Monk in window of Angkor Wat

Discovering Cambodia And Laos

Countries: CambodiaLaos

12 Days | $10,550

Spend 12 days playing the part of a 19th century explorer with this luxury tour designed to let you discover the natural and man-made wonders of Cambodia and Laos. No expedition to Southeast Asia would be complete without a trip to the world’s largest religious monument — 12th century temple Angkor Wat and the neighbouring ruins.

Board a helicopter to take in the cliff-side temple of Preah Vihear — a holy site with the most spectacular setting of all Cambodia’s temples. Explore the present day community that inhabits the country’s ancient lands and help mold the next generation by volunteering an afternoon of your time with Journeys Within Our Community classroom.

Kayak on Southeast Asia’s largest lake, the Tonle Sap, while making your way to the distinctive and serene flooded forest. In Laos, you will recreate the colonial expedition of Dr. P. Neis, a French explorer who led expeditions into the region for his government.

An elephant will carry you through the jungle and down the Huay Sae River, passing waterfalls, turquoise pools and limestone cliffs. Then trek through beautiful rice paddies and end your day floating down the river on a luxury bamboo raft before arriving at your stylish tent camp for the evening.

Let us help you make the most of these two unique and forgotten landscapes with this 12-day exploration.

Day 1  Siem Reap: Fast Track Arrival

Welcome to Cambodia! On arrival you will be met in immigration for your fast-track visa service. Look for our welcome sign with your name on it, and hand over your photo and passport. Your visa will be issued and then you can continue through immigration to collect your luggage and clear customs. Your guide and driver will be waiting with a sign for you at the arrivals meeting area just outside the airport entrance doors. You will then be transferred to The Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor where you will be greeted and checked into the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure after your long arrival flight.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 2  Siem Reap: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom: Sunrise to Sunset

Siem Reap Angkor Wat Angkor Thom

Wake up early and head out to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat. Return to your hotel for a delicious breakfast. After breakfast head back to Angkor Wat with your guide. Explore this majestic temple throughout the morning while it is still cool and has fewer tourists. Return to town for lunch at the location of your choice.

Our Luxury Tours Concierge will make reservations on your behalf. In the afternoon head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city and see the many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon temple with its many magnificent faces smiling out. In the evening discuss with your guide the best location to view the sunset.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 3  Siem Reap: Helicopter to Preah Vihear and Koh Ker

Preah Vihear Koh Ker

Leave early morning for your helicopter ride to Preah Vihear, a Khmer temple situated atop a 525-metre cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Cambodia, close to the Thailand border, but most notably in Cambodian territory.

As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bares elements of several architectural styles. Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, it has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire.

Long been the subject of intense ownership disputes between the two neighboring countries, Cambodia was officially awarded control of Preah Vihear in 1962 by the International Court of Justice and it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Late morning depart Preah Vihear by helicopter for the Koh Ker temple area, located 100km northeast of Angkor Wat. It was briefly the capital of the Khmer empire between 928 and 944 under King Jayavarman IV and his son Hasavarman II. A vast number of temples were built under his reign, until his successor returned to the Angkor area about twenty years later.

The Koh Ker site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a 30 meter tall temple mountain raising high above the plain and the surrounding forest. These lonely temples provide an interesting and peaceful change to the busier temples of the Angkor Wat complex. In the late afternoon return to Siem Reap via helicopter. Upon landing you will be met by your driver and will be transferred back to your hotel. If you would like to head into town for dinner in the evening, this can be arranged through our concierge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 4  Siem Reap: Exploring the Community of Siem Reap

In the morning set out on the Journeys Within Village Tour with our guide who will take you to his village, showing you rice paddies and typical homes along the way. Once there enjoy a fresh coconut drink and meet his family and neighbors. Walk from here to West Baray Lake where you can take a local boat to an island with some picturesque ancient Khmer ruins and return to shore where your car will be waiting for you. From here head to Pua District and visit the fascinating Artisans de Angkor Silk Farm where many local women are trained in the art of silk weaving. Return to town for lunch.

Siem Reap studentsSiem Reap voluteersSiem Reap water

At 2:30pm you will then be transferred from your hotel to Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC). JWOC offers a wide variety of free classes to students who have the desire to learn, but lack the financial means to do so, and today you will be able to join in one of the classes and learn more about their project.

The drop-in conversation classes for adults welcome the participation of native English speaking volunteers who play an extremely useful role assisting the teachers with speaking activities, providing a model for students who often have limited opportunity to hear and speak English in their everyday lives.

No experience is necessary – your ability to speak English is the only qualification you need to help. You will arrive at 2.45pm before the class starts to meet the teacher and find out what you will be doing.

After volunteering at the school head next door to Journeys Within Boutique Hotel to meet Mr. Brandon Ross, founder of Journeys Within Our Community and Mr. Narla Phay, university scholarship recipient and graduate. Sit down with Brandon and Narla and over drinks discuss how JWOC was founded and have the opportunity to speak with them about the projects. Late afternoon you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 5  Siem Reap: Kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake

Experience a unique day kayaking on the Tonle Sap Lake. You will set out around 8am and drive for about an hour before boarding a boat for a 40 minute ride to one of the lake villages. Here the homes are built on stilts because, while in the dry season the surrounding area is dry, in the rainy season it is flooded and so they rise above the water level. You will arrive at the local home that stores the canoes and after a short safety briefing head off with your guide who will lead you through waterways, flooded forests and out into the Tonle Sap Lake where you can take a dip if you wish. After you’ve explored, wind your way back through the village, taking in local life in this watery environment before returning to a local home for some lunch and a leisurely boat and car ride back to town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 6  Luang Prabang: Arrival and Orientation Tour

Enjoy the morning at your leisure in Siem Reap. Head to town to pick up any last minute market finds, or explore more of the city before your departing flight.

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight.

After your arrival in Luang Prabang, you’ll be picked up from the airport and driven to the main part of town for a quick orientation tour. Your guide will give you an introduction to the city, showing you the main roads, some restaurants and the night market area, before dropping you off at your hotel to check in.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao Hotel – Mountain View Jr Suite

Day 7  Luang Prabang: The Artistic and Cultural Heart of Laos

Luang Prabang

Wake up at sunrise to give monks morning alms. You’ll be accompanied by your guide who will demonstrate the proper method of alms giving and explain this daily Buddhist ceremony. Return to your hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, you will explore the city by bicycle. Following your guide, travel through town along the main roads and go off the beaten path through alleys and side-streets. Ride along both the Mekong and Nam Khan roads to take in the views and stop at temples and national landmarks along the way. Next, you will have the opportunity to meet one of the founders and directors of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Museum in Luang Prabang, who will take you on your own private tour of the museum.

You will receive an insight into the ethnic cultures of Laos through the museum’s exhibitions featuring costumes, jewelry, household tools and religious objects. You will then continue on to the seminar topic that you have chosen, which is either “Ethnic Diversity or Cultural Change in Lao PDR” or “Guide to Ethnic Handicrafts”. “Both of these seminars take about 1 hour – a 30-40 minute lecture followed by time for questions

In the “Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Change”, the Director provides an overview of Laos’ ethnic diversity, shows photos of ethnic groups, and discusses the changes that these rural communities are undergoing. Objects from the TAEC collection are brought out for you to touch and examine. “Guide to Ethnic Handicrafts” is great for groups that are interested in shopping, and want to learn to distinguish the different handicraft techniques and the people who make them. Whichever topic you choose you will leave the museum with a better understanding of the ethnic minority groups and their handicrafts. End the morning with a delicious lunch at Le Patio Cafe, located at the museum.

After lunch, visit the temples on the outskirts of town and then end your afternoon by leaving your bikes behind and climbing Mt. Phou Si to see a sweeping view of the city.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao Hotel – Mountain View Jr Suite

Day 8  Luang Prabang: Temples and Villages on the Mekong

La Residence Phou Vao Hotel

Today you will explore the villages and livelihoods of the locals living off of the Mekong River. After breakfast you will meet your guide and be transferred to the boat pier on the Mekong. You will cross the river for Xieng Mien, in the district of Chomphet. Even though the Mekong River creates a short distance between Xieng Mien and Luang Prabang, you will quickly be ableto see the differences between the two. You will take a stroll through the village lanes and visit three historic temples Wat Xieng Mene, Wat Chomphet and Wat Long Khoune.

Afterwards you will join your boat and pick up your picnic lunch on the Luang Prabang side of the river before heading down to the pottery village of Ban Jan. Take a walk around to observe this village which is centuries old and home to some interesting handicrafts. You might even want to further support the village and pick up one of the fun handmade trinkets sold by the locals. Afterwards, head down river and take in the lush hilltops and serene river while on the less traveled stretch of the Mekong.

Once you reach the fishing village of Ban Chompjua you will transfer to one of the local families’ fishing boats to join as they check traps. The styles and traps will vary depending on the season and level of the Mekong. Learn how time consuming the art of fishing is from the locals as they demonstrate the making of one of their gigantic fishing nets.

You will then return to your long tail boat for a picturesque coast while you enjoy your picnic lunch and head for Ban Xing, the Lion Village. Take a walk around this believed to be 16th century village and see the remnants of a previous time. This farming and fishing village holds some of the oldest traditional homes near Luang Prabang. You will then join your village hosts’ home for a Lao baci ceremony. Your guide will explain this traditional blessing ceremony as you receive well wishes from elders in the village. After the ceremony you will travel up river back to Luang Prabang while taking in the setting sun.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao Hotel – Mountain View Jr Suite

Day 9  Shangri Lao Explorer Day 1: Reliving the Footsteps of History

Relive the footsteps of the historic 19th century French explorer, Dr. P. Neis with this original and authentic colonial style expedition. You will be picked up early morning from your hotel and transferred to the Shangri Lao Camp, based 15km outside of Luang Prabang. On arrival, you will get an introductory tour of the camp, the elephants and their hospital. After you meet your elephant you will begin your hour and a half ride in a traditional Howdah seat with a roof through the river, jungle and mountain tops. You will want to have your camera handy to take pictures of the majestic landscape that surrounds you. You will then stop for a secluded lunch of traditional Lao food and wine in the jungle Sala beside the cascading waters of the Huay Sae River.

After lunch you will trek through the jungle for an hour and a half passing waterfalls, limestone cliffs, bamboo bridges and turquoise pools while learning about this important ecosystem. Once you leave the valley you will meet Hmong horses who will transport your belongings for an uphill section of the trek through fields and plantations. Once you reach the Nam Khan River you will board a luxury bamboo raft. Have a coffee break while you float down river for an hour and a half, taking in the traditional village life of farmers and fishermen. When you reach the camp you will check into your luxury tent and spend your afternoon relaxing by the pool or taking a walk with your guide to a local village. Enjoy a BBQ dinner at the camp in the evening under the starry skies and an evening in your luxury-styled explorer tent.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Shangi Laos Explorer Camp – Luxury Tent

Day 10  Shangri Lao Explorer Day 2: From the Jungle to the City

In the morning, wake up early and meet the elephants by the river and assist the mahout in giving the elephants their daily bath. You will then ride the elephant bareback to the camp. Enjoy breakfast at the camp before checking out and returning to Luang Prabang. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon by taking a leisurely bike ride through town or taking advantage of one of the local spas for some Lao massage therapy. The Journeys Within Luxury Concierge is available to make restaurant and spa appointments for your free afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao Hotel – Mountain View Jr Suite

Day 11 Luang Prabang: JWOC Village School Sponsorship

Luang Prabang village school

Meet the Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) Country Director in Laos for lunch and to discuss JWOC’s ongoing projects in Luang Prabang. Before you leave town, you will discuss the day’s activities in which you will participate in at the village school. Then you will leave town and head out to a picturesque village hidden away in the hills surrounding Luang Prabang. When you arrive in Phik Noy (Little Pepper Village) you will visit the primary school which JWOC supports through donations like yours. During your visit you will have the opportunity to interact with the teachers and students through a little English lesson and your prepared art activity. Your visit will also include the delivery of needed materials and school essentials that JWOC is committed to providing.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao Hotel – Mountain View Jr Suite

Day 12 Luang Prabang: Departure

Transfer to Luang Prabang airport from your hotel in time for your flight to Siem Reap.

Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Rate starting from: $10,550 per person based on two people traveling.

Price includes:

  • Economy Class air tickets Siem Reap – Luang Prabang – Siem Reap
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Luxury air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water
  • Journeys Within Luxury Tours Concierge service

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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