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Indochina Adventure | Laos and Cambodia Tour

Some of Southeast Asia's most spectacular World Heritage Sites from Laos's ancient, mountain capital Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars to Cambodia's fabulous Angkor Wat

An exciting and varied 2-week Tour of Laos and Cambodia

This fascinating, 2-week guided Laos and Cambodia tour, Indochina Adventure, takes you through the heart of Southeast Asia. Beginning in the riverside capital Vientiane we’ll travel north through the mountains on the brand new Lao-China Railway to the ancient royal city, now World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang to explore the ancient temples and French colonial-era architecture of what is certainly the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia. From here a road trip takes us through the scenic central highlands to the remote, mysterious and also UNESCO-listed Plain of Jars.

Our journey continues to the contrasting, contemporary capitals of laidback Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong River and Cambodia’s chaotic but great fun Phnom Penh. Discover the sights of Laos’s capital including the famous COPE Centre and surreal Buddha Park while our Phnom Penh tour takes in the colourful and vibrant street life as well as its sometimes tragic recent history at the infamous Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

Continue overland through the Cambodian countryside for an exploration of the atmospheric temples of World Heritage-listed Angkor where a comprehensive, but leisurely-paced, 3-day visit to the spectacular jungle-clad temples completes this fascinating and highly varied tour.

For those with a few more days to spare we offer a slightly extended version of our Laos and Cambodia tour taking you on a boat trip from Siem Reap across Cambodia’s unique eco-system of the Tonle Sap Lake and past the amazing floating villages of the Sangkar River to Battambang, before returning overland to Phnom Penh.

Note also that additional nights before and/or after your tour in Vientiane and Phnom Penh are available on request while for those with time on their hands we also offer a variety of beach and island extensions in either neighbouring Vietnam or Thailand should you care to opt for a few days quality ‘R and R’ after your tour.

Includes: Flights: Phonsavan-Vientiane, Vientiane-Phnom Penh (Int). Meals: B x 13, L x 7, D x 7

Further details, related articles and plenty more photos can be found on the Indochina Adventure page of our travel blog.

Cambodia

Itinerary

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

view over the mekong river

Day 1 - Arrival in Vientiane

Arrival in Vientiane and time to stretch your legs with an introductory walking tour before riverside sundowners and a visit to the bustling night food bazaar for a local-style welcome dinner.

Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Walk,  Meals: D, 

Northern Laos, confluence of the Mekong and Ou

Day 2 - Luang Prabang - boat trip on the Mekong

Departure for a scenic ride through the mountains on the new Lao-China railway (Lao’s first ever). Arrival and check-in to boutique-style accommodation in a converted French-period villa before a relaxing afternoon boat trip up the Mekong to visit the mysterious Pak Ou cave temples. Return to Luang Prabang for sunset and a chance to sample some of the sumptuous local specialities.

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

Laos, Luang Prabang, Wat Xiengthong

Day 3 - Luang Prabang - walking tour of the old town

Discover World Heritage Luang Prabang’s fabulous temples, French colonial architecture and sample Lao delicacies (and the famous Lao beer!) in riverside cafes. A morning walking tour of the town includes the local market, National Museum and former king’s palace and fabulous Wat Xiengthong. The afternoon is at leisure to allow you to wander the quiet, picturesque lanes at your own pace or check out the hill-tribe handicrafts?

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

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang

Day 4 - Luang Prabang - into the surrounding countryside

Day trip through the scenic, surrounding hills to visit the stunning Kuang Si Waterfalls as well as the sobering, but highly worthy, Free the Bears centre. Stops on the way offer the chance to discover the fascinating, and still very traditional, village life of some of the local people.

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

Laos, early morning mist

Day 5 - Central Highlands - Luang Prabang 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, D, 

Laos, Northern Laos tour, Plain of Jars

Day 6 - Plain of Jars - morning tour and afternoon transfer to Vientiane

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

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

Laos, Vientiane Buddha Park

Day 7 - Vientiane - tour of some of the City's sights

Tour of some of Vientiane’s varied sites including Si Saket Temple with its 1,000 Buddha images, the lively morning market, famous That Luang Stupa plus the unusual Buddha Park. Less cheerful, but we feel important and highly informative, a stop at the excellent COPE Visitor Centre highlights the problem of left-over bombs from the Vietnam War.

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

Cambodia, Phnom Penh market shopping

Day 8 - Phnom Penh - morning flight and walking tour

Morning flight to Phnom Penh and check in to a small, comfortable, downtown hotel. Time to relax before stretching your legs with an introductory walking tour of the historic French Quarter and lively waterfront giving you a first-hand feel for the bustling street life and finishing perhaps, with sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club.

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

Cambodia, Royal Palace

Day 9 - Phnom Penh - city tour

Tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s fascinating capital: the infamous Killing Fields and the highly moving Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum, Tuol Sleng help explain the country’s recent tragic history.  The picturesque Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda provide plenty of photo opp’s while the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a chance for a local-style lunch.

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

Cambodia tour, Kompong Thom

Day 10 - Road trip - upcountry to Siem Reap

Overland through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the town of Siem Reap – our base for the next few days while we explore the nearby Angkor Temples. Stops on the way include the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon, a rarely visited 10th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A sunset visit to the atmospheric ruins of Prei Rup Temple completes our day.

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

Cambodia, dawn at Angkor Wat

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 and 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, Bayon Temple

Day 12 - Angkor - jungle temples

An early forest hike to the spectacular, hill-top Bakheng Temple followed by the vast jungle-clad ruins of Preah Khan. Enormous roots and towering trees make this atmospheric temple a regular favourite.  After a midday break in Siem Reap we’ll continue with a short jungle walk to Ta Keo via the remote, rarely visited Ta Nei Temple. A visit to 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 World Heritage Sites, Beng Melea

Day 13 - Siem Reap - Beng Melea and afternoon at leisure

Morning trip to one of the more remote temple sites – the truly spectacular Beng Melea. A huge, partially ruined, temple complex overgrown by jungle and lying to the west of Siem Reap, Beng Melea is one of the most impressive Angkor monuments. Return to Siem Reap with an afternoon at leisure to relax by the pool, perhaps visit the National Museum or check out Apopo and their famous mine-clearing giant rats.

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

Cambodia, Siem Reap's Western Baray

Day 14 - Siem Reap - at leisure and end of tour

Morning at leisure in Siem Reap and departure at your convenience.

Extra nights in Vientiane or Siem Reap before or 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 Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

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

Luang Prabang, riverside cafe

Just a few of the many highlights

Through the heart of Southeast Asia from Laos's ancient capital and World Heritage site, Luang Prabang, via Cambodia's bustling and fun Phnom Penh to the incredible temples of Angkor

  • Explore the ancient temples, colonial architecture, narrow lanes and bustling markets of World Heritage Luang Prabang
  • Check-out the sites and street-life of Cambodia's chaotic but fun capital, Phnom Penh
  • Experience dawn at Angkor Wat - watch the sunrise over the iconic silhouette of the world's largest religious building
  • Discover the charming riverside modern capital of Laos, Vientiane; markets, temples and riverside cafes
  • Visit the mysterious and unusual 'Plain of Jars' archaeological site in remote northeastern Laos
  • ..and last but not least, sample the sumptuous, varied and contrasting local cuisines of Laos and Cambodia

Air Departures (UK) *From

  • 1 June 24 2,925 GBP
  • 30 June 24 2,925 GBP
  • 27 July 24 2,925 GBP
  • 25 August 24 2,925 GBP
  • 22 September 24 2,925 GBP
  • 20 October 24 2,975 GBP
  • 17 November 24 2,975 GBP
  • 15 December 24 3,175 GBP
  • 12 January 25 3,225 GBP
  • 9 February 25 3,225 GBP

Land Departures

  • 2 June 24 2,125 GBP
  • 1 July 24 2,125 GBP
  • 28 July 24 2,125 GBP
  • 26 August 24 2,125 GBP
  • 23 September 24 2,125 GBP
  • 21 October 24 2,175 GBP
  • 18 November 24 2,175 GBP
  • 16 December 24 2,175 GBP
  • 13 January 25 2,225 GBP
  • 10 February 25 2,225 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...

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
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
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
Patio Hotel and Urban Resort

Patio Hotel and Urban Resort view

  • Convenient central location nearby shops, cafes, restaurants
  • Comfortable, well-appointed and well-decorated
  • Spectacular rooftop infinity pool
Pierre Hotel Siem Reap

Pierre Hotel Siem Reap view

  • Great riverside location close to the town centre
  • In-house pool, bar, coffee shop and restaurant
  • Low-key, friendly staff and atmosphere
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 point is Pochentong International Airport (Phnom Penh) and the exit point is Siem Reap International Airport. (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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