Macmillan Cancer Support Custom Classic Laos and Cambodia Tour

Countries: CambodiaLaos

12 Days | $7,965

We arranged this trip as a donation for the Macmillan Cancer Support auction, and felt that it so good that we had to share it with all of our guests.  Journeys Within will donate the profit of this tour to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Begin in beautiful and historic Luang Prabang where you will plunge into the heart and soul of Laos.  Tour the temples, learn the secrets of the local craftsmen, spend a day with the villagers on the mighty Mekong River and explore the stunning landscape from the back of an elephant.  From here you will head to Siem Reap, where you will explore the incredible Angkor Wat complex, both from the land and from the air.  Get to know the real Cambodia by through the spending time with the locals and spend a night out on the town Khmer-style.  Round out your trip by relaxing at Song Saa Private Island and soak in this tropical paradise.

Day 1   Luang Prabang: Arrival and Orientation Tour

Arrive on your 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: None

Overnight at Belmond La Residence Phou Vao – 1 Double Garden View Junior Suite

Day 2   Luang Prabang: The Artistic and Cultural Heart of Laos

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

Today 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.

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 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 and Cultural Change in Lao PDR” or “Guide to Ethnic Handicrafts”.  Both of these seminars take about an hour and consist of a 30 to 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 Belmond La Residence Phou Vao – 1 Double Garden View Junior Suite

Day 3   Luang Prabang: Temples and Villages on the Mekong

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 only separates Xieng Mien and Luang Prabang by a short distance, you will quickly be able to see the differences between the two. 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. Walk around and 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. From here you will 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. Walk through this village, which is believed to date from the 16th century, 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 Belmond La Residence Phou Vao – 1 Double Garden View Junior Suite

Day 4   Luang Prabang: Shangri Lao Full Day Expedition

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, located 15km outside of Luang Prabang. On arrival, you will be given an introductory tour of the camp, the elephants and their hospital. After you meet your elephant you will begin your 5km ride in a traditional Howdah seat with 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.  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, trek through the jungle for 5km passing waterfalls, limestone cliffs, bamboo bridges and turquoise pools while learning about this important ecosystem. Once you leave the valley, you will finish with an uphill section of the trek through farmlands, fields and plantations. Once you reach the Nam Khan River you will board a luxury bamboo raft. Enjoy coffee or tea while you float down river for 5km taking in the traditional village life of farmers and fishermen. When you reach the camp, you will be transferred by minibus back to your hotel in Luang Prabang.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Belmond La Residence Phou Vao – 1 Double Garden View Junior Suite

Day 5   Siem Reap: VIP Arrival and Orientation Tour

You will be transferred to the Luang Prabang airport in time for your flight. (Luang Prabang to Siem Reap flight included.)

Welcome to Cambodia! On arrival you will be met in immigration for your fast-track visa service. Look for a Journeys Within representative who will be holding our welcome sign for you, and hand over your photo and passport to them. While your visa is being issued you can continue through immigration to collect your luggage and clear customs, and your passports will be returned to you as you wait for your luggage. Then it is just a short walk through to the arrivals area where you will find your driver who together with our Journeys Within representative will transfer you to your hotel.

When you arrive at the airport in Siem Reap, you will be met by a Journeys Within representative just outside the airport exit doors and will be driven to the main part of town for a quick orientation tour. You will be given a quick introduction to the city, and the Journeys Within representative will point out the main roads, markets, some recommended restaurants and Wat Bo, before dropping you off at your hotel to check in.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at La Residence d’Angkor – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 6   Siem Reap: Angkor Wat Sunrise with Sala Kdei and Angkor Thom

Wake up early and head out to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, taking some time to explore this temple during the cool morning hours and before the crowds arrive. Follow this with a very special breakfast outside of your hotel. Escaping the temple crowds, you will enjoy a delicious breakfast set amidst the grounds of a beautiful traditional wooden house, overlooking the royal bathing pool of Sra Srang.

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. There are several beautiful spots from which to watch the sunset. Discuss with your guide where you would like to be and then relax and enjoy a memorable end to your day at the temples.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at La Residence d’Angkor – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 7   Siem Reap: Village Tour, JWOC Community Library Class and Local Night Out

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 take some time to explore this beautiful area, enjoy a fresh coconut drink and meet his family and neighbors. From there 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.

Please note: your guide for this tour will be different than your temple guide.

Come and spend an hour in JWOC’s Community Library where you’ll get to meet some of the children from the surrounding communities. Between 3pm and 4pm you can help the younger children complete a puzzle, engage in some arts and crafts, or perhaps enjoy constructing a castle from the building blocks, while helping them practice their basic English. Or if you prefer something quieter, there’s always someone looking for story time. You will also have a chance to meet with our scholarship students and gain a greater understanding about the work we do within our community.

Please note: You should arrive at 2:30pm so you can get an overview of JWOC before jumping in to help!

Head out in a tuk-tuk with one of the Journeys Within staff for a taste of local nightlife. Plov Hoksep, or the Road 60 Fun Fair, is a perennial favorite for families and young Cambodians alike. Take in the hustle and bustle of this busy street, sampling Khmer fruits and snacks as you go. From deep fried beetles and bugs to some of the tastiest barbeque in Siem Reap, enjoy all the local flavor this hotspot has to offer. As you make your way through the crowds, your guide will give you the rundown on the Khmer food you sample and answer any questions you may have about contemporary Cambodian cuisine and culture. Feeling adventurous? Take a ride in the fair’s bumper cars but remember that health and safety aren’t up to the same standards as back home!

When you are finished, your tuk-tuk will be waiting to take you back to your hotel or into town for dinner if you haven’t filled up on local treats.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at La Residence d’Angkor – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 8   Siem Reap: Helicopter Ride Around Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei and Other Temples

Be amazed by the enormous scale of the World Heritage site of Angkor. Fly along the moat of the magnificent Angkor Wat temple and appreciate the size and beauty of this archaeological wonder. The flight also takes in views of Bakheng Mountain, Srah Srang, Prasat Pre Rup, Prasat Ta Som or Banteay Samre and the picturesque Eastern Mebon.

This morning set off with your guide to Banteay Srei, the intricately carved temple located just 30km beyond Angkor Wat. As you head back towards town you can stop at Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, two of the prettiest temples in the complex, where you can enjoy climbing through these smaller unique temples. Return to your hotel for lunch, or have your guide help you find a good spot for lunch in town. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at La Residence d’Angkor – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 9   Sihanoukville to Song Saa Private Island

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the Siem Reap airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight. (Siem Reap to Sihanoukville flight included) You will be met at the Sihanoukville airport by a representative from the Song Saa Resort who will transfer you to the Sihanoukville pier (about 15 minutes away) where you will climb aboard the Song Saa speed boat for your transfer to the island which should take about 30 to 45 minutes. Upon arrival at Song Saa you will be greeted by the staff with a welcome drink and will be shown to your villa.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Song Saa Private Island – 1 Bedroom Overwater Villa

Day 10 – 11   Song Saa Private Island: Days at Leisure

You have two days free to explore on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Song Saa Private Island – 1 Bedroom Overwater Villa

Day 12   Song Saa Private Island to Phnom Penh: Departure

Say goodbye to your secret paradise and board the speedboat back to Sihanoukville (about a 30 to 45 minute transfer). Upon arrival you will be met by a private air-conditioned car to Phnom Penh in time to catch your onward flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Total Tour Value:   $ 7,965.00 per person based on two people traveling

Journeys Within is offering the profit of this tour to Macmillan Cancer Support!

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Luang Prabang – Siem Reap – Sihanoukville
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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