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Indochina Adventure | Luang Prabang to Angkor

Our exciting Indochina tour takes you from Luang Prabang, the remote, ancient mountain capital of Laos, to Cambodia's bustling Phnom Penh and the fabulous temples of Angkor

17-day Laos and Cambodia tour

This 17-day Laos and Cambodia tour – an extended version of our classic Indochina Adventure – leads you through the heart of Southeast Asia from the remote mountains of northern Laos to the steamy jungles and enigmatic, creeper-covered, ruined temples of Angkor.

Beginning in the laidback, modern-day capital Vientiane we’ll travel through the mountains on the scenic new Lao-China railway to the ancient royal city – now World Heritage Site – Luang Prabang, to explore the beautiful temples and French-period architecture of the region’s best-preserved town, From here we cross more spectacular mountain ranges to reach the remote and mysterious Plain of Jars – also recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Our journey continues south to the contrasting riverside capitals of Vientiane and hectic, vibrant but charming Phnom Penh. After exploring the Cambodian capital’s colourful street life and local markets  – as well as learning about its tragic recent history – 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 through the unique floating villages of the Sangkar River to Battambang where we’ll visit the traditional handicrafts and cottage industries of the surrounding villages on a tuk-tuk tour before returning 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 please note that a, shorter, 14-day, version of our Indochina Adventure finishes at Siem Reap International Airport.

Conversely, if you do have a few more days to spare and would like to finish up with a few days quality ‘R and R’ time then we also propose a variety of island extensions in either neighbouring Vietnam or Thailand.

Since airfares are fluctuating wildly at present, as well as varying considerably from period to period, our ‘with flight’ prices, below, are approximate only.

Includes: Flights: Phonsavan-Vientiane, Vientiane-Phnom Penh (Int.). Meals: B x 16, L x 9, D x 9

Cambodia

Itinerary

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

mekong sunset at Vientiane

Day 1 - Arrival in Vientiane and orientation walk

Arrival in the contemporary, Mekong-side capital of Vientiane and stretch your legs with an introductory walking tour followed by riverside sundowners and a local-style welcome dinner in one o the town’s lively night markets.

Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Walk,  Meals: D, 

Laos, Luang Prabang, Mekong sunset

Day 2 - Luang Prabang - Mekong boat cruise

Departure on a scenic train ride to Luang Prabang. Time to relax before an afternoon boat trip up the picturesque Mekong River to the famous Pak Ou cave temples – overlooking the river and filled with thousands of ancient gold lacquered Buddha statues. Return to Luang Prabang for a local-style welcome dinner.

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

Laos, Wat Xiengthong, Luang Prabang

Day 3 - 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, L, 

Laos, Mekong Adventure, Kuang Si Falls

Day 4 - 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, 

Laos, Northern Laos tour, Plain of Jars

Day 5 - Plain of Jars - over the Central Highlands to Phonsavan

Early departure for a drive along scenic mountain roads to Phonsavan 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. Late afternoon arrival and an atmospheric dusk visit to one of the famous jar sites.

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

Laos, Vientiane sunset

Day 6 - Plain of Jars - morning tour and flight to Vientiane

Morning visit to the Mines Action Group, (MAG), to learn about the work they do in clearing the area’s land mines and unexploded ordnance. We then travel out to picturesque Jar Site 2 and begin our 1-hour hike along a ridge to the impressive Jar Site 3, consisting of over around 150 jars located on a hilltop 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 for sundowners in a riverside café.

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

Laos, Wat Saket

Day 7 - 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 iconic That Luang, as well as the unusual Buddha Park. A sobering, 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 War.

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

Cambodia, Phnom Penh sunset

Day 8 - 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, 

Cambodia, Phnom Penh Central Market

Day 9 - 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, 

Cambodia, typical Khmer landscape

Day 10 - On the road - overland to Siem Reap

Overland 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 include the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon (tasting not compulsory), a rarely-visited 11th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A sunset visit to Prei Rup Temple completes our day.

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

Cambodia, Angkor sunrise

Day 11 - 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, 

Cambodia, Ta Prom

Day 12 - 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, 

Cambodia, Beng Melea, overview of central enclosure

Day 13 - 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, 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 Apopo’s famous mine-detecting giant rats.

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

The Sangkar River

Day 14 - 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, 

Cambodia, Battambang fish market

Day 15 - Battambang - village and cottage industries tour

Morning tour by tuk-tuk through the surrounding villages to discover some of their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts, An afternoon at leisure allows time to further explore the friendly provincial town, chill out by the pool or head back into the countryside to visit the area’s famous bat caves of Phnom Sampeu.

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

Cambodia, Kompong Chhnang

Day 16 - Battambang to Phnom Penh - return to the capital

After an early morning trip along the famous Battambang bamboo railway, it’s time to complete our loop to Phnom Penh where a local-style farewell dinner awaits us.

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

Cambodia, Apopo rat demining centre

Day 17 - 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 Vientiane 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 Lao'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 vibrant and fun cities
  • Experience dawn at Angkor Wat and 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) *From

  • 9 March 24 3,190 GBP
  • 4 May 24 3,190 GBP
  • 1 June 24 3,190 GBP
  • 30 June 24 3,190 GBP
  • 27 July 24 3,290 GBP
  • 25 August 24 3,190 GBP
  • 22 September 24 3,190 GBP
  • 20 October 24 3,240 GBP
  • 17 November 24 3,240 GBP
  • 15 December 24 3,440 GBP
  • 12 January 25 3,490 GBP
  • 9 February 25 3,490 GBP

Land Departures

  • 10 March 24 2,390 GBP
  • 5 May 24 2,390 GBP
  • 2 June 24 2,390 GBP
  • 1 July 24 2,390 GBP
  • 28 July 24 2,390 GBP
  • 26 August 24 2,390 GBP
  • 23 September 24 2,390 GBP
  • 21 October 24 2,440 GBP
  • 18 November 24 2,440 GBP
  • 16 December 24 2,440 GBP
  • 13 January 25 2,490 GBP
  • 10 February 25 2,490 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

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
Laos, Chantapanya Hotel, Vientiane

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
Hotel 252 Phnom Penh

Hotel 252 Phnom Penh view

  • Small, boutique-style and low-key
  • Quiet but central location near cafes and restaurants
  • Garden setting with pool and cafe
Cambodia, City River Hotel, Siem Reap

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
Moloppor Villa

Moloppor Villa Battambang view

  • Lush garden setting with good-sized pool
  • Particularly friendly service at the in-house bar/restaurant
  • Well-appointed, comfortable rooms

*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 and mosty land entry points. These are available for most nationalities with the exception of certain African and Middle Eastern countries and require a passport photo along with $40. (You can check the list at this link.) Additionally, Lao e-visas are now available and will speed up arrival formalities.

Cambodia: Although a 30-day tourist visa is issued at the border, somewhat tedious formalities at this remote border crossing make obtaining a visa in advance or e-visa strongly advisable. (Cost is $36)

The visa on arrival is payable in $US and may vary slightly 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, outside of standard office hours or whenever they feel like it.)

Both:
Your Lao entry and exit points are Wattay International Airport (Vientiane). (Lao e-visas are accepted or visas on arrival issued. $30-36 depending upon nationality.) The Cambodian entry and exit point is Pochentong International Airport (Phnom Penh). (Visas on arrival are issued at Phnom Penh although obtaining an e-visa in advance ($36) will speed up the entry process, (and economise a page of your passport).

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

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 $15-20 total per person for the week in Laos and a similar sum for Cambodia. With regards to 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, boutique-style 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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