Journey from South to North! This delightful Cambodia and Laos tour is your chance to breathe in renowned locations, such as the temples of Angkor and ancient Khmer ruins, and meander past sleepy villages on the banks of the Mekong.
Phnom Penh offers a heady mix of bustling city life and a sincere cultural experience.
Highlights of Phnom Penh Explore the finest examples of Khmer architecture with this marvellous city tour. The Royal Palace is a grand building overlooking a tranquil plaza and still houses Cambodia’s royalty, King Sihamoni. On the south side of the palace lies the Silver Pagoda, which is aptly named as it has been crafted out of 5,329 solid silver tiles. Wander along to Wat Preah Keo Morokat, the Buddhist temple where Royal ceremonies are performed, or Wat Phmom, the namesake of the city. You can also visit The National Museum, which houses many fascinating and historical relics, and King Ang Doung Stupa, the burial site of King Norodom Sihanouk, the 20th century monarch. To respect local customs, please dress conservatively.
Siem Reap is a most marvellous window to the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Temple complex, with its fascinating Khmer architecture in varying states of preservation.
Tonle Sap Lake Boat Ride Drive out of the city for about 45 minutes into the countryside, for a unique lake-living experience! Stop off on the way at a local village. Arriving at the quay you will board a local boat that will take you on a 1.5 hour cruise of Tonle Sap Lake, known as the Great Lake of Cambodia, and home to the unique floating villages. Discover how communities live and work on the lake – with floating schools, churches, stores and markets! You can observe how crocodiles farming forms an important part of this culture. This half day experience is best enjoyed from July to February when water levels are high.
Full Day Tour of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm Explore one of the seven wonders of the world with a fascinating full day tour of the glorious, ancient and impressive Angkor Wat. This stunning temple complex boasts five magnificent towers and vast gallery complex, with the main attraction being the dominating Angkor Wat, which magically reflects in nearby water at sunrise and sunset. Head onwards to Angkor Thom, a moated royal city in the bayon style of large faces on all sides. Discover Ta Phrom, a quiet and sprawling jungle clad monastic complex engulfed by massive fig and silk cotton trees. With incredible legend of regal feuds and religious overhaul, this temple complex is undoubtedly one of the finest in the world. For this reason, it can sometimes become busy with crowds.
Day Trip to Banteay Srei & Beng Mealea Discover ancient mysteries! After a hearty breakfast, embark on a pleasant 1.5hr drive through the beautiful Cambodian countryside to reach Beng Mealea – a sprawling temple complex within a dense jungle. One of the most mysterious ruins of Angkor, it is believed to have inspired the famous Angkor Wat. Hike through the temple ruins which sit on an ancient road, and were undiscovered for centuries! Savor a traditional Cambodian lunch and head toward the Banteay Srei Temple or ‘Citadel of Women’ which is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The beautiful architecture, sculpture, and Khmer artwork will give you much insight into the ancient Angkor civilization. Kindly note that this activity is not suitable for wheelchair users, due to lack of access.
Champasak is a quaint and unique riverside province in southern Laos.
Full Day Mekong River Boat Ride Aquatic adventures await! After a hearty breakfast, step aboard a private boat for your full day tour of the 4,000 islands in Si Phan Don. At the picturesque island of Don Khone, you can take a bicycle ride through the French colonial-style remains, past abandoned railway tracks to the furious Liphi Waterfalls which is also called the Corridor of the Devil. The return journey will take you to the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls which stretches for an impressive 10 km. Don’t’ miss your chance to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins from a boat which takes you to the deep pools near the Cambodian border. In the late afternoon, a car will take you back to Khong Island.
Vientiane, located in the Mekong Valley, is the small, quiet and picturesque capital city of Laos.
Half Day Sight & Sounds Tour of Vientianne Enjoy a half day city tour starting with a leisurely stroll in Vientiane, a quaint and easygoing town. Admire French colonial architecture betwixt beautifully gilded temples. Start with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the oldest surviving Siamese temple containing over 8,000 Buddha statues, followed by the erstwhile royal temple of Wat Ho Phra Keo, former home of the Emerald Buddha statue, now serving as a museum of arts and antiques. Then, travel up Lanexang Avenue for photographic moments of the Patouxay monument or Arc de Triomphe, commemorating the dead of past wars – uncannily similar to its Paris sibling. Climb to the top for panoramic views of Vientiane. Continue on along Rue Singha 23 to Laos
Luang Prabang is considered the jewel of Indochina, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Highlights of Luang Prabang & Morning Alms Giving Ceremony Arrange an optional pre-dawn start with your guide (0530 hrs) to witness Tak Bat, or alms-giving ceremony, to hundreds of saffron-clad monks – an awe-inspiring ancient ritual. Visit a bustling morning market before returning to your hotel for breakfast. Take a guided audio tour of the Royal Palace Museum, housing precious possessions of the former Lao Royal family. Explore various architectural feats, including 19th century Wat Xiengthong Temple, and Wat Visoun, nicknamed the watermelon stupa. Gain insight into the ethnic culture at the Arts and Ethnology Center, and head to the textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Venture to the monk school of Wat Siphouthabath to interact with a young monk and ascend 328 steps up Mount Phousi to watch the sunset over the Mekong. Kindly note that the Royal Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Day Trip to Kuang Si Waterfalls & Pak Ou Caves Discover beautiful landscapes! After your breakfast, enjoy a relaxing upstream cruise on a private boat past tranquil countryside vistas and moored wooden canoes on the Mekong. Disembark at the Ban Muang Keo village and take a short trek to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, which house thousands of Buddha figurines in varying sizes! On your way back to Luang Prabang for lunch, stop to explore the artisans colony at Ban Nongxai. Drive out to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls in the afternoon, where a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters do much to revive you. A visit to the Bear Rescue Centre to see the rehabilitated rare Asiatic Black Bears, can be a rewarding experience before you return to your hotel in the evening.
My husband and I have traveled with Enchanting Travels to Asia several times and were so pleased to see a new itinerary focusing on Laos. We recently returned from our 8 day tour of Laos and 4 days in Vietnam, although we had been to both countries before, this trip was a whole new adventure! So much to see, boat trips, trekking with elephants through the jungle, gorgeous bike rides, farm visits and the best cuisine ever. The guides we had were all so kind and answered all of our thousands of questions with patience and professionalism. They were all very proud of their country and its culture. If you are looking for a a adventure packed, great food & culture vacation I can’t say enough about this trip!