Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia

“Discover the spectacular sights and exceptional scenery of Laos on an inspiring journey by river and road, following the Mekong from the country’s far north to the Cambodian capital.”

Highlights

Luang Prabang | Kuang Si waterfalls | Phonsavan | Plain of Jars | Visit to a traditional Hmong village | Vientiane | visit to a hill-tribe market | Konglor Cave | Nong Thao Lake | Pakse | Boloven Plateau | Champassak | Wat Phu | Four Thousand Islands | Khon Phapaeng Falls | Phnom Penh

Description of Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia

This Mekong adventure holiday, Laos and Cambodia, uses the mighty Mekong River as a guide, charting its progress from the far north of Laos down to Phnom Penh, the energetic capital of Cambodia. It’s a diverse and memorable journey by road and boat, taking in magnificent scenery and impressive sights.

This small group holiday begins in beautiful Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site in the mountains, famed for its temples and faded colonial architecture. From here, visit the extraordinary Plain of Jars and explore the Lao capital of Vientiane. In southern Laos, discover Wat Phu, a pre-Angkor, Khmer temple sitting on a hillside overlooking the Mekong, before arriving at the stretch of the river known as Four Thousand Islands, an area of outstanding natural beauty straddling the Lao-Cambodian border.

We will be travelling well away from the familiar tourist trails to discover some of southeast Asia’s most remote and untouched areas, meeting local people in little visited villages and busy markets. There’s lots of the chance for active exploration throughout, too, with forest hikes, swimming in waterfalls and discovering islands by boat, kayak and on foot.

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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Date
Price
Basis
02 Nov 2019
£2000
excluding flights
Available
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25 Nov 2019
£2000
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26 Dec 2019
£2000
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20 Jan 2020
£2000
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16 Feb 2020
£2000
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15 Mar 2020
£2000
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12 Apr 2020
£2000
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10 May 2020
£2000
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04 Jun 2020
£2000
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29 Jun 2020
£2000
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26 Jul 2020
£2000
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23 Aug 2020
£2000
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23 Sep 2020
£2000
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23 Oct 2020
£2000
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24 Nov 2020
£2000
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25 Dec 2020
£2000
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Our top tip:
Families are encouraged to book this trip as the itinerary is very flexible and can be adapted easily.
Trip type:
Small group. 4-12 people (no min. age).
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
16 nights, hotel and eco-lodge.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available.
Meals:
Full board except 2 lunches and 5 dinners.
Included:
Accomm., transport, listed activities, tour leader, flights and transfers (if booked).
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

This tour covers a lot of kilometres - from Luang Prabang in the North of Laos to Siem Reap in Cambodia - with only one regional flights, all other journeys are either by road or rail and in the former case we use, where available, vehicles run on LPG. All road vehicles are hired at the destination points to avoid long haul journeys.

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.

Environment

Our 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.

Community

This 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.

3 Reviews of Mekong adventure holiday, Laos & Cambodia

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 29 May 2018 by

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


The 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.

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


Don't expect 5 star accommodation and comfort but getting away from that is part of the experience - everything is of a good standard albeit in some places a bit more basic.

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


Yes - the approach was to engage local people not just stare at them - we saw investment in communities and were able to contribute and donate in a positive way - Mines Action Group for example.

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


The tour exceeded my expectation, we saw amazing parts of the country without the usual tourist trail with packed days at a doable pace that allowed the tour group to dwell on the points of interest to them. I truly think that this is the best tour I have been on, not just because of the amazing country and their people but because of the management and tour approach. I would recommend it as a must do if you love Asia.

Reviewed on 15 Dec 2017 by

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


Canoeing on the Mekong and watching the river dolphins.

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




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


As we were the only people on the tour for 75% of the time I felt that we probably didn't reduce environmental impacts considering the distance we covered.

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


Amazing. Some of the hotels were out of this world. The people of Laos were friendly and the guides very helpful. We had some great experiences.

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2015 by

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


Every day was something different, we walked through jungle; rode elephants;
explored caves and sailed in wooden boats, sometimes we used a wooden plank,
sometimes we were knee deep in the river! We saw amazing temples and wooden huts that the locals lived in, we saw how people lived and how they dried peppers in their satellite dishes!
There were sad parts too, understanding the legacy of the Vietnam war,
unexploded bombs everywhere and maimed people.
However, the people were great fun, as curious about us as we were about them.


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


This was our first trip to S.E. Asia, so we were unsure about what to expect.
The hotels were all ok or good, with showers and proper toilets, but when you
are out and about it's mainly squat toilets. The guides and drivers wouldn't
let us carry our bags, the staff in all the hotels were all helpful and the
guides couldn't do enough to help. Everything was well organised, and the
guides and transport were always on time.
What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just book it, and have an amazing time, we did!

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


The guides used local restaurants, transport and services, so it looks like most
of our money went into the local economy. 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.

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


Brilliant.....we're planning the next trip!

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