Laos & Cambodia Highlights
TIME FOR A GAME OF ‘SPOT THE BEST MENU ITEM’. LOOK OUT FOR: BRAISED DORK, UPLAND FOREST TREES PORK RIBS AUTHOR, BEAN SALAD WITH DISABILITIES, PORK WITH FRESH GARBAGE, SLIPPERY PIG RED PAPER FISH CHIVES*
(*YES THESE ARE ACTUAL MENU ITEMS WE’VE SEEN)
DAY 1-2 - BANGKOK - OVERNIGHT TRAIN
If you want to be formal you can refer to Bangkok by its traditional name: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. We're sure nobody will mind if you want to keep things casual.
Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Visit Bangkok’s most famous sight, the Grand Palace.
Enjoy the rest of the day to further explore the city
Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs
Head north to Chiang Mai in the evening on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approx. 13hrs). Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a food and drink service available on board.
Bangkok - Grand Palace
Bangkok - Chatuchak Market visit - THB100
Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB100
Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike - THB1500
Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
Nouvo City Hotel (Canal wing) or similiar
DAY 3 - CHIANG MAI
Arrive into Chiang Mai in the morning.
See how many activities you can pack into 24 hours,
Spend a free day exploring the northern city of Chiang Mai, with over 120 temples in the centre alone
Set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep, with fantastic views over the city
Perhaps get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class
Why not visit the Night Bazaar a great chance to practice those bargaining skills
Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB750
Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple - THB50 (entry fee only)
Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mae Ping River Experience - THB2105
People Place 1 Hotel or similiar
DAY 4-5 - HUAY XAI - MEKONG RIVER - PAKBENG
Cruise the Mekong on a slow boat, from one sleepy village to the next. You can’t miss the colourfully dressed Hmong hill women who come down from the mountains each day.
Feel like a real traveller as you catch a local bus to Chinag Khong via Chiang Rai (approx 6.5 hours) We then complete border formalities, crossing the Friendship bridge to Huay Xai our first stop in Laos. Huay Xai is a peaceful little town where you’ll have loads of free time. Are you a book or a Kindle person? Either way, this is a good place to get stuck into your holiday reading.
Enjoy time to wander around this small place and perhaps ascend the Naga stairs to Wat Jom Khao Manilat
Perhaps visit a nearby minority village, where they make rice whiskey, noodles and handicrafts
Accommodation: Sabaidee Guesthouse or similar
Cruise the mighty Mekong and say sabai dee to locals along the way. You’ll feel right at home tonight in your little guesthouse in Pakbeng.
Board a slow boat for a trip down the Mekong River (approx 7 hours) This is where the real relaxtion starts as you ease into holiday mode, reading a book, playing cards, swapping travelling stories or just watching the scenery pass by on your slow boat.
Arrive in the late afternoon at Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River.
Accommodation: Don Veerasak
Guesthouse or similar
DAY 6-8 - LUANG PRABANG
After a busy day seeing Buddhist temples, hiking to Kuang Si Falls or exploring Pak Ou Caves, we think you deserve a rest. Find an herbal steamroom or play some pentanque with the locals (a bit like boules). Don’t expect them to go easy on your.
Continue on the private slow boat, stopping to stretch your legs and explore the Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues
Arrive in Luang Prabang in the evening and wander the streets of ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’
Trek to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls if you feel like a swim in nature.
Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls USD2
Luang Prabang - Cooking demonstration - USD30
Luang Prabang - National Museum - USD4
Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong - USD2
Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre - USD20
Sabaidee Guesthouse or similar
DAY 9-10 - VANG VIENG
Vang Vieng is surrounded by mountains, rivers and big limestone cliffs. Spend a couple of days checking out the caves, lagoons and forests.
Transfer to a local fan cooled bus and head toward the village of Vang Vieng, located on a bend in the Nam Song River. (approx travel time 6-7 hours)
Cross the river to explore the huge caves that line the West Bank
Enjoy plenty of time to make your own discoveries or partake in an optional kayaking day trip along the Nam Song
Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire - USD2
Vang Vieng - Kayaking on the Nam Song USD15
Khamphone Guesthouse or similar
DAY 11 - VIENTIANE
Continue by bus to the Lao capital, located on the banks of the Mekong River. (approx 4 hours)
Check out some temples, including Wat Sri Saket.
Vientiane - Wat Si Saket
Vientiane - orientation walk
Vientiane - Tuk Tuk to Buddha Park - USD25
Vientiane - Vientiane temples - USD1
Vientiane - COPE visit
Mali Namphu Guesthouse or similar
DAY 12-13 - PHNOM PENH
Eat your heart out, starting with a nom banh chok from a local street vendor. Phnom Penh is a quirky mix of romantic Indo-China charm, poverty, modern development, friendly locals and cheeky tuk-tuk drivers.
Transfer to the airport and catch a quick flight to Phnom Penh. Settle into your hotel and then take the afternoon to check out this busy city.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Take a cyclo sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh
We recommend you take an optional visit to learn about the Khmer Rouge atrocities - the Choeung Ek Killing Fields and the infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
Free time to visit the Central Market, located in an old French colonial building - a good place to look for clothing or sarongs
Enjoy the rest of the day exploring Phnom Penh city
Perhaps stop by the temple of Wat Phnom, the National Museum, Royal Palace and the French Quarter
Enjoy a home-cooked meal in a family's home
Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour of the city
Phnom Penh - home cooked dinner in a family's home
Phnom Penh - Killing Fields of Choueng Ek - USD3
Phnom Penh - Transport to Choeung Ek - USD10
Phnom Penh - Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda - USD7
Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
Phnom Penh - Entrance to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek Killing Filelds - USD3
Nawin Guesthouse or similar
DAY 14-17 - SIEM REAP - ANGKOR
Time for the main event, which kicks off with sunset over the temples. A local tour guide will show you the ropes then you've got a free day to explore. How many faces can you count at Bayon?
Leave Phnom Penh on a public bus and head towards Siem Reap (approx 7 hours)
Walk around town on an orientation of Siem Reap and enjoy some local snacks
Take an informative day-long tour of the Angkor complex, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Baphoun, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm and, of course, Angkor Wat
Free time to do some exploring of your own
Optional visit to the rose-coloured Banteay Srei Temple
Perhaps visit Banteay Srei, located about 30 kilometres north of Siem Reap - considered to be the best preserved of all of Cambodia’s temples
Optional trip with into the countryside to discover facets of rural life with a local site guide
Optional boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake, passing floating fishing villages
Kick back in Siem Reap and just wander around the town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants
Get your heart pumping with the flight of the Gibbon zip line adventure where you can feel like a bird flying through the jungle.
Time to say goodbye and take your memories back home, you can depart anytime on this day
Siem reap - Full day Angkor sightseeing tour
Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass - USD40
Siem Reap - Remork transport to Angkor complex - USD15
Siem Reap - Tonle Sap boat trip - USD15
Siem Reap - Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
Siem Reap - Khmer cooking class - USD25
Siem Reap - Flight of the Gibbon ziplining - USD129
Soria Moria Hotel or similar
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