Ancient and Modern Cities of Laos and Cambodia
Luang Prabang, Wat Phou Champasak, and the Temples of Angkor
12 NIGHT JOURNEY
September 6-18, 2012
Rates for journey at bottom of page
This trip combines the most impressive sights of both Laos and Cambodia. Both countries were part of French Indochina, and still bear some of the signs of the French colonial days seen in both architecture and culture However it is the cities from 10 centuries ago that have withstood the test of time and still amaze viewers today.
The UNESCO world Heritage site, Luang Prabang, Laos is the first stop on the trip. A former royal capital of Laos, the French found the city so appealing they made it a seat of local government. This small city with the Mekong River to one side and the Nam Khan River is full of color, art, enticing architecture, historical sights, good food, excellent handicrafts and friendly Lao people. The former royal palace is now a museum, and the holiness of the city is reflected in the fact that there are over 20 temples and monasteries here. Each morning the monks take to the streets in their bright orange robes to collect alms (usually in the form of food) from local residents. Luang Prabang is a gem of a town, and often cited in articles as one of the must see places in Asia.
From Luang Prabang we fly to Pakse in southern Laos, and first spend a night in the town of Champasak, in an atmospheric and comfortable hotel, and the following day board the Wat Phou, a 100 foot long air-conditioned, 12 room floating hotel. This will be our home for the next 2 nights and 3 days as we cruise along the Mekong River, passing waterfalls, small villages and finally disembark to explore the 10th century pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phou Champasak. Following this a short flight takes us to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Siem Reap is the gateway town to the fascinating ancient temples of Angkor Wat, and a very pleasant and interesting town. We will spend the next 4 days exploring the ancient temples of the Angkorian Empire, and the modern city of Siem Reap.
September 6, 2012: Bangkok, Thailand —Luang Prabang, Laos
After a 2 hour flight from Bangkok we will be met and transferred to The Sala Prabang Hotel, one of Luang Prabang’s finest boutique hotels. Today is free to explore the city. Late afternoon, we’ll climb to the top of Mount Phousi for an exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we visit the Night Market, where local handicrafts are sold. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Lunch (L) and Dinner (D) included.
September 7, 2012: Luang Prabang—City Tour
After breakfast we visit The National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays an interesting collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings to the last sovereign. After lunch we visit the oldest and the most magnificent temple Wat Xiengthong, dating from 1560. Late afternoon and evening free. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Breakfast (B) included.
September 8, 2012: Luang Prabang—Pak Ou Caves
An early morning wake up call permits us the opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of orange-clad monks collecting alms from the faithful residents. From there we will visit the morning Market, and return to hotel for breakfast. We next embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which provides beautiful views of the tranquil countryside and then we explore the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, to observe distilling of local rice wine. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B, L)
Sept. 9, 2012: Luang Prabang - Elephant rides - Tad Sae Waterfalls
After breakfast we depart to an elephant rescue camp. Elephants were traditionally used for logging, but as logging has largely ceased, the elephants now find themselves without work. This camp has given refuge to many elephants, and proceeds from visitors sustain the elephants. You will be teamed with an elephant and mahout (elephant trainer), who will instruct you how to communicate with and ride your elephant and then to wash your charge in the river. The elephants are gentle and intelligent and react well to their new human friends. After lunch a boat ride brings takes us to Tad Sae waterfalls. Calcium deposits in the water have given a white color and smooth texture to the many beautiful falls, and the aqua colored water makes for pleasant and refreshing bathing in the numerous pools. Late afternoon return to Luang Prabang. (B, L)
September 10, 2012: Luang Prabang—Pakse
A late morning departure to airport for flight to Pakse in southern Laos. Upon arrival in Pakse we will make the one hour drive to Champasak to overnight in the Inthira Hotel, a charming and comfortable converted colonial building. (B)
September 11, 2012: Champasak—Vat Phou Boat
After breakfast in Champasak, we travel by bus to the historically significant Pha Pheng waterfalls, the "Niagara of the East.” We then drive to the fishing village of Xieng Di for lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, small boats take us to Khone Island to see the old French railway and walk the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands. The boat drops us at the Khong Island village of Ban Veuthong, where we board the waiting Vat Phou boat for a sunset cruise and dinner on the Mekong river, docking riverside for the night. Overnight on board Vat Phou Boat. (B, L, D)
Sept. 12, 2012: Khong Island—Oum Moung Temple—Huei Thamo
Breakfast is on board the Vat Phou boat as we set sail to Ban Deua Tia. We’ll walk through this small village for a look at Lao life as it was centuries ago. The Vat Phou boat then continues to cruise north on the Mekong, past the island of Don Xai, and many other small islets in the river archipelago. After lunch, we visit the village of Huei Thamo and the mysterious Oum Muong forest temple, just a few minutes walk away. Dinner aboard Vat Phou then you have the rest of the evening to relax. Overnight on board Vat Phou Boat.
(B, L, D)
September 13, 2012, Wat Phou Champasak— Pakse
While enjoying breakfast on board, the Vat Phou continues its Mekong cruise to Champasak. The highlight this morning are the Temples of Vat Phou Champasak, the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th century temple complex and boat's namesake. First we’ll visit the museum, then explore the ruins and walk to the highest temple with its impressive views of all Champasak. We return you to the boat for our final lunch on board. A small boat will then take you back to Pakse, arriving late afternoon at the Pakse Hotel. Overnight in Pakse. (B, L)
September 14, 2012 Pakse—Siem Reap, Cambodia
Transfer to airport after breakfast to board the 2 hour flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. A short ride will take us to Viroth’s Hotel, a small boutique hotel named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the finest hotels in Cambodia. Lunch at hotel, then afternoon visit to 2 of the temple complexes of Angkor: Ta Phrom and Preah Khan. Return to hotel late afternoon, and then evening dinner in Siem Reap. (B, L, D)
September 15, 2012: Siem Reap—Angkor Temples
Depart hotel after breakfast for all day excursion to the impressive temple complexes of Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, and Pre Rup.
September 16, 2012: Siem Reap—Flooded Forest and Stilt Village
After breakfast we depart (hour ride) to Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. The ride takes us past many of the temples of Angkor and small villages. At the lakeshore we board a boat that will bring us to the flooded forest of Kompong Phhluk. Now at the end of the rainy season the forest is covered with 15’-20’ of water. The village here is built on stilts, so the houses are above the water. We’ll move into smaller boats to be rowed around this other-worldly village, and then have lunch in a restaurant on stilts before returning to Siem Reap. (B, L)
September 17, 2012: Siem Reap—Angkor Temples
Morning departure to visit Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ba Phoun temples. Lunch at the temples. Afternoon visit to the majestic Angkor Wat, the grand finale of the Temples of Angkor. Dinner in Siem Reap. (B, L, D)
September 18, 2012: Siem Reap—Bangkok, Thailand
Morning at leisure. Optional helicopter ride over the Temples of Angkor. Early afternoon flight to Bangkok. (B, L)
Total cost per person for twelve (12) nights in Laos/Cambodia:
(Inclusive of accommodations, food where noted on itinerary, ground and river transportation, entrance fees, services of licensed English speaking guide in Laos, licensed English speaking guide in Cambodia, driver, and USA based trip leader).
$3600 (Based on double occupancy)
$4200 (Based on single occupancy)
Note: Gratuities, meals not indicated in itinerary, beverages other than bottled water in vehicles, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature, airfare, visa for Laos and Cambodia, and travel insurance are NOT included.
Trip begins and ends in Bangkok, Thailand. This journey involves 4 flight segments of Bangkok Airways and Lao Airlines (both with excellent service and excellent safety records). These are not included in cost of trip, and purchased separately will cost approximately $900. However using the Discovery Airpass obtainable from Bangkok Airways the cost of these 4 flights is $575. Please contact Champaca Journeys for more information about the Discovery Airpass.
Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!