Admire glorious wonders left by the ancient kingdoms of Cambodia. Explore vestiges influenced by French colonization in Laos. Experience how the region’s traditions still are an important part of present day life.
Arrive into the energetic and bustling capital city - Phnom Penh, you will be transferred to hotel for check in before exploring the half day city tour to the National Museum and Royal Palace. Return to hotel in the late afternoon and free time at leisure.
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to airport for short fly to Siem Reap. Welcome to Siem Reap, the charming gateway to the famed Temples of Angkor. Be greeted by the tour guide and head to the hotel for check in. Settle in and enjoy some time at leisure to refresh before starting to explore the mysterious royal city.
In the afternoon, head out to explore some Angkorian ruins. First, visit the massive temple complex Angkor Thom. Surrounded by an 8-metre-tall wall, the entrance to the complex is through an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path there’s a row of 54 gods or demons holding a sacred Naga snake. Continue to the Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.
This morning, head out to the Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor. Following lunch at the restaurant, you will continue your exploration of the Angkorian temples. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Your visit will coincide with the ‘Golden Hour’ to ensure you catch the Apsaras gleaming in their best light.
This evening enjoy a traditional Apsara dance show, bringing ancient Khmer culture to life in spectacular surroundings while you enjoy Cambodian cuisine.
This morning embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, travel about an hour out of Siem Reap to Kompong Khleang a unique village built high on stilts. The village is home to about 6000 people who earn their living mainly through fishing on the Tonle Sap Lake. Depending on the season the village offers a very different view making it interesting to visit all year round. During the monsoon season starting in May, the streets fill up with water and become canals that are navigated along by boat. The best time to visit is between October to January when the area is at is photographic best. During the months Apr-Sep the water level may be too low for a visit by boat. However the village is still fascinating and can be visited by car. Quite dramatic to see how the stilted houses are exposed from lake when water levels are low!) Return back to Siem Reap for an early afternoon at leisure to explore some of Siem Reap’s colourful markets before transferring to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang. Meet with our tour guide and transfer to hotel in Luang Prabang.
Start the morning with a visit to one of Laos’ most picturesque temples, Wat Xieng Thong. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong River, this temple was erected in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is deeply revered by Lao people. Walk to the boat pier, near the temple, and board the Nava Mekong, a beautiful wooden riverboat for a cruise up the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves(depart around 10:30). The journey takes around 2 hours. Along the way, be surrounded by spectacular views, pass by small villages on the river banks and witness fishermen out for their daily catch. Upon reaching Pak Ou, disembark to explore the caves. Here, see thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimetres tall to the size of a human, and the view from the mouth of the cave provides sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The caves are also a destination for local pilgrimages, especially during the Lao New Year period of Pii Mai, making them a great place to get in tune with local culture. Following lunch at the local restaurant, return to Luang Prabang for a half day city tour to visit the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. Here, explore the history of Laos. Then continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade.
Alms giving takes place daily as the sun rises, beginning on the main street of Luang Prabang before spreading out to all the side streets.In the early cool of the morning, walk downtown through quiet streets to watch the daily procession of about three hundred young monks walk silently by, collecting sticky rice and other foods in their bronze bowls. Watch as the monks disappear down the road in a long, saffron-coloured ribbon. Feel free to take photos, however please use discretion and refrain from using your flash. Now is the perfect time to stroll through Luang Prabang’s morning market where you will see the locals haggling for fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. Then you will be driven through the Luang Prabang countryside to Kuang Si Waterfalls. Along the way you will drive through beautiful landscapes of rice fields, hills, and small villages. There are also viewpoints overlooking the Mekong River. Picnic lunch at the waterfall.
After your breakfast, free time at leisure. Your guide and private car will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departing flight to Vientiane. Pick up at your hotel. Your half day city tour covers the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, a temple of thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. You also visit Lao national icon, That Luang Stupa, and we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Return to your hotel for overnight.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
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