A fascinating journey, overland and down river, through southern Laos and northern Cambodia from Vientiane to Phnom Penh
Follow the Mekong by road and river
A two-week Laos adventure following the mighty Mekong. We’ll journey south from the capital Vientiane, through the rarely visited central region, the awe-inspiring limestone karst scenery of Hin Boun, old colonial river ports of Thakaek and Pakse, to the bucolic landscapes of the 4,000 Islands and the majestic Khonephapaeng Falls on the Lao/Cambodian border. From here we’ll continue down the Mekong by boat into northern Cambodia and on to the modern day capital of Phnom Penh.
An unforgettable journey by land and river through some of the most spectacular, but little known, scenery that Southeast Asia has to offer.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Vientiane - arrival and Mekong sunset
Morning arrival in the Lao capital Vientiane and an afternoon at leisure to recover from jet-lag, explore the local markets or perhaps stretch your legs with a stroll along the Mekong waterfront, and enjoy sundowners in a riverbank cafe?
Extra nights in Vientiane prior to your tour are available.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package otherwise transfers can be arranged.
Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Vientiane - tour of the city sights
Day tour of some of the city’s fascinating sites including Si Saket Temple with its 1,000 Buddha images, the bustling morning market, Vientiane’s most famous monument – the That Luang Stupa – as well as the unusual Buddha Park. A less cheerful, but highly informative stop, will be made at the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a problem the local people face daily in the form of unexploded ordnance due to heavy bombing during the Vietnam War.
Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Hin Boun - spectacular Khammoune Province
Leave Vientiane for a leisurely drive southeast to Khammoune, one of Laos’ most picturesque, yet least visited provinces. Stops along the way will include a 15th-century stupa and a traditional-style hill-tribe market. Afternoon arrival at Hin Boun, a remote village set among dramatic limestone scenery for our night’s accommodation in a charming riverside eco-resort.
Overnight: Hin Boun Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Hin Boun - boat journey along an underground river
Departure by boat for an exploration of the incredible Konglor Cave – a 7 km long cavern with spectacular stalactite formations and an underground river running from end to end. On leaving the cave we’ll hike through the hidden valley on the far side before completing our day with a transfer to the cute old French-era river port of Thakaek, in time for sunset on the waterfront.
Overnight: Thakaek Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Thakaek - hike through jungle and caves
A fascinating trip through the area’s awesome limestone landscapes. The morning will include a forest hike where local guides will introduce you to traditional food and medicines collected by the local inhabitants; a walk around the serene Nong Thao Lake to discover local fishing techniques, stopping in rarely visited villages; and a visit to a secret 300-year-old cave temple, only discovered in 2004. Afternoon return to Thakaek.
Overnight: Thakaek Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 6 - Pakse - drive from Thakaek and afternoon at leisure
Continue south along the Mekong Valley to another old French period river port, Pakse. Early afternoon arrival with time at leisure to stretch your legs along the riverbank, try out a Lao style spa, or just take in the views from the hotel’s roof-top cafe?
Overnight: Pakse Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 7 - Boloven Plateau - coffee plantations and waterfalls
Tour of some of the sites of the Boloven Plateau, home to numerous ethnic minorities and the centre of Lao’s coffee growing industry. The day will include a visit to one of the area’s coffee plantations, a fascinating local market, and a chance to bathe in the spectacular Tad Yeuang Falls.
Overnight: Pakse Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 8 - Champassak - down the Mekong to Wat Phu
Back on to the Mekong for a boat trip south to the small, historic town of Champassak. Afternoon tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phu – a pre-Angkor, Khmer temple dramatically situated on a mountain side overlooking the valley of the Mekong.
Overnight: Champassak Transport: Boat, Walk, Tuk Tuk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 9 - Continue south to the 4,000 Islands
Morning departure by Mekong ferry for a visit to another Angkor period site – the small but atmospheric jungle temple of Wat Tomo. From here we’ll continue south to the 4,000 Islands and Don Khong for an overnight stay at a superbly situated riverside resort.
Overnight: Khong Island Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 10 - The 4,000 Islands - boat journey through the archipelago
Early morning visit to a lively and very traditional local market followed by a tour around the island. From here we’ll continue south by boat through the 4,000 Islands – a stretch of the Mekong of truly outstanding natural beauty straddling the Lao/Cambodian border – to our day’s destination the picturesque Khone Island
Overnight: Khone Island Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 11 - Don Khone - Khone Phapaeng Falls and dolphins
Explore some of the islands on foot and by boat or kayak; visit Asia’s (and one of the world’s) largest waterfalls – the stunning Khonephapeng Falls – and with luck catch a glimpse of some of the rare freshwater dolphins which still inhabit this stretch of the river.
Overnight: Khone Island Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 12 - Kratie - down the Mekong through northern Cambodia
Continuing down the Mekong we’ll follow the picturesque jungle-lined river into Cambodia and the remote town of Stung Treng. Here we’ll visit a traditional silk weaving workshop before continuing overland to the old French port of Kratie for our night’s accommodation. Afternoon to wander the bustling riverfront area.
Overnight: Kratie Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 14 - Phnom Penh - morning at leisure and end of tour
Morning at leisure, relax by the pool or grab some last-minute shopping, and departure
Extra nights in 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,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Travel up an underground river in Thakaek, hike through Hin Boun's incredible karst landscape, explore the Boloven Plateau, visit the UNESCO ruins at Wat Phu, and kayak down the Mekong to one of the world's greatest waterfalls
- Visit the sights of Vientiane, Laos’ charming capital on the banks of the Mekong
- Explore the rarely visited Khammouane Province of Central Laos with the incredible limestone scenery of Hin Boun
- Meet the exceptionally friendly and welcoming local people
- Travel by boat on a scenic Mekong river trip through Northern Cambodia
- Visit the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phu, an Angkor period temple, overlooking the Mekong Valley
- .....and last but not least, sample the sumptuous, varied and contrasting local cuisines
Air Departures (UK)
- 26 June 18 2,475 GBP
- 23 July 18 2,575 GBP
- 18 August 18 2,575 GBP
- 17 September 18 2,475 GBP
- 12 October 18 2,475 GBP
- 4 November 18 2,475 GBP
- 29 November 18 2,475 GBP
- 25 December 18 2,675 GBP
- 19 January 19 2,475 GBP
- 17 January 19 2,475 GBP
- 14 March 19 2,475 GBP
- 10 April 19 2,475 GBP
- 7 May 19 2,475 GBP
- 3 June 19 2,475 GBP
- 30 June 19 2,475 GBP
- 27 July 19 2,575 GBP
- 23 August 19 2,475 GBP
- 19 September 19 2,475 GBP
- 12 October 19 2,475 GBP
- 4 November 19 2,475 GBP
- 27 November 19 2,475 GBP
- 26 December 19 2,675 GBP
- 27 June 18 1,625 GBP
- 24 July 18 1,625 GBP
- 19 August 18 1,625 GBP
- 18 September 18 1,625 GBP
- 13 October 18 1,625 GBP
- 5 November 18 1,625 GBP
- 30 November 18 1,625 GBP
- 26 December 18 1,625 GBP
- 20 January 19 1,625 GBP
- 18 January 19 1,625 GBP
- 15 March 19 1,625 GBP
- 11 April 19 1,625 GBP
- 8 May 19 1,625 GBP
- 4 June 19 1,625 GBP
- 1 July 19 1,625 GBP
- 28 July 19 1,625 GBP
- 24 August 19 1,625 GBP
- 20 September 19 1,625 GBP
- 13 October 19 1,625 GBP
- 5 November 19 1,625 GBP
- 28 November 19 1,625 GBP
- 27 December 19 1,625 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Vientiane
*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...
Sengtawan Riverside Hotel, Vientiane view
- Central but quiet location in Vientiane
- Scenic riverside setting overlooking the Mekong
- Great rooftop bar and restaurant
Spring River Resort, Hin Boun view
- Spectacular garden setting overlooked by limestone cliffs
- Comfortable, traditional-style wooden chalets
- Located on the banks of the picturesque Hin Boun River
Inthira Hotel, Thakaek view
- The hotel is set in a renovated colonial period house
- Central location in Thakaek Town close to the waterfront
- Excellent in-house bar and restaurant
Pakse Hotel, Pakse view
- Splendid views from the hotel's rooftop bar and restaurant
- Sip a cold one as you watch the sun set over the Mekong
- Central but quiet location in the old port town
Seng Ahloune Resort, 4,000 Islands
- Scenic riverside location
- Located on Khone Island in Sth Laos's scenic '4,000 Islands'
- Traditional style wooden chalets
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
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Laos: visas are available on arrival at Vientiane International Airport for between $30 & $42 depending upon nationality
Cambodia: No visa in advance is required. A 30 day visa is issued on arrival at the Cambodian border on day 12. (Approx. $33 plus a passport photo)
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These extensions go well with this tour...
Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...
" The tour exceeded my expectation, we saw amazing parts of the country without the usual tourist trail with packed days at a doable pace that allowed the tour group to dwell on the points of interest to them. I truly think that this is the best tour I have been on, not just because of the amazing country and their people but because of the management and tour approach. I would recommend it as a must do if you love Asia. "May 2018
" Brilliant holiday, good mix of activities, and a real insight into rural Laos. I had a great time, felt so refreshed and invigorated that the experience has blown away the cobwebs. Laos is stunningly beautiful, I was enchanted with the place, so different in feel from Cambodia. An excellent holiday. "October 2015
Colin and Jenny
" Every day was something different, we walked through jungle; rode elephants; explored caves and sailed in wooden boats. We saw amazing temples and wooden huts that the locals lived in, we saw how people lived and how they dried peppers in their satellite dishes! There were sad parts too, understanding the legacy of the Vietnam war, unexploded bombs everywhere and maimed people. However, the people were great fun, as curious about us as we were about them. "November 2015
Kay & Michael
" The logistics were amazing – we were always met and everything ran smoothly. Some of the hotels were out of this world. We had some brilliant experiences and although there was a lot of travelling, however, we so enjoyed watching life from the window of the mini bus. We loved meeting the people of Laos who were so friendly, and the guides very helpful.
Thank you for a great experience. "