Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Its busy capital, Phnom Penh, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum's historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country's northwest lie ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.
FACTS & FIGURES:
Capital: Phnom Penh
Dialing code: +855
Currency: Cambodian riel
Official language: Khmer
Neighboring countries: Vietnam, Laos, Thailand
Total Area: Approx. 69,900 sq. miles (181,035 sq. km.). This is slightly smaller than the state of Oklahoma.
Location: Southeast Asia; bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand.
Largest Cities: Phnom Penh, Battambang, Sihanoukville (Kompong Som), Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom
Largest Lake: Tonle Sap
Major Waterway: Mekong River
Mountain Ranges: Cardamom, Dangrek
Highest Point: Phnom Aoral, 5,948 feet
Climate: Tropical, with two seasons, Rainy (May through October) and Dry (October through May). Temperature rarely falls below 80 degrees Farenheit.
Routing: Vientiane – Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave – Kuang Si Waterfalls DAY 1: VIENTIANE ARRIVAL (NO MEAL)
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel. The rest of the day is your own time at leisure. Overnight in Vientiane
DAY 2: VIENTIANE – VANG VIENG (B)
Vientiane is a charming and fascinating capital, with an interesting mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. Today, we start visiting the major sights of the capital; including Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national icon, the precious and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. In the afternoon, we leave the capital early for our journey northbound to Vang Vieng; we will see some breathtaking scenery enroute as we pass through spectacular countryside towards the mountainous region. Along the way, we will make a short stop at the colorful H’Mong market at KM52. We reach our final destination Vang Vieng, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, despite recent developments with the advent of tourism. After checking into your hotel you are at your own leisure. Overnight in Vang Vieng
DAY 3: VANG VIENG – LUANG PRABANG (B)
In the morning, we will first stroll around the town to visit the local market to catch a glimpse of everyday life in a typical Lao rural area. After breakfast, we cross Nam Song River to visit the most famous tourist spot in Vang Vieng, the cave of Tham Jang, which was used in the early 19th century in defense against the Chinese invaders. From there, we then visit Organic Farm Vang Vieng (OFVV), which promotes the preservation of ecological diversity and provide people with accessible and sustainable ways to earn a living. Profits from the Farm are used to provide training and employment, support and education to the local villagers through various projects. We then start our expedition on the new road to Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang that is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The roads are well paved along the way for a smooth journey; we pass some stunning landscape scenery with a mixture of steep terraced fields and hill villages, we take a few photo stops at some small hill tribe village enroute. Each hill tribe village in Laos has a different feel, some are more prosperous than others but all have plenty of life. Before reaching Luang Prabang, we will make a short stop to visit the local school at Ban Ber Sip. Overnight in Luang Prabang
DAY 4: LUANG PRABANG CITY TOUR – PAK OU CAVES (B)
Today, you will first visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. We then embark on the a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching 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, where they make the local rice wine. On arrival back in the city, we will visit magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. Afterwards, we will visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. From there, we will transfer to visit Wat Prabath to admire the sunset; this is the really peaceful place to catch the last beauty of the day. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang Overnight in Luang Prabang
DAY 5: LUANG PRABANG – KUANG SI WATERFALLS (B)
An early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there, we will take a short visit to the morning local market near the Royal Palace. At the market, you can find anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground, this is what the locals do every day. This is really the chance for you to get a real flavor of the local culture. After breakfast at the hotel, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. We then visit Wat Visoun, dating back to 1513 during the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), this is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas. We then transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. Before returning to Luang Prabang, we stop to visit the Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesday, and from 03rd May to 19th June every year), one of the must-visit spots, where you can have an optional 15 minute tour to learn about butterflies and local flora. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, we will take a short visit to the Ock Pop TockLiving Craft Center, where you will have a short tour so you get information about Silk, about weaver, about the Women that work in the Centre. We then transfer out to the airport to take the departure flight
- Accommodation in a double or twin room with daily breakfast
- Breakfast at hotel
- Services of a driver and private air-conditioned vehicle during all tours and transfers.
- Experienced English-speaking guide during all tours and transfers
- Entrance fees for all visits as mentioned in the itinerary
- Mineral water is available as complementary
- Accommodation at all destination with daily breakfast
- International & Domestic flight tickets
- Visa stamping fee at the airport (40 US$ in Laos, paid by cash at the airport)
- Personal expenses, such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.
- All other services not specified in the itinerary
- Meals, if not specified in the itinerary
- Tipping for guides, drivers, hotel staff, restaurant staff, boat rider, etc.
- Surcharge for Peak season, Tet Lunar New year holidays, and compulsory dinner at some hotel & resort on Xmas and New year’s Eve
- Travel insurance (we highly recommend that you purchase adequate insurance).