Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia
Description of Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia
This in depth Laos tour, ‘Far North to Far South’, takes you through the heart of Indochina from Luang Prabang in Laos to Cambodia’s Siem Reap by way of no less than 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
We’ll follow the mighty Mekong River from the ancient temples and well-preserved colonial architecture of the former Lao capital Luang Prabang, nestled in the mountains, via laid-back, riverside Vientiane all the way to the picturesque 4,000 Islands and the awe-inspiring Khone Phapaeng Falls along the Lao-Cambodian border in the far south. We’ll detour to, among other sites, the remote and enigmatic Plain of Jars, the plantations and minorities of the Boloven Plateau and the spectacular 11th-century temple of Preah Vihear perched on the edge of 600 mete cliff!
Exciting and varied activities along the way include a 7 kilometre, underground boat trip though Konglor Cave to discover the ‘Hidden Valley’, a hike among the spectacular karst landscapes of Hin Boun National Park, exploring the World Heritage, pre-Angkor temple of Wat Phu, messing about in boats amid the bucolic scenery of the 4,000 Islands and checking out the best riverside terraces for sun-downers in the old French river-port of Thakaek.
A Mekong boat journey takes us to the remote Cambodian town of Stung Treng and on overland to our final destination Siem Reap with the option of adding on a few days to visit – or even revisit – the fabulous ruined jungle cities of Angkor itself.
A fascinating, original and unforgettable journey through some of Southeast Asia’s least-known yet most spectacular landscapes.
1. Explore the ancient temples, colonial architecture, narrow lanes & bustling markets of World Heritage Luang Prabang
2. Visit the enigmatic, UNESCO-listed, Plain of Jars archaeological site in remote Northeastern Laos
3. An exciting boat journey up the underground river of Konglor Cave followed by a trek through the ‘hidden valley’
4. Discover the Mekong's picturesque 4,000 Islands region in the far south of Laos
5. Visit the awesome Khone Phapaeng Falls - little known, yet one of the largest waterfalls (in volume) on the planet
6. ...and last but not least, sample the sumptuous, varied and contrasting local cuisines of Laos and Cambodia
1. Add on a few days to explore, or even revisit, the awe-inspiring jungle temples of Angkor
2. Beach extension to the unspoilt island of Koh Mak, Thailand
3. Explore the south of the country with our 4-day Kep and Kampot mini-tour
4. Break-up the return journey with our unique Bangkok Behind the Scenes mini-tour
Note; groups sizes are 2 to maximum 12 persons with most meals (local-style) included and accommodation in good 3* hotels.
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4 Reviews of Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia
Reviewed on 21 Jan 2020 by Joan FindlaySo much that was memorable. Climbing up and down vertiginous uneven stone ascents and rock climbing in caves (sans handrails) on my 72nd birthday probably the most exciting! Read full review
Reviewed on 29 May 2018 by Robin HodsdonThe scenery and seeing the country away from the usual tourist trail. Following the Mekong gave the theme to the journey through the country and meant we saw different aspects of the country. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Dec 2017 by Kay ParkinsonCanoeing on the Mekong and watching the river dolphins was my favourite highlight. Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Nov 2015 by Colin SmithBrilliant.....we're planning the next trip!...It didn't feel like a normal corporate style package holiday, there was time to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of local markets. Read full review
PlanetOur aim is to provide a genuinely small group, low impact tour including a mixture of popular and off the beaten track sites on our itinerary. By limiting groups to small sizes (maximum 12 persons) we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater interaction with said communities.
It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.
By combining the well-known tourist sites with rarely visited destinations this diverts tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.
Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes is also a key element of this tour.
As with all our tours national park visits are included and activities such as birdwatching offered which we hope will encourage protection of the natural environment and provide financial incentives for doing so.
All hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all (fully-licensed) guides and drivers are locally employed.
Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on traditional Lao food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.
Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – are deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.
All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.
With regards souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy from either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such as Luang Prabang’s Ock Top Pop for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.
We ensure to the best of our ability that all accommodation used on this tour employs sound environmental and social practices in terms of recycling, water conservation and product sourcing as well as employment policies.
By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.
Furthermore, accommodation is specifically chosen with location in mind so that at any given destination on the tour most key sites are within easy walking or cycling distance thus keeping vehicle use to a minimum on the itinerary. This also negates the need for any form of taxis during free time as guests can walk or cycle to any points of interest.
To reduce transport all staff are locally employed. Lunches and dinners are all local style and take in local eateries which use 100% locally sourced products. Again, any inclusive meals consist of traditional fare so are heavy on vegetables and sustainably-sourced fish, light on meat and lack any dairy products.
PeopleThis tour includes visits to the following projects: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) and Mekong Blue Women’s Silk Weaving Centre (Stung Treng).
Entrance fees and/or donations help the following aid projects: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) and Mekong Blue Women’s Silk Weaving Centre (Stung Treng). Ticket fees at: The Plain of Jars, Wat Phu, Konglor Cave, Luang Prabang Fine Arts Centre, Luang Prabang National Museum, Preah Vihear, Khone Phapaeng Falls and numerous others help with restoration, conservation and local development as sell as providing revenue and employment.
On a general level, leaders and guides provide suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning; genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.