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Indochina Adventure

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

An exciting and varied 2-week Laos and Cambodia tour

This fascinating 2-week guided Laos and Cambodia tour, Indochina Adventure, takes you through the heart of Southeast Asia. Beginning in northern Laos – in the former royal capital, now UNESCO World Heritage Site, of Luang Prabang – we’ll explore the ancient temples and French colonial-era architecture of what is certainly the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia, before a road trip through the scenic Central Highlands to the remote and mysterious Plain of Jars.

Our journey continues to the contrasting, contemporary capitals of laid-back Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong River and hectic but great fun Phnom Penh. Explore some of the sights of Laos’s capital including the famous COPE centre and surreal Buddha Park while our Phnom Penh tour takes in plenty of the colourful and vibrant street-life as well as it’s sometimes tragic, recent history.

From there we’ll travel overland through picturesque Cambodian countryside to the enigmatic and atmospheric temples of Angkor where a comprehensive but leisurely-paced 3-day visit to the spectacular jungle-clad temples completes our highly varied tour.

For those with a few more days to spare we offer a slightly extended version of our Indochina Adventure taking you 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.

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 - boat trip on the Mekong

Arrival in Luang Prabang and a relaxing afternoon boat trip up the picturesque Mekong River. Visit Muang Keo village for a short hike to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of old, gold lacquered Buddha images. Return to Luang Prabang for a local-style, welcome dinner to introduce you to Laos’s sumptuous but little-known cuisine.

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

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Day 2 - 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 & former king’s palace and fabulous Wat Xiengthong. The afternoon is at leisure to allow you to wander the quiet, picturesque lanes or check out the hill-tribe handicrafts?

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

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Day 3 - Luang Prabang - into the surrounding countryside

Day trip through the scenic, surrounding hills to visit the sublime Kuang Si Waterfalls as well as the sad, 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 peoples.

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

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Day 4 - Central Highlands - Luang Prabang to Phonsavan

Early departure for a drive along scenic mountain roads to Phonsavan Town in Xieng Khouang Province – location of the famous and enigmatic Plain of Jars. On the way, we’ll visit Khmu and Hmong villages and a hidden cave temple that served as an army hospital during the Vietnam War. Late afternoon arrival in Phonsavan and an atmospheric dusk visit to one of the famous jar sites.

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

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Day 5 - Plain of Jars - morning tour and afternoon transfer to Vientiane

Visit the Mines Action Group to learn about the problems of unexploded ordnance in the area. We then drive out to the picturesque Jar Site 2 and begin a short hike to the impressive, hill-top Site 3, consisting of around 150 jars. Afternoon flight to the Lao capital Vientiane with perhaps a stroll along the scenic 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 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 Visitors Centre highlights the problem of unexploded ordnance due to bombing during the Vietnam War.

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

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Day 7 - 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, 

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Day 8 - 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 opps 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, D, 

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Day 9 - 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, (tasting not compulsory), a rarely visited but well preserved 10th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A dusk visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei Temple 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

An unforgettable 2-day tour of Angkor with its vast jungle ruins and mysterious stone carvings. We’ll begin with sunrise at Angkor Wat and a tour of the temple before returning to Siem Reap to avoid the midday heat. Afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom includes the Leper King and Elephant Terraces, Phimeanakas, Baphuon and last but not least – when the crowds have gone – famous Bayon Temple and its enigmatic face

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

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Day 11 - 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, 

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Day 12 - 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, 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, 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, 

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Day 13 - Siem Reap - at leisure and end of tour

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

Extra nights in Siem Reap or Luang Prabang, 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 Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

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

Cambodia, local specialities

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 UNESCO 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' archeological 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)

  • 24 December 19 2,800 GBP
  • 18 January 20 2,600 GBP
  • 14 February 20 2 x 2,600 GBP
  • 13 March 20 2,600 GBP
  • 8 May 20 2,600 GBP
  • 2 June 20 2,600 GBP
  • 27 June 20 2,600 GBP
  • 24 July 20 2,700 GBP
  • 21 August 20 2,600 GBP
  • 21 September 20 2,600 GBP
  • 21 October 20 2,600 GBP
  • 22 November 20 2,650 GBP
  • 23 December 20 2,850 GBP

Land Departures

  • 25 December 19 1,750 GBP
  • 19 January 20 1,750 GBP
  • 15 February 20 2 x 1,750 GBP
  • 14 March 20 1,750 GBP
  • 9 May 20 1,750 GBP
  • 3 June 20 1,750 GBP
  • 28 June 20 1,750 GBP
  • 25 July 20 1,750 GBP
  • 22 August 20 1,750 GBP
  • 22 September 20 1,750 GBP
  • 22 October 20 1,750 GBP
  • 23 November 20 1,800 GBP
  • 24 December 20 1,800 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

Villa Langka, Phnom Penh view

  • Lush garden setting with pool
  • Very convenient central but quiet location
  • Helpful, friendly and efficient staff

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

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

Visa Info & Notes

Visas – Laos: No visa in advance is required. A 30-day visa can be obtained on arrival at Luang Prabang Airport. Approx. $38).

Visas – Cambodia: A visa on arrival is also issued at Phnom Penh Airport for $30, payable in cash in US dollars. E-visas (so cutting down on queuing time at the airport) are now available for many nationalities at approximately $35. https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

Both: A passport photo is required for both Laos and Cambodia while 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.

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 a similar sum for 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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