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The Emerald Triangle

An exploration of the rarely visited 'Emerald Triangle' where Thailand, Laos and Cambodia meet. Visit the remote Boloven Plateau and the spectacular 4000 islands of the Mekong River

Off-the-beaten-track eastern Thailand (Issan) and Southern Laos tour

Explore the unspoilt, picturesque, yet rarely visited, ‘Emerald Triangle’ region in the heart of Indochina where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia meet.

Journey by train from the capital Bangkok to northeastern Thailand – formerly part of the Khmer empire – where we’ll visit fabulous Angkor period temples such as Phnom Rung atop an extinct volcano or Muang Tham surrounded by lotus ponds. From here, continue overland into southern Laos to discover the Boloven Plateau; Sepian National Bio-diversity Area and World Heritage Wat Phu, before heading south to the stunning ‘Four Thousand Islands’, where the Mekong cascades into Cambodia over a series of awe-inspiring falls. A spectacular boat journey down the Mekong into northern Cambodia and the French colonial town of Kratie and on to Phnom Penh completes our voyage,

An unforgettable journey through a little known but fascinating region of Southeast Asia.

Note for those with a few more days to spare you can extend your tour from Phnom Penh to the fabulous jungle temples of Angkor.



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

Day 1 - Bangkok - arrival and time to explore the area

Arrival in Bangkok and check-in to a downtown hotel in the City’s lively Banglamphu district. Afternoon to relax, recover from your jet-lag by the pool or explore the area, street life and local markets.  Welcome local style dinner.

Extra accommodation in Bangkok before your tour is available if required.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.

Overnight: Bangkok Transport: Walk,  Meals: D,

Day 2 - Bangkok - city tour with a difference

City tour with a difference! Central Bangkok by public transport; riverboat, skytrain, tuk-tuk and canal boat including stop-offs to take in the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Keow – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha – and the fascinating Jim Thompson Museum. (Note alternatives can be arranged for those who have already visited Bangkok). In the evening we’ll board the night sleeper train for Surin in Eastern Thailand.

Overnight: Night sleeper train Transport: Train, Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L,

Day 3 - Surin - an Angkor temple atop a volcano

Early morning arrival in the small provincial town of Surin where our exploration of the Emerald Triangle begins with a visit to some of the spectacular Angkor period ruins to be found in the area; the dramatic 12th century Khmer ruins of Phnom Rung – situated on the summit of an extinct volcano  the well preserved and picturesque Muang Tham and the hidden border temple of Ta Muan.


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

Day 4 - Khong Jiam - Pha Taem National Park

Time to head eastwards to our day’s destination – the small, scenic town of Khong Jiam on the banks of the Mekong, overlooking Laos. In the afternoon we’ll travel to the nearby Pha Taem National Park for a hike to visit the prehistoric cliff paintings and unusual rock formations before returning to Khong Jiam by boat down the Mekong River itself.


Overnight: Khong Jiam Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D,

Day 5 - Pakse - across the border to Laos

Leisurely morning in this riverside town before crossing into Laos for our overnight stop at Pakse. Afternoon free to check out the markets, temples and bustling waterfront area of this old French river port or try one of the famous traditional Lao herbal massages?

Overnight: Pakse Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, D,

Day 6 - Pakse - the picturesque Boloven Plateau

Day tour of some of the sites of the Boloven Plateau, home to numerous ethnic minorities and the centre of Lao’s coffee growing industry including visits 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 7 - Champassak - down the Mekong to Wat Phu

Back on to the Mekong River for a boat trip south to the small, historic town of Champassak. Afternoon visit to 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 8 - Kietngong - cross the Mekong for a stay in an eco-lodge

Morning to explore tranquil Champassak Town before a transfer across the Mekong to Kietngong Village for a stay in the delightful Kingfisher Eco Lodge on the edge of the Sepian national Biodiversity Area. Afternoon hike to discover the mysterious hill-top ruins of Phu Asa, with of course time to relax on your balcony to admire the superb views in this charming setting.

Overnight: Kietngong Transport: Minibus, Boat,  Meals: B, L,

Day 9 - Done Khone - south to the 4,000 Islands

Continue south to the ‘4 thousand islands’ – a stretch of the Mekong River of truly outstanding natural beauty straddling the Lao, Cambodian border where we’ll stay in riverside chalets on Khone Island.

Overnight: Khone Island Transport: Minibus, Boat,  Meals: B, D,

Day 10 - Done Khone - Phapaeng Falls and freshwater dolphins

Explore some of the islands by boat, kayak and on foot. Visit Southeast Asia’s, and indeed one of the world’s, largest waterfalls, the stunning Khone Phapaeng 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: Boat, Walk, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, L,

Day 11 - Kratie - down the Mekong into 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, south 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 12 - Phnom Penh - overland to Cambodia's capital

The final leg of our journey will take us overland via Kompong Cham and a visit to the Angkor era temple of Wat Nokor to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.

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

Day 13 - Phnom Penh - morning at leisure and departure

Morning at leisure and end of the tour.

Extra accommodation in Phnom Penh after your tour is available if required.

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


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

Thailand, Muan Tam

Just a few of the many highlights

Rarely visited NE Thailand & spectacular Phnom Rung Temple atop a volcano; waterfalls & plantations of the Boloven Plateau, World Heritage Wat Phu, the awesome Khone Phapaeng Falls & serene 4,000 Islands are just a few highlights

  • Travel by train to scenic, yet rarely visited, Issan - northeastern Thailand
  • Spetcaular landcapes of Phae Taem National Park, The Mekong, Boloven Plateau, Khone Phapaeng Falls and 4,000 Islands
  • Overland and down river through northern Cambodia to the vibrant capital of Phnom Penh
  • Visit some of the most spectacular and best preserved Angkor period temples
  • Journey by boat down the Mekong to UNESCO World Heritage Site Wat Phu
  • Plenty fo friendly locals and of course sample the contrasting but delicious cuisines of Laos and Cambodia

Air Departures (UK)

  • 24 July 18 2,300 GBP
  • 19 August 18 2,200 GBP
  • 18 September 18 2,200 GBP
  • 13 October 18 2,200 GBP
  • 5 November 18 2,200 GBP
  • 30 November 18 2,200 GBP
  • 26 December 18 2,400 GBP
  • 20 January 19 2,200 GBP
  • 18 February 19 2,200 GBP
  • 15 March 19 2,200 GBP
  • 11 April 19 2,200 GBP
  • 8 May 19 2,200 GBP
  • 4 June 19 2,200 GBP
  • 1 July 19 2,200 GBP
  • 24 August 19 2,200 GBP
  • 20 September 19 2,200 GBP
  • 13 October 19 2,200 GBP
  • 5 November 19 2,200 GBP
  • 28 November 19 2,200 GBP
  • 26 December 19 2,400 GBP

Land Departures

  • 25 July 18 1,400 GBP
  • 20 August 18 1,400 GBP
  • 19 September 18 1,400 GBP
  • 14 October 18 1,400 GBP
  • 6 November 18 1,400 GBP
  • 1 December 18 1,400 GBP
  • 27 December 18 1,400 GBP
  • 21 January 19 1,400 GBP
  • 19 February 19 1,400 GBP
  • 16 March 19 1,400 GBP
  • 12 April 19 1,400 GBP
  • 9 May 19 1,400 GBP
  • 5 June 19 1,400 GBP
  • 2 July 19 1,400 GBP
  • 25 August 19 1,400 GBP
  • 21 September 19 1,400 GBP
  • 14 October 19 1,400 GBP
  • 6 November 19 1,400 GBP
  • 29 November 19 1,400 GBP
  • 27 December 19 1,400 GBP

Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Bangkok

*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...

Nanda Heritage Hotel, Bangkok view

  • Based around a beautifully restored 1920s teak family villa
  • The award winning design combines traditional and modern
  • Great central location for restaurants, cafes and shopping

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

Anouxa Guesthouse, Champasak

  • Simple, comfortable & friendly, family run guesthouse
  • Great setting on the banks of the Mekong itself
  • Garden setting and excellent riverside restaurant

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

Thailand: No visa in advance is required. A free 30 day visa for Thailand is issued on arrival at an international airport.

Laos: No visa in advance is required. A 30 day visa can be obtained for you at the border. Approx. $38).

Cambodia: No visa in advance is required. A 30 day visa is issued on arrival (c $32 plus passport photo).

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