Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Mekong adventure

Description of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Mekong adventure

Enjoy a two-day cruise on the Mekong River, discover the temples of Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos, explore the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia and understand the dark history of the Khmer Rouge regime on a guided tour of Phnom Penh.

This two-week multi-country Southeast Asian adventure features Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, offering a fantastic introduction to Indochina.

You'll start in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where you'll explore Buddhist temples and the opulent Grand Palace, before flying to Chiang Rai in the north. From Chiang Rai, you'll transfer to Chiang Khong on the Thai border, travel across to Huay Xai in Laos and board a private boat for a two-day cruise along the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. Explore the enchanting UNESCO-listed city of Luang Prabang before heading to the mysterious Plain of Jars at Phonsavan, then fly south to Vientiane for more magnificent temples and monuments. Your next destination is Siem Reap in Cambodia, where you can see the ancient temples of Angkor, then fly to capital city Phomn Penh to learn about Cambodia's ancient and modern history.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Bangkok - Upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your chosen accommodation. Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the evening to brief you about your itinerary and recommend some great places to eat in this exciting city.
Day 2:Bangkok Guided Tour & Fly to Chiang Rai - This morning, your local guide will take you to Bangkok痴 magnificent temples and palaces, including Thailand痴 most sacred sites: the glittering Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Pho with its spectacular 46-metre long Reclining Buddha. After lunch, you値l transfer back to the airport for a flight to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, near the Golden Triangle bordering Myanmar and Laos. This evening you can explore the bustling Chiang Rai Night Bazaar, where hill tribe people and lowlanders gather to sell their handicrafts.
Day 3:Mekong River Cruise - It is another early start today. This morning you値l take a two-hour trip to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong and then you値l cross the border by boat to Huay Xai in Laos, where your guide will help you get your Laos entry visas on arrival. You値l board a private boat for a two-day personalised cruise down the Mekong River passing beautiful jungle scenery and traditional villages. This slow cruise is a wonderful way to soak up the tranquil atmosphere of the upper Mekong and is a great introduction to laid-back Laos. This evening, you値l spend the night in Pakbeng, a small village in Laos located on the Mekong River halfway between Huay Xai in Thailand and Luang Prabang in Laos.
Day 4:Mekong River Cruise - Today, you値l continue your cruise south along the Mekong River towards Luang Prabang. Stop to explore the fascinating Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues before arriving in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. Luang Prabang has been claimed by UNESCO to be "the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia." Here you can wander the streets and back alleys and you値l soon discover why so many people fall in love with this beautiful town with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop.
Day 5:Explore Luang Prabang & Kuang Si Falls - We recommend that you get up early to join the locals as they offer alms to the hundreds of saffron-robed Buddhist Monks who line the streets of Luang Prabang every morning. This sacred ceremony is quite spectacular and in our opinion certainly worth getting up early to witness it. After breakfast, you値l embark on a guided walking tour during which you値l visit Wat Xieng Thong with its sweeping roof and rare reclining Buddha, and Wat Wisunalat which represents the earliest style of Laotian architecture and Luang Prabang's oldest operating temple. You値l then walk to the top of Phu Si Hill to take in panoramic views of the city. After lunch, you値l travel 29 kilometres outside of Luang Prabang to Kuang Si Falls, a beautiful cascading waterfall surrounded by lush jungle.
Day 6:Transfer to Phonsavan - Today, you値l travel to Phonsavan in the remote Xieng Khuoang Province in central Laos.
Day 7:Explore the Plain or Jars & Fly to Vientiane - After breakfast this morning, your guide will take you to the mysterious Plain of Jars, an ancient site where there are hundreds of large stone jars are scattered across the countryside, although no one knows exactly why they are there. The jars are carved from both sandstone and granite in various sizes from very small to about 3.5 metres high and are thought to be more than 2,000 years old. In the afternoon you値l fly to the peaceful capital city of Vientiane, located on the banks of the Mekong River.
Day 8:Vientiane Guided Tour - This morning, you値l explore Vientiane with your guide. You値l visit Wat Si Saket, which is the oldest surviving temple in Vientiane and home to over 10,000 Buddha images, as well as the golden stupa of That Luang (the Great Sacred Stupa), which is the most sacred monument in the country and now recognised as the national monument and symbol of Laos. You値l also visit Patuxai (Victory Gate of Vientiane), which is reminiscent of Paris Arc de Triomphe and is one of the city痴 most noticeable landmarks. This afternoon, you池e free to explore the Talat Sao Morning Market, which is confusingly open in the afternoon.
Day 9:Fly to Siem Reap - Today, you値l fly from Vientiane to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the former capital of the great Khmer Empire. Your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you on a tour of this historical city.
Day 10:Explore the Temples of Angkor - Today, you値l have a full day to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor, including the iconic temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Phrom. The complex consists of hundreds of temples and monuments, which were built by the Khmer empire between 800AD to 1300AD. After the fall of the Khmer empire, they were abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle for centuries, but many of the temples have now been restored and more than two million tourists visit Angkor Wat each year. Your guide will provide detailed information on how these temples were built, and what purpose each one had within the complex.
Day 11:Banteay Srei & Tonle Sap - After breakfast, you値l travel to Banteay Srei, a temple famed for its intricate carvings depicting battles, scenes of conquest and Khmer daily life. Built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva, this remote temple is one of Angkor痴 highlights. This afternoon, you値l discover Tonle Sap Lake and the floating village of Chong Khneas, where almost 1,000 families live and make their living fishing on the lake.
Day 12:Explore Siem Reap & Fly to Phnom Penh - This morning, you値l have some free time to explore Siem Reap. We recommend that you visit Wat Thmei, which serves as a memorial to those who were killed at the site during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, explore the Old Quarter with its tree-lined boulevards and stunning French architecture, and learn about the fascinating story of the Angkor Empire at the Angkor National Museum. Later today, you'll transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Cambodia痴 capital, Phnom Penh.
Day 13:Guided Tour of Phnom Penh - Today, you値l have a guided tour of Phnom Penh, which will include a visit to the Royal Palace, home of the current Cambodian Monarch, King Sihamoni. There痴 also the option to visit Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S-21), where prisoners of the Khmer regime were held and killed. Then, this afternoon, you値l visit the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek Killing Fields just outside the city. Visiting Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is a sobering experience, not suitable for children, but a poignant reminder of this dark period of Cambodia's history.
Day 14:Sadly, your tour of Southeast Asia is drawing to an end. After breakfast this morning, you値l check out of your accommodation and be driven to the airport for your flight home.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Mekong adventure

Environment

All our adventures are privately guided holidays and as such we retain a commitment to working with small group sizes. By travelling in small numbers and using expert local guides we can limit the potential for damaging ancient temples and trails.

The carbon emissions created in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia by this holiday are all offset in Southeast Asia through our partnership with a local environmental charity. These offsets are paid for out of our company profits so that you can travel with a green conscience and at no extra cost to you.

Many travel companies offer their customers the chance to offset the carbon emissions from their international flights too but we have gone a step further and offer to share this cost with you 50/50. If you select to compensate for your international flight emissions when you book with us then what you put in, we put in too!

To ensure that we are offering ground-breaking itineraries and are always keeping up-to-date with the latest developments abroad, our UK staff travel regularly to our destinations. This 層ork also leaves a carbon footprint and we compensate for all our staff travel by donating carbon-mitigating funds to our charity partners.

Our UK office takes a leading role in setting the standards for an environmentally friendly work environment. We work with local government to recycle our waste and continually look for new ways to be greener.

Community

In partnership with a grassroots charity we encourage all guests to use some of your luggage space to take supplies to Pakbeng Lodge, Laos where even the most basic supplies and medical equipment will help to support the great work of the associated free community health clinic. Talk to us for more information about how to get involved.

We employ local guides and support staff who we pay fair wages, often exceeding government standards which we still consider too low, and thereby remove the reliance on tipping from travellers for livelihoods.

Our accommodation choices make use of locally owned properties where possible and often include adventurous, authentic choices such as local homestays which therefore involve local people and their communities in the very fabric of our holidays.

We encourage all our travellers to research local customs and read your trip notes before you depart to ensure you are conscientious and respectful in a different culture.

In most cases we strongly recommend that you do not give money to children beggars. If begging is a successful enterprise, parents are encouraged to forsake their children痴 education in pursuit of this opportunity.

Talk to us about packing for a purpose and see if you can get involved by making a small material contribution to the communities you are visiting. We have developed partnerships with charities and accommodations throughout Cambodia and are constantly working to extend our reach with the help of our travellers.

1 Reviews of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Mekong adventure

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 27 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Angkor in Cambodia, but the Vespa tour in Ho Chi Min.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The train is hardly luxurious!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely supported local people

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?



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