Laos is renowned for its undeveloped hill country and Cambodia for the ancient glory of Angkor Archaeological Park. This holiday brings them both together along with a few nights in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Cherry picking perhaps, but a great 2 week holiday for those who enjoy the natural world and ancient history.
Day 1: Depart on your overnight flight to Vientiane
Day 2: On arrival met and private transfer to your hotel for 2 nights in Vientiane
Day 3: Full day private guided city tour
Day 4: Fly to Oudomxay for 2 nights at the Muang La Resort. Gateway to the northern hills
Day 5: Enjoy a day trekking through the villages and surrounding hill country
Day 6: Take picturesque 4 hour boat ride along Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw for 1 night
Day 7: Travel to Luang Prabang stopping at Pak Ou Caves. 3 nights Luang Prabang
Day 8: Up early for Alms procession and city walking tour
Day 9: Morning private guided tour to Kuang Si Waterfalls
Day 10: Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia for 3 nights at your choice of hotel
Day 11: Private guided Angkor Temples Highlights tour
Day 12: Private guided tour to Tonle Sap Lake with boat ride and Banteay Srei Temple
Day 13: Fly home overnight
Day 14: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Vientiane
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Vientiane via Bangkok or Hanoi. If you’d like to break your journey an add-on in either is easily added.
Day 2: Arrive Vientiane
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred to the city centre where you check in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. The rest of the day is free to recover from the journey and explore your immediate environs.
Day 3: Vientiane - Private Guided City Tour (B / L)
This morning enjoy a tour of the city’s historical highlights. Start at beautiful Wat Sisaket, whose walls are home to thousands of miniature Buddha statues and was the only temple left intact after the Siamese invasion in 1828. Then head over to Hor Pha Keo, a religious museum showcasing a fine collection of Lao and Khmer art. Continue on to Patouxai, the Victory Monument, with panoramic views of town. Finally end up at That Luang, the holiest site in Laos and its national symbol.
After lunch in a local restaurant, travel to Xieng Khouan Buddha Park. Here a renegade monk formed his own sect and began to carve magnificent, eerie statues out of concrete, based on Hindu, Buddhist and Brahman iconography. He began in 1958 and continued on until the Communist takeover of Laos in 1975, when he fled across the border to Nong Khai, Thailand and sculpted a new park. This is a surreal “Buddhisneyland” full of interesting photographic opportunities!
The collision of cultures in Vientiane has resulted in a superb variety of restaurants and so this evening we recommend you take to the streets, perhaps stopping for a drink and watching the sun set over the Mekong.
Day 4: Vientiane (B) - Fly to Oudomxay
Time to leave the city and head to the hill country in the far north of Laos. On arrival met and transferred to the beautiful Muang La Resort for 2 nights. Nothing else is planned for the rest of the day so you can stroll around the village or just relax in the beautiful riverside setting, enjoy a massage or some time in the natural hot springs than run through the hotel.
Day 5: Muang La - Hill Tribe Walking Day (B / L)
This morning head out into the hills to meet Ikhos and H’Mong villagers - two typical communities of Laos. The track offers an incredible climb up to 1,000m where you will have a panoramic view of the stunning hill country. You will visit first the beautiful and isolated village of Ikhos. This community from Yunna and Tibet has remained extremely traditional. Lunch will be taken whilst enjoying a magnificent view. After lunch visit the H’Mong village of Ban Tauser (a 45 minute walk). This ethnic group, originating from the high steppes of Tibet, still has many traditional customs. Back at the hotel late afternoon.
Day 6: Muang La to Nong Khiaw by boat (B / L)
Travel north to Muang Khua a beautiful spot on the bank of the Nam Ou River, down which you'll enjoy a boat trip to Nong Khiaw (4 hours). Relax and enjoy river life as it passes by and there will be time to stop along the way to visit local villages.
Nong Khiaw is a small village picturesquely sandwiched between the jagged limestone mountains and coffee coloured waters of the Nam Ou River. You'll stay at the Nong Kiau Riverside Resort, the perfect place to absorb the remarkable scenery, as it squeezes every bit out of its magnificent location looking over the river and across to the mountains.
Day 7: Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang (B / L) - Pak Ou Caves
This morning continue your journey to Luang Prabang by car, stopping at the Pak Ou Caves along the way. The caves rest high in the limestone cliffs and house thousands of Buddha statues that were hidden from the looting Chinese Haw. The caves were converted into Buddhist temples in the 15th century and are used as a site for old Buddha images that can no longer be venerated in a temple, either because they are damaged or the temple they were displayed in has been destroyed. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant near the caves and then head on to Luang Prabang where you check-in to your choice of hotel for 3 nights. Don’t miss the superb night market that runs through the centre of town every night.
Day 8: Luang Prabang - Private Guided Almsgiving & City Tour (B / L)
It feels to some that the city is bathed in Buddhism and this feeling is at its most accessible each morning as monks rise early for the silent alms procession. Today rise at dawn to watch this beautiful, understated and authentic tradition with your private guide. On the way back to the hotel they will take you to the Morning Market, a feast of local and somewhat unusual (to us) produce. After a leisurely breakfast join your guide for a private guided Walking tour around this beautiful World Heritage town, visiting a number of Wats (temples), the Royal Palace and central market. Luang Prabang is best experienced by foot (we can arrange a car) and is home to a growing number of niche shops and galleries. The morning finishes with a climb up the 328 steps up Phousi Mountain for superb views of the area. Lunch will be in a local restaurant and then the rest of the afternoon is free.
Day 9: Luang Prabang (B) - Morning tour to Kuang Si Waterfalls
This morning your guide will collect you for a tour out into the countryside to visit the Kuang Si Waterfall, whose multi-tiered cascading falls tumble down jagged limestone reliefs into emerald pools. Quite a climb but worth it as you can cool off with a swim in the pools. The tour ends with a visit to the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre, established to showcase the weavings of the Lao-Tai peoples. Other handicrafts such as paper making are also featured and the proceeds go back to the people who make them. The quality is good, so you might want to make room in your case for a few presents. Afternoon free.
Day 10: Fly Luang Prabang (B) / Siem Reap, Cambodia
This morning fly to Siem Reap. On arrival met by your private guide and transferred to your choice of hotel for3 nights..
Extra...This evening you might like to visit the circus that performs nightly in the centre of town. It's organised by the NGO Phare to help poor and handicapped children gain education and livelihoods. The evening is a mix of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and tight rope walking. More than a show, it's a joyful celebration of Cambodia culture. Tickets should be pre-booked as very popular.
Day 11: Siem Reap - Private Guided Angkor Temples Tour (B / L)
This morning your private guide will pick you up for a private guided tour of the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park. Start off at Angkor Thom, the last great capital of the Khmer Empire. Highlights include the magnificent Bayon, one of the most recognisable sites because of the 54 towers adorned with 216 enigmatically smiling stone faces, the Terrace of Elephants, a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and the Terrace of Leper Kings, whose walls boast beautifully carved nagas, demons and other mythological beings. In the low morning sun the carvings really stand out and as you stand on the Terrace of Elephants you get a great view across a parkland scene interspersed with giant trees protected in the National Park.
Then move onto the temple of Ta Phrom, jungle covered and pretty much left as originally found by European explorers to create a mystical atmosphere.
Back to Siem Reap (15 minutes away) for lunch and a rest in the hot midday. This afternoon return to explore Angkor Wat, the most famous and best preserved of all the Angkor temples. You’ll have time for a thorough exploration before climbing to the top of Pre Rup temple to watch the sunsetover the jungle. Back to the hotel by early evening.
Extra…The great thing about having your own specialist guide is that the itinerary can be tailored to you and be adapted on the ground to take advantage of local knowledge and keep ahead of the crowds. Angkor represents the universe in miniature and you could spend weeks touring round the thousand or so temples, so on this tour we focus on the highlights, but we can easily extend your stay.
Day 12: Siem Reap (B) - Tonle Sap Lake Stilted Villages & Bateay Srei Temple Tour
This morning you’ll be collected by your guide and transferred 45 minutes through the Cambodia countryside to Tonle Sap Lake where you board a longtail boat to explore the lake and visit Kompong Phluk, an isolated community of three villages built on stilts.
These scenic villages are flooded for around half the year and you will board a local boat, rowed by a villager, to explore the local community. You will also be taken through the flooded mangrove forests that are the main building block of this valuable ecosystem that supports a variety of wildlife. On the way back to Siem Reap stop for lunch in a local restaurant they this afternoon you'll have chance to visit Banteay Srei, “Citadel of the Woman”. Built using stone with a delicate pinky hue it has some of the most intricate and best-preserved carvings in Angkor. Back mid-afternoon.
Day 13: Siem Reap (B) - Flight home
Day free until private airport transfer to connect with your overnight flight home. Arrive the following morning.
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Vientiane
The delightfully friendly Capital is the perfect place to start a holiday in Laos
Hotels in Muang La
Idyllic riverside location nestled in untrammelled hills at the heart of the underdeveloped north
Hotels in Nong Khiaw
Picturesquely sandwiched between the jagged limestone mountains and coffee coloured waters of the Nam Ou River
Hotels in Luang Prabang
This UNESCO World Heritage city is very special and should not be missed
Hotels in Siem ReapAs the main gateway to the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap offers a great range of hotel accommodation.
Browse our suggestions for Siem Reap Hotels here