14-Day Laos & Cambodia Discovery by Cruise

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Tour type

Tour Level:

Tour Comfort:

Tour Period: 14 Days

tour highlights

  • Cruise the Mekong River from Thailand to Laos on a comfortable river vessel, the Cruise, complete with cultural stops along the way
  • Discover the charming delights of colonial Luang Prabang including the town’s morning procession of saffron-robed monks
  • Learn more about Laos’ culinary creations with a hands-on cooking class
  • Take a tuk tuk tour Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh
  • Marvel at the wonder that is Angkor Wat – an experience of a lifetime!

tour details

Immerse yourself in the cultures of Laos and Cambodia with this rich journey encompassing the countries’ busy city streets and picturesque riverside villages, mountain landscapes and fertile valleys. Start the adventure with a leisurely two-day cruise on the scenic Mekong River travelling from Thailand to Laos. Experience different destinations, including the charming colonial town of Luang Prabang and evolving capital of Cambodia, like a local wandering through bustling markets tasting, smelling and seeing what daily life looks like. Discover what modern life is like in the region while also taking a trip back in time as you explore the sprawling ancient Kingdom of Angkor in Cambodia. Throughout the unique journey the people, cultures, landscapes and history you uncover will be sure to keep you enthralled and craving more!

Upon arrival at Chiang Rai Airport transportation to the hotel will be provided with a warm greeting and welcome drink waiting! Enjoy the remainder of the day, including dinner, at your leisure.

Accommodation at hotel in Chiang Rai

Meals included: None
A Diethelm guide will be waiting with a welcome sign at the Houei Xai Immigration Checkpoint. The guide will assist in filling out an application form for a Laos visa. After receiving the visa and passing through immigration, transfer to the boat pier to embark on a beautiful boat, to begin your adventure. After a quick stop in Pak Tha to get signed boat documents, you’re off on a leisurely cruise headed toward Luang Prabang.
In the afternoon, enjoy a delicious lunch on board then stop at the Kamu village of Ban Houay Hao for a quick visit before continuing on to Pak Beng for the evening.

Overnight at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch on board (Lao cuisine)
Start the morning with breakfast at the hotel before boarding the boat and continuing to Laos. Spend the trip relaxing and admiring the scenic landscape along the Mekong River. On the way, lunch will be served onboard. Make two interesting stops before arriving in Luang Prabang, a visit to Pak Ou Caves and Ban Xang Hai, a Lao whisky village.
Dinner will be at your leisure in Luang Prabang.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch on board
After breakfast at the hotel, an English-speaking guide will be waiting in the hotel lobby to accompany you Elephant Village Camp. Upon arrival, be greeted by the camp manager and receive a short briefing about the resident elephants. Next, board a traditional Lao long boat to the Tad Sae Waterfall to relax or swim in the clear water (swimsuit recommended!). A buffet lunch will be served with coffee, tea and drinking water (vegetarian options are available) at the Elephant Camp Restaurant before returning to the hotel in Luang Prabang in the early afternoon.
In the afternoon visit the National Museum (a former King’s Palace) to see a collection of personal artefacts from the Royal Family. Continue on to Vat Mai, built in 1796, famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim, and Vat Xieng Thong, considered one of the city’s most beautiful temples. The sim of Vat Xieng Thong represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with a roof that sweeps low to the ground. Also in the compound see several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911, and the Royal Funeral Chapel near the east gate. Inside discover an impressive 12-metre-high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of each Royal Family member. Don’t forget to see the gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel, which depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana. Finally, relax during sunset at Vat Phousi Hill for an outstanding view of the city. An optional visit to the night market in the centre of Luang Prabang is available in the evening.

Accommodation at hotel in Luang Prabang

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at Elephant Camp Restaurant
In the morning, have breakfast at the hotel then drive to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. Make a stop for a quick walk around Ban Na Ouan, a Hmong minority village, to discover the daily lifestyle of the local people then continue driving to the waterfall to see the water tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. Visit the rescued bears of the “Bear Lao” project during your walk up to the falls. After taking time to enjoy the surrounding nature, visit a recently opened Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesdays) to marvel at a large variety of colourful butterflies and orchids before heading back to Luang Prabang.
Grab a cup of coffee, meal or snack before getting in the car to return to Luang Prabang (approximately a one-hour drive).
Enjoy some free time in the afternoon before going to the Bamboo Experience located just outside the Luang Prabang town centre. Begin the evening at the centre meeting with the rest of the group for an explanation of the traditional and modern uses of bamboo and its significance within Lao culture.
Next, partake in a bamboo weaving class with an expert (but patient!) teacher. Try your hand at knife sharpening, bamboo cutting and weaving the bamboo for about one hour to complete your own mat to take home as a souvenir. Afterward, proceed to the bamboo cooking demonstration (you are free to assist) which will showcase such dishes as bamboo shoot soup, bamboo shoots steamed in banana leaves, fermented bamboo shoot dipping sauce, sticky rice and more. Savour your creations at the end of the session in a traditional, pavilion-style Lao house overlooking the scenic rice fields.
The experience lasts approximately 4 - 5 hours, after which a shuttle back to the hotel will be provided.

Accommodation at hotel in Luang Prabang

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Dinner at Bamboo house
Wake up for an early stroll through the historic streets of the city to visit the Morning Market to see the daily local routine of trading and selling goods. Return to the hotel for breakfast before visiting the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a museum providing information and exhibits about the various cultures of Laos including of displays ethnic clothing, household objects, religious artefacts and handicrafts. Afterward, stop by the Ock Pop Tok handicraft centre to pick up some handmade souvenirs.
In the early afternoon, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Vientiane.
After checking in to the hotel in Vientiane, head out to explore the city starting with a visit to Vat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Built in 1818, Vat Sisaket is the sole survivor of an invasion in 1828 and features remarkable frescoes and 6,840 Buddha images.
Nearby is Ho Phra Keo, once the royal temple of Lao monarchy. Built in 1565, Ho Phra Keo has been used as a museum since 1970 and contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. The main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo.
Next, drive to the COPE Visitor Centre. Laos is still littered with a significant amount of UXOs (unexploded ordnance) from the war ending in 1975. Standing for Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, COPE provides prosthetics and mobility devices free of charge for people in need who cannot afford to pay for them. The visitor centre is a free museum and interactive exhibit educating guests about the UXO problem tells how UXO affect communities.

Accommodation at hotel in Vientiane.

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Begin the day with breakfast at the hotel then visit one of the most photographed images in Vientiane – Patousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, its architecture is inspired by the Arc de Triomph in Paris. Another famous Vientiane landmark is the That Luang Stupa. King Setthathirath built this great sacred stupa in 1566 and its 45-metre-tall central structure echoes the curving lines of an elongated lotus. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha.
Afterward, visit the surroundings of Vientiane including Buddha Park, located 24 kilometres south of the city, and the impressive Friendship Bridge.
After returning to the hotel, enjoying the afternoon and evening, including dinner, free at your leisure.

Accommodation at hotel in Vientiane

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Enjoy a relaxing morning with breakfast and free time at the hotel before going to the airport to fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Accommodation at hotel in Phnom Penh

Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, hop in a tuk tuk for a city tour of Phnom Penh. The half-day tour includes a visit the Independence Monument and the National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts, which a French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed in 1917. The Khmer-style museum contains a collection of Khmer art – notably sculptures – throughout the ages. Next stop is the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 on the site of the old town. Located within the Royal Palace stands the Silver Pagoda, named because of its floor made up of 5,000 silver tiles! Treasures found inside include a solid gold Buddha weighing 90 kilogrammes and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. Afterward, stop by Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river. Enjoy lunch at your leisure.
In the afternoon, drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek located 16 kilometres south of the city. Between 1975 and 1978 approximately 17,000 men, women, children and infants were detained and tortured at the S-21 prison then transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by gender and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. After this sombering experience, return to Phnom Penh to see the nototrious S - 21 Prison, also known as Tuol Sleng Museum. This former school was used as a prison by Pol Pot’s security forces and became the largest centre for detention and torture during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
In the evening explore the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong) at your leisure. At this lively outdoor market one can find antiquities, silver and gold jewellery, gems, silk, kramas, and stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.

Accommodation at hotel in Phnom Penh

Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel
Start the morning with breakfast at the hotel before travelling to Kompong Thom passing through typical Cambodian villages. Make a stop in Skuon to taste Cambodia’s most exotic culinary delight – the deep-fried spider! Continue on to Sambor Prei Kuk, located 35 kilometres northeast of Kompong Thom, to see the ancient capital of Chenla with its 100 temples dating from the Pre-Angkorian period. Make one last stop before arriving in Siem Reap at the ancient Naga Bridge (Spean Pratpo).

Accommodation at hotel in Siem Reap

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then drive to the village of Kompong Khleang. This permanent community is one of the largest on the Tonle Sap Lake and home to more than 20,000 people that live in stilt houses and primarily work as fishermen. Enjoy this spectacular place as you board a private boat to visit one of the small islands at the centre of the village to see the market, school and brightly painted pagodas. Continue by boat to see life on the waters of the great Tonle Sap.

Note: During the high water season from August to January, the water level rises to within one or two metres of the buildings. During this time of year the village becomes a lively place with floating houses scattered on the lake in the vicinity of Kompong Khleang. The dry season reveals a spectacular site as the stilt houses rise up to ten metres into the sky. The floating houses are on the open lake and can be visited with a scenic boat ride.
Lunch will be at your leisure today. In the afternoon, visit Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures and Srah Srang (“The Royal Baths”), undoubtedly used in the past for ritual bathing. Last, visit the unique Banteay Kdei, known for being surrounded by four concentric walls.

Accommodation at hotel in Siem Reap

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
First thing after breakfast, begin a culturally rich day by visiting the South Gate of Angkor, boasting huge statues depicting the churning of the Ocean of Milk. Next, marvel at the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), the Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
In the afternoon, explore the most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolise Meru’s five peaks with the enclosed wall representing the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat symbolising the ocean beyond. End the memorable experience by watching the sunset at the beautiful Angkor Wat.
After a dinner at your leisure, get ready for an entertaining spectacle at Phare, the Cambodian Circus! More than just a circus, Phare uses theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories.

Accommodation at hotel in Siem Reap

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Rise early for the magnificent sunrise at the temple of Ta Prohm in Angkor Archaeological Park. Seeing this mystical temple in the early morning light before the crowds arrive will surely be a highlight of your trip. This temple has remained relatively untouched since it was discovered, still covered in tree roots and retaining much of its mystery to this day. Swallowed by the jungle, it still appears in much the same way other Angkor temples looked when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Afterward, visit Preah Khan temple, built by the King Jayavarman VII. Similar to Ta Prohm, Preah Khan reveals towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm however, Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation with ongoing restoration efforts maintaining and improving the site. Next visit Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain temple of Pre Rup.
Later, continue to Banteay Srei temple (10th century), regarded as the jewel of classical Khmer art, then enjoy a series of stops including at a local village to visit families producing palm sugar, the Landmine Museum and Banteay Samre. The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmer. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the architectural style suggests it is part of the middle period, similar to Angkor Wat. One of the temple’s unique features is the interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple.

Accommodation at hotel in Siem Reap

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Have breakfast at the hotel before checking out and transferring to Siem Reap International Airport for departure flight to your next destination.

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel

includes

  • Accommodation in shared twin room with air - conditioning (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
  • Transfers and tours with local guides in private air - conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees, boat fees and / or cyclo fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles

excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for night - time services, especially applied for transfers with arrivals after 23:00 hrs and arrivals or departures before 06:00 hrs.
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Visa fee
  • Early check - in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

notes

Laos

  • Most Museums are closed on Mondays and some public holidays.
  • Independent third parties, such as airlines, hotels, transport operators and local tourist offices, provide certain parts of the tours on offer. Diethelm Travel is therefore not responsible for any loss, injury or damage caused thereby to the tourists, including those occurring outside of the normal touring programmers. Additional expenses incurred due to delay, accident, natural disaster, political actions and unrest shall be borne by the tourists.
  • We advise that in case of schedule changes or flight cancellations we always try everything possible to arrange an alternate programme within the framework of the original quoted costs. However, we reserve the right to charge any cost exceeding the original budget to the tour operator / travel agent or to the participant of a tour after consultation with the agent.
  • Programmers, prices, services and conditions are based on those valid at the time of proposal submission and are subject to change thereafter without advance notice until all services have been paid in full.
  • We strongly advise to leave valuable items (money, passport, credit cards, jewellery, sensitive documents, laptop computer, etc.) in the hotel safe. During excursions and roundtrips, personal belongings, especially money and valuables should NEVER be left on vehicles, even during short breaks, and carried around at all times. Diethelm Travel is not responsible for any loss or theft.

Cambodia

  • Toul Sleng Genocide Museum: Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45 pm.
  • National Museum (Phnom Penh):  Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45 pm.
  • Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda: Open every day from 8.00 am to 11.00 am (closed to new visitors at 10.45 am) and from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm (closed to new visitors at 4.45 pm), except when His Royal Highness King Preah Borom Moneath Norodom Sihamoni conducts religious ceremonies at the Silver Pagoda or Royal rituals at the Royal Palace, then one of the two or both compounds will be closed. During the Water Festival, open only in the mornings on the first two days and closed for a full day on the third day.
  • For sightseeing tours you should wear cool, comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Sunscreen lotion and a hat are strongly recommended. Although many tourists do wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, please do respect the culture and traditions of Cambodia. Pagodas and the temples are sacred, religious places where knees and shoulders have to be covered. This is also the case for the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Visitors who do not abide to these rules of conduct may not be allowed access. Shoes (as well as hats) have to be removed before entering pagodas.
  • Jewelry is generally not up to international standards for design and workmanship and buyers should use caution when purchasing gold and gems, many gems are fake and we recommend not following anybody’s recommendations.
  • Independent third parties, such as airlines, hotels, transport operators and other local suppliers, provide certain parts of the tours on offer. Diethelm Travel Cambodia is therefore not responsible for any loss, injury or damage caused thereby to the tourists, including those occurring outside of the normal touring programmes. Additional expenses incurred due to delay, accident, natural disaster, political actions and unrest shall be borne by the tourists.
  • We advise that due to frequent flight changes, delays and cancellations by the domestic airlines we cannot fully guarantee that the proposed itinerary can be carried out as planned. Based on our experience, changes of departure times and / or cancellations can occur at very short notice even after confirmation of a flight has been received. In case of schedule changes or flight cancellations we always try everything possible to arrange an alternate programme within the framework of the original quoted costs. However, we reserve the right to charge any cost exceeding the original budget to the tour operator / travel agent or to the participant of a tour after consultation with the agent.
  • Programmes, prices, services and conditions are based on those valid at the time of proposal submission and are subject to change thereafter without advance notice until all services have been paid in full.
  • We strongly advise to leave valuable items (money, passport, credit cards, jewellery, sensitive documents, laptop computer, etc.) in the hotel safe. During excursions and roundtrips, personal belongings, especially money and valuables should NEVER be left on vehicles, even during short breaks. Diethelm Travel Cambodia is not responsible for any loss or theft.

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