on the road are typically simpler dishes such as variations on noodles or fried rice while your tour-leader will generally order more elaborate-style dinners consisting of a selection of local dishes.

Little known Lao fare is somewhat similar to Thai though commonly accompanied by ‘sticky’, rather than plain rice. Dishes can be spicy so please indicate your chilli tolerance levels to your tour leader.

Khmer cuisine shows both Thai and Vietnamese influences though with plenty of unique dishes too and dishes are generally only mildly spicy

Both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for in both countries. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour-leader at the start of the tour.  A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.

 

Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. Pools are available at all Cambodian hotels but not usually (due to limited space) at Lao ones. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.

 

Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.

 

Further info: more details and photos of ‘Indochina Adventure‘ here and suggested reading and viewing on Cambodia at this link or our Lao reading and viewing list here.

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