Days
14
Price from
$5,395NZD

Laos and Cambodia are the two hidden gems of the former French Indochina. Starting in Bangkok, we explore the bustling Thai capital before flying to Chiang Rai, then crossing into Laos and spending a week in this unique, but little-known country. We take the slow boat to Luang Prabang, where royal palaces and temples tell the story of the rich Lao culture and heritage. The capital, Vientiane, is a sleepy yet charming town on the Mekong River, with its old buildings still exuding the mood of the French colonial days. Just in the last couple of years the Kingdom of Cambodia has arisen from the ashes of war and internal strife, and its monumental treasures are again on show to travellers. The incredible temple complex near Siem Reap has astounded archaeologists since its rediscovery and subsequent recovery from the jungles, 150 years ago. The famous Angkor Wat is but one of many glorious monuments in that area. Phnom Penh, now reconstructed, still contains vestiges of the French colonial era in its historic architecture.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016:
On the 13th of October 2016 the Thai Government announced the passing of his majesty, the King of Thailand. Following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej a 1 year mourning period has been declared in Thailand. In the first 30 days all government offices will fly the Thai flag at half-mast and there will likely be restrictions on the opening hours or selling of alcohol at entertainment venues including pubs and clubs. I. As this is an emotional time for Thailand and its people we ask that our travellers wear dark coloured clothing over the next 30 days as a mark of respect to the much loved King.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
In 2017 the trip code for this trip will change to PALCC


Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Countries
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Explorer
Code
PALC
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
4 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • No trip to Chiang Rai would be complete without a visit to the controversial White Temple. The contemporary design is fascinating, with jarring references to Buddhism, human sin and pop culture

  • Observing the stunning scenery and remote village life, while visiting a cave crowded with shrines is all done at a relaxed pace. Your private motorboat makes your slow trip down the Mekong River a peaceful experience

  • Unwind in the laid-back jungle town of Luang Prabang. Watch as orange-clad monks gather offerings of rice, fruit and sweets from locals before sunrise in a daily alms giving ceremony

  • Laos' evolving capital, Vientienne, is a great place to explore. The golden stupa of Pha That Luang, the symbol of Lao nationalism, is a particular highlight

  • See the important sights of Phnom Penh on a full-day guided tour around the Cambodian capital. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) are sobering experiences you won't forget

  • Enjoy two days of fully guided temple tours in Siem Reap, with in-depth insights into the history of these extraordinary structures and plenty of time at Angkor Wat

  • By dining on delicious local cuisine at the Sala Bai Hotel School, you're supporting the cause of underprivelaged hopitality students in training

Is this trip right for you?

  • Please bear in mind that you're travelling in a remote area of Laos, which is less developed than other southeast Asian countries. Please have an open mind and come with an adventurous spirit.

  • On the third night of the trip, you'll be staying in the isolated village of Pakbeng. Conditions are basic but comfortable.

  • The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful, but unavoidable part of Cambodia's recent history. You'll visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, which can be confronting and emotional. Please let your leader know if you do not want to visit these sights.

  • We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

  • It’s important to prepare for hot sticky temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening. Layers are the best way to tackle this disparity in weather.

  • Included flights on this trip make travelling easy and allows for maximum time in each destination.

Itinerary

Welcome to South East Asia. Arrive into Bangkok today, where you’ll be transferred to the centrally located Hotel. A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening at 6pm to meet the other members of your group and to discuss the itinerary. Please check for a welcome notice on the Peregrine noticeboard located on the 2nd floor of the Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel. The notice should provide the name of your trip leader, along with the exact time and location of the meeting. After the group meeting in the evening, perhaps adjourn to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a first meal together (this is optional and at your own expense). The rest of the evening is free to enjoy a quiet drink or visit the bustling night markets of Bangkok.
Accommodation
  • Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
  • Bangkok - Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today take the one-and-a-half-hour flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai. This scenic town is a lot more relaxed than neighbouring Chiang Mai. Visit the privately owned Wat Rong Khun, more commonly known as the White Temple. This contemporary temple is constantly being added to and its strange design features references to Buddhist mythology, human sin and pop culture icons such as Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and Superman. In the evening visit the buzzing Chiang Rai night markets, where you can snack on delicious Thai cuisine or shop for souvenirs and handicrafts.
Accommodation
  • Imperial River House Resort or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chiang Rai - Wat Rong Kun (White Temple)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today leave Chiang Rai before dawn to travel for around two hours to Chiang Khong. After crossing the border, take a shuttle bus across the Mekong River to Huay Xai, which is your first stop in Laos. Transfer to the pier and board a slow boat for the trip down the Mekong River. The pace is very relaxed - a perfect way to observe the scenery and local life up close. The private boat has toilets on board, comfortable seats, dining tables and plenty of room to stretch your legs. In the evening arrive into Pakbeng, a village situated at the junction of the Mekong and Beng rivers. Hmong and tribal Thai people are frequently seen on the main street, where vendors sell local textiles and handicrafts. Spend the night in a village lodge.

Please note due to the remote location of Pakbeng, the accommodation tonight is basic but still clean and comfortbale.
Accommodation
  • Pakbeng Lodge or similiar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today continue down the Mekong River in your private slow boat, gaining more insight into local rural life along the way. Stop in at Pak Ou, where the famous Tam Ting Cave is home to thousands of Buddha statues. Continuing on, pay a visit to Ban Sang Hai village where potent rice wine is made. Travel time down the river varies greatly with the water level, but if all goes to plan you should arrive into Luang Prabang by early evening. This sacred town, with its gleaming temple roofs, French architecture and mountainous backdrop, is claimed to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’ by UNESCO.
Accommodation
  • Sada Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, you may like to rise early to witness the daily procession of monks collecting alms from the villagers - a practice that dates back centuries. Following breakfast visit the town's major temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong. After the tour, walk around the local shops and find hand woven handicrafts. Next, visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, a building that combines French colonial and traditional Lao architecture. In the afternoon head south of town to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls. Back in Luang Prabang this evening, perhaps explore the popular night market or enjoy a traditional Laos massage. A late night in Luang Prabang isn't really an option, as the town observes a nightly curfew of 11.30 pm.
Accommodation
  • Sada Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Visounnalat
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Luang Prabang - Royal Palace Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day in Luang Prabang. There are many of optional activities to keep you busy. Perhaps try your hand at preparing some traditional Laotian food in a cooking class. You could visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, a not-for-profit museum dedicated to promoting the diverse cultures and traditions of Laos' ethnic groups. Guided tours and seminars are available on request. If you feel like getting active, why not climb the 328 steps up Mount Phu Si in the centre of Luang Prabang's old town? The hill is crowned by a gilded stupa, That Chomsi, where you can enjoy spectacular views over the town and surrounding forest. Afterwards, you may like to wind down with a traditional Lao sauna and massage at the massage parlour opposite Wat Visounnarat.
Accommodation
  • Sada Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Cooking class - LAK250000
  • Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Laos Red Cross sauna - LAK10000
  • Luang Prabang - Lao Red Cross massage - LAK40000
  • Luang Prabang - Mt Phu Si - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today take a 45-minute flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. On arrival into the capital, your leader will take you on a short orientation walk so you can get your bearings. The friendly city of Vientiane features a lot of French-inspired architecture and cuisine, so ask your leader where to find the best bakeries.
Accommodation
  • City Inn or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vientiane - Leader orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today embark on a tour around the major sights of Laos' capital. Visit the imposing Patuxai monument, which is Vientiane's version of the Arc de Triomphe. Call in at the oldest temple in the city, Wat Si Saket, and the former royal temple of Hor Phr Kaew. This previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha image before the Siamese took it in the late 18th century. Discover the golden stupa of Pha That Luang, which is an important Buddhist monument and the national symbol of Laos independence. Tonight enjoy an included dinner at the Makphet Restaurant in Vientiane. Peuan Mit runs the restaurant, which is an organisation that supports the needs of street children and young people in Laos.
Accommodation
  • City Inn or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vientiane - Haw Pra Kaew
  • Vientiane - Pratu Xai
  • Vientiane - That Luang
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
You will be transferred to the airport, where you will say goodbye to your Lao tour leader and fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Please note: you will be escorted on this flight. When you arrive in Phnom Penh you will be transferred to a comfortable and centrally located hotel. A Cambodia trip sector briefing will be held in the evening. Please check for a welcome notice on the Peregrine notice board located near the hotel lifts. This will provide you with your tour leader's name and the exact time and location of your Welcome Meeting. Keep in mind that you will need to again bring your travel insurance details with you to the meeting. If you have free time in the afternoon, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. The National Museum, with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship, is well worth a visit. Dinner tonight will be at the restaurant run by the Friends organisation. You might decide to go for a drink at the Foreign Correspondents' Club afterwards.

Notes: The restaurant run by the Friends organisation is closed on public and school holidays. Alternative dinner arrangements will be made during these times.
Accommodation
  • Patio Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today a full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.

Notes: The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are major parts of the experience here, but if you don't wish to visit them, please inform your tour leader.
Accommodation
  • Patio Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly north to Siem Reap (approximately 40 minutes) where the great temples of Angkor await. On arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk to help you get acquainted with the town. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. You'll probably notice a change of pace here, so take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. There are an abundance of local eateries and lively markets in which to mingle with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Phare Cambodia Circus Ticket - USD15
  • Siem Reap - Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
  • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake Boat Trip - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided exploration. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Then there is Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', a temple is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Of all the temples visited today, Bayon temple is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. For lunch you'll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. Here you can enjoy a meal prepared by students at the school. After lunch you will head to the Ta Prohm temple, which has large trees embedded in the stone foundations of the structure – a powerful symbol of nature. End the day with a sunset view of the temples: an extraordinary way to see the sun go down.

Notes: The Sala Bai Hotel School is closed on public and school holidays, so on these days an alternative restaurant will be used.
Accommodation
  • Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Ta Prohm
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Embrace a very early start today if you wish to experience a sunrise visit to the Angkor complex (this is optional). Later in the morning, venture to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a organisation that rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and provides a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. From here, continue onto Banteay Srei. You'll see it's not a huge temple, but thanks to its intricate stone carvings it is sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. At this point you can either head back to your hotel or carry on exploring more temples, such as Preah Khan. This temple contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Your ticket for the Angkor ruins also lets you spend more time exploring this site. Otherwise you might like to take a free afternoon to explore the town. If you have time, perhaps indulge in a traditional Khmer massage. A final Khmer dinner caps off your adventure tonight.
Accommodation
  • Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Banteay Srei temple
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-Out - USD48
  • Siem Reap - Khmer Traditional Massage - USD17
  • Siem Reap - Landmine museum - USD5
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Street Food By Night Tour - USD47
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your Cambodia Discovery comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Transport

Boat, Ferry, Plane, Private bus

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights), Lodge (1 night), Resort (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Chiang Rai - Wat Rong Kun (White Temple)
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Visounnalat
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Luang Prabang - Royal Palace Museum
  • Vientiane - Leader orientation walk
  • Vientiane - Haw Pra Kaew
  • Vientiane - Pratu Xai
  • Vientiane - That Luang
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Ta Prohm
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Banteay Srei temple

Reviews

Our Laos & Cambodia Explorer trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Laos & Cambodia Explorer, April 2016

Margaret Hill

Laos & Cambodia Explorer, February 2016

Wolfgang Schwarz

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please note a single room is not available on day 3 Pakbeng.
2. A complimentary arrival transfer is included please advise your flight details at time of booking.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.