Cambodia & Laos

Cambodia and Laos offer a wealth of history, cultures, arts and architecture from Cambodia’s crown jewel of Khmer art - the fabled Angkor temple complex, and Laos' Luang Prabang, an enchanting UNESCO World Heritage Site of historic temples, monasteries and colonial-style buildings.

Country Information

Cambodia & Laos

Cambodia & Laos Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Cambodia & Laos

(Interest Type(s))

Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

9 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Explore Cambodia’s crown jewel of Khmer art and architecture, the fabled Angkor temple complex
  • Discover the city of Luang Prabang, an enchanting UNESCO World Heritage Site of historic temples, monasteries and colonial-style buildings
  • Venture out on a Pak Ou boat on the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves, home to extraordinary Tham Pak Ou Caves filled with Buddha images in every style and material imaginable
  • Tour Vientiane’s morning market, Wat Sisaket, the only temple to survive the sacking of the city by the Siamese in 1828, and Luang Shrine dating from 1566
  • Travel to Koh Ker, a remote group of 10th-century Angkorian ruins, where the nonprofit Heritage Watch runs a project to protect this cultural treasure from looting through education, poverty alleviation and by working with local residents to create successful sustainable tourism models



Day 1:  Siem Reap, Cambodia
Welcome to Cambodia!  Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa

Day 2:  Siem Reap
Today you begin your exploration of one of the most outstanding archaeological sights in all of Asia – the crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat.  The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant temple complex, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings.  To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with wonderful naga balustrades.  As you enter the main building, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyards before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside.  On the way, pause to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls.  Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk.  Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.  Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art.  Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy.  Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors.  Watch the sunset over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.  The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square kilometers.  Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights.  Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga.  Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs.  Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple.  In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where you will find giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down at you from every angle.  Ta Prohm is one of the most popular sites at Angkor because it is still cloaked in the jungle, looking very much as all the Angkor monuments would have to the early explorers.   Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa (B)

Day 3:  Siem Reap – Koh Ker
From Siem Reap, travel northeast off the beaten track to Koh Ker, a remote group of early Angkorian ruins from the 10th century capital of Jayavarman IV.  Much of it is in ruins and some temples are still engulfed by massive tree roots.  But several monuments and temples still remain, with some of the most interesting being the pyramidal Prasat Thom, Prasat Bram and Prasat Leung.  Less than one percent of the visitors to Siem Reap ever make it out to Koh Ker, giving you the increasingly rare opportunity to interact with this remarkable site on your own without crowds – at least for now.  Note: Big Five’s nonprofit arm, the Spirit of Big Five Foundation (, has an active project in Koh Ker, teaming with Heritage Watch to help preserve the irreplaceable heritage of Cambodia.  Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa (B)

Day 4:  Siem Reap / Luang Prabang, Laos
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang.  Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, which is built on a UNESCO World Heritage site in the former royal capital of Laos.  The boutique resort hotel fuses colonial charm with contemporary elegance in one of the finest all suite luxury hotels in the region.  3 Nagas Hotel - Deluxe Room (B)

Day 5:  Luang Prabang
Begin your full-day sightseeing tour of Luang Prabang.  Between Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial-style buildings.  The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.  Start the day at Wat Visoun, the oldest temple still in use in Luang Prabang.  It dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas.  Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city.  Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stenciled murals.  From there, stroll down the main street, stopping at some of the many temples that line the street, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene.  Continue to the National Museum (Royal Palace), a modest but graceful building that combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs.  This turn-of-the-century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here, and provides unique insights into the history of Laos.  (Closed on Tuesdays).  Afterwards, visit Wat Mai before returning to your hotel.  3 Nagas Hotel - Deluxe Room (B)

Day 6:  Luang Prabang
Early this morning, you have a unique opportunity to join in the daily ritual of giving food and offerings to the monks of Luang Prabang as they pass by in procession.  Travel up the Mekong River to the steep limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, home to the extraordinary Tham Pak Ou Caves that are filled with Buddha images in every style and material imaginable.  On the return journey, stop at Ban Xang Hai Village, a local village famous for the production of lao lao, the local rice wine whiskey.  Before returning to the city, visit Ban Xang Khong, a village near Luang Prabang well known for its traditional handwoven cotton and silk as well as production of the local sa (mulberry) paper.  Time permitting, you can visit Talat Night Market (Hmong Market).  3 Nagas Hotel - Deluxe Room (B)

Day 7:  Luang Prabang / Vientiane
Fly today to Laos capital, Vientiane, a small city, easily navigated with pleasant streets in the central area and an easygoing ambience.  Transfer to your hotel then begin your tour starting at Wat Si Muang, one of the most popularly used temple grounds in the city.  It is believed to be the home of Vientiane's guardian spirits.  See Talaat Sao, the Morning Market.  Wat Sisaket is the only temple to survive the sacking of the city by the Siamese in 1828.  Thousands of Buddha images and inscriptions from the 19th century crowd every space in this temple.  Pha That Luang, (Great Stupa), its origins are thought to have been in the 3rd century.  The stupa has undergone several reconstructions until the 1930s due to foreign invasions to the area.  It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol.  It also serves as a dual symbol for the Buddhist religion and for the nation of Laos.  Patuxai is a large structure in the style of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.  The arch at the end of Thanon Lan Xang has a stairway leading to the top that provides lovely views of the city.  Ho Pha Keo, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy, dates from 1565.  It is now a museum containing some of the finest examples of Buddhist sculptures found in Laos.  Settha Palace Hotel (B)

Day 8:  Vientiane / Bangkok, Thailand
Fly to Bangkok, where on arrival you make your own way to the your hotel located within the airport grounds.  Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel (B)

Day 9:  Bangkok / Depart
Return to the airport for your flight home.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  From US$500 per person per day.  Holiday surcharges apply during December.

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