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Experience the Highlights of Laos and Cambodia as you travel to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Starting in the sleepy riverside capital of Vientiane, discover the ancient atmospheric temples, the golden spires of Pha That Luang, the bizarre sculptures in Buddha Park and the beautiful textiles of this region. Travel to the enchanting town of Luang Prabang with its stunning colonial architecture, ornate monasteries and colourful markets. Rise early to witness the ancient dawn ritual of saffron robed monks collecting alms, discover the hundreds of Buddha sculptures in Pak Ou Cave, visit the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall and climb Phou Si hill to watch the sun sink slowly behind the Mekong River.
Then onto Cambodia, starting in the riverside capital, Phnom Penh, long considered the most beautiful French built city of the Orient, explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the haunting Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Travel to Siem Reap and the fabled city of Angkor, eighth wonder of the world and spectacular ancient capital of the powerful Khmer Dynasty. Discover temples such as Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Beng Melea and the breathtaking Angkor Wat.
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
Meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Vientiane, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Set on a sweeping bend of the Mekong River, Vientiane is the tranquil and timeless capital of Laos with a kaleidoscope of architectural styles and influences ranging from traditional Lao to Thai, Chinese, French, Soviet and American. Discover crumbling French mansions, the golden spires of Pha That Luang, ancient atmospheric temples, bizarre sculptures and the Patuxai Monument, the Arc de Triomphe of Laos. From steaming noodle bars to riverside cafes, Vientiane will surprise and delight you with its quaint placid charm.
Vientiane has many great restaurants with Lao, Thai, French, Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisines available. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Vientiane in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.
Accompanied by your guide, drive southeast of the city to the Buddha Park, built in 1958 by Luang Pu, a yogi-priest shaman. The park is a fanciful garden full of Buddhist and Hindu religious sculptures which appear to be centuries old. They include statues of Shiva, Krishna, Buddha and many other deities. Of particular interest is a giant pumpkin shaped concrete monument, with three levels joined by interior stairways. The three levels are said to represent hell, earth and heaven. The cement statues are ornate and many are bizarre in design.
In the afternoon visit the weaving home-studio of Mrs Carol Cassidy, an American textiles expert who arrived in Vientiane in 1989 as part of a United Nations project to promote traditional weaving. Carol was so impressed by the quality and diversity of weaving throughout Laos that she set up the Lao Textiles Studio in Vientiane. Today the studio employs over forty local weavers who create naturally dyed and woven silk pieces reflecting traditional Lao designs. Learn about the weaving techniques or make a purchase at the gift shop to help support the cause.
With your guide, discover the essential landmarks and iconic sights that the small and charismatic city of Vientiane has to offer. Vientiane remains a tranquil laid-back town, a world away from the frantic capitals in Asia, and most attractions can be reached on foot. Start at Wat Sisaket, believed to be Vientiane’s oldest surviving temple, left intact after the Siamese invasion of 1828. The interior walls of the cloister are covered in niches containing over 2000 silver and ceramic Buddha images. Next is a visit to Wat Phra Keo, built originally to house the famed Emerald Buddha and now a religious museum that displays a collection of art representing Lao and Khmer artefacts. Continue with a visit to the most popular Wat in town, Wat Si Muang before visiting Patouxay monument, Laos' version of the Arc de Triomphe and its most prominent monument. End your tour at the golden spired Pha That Luang, constructed in the 16th century and regarded as the holiest site in Laos.
Enjoy free time to explore Vientiane for the remainder of the day.
This morning fly from Vientiane to Luang Prabang and meet your guide on arrival. Your guide will provide an introduction to Luang Prabang.
Nestled in a mountain valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers is the enchanting World Heritage town and former royal capital of Luang Prabang. It's a magical and captivating place with stunning colonial architecture, ornate monasteries and colourful markets. Rise early to witness the ancient dawn ritual of saffron robed monks collecting alms, discover the hundreds of Buddha sculptures in Pak Ou Caves, see the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall and climb Phou Si hill to watch the sun sink slowly behind the Mekong River.
Accompanied by your guide walk around the beautiful ancient town of Luang Prabang taking in all of the sights. Enjoy a leisurely walk to the magnificent stupa of Wat Visoun, one of Luang Prabang’s most historically important temples, built in the 16th century and serving as a small museum for religious artefacts.
Next stop is Wat That Luang, traditionally the cremation site for Lao royalty and housing the ashes of King Sisavang Vong and his brother, interred inside the large stupa, erected in 1910. Wat Mai, beside the Royal Palace, is Luang Prabang’s oldest Pagoda, and one of the city’s most sumptuous monasteries. It is home to Sangharat, the head of Lao Buddhism.
Your walk takes you next to Wat Xieng Thong, a 16th century temple which epitomises the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture and showcases classic Lao style roofs. This temple was one of only two temples spared by the Black Flag army in 1887, and it was then used as the leader’s headquarters during the invasion.
The day ends with a climb to the top of Mount Phousi. The 100 metre (328 feet) hill is crowned by a gilded stupa, That Chomsi, which dominates the old city centre. Enjoy the views of the town across the Mekong and Khan rivers, as well as the surrounding mountains.
In the late afternoon, check-in to your hotel. Luang Prabang has many great cafes and restaurants and also night food stalls which emerge at dusk. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
This morning set off with your guide to one of Luang Prabang’s most impressive and picturesque waterfalls, Tat Kuang Si. On the way stop off at Phosy market where you can observe locals trading in fresh produce. Across the street is Ock Pop Tock weaving centre which produces its own naturally dyed Lao silk and cotton textiles.
Kuang Si is a multi-tiered waterfall, the falls beginning in shallow pools on top of a steep hillside, with the various cascades falling into clear turquoise pools. Walk through the National Park to the waterfalls and if you're feeling energetic, climb to their source and go for a swim. After a picnic lunch in the tranquil surroundings of the park, return to Luang Prabang.
After lunch, with your guide, embark on a two hour Mekong River cruise to visit the mysterious and sacred Pak Ou Caves. As you journey by long-tail boat, typical Laotian villages are barely visible behind thick foliage. Wooden canoes attached to bamboo poles bob by the shore while floats mark the location of fishing nets.
The Pak Ou Caves are dramatically located in a limestone rock formation opposite the mouth of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The sanctuaries of Pak Ou consist of two large caves cut into the limestone cliff, revealing hundreds of Buddha effigies of various sizes and styles, from the tiny to the colossal and spanning many centuries.
From the caves continue to Ban Muang Keo village where you can see local weavers and whisky distillers honouring their ancient traditional crafts. Return to Luang Prabang by river.
Wake before dawn to witness the offering of alms to the hundreds of saffron robed monks who walk barefoot through the streets of Luang Prabang carrying their begging bowls. This early morning ritual of monks leaving their monasteries to accept alms from the Buddhist devotees dates back generations. The ceremony enables the monks to demonstrate their vows of poverty and humility, and for the Lao people to gain spiritual merit by their charity. It is an inspiring sight that you are unlikely to forget. Watch the town as it comes to life before returning to your hotel for breakfast.
You have the opportunity to participate by offering sticky rice balls to the monks. Please let your guide know so that they can organise the offering the day before.
After breakfast accompany your guide to the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. The palace was built in 1904 and framed by an avenue of Palmyra palms, blending traditional Lao with French styles. The museum houses precious exhibits that used to be possessions of the Laos royal family. The royal family’s former residential quarters have been preserved as they were when the king departed in 1975. The royal palace car collection is displayed in a separate outbuilding.
Wander around the fascinating Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and learn more about the people of Laos. On display you will find valuable artefacts, traditional clothing and implements from each of the twenty ethnic minority groups that inhabit the Luang Prabang area.
For the remainder of the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Luang Prabang.
This morning fly from Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh. Meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Phnom Penh, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
The riverside capital of Phnom Penh, once known as “The Pearl of Asia” and long considered the most beautiful French-built city of the Orient, is a charming and captivating city. The old French ochre-coloured colonial buildings are now being filled with trendy cafes, boutiques and art galleries and many traditional ornate temples still remain. The bustling squares and frangipani-lined boulevards create an atmosphere that is unlike any other city in South East Asia. Rich in history, Phnom Penh has a number of cultural and historical sites including the National Museum, Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, and offers an insight into its darker past with the haunting Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Museum.
Phnom Penh has many great restaurants and bars including the rooftop bar of the iconic Correspondent’s Club, an ideal spot to sit and watch the sun descending over the Tonle and Mekong rivers. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Set out with your guide to visit the National Museum, designed in traditional Khmer style by a French archaeologist and painter in 1917. The museum houses Khmer art and sculptures from different periods of Cambodian history. Next visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, built in 1866 by the French for King Norodom, two of the most striking buildings in the capital and amongst the finest examples of Khmer architecture. The Royal Palace stands on the site of the former citadel dating back to 1813 and is home to the current King Sihamoni. The Silver Pagoda owes its name to its floor made up of 5,329 solid silver tiles. The building houses many gold and jewelled Buddha statues including the 17th century Baccarat crystal Emerald Buddha. Other important buildings found within the compound include Wat Preah Keo Morokat where Royal ceremonies are performed, and the King Ang Doung Stupa - the burial site of former King Norodom. The palace has been inhabited by kings at all times with the exception of the period when the radical Khmer Rouge party took control in 1975.
Learn about the turbulent years of the Khmer Rouge on your visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum. Tuol Sleng, a high school prior to 1975, became an interrogation prison known as S-21 during the Khmer Rouge era and today it is a genocide museum. It tells the sad story of the thousands of innocent Cambodian people who were tortured on its grounds. Walk the narrow corridors and former classrooms as you read the stories of the victims and witness the torture devices on display. Photographs were taken of each prisoner passing through the prison and hundreds of the black and white photos are now on display in the museum. Although a haunting experience, the museum is a sobering reminder of the Khmer Rouge’s brutality and a testament to their crimes.
Return to your hotel or to one of the riverside cafes or bars to watch the sunset over the Tonle and Mekong rivers.
In the morning fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Siem Reap and answer any questions you have.
Siem Reap, situated in the north west of the country, is an enchanting town with Chinese-style shop houses, French colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards. It is the gateway to the World Heritage ancient temple ruins of Angkor, eighth wonder of the world and spectacular ancient capital of the powerful Khmer Dynasty. As well as the myriad of awe-inspiring temples and Khmer relics to explore, Siem Reap and its rural outskirts offers craft villages, silk farms, Khmer cuisine cooking classes, traditional Cambodian “apsara” dance performances and the floating villages on the tranquil waters of Tonle Sap Lake.
Accompanied by your guide start exploring the stunning temples this afternoon by tuk-tuk. Visit Angkor Thom, the ancient fortified royal city and former capital of the Khmer Empire. The city has five monumental gates and consists of several temples including the Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. Enter Angkor Thom through the impressive South Gate and drive towards the centre piece, the Bayon Temple. At first glance the temple may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking in every direction. There are over 200 huge carved faces that stare down from fifty four gothic towers. Continue your exploration with a visit to the 350 metre (1155 feet) long Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King viewed the victorious return of his army. Then visit the Terrace of the Leper King with detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage that leads to the Baphuon, a pyramidal representation of mythical Mt Meru.
After your afternoon tour you will be driven to your hotel and your guide will assist you with checking in. Before leaving you at your hotel, your guide will make arrangements for the following day and can also provide restaurant recommendations for tonight’s dinner.
Explore temples of the World Heritage Angkor complex with your guide. Start with a visit to the picturesque and atmospheric Ta Prohm, built in 1186. This fascinating jungle-clad temple is one of Angkor’s most impressive and most beautiful structures. Over centuries the fig tree roots have engulfed the temple’s huge stone blocks, crumbling towers and walls. The living jungle is reclaiming this Buddhist temple, shrouding the courtyards and corridors in dappled sunlight, and creating a haunting and exotic atmosphere.
In the afternoon, visit one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites, the iconic temple of Angkor Wat. The largest and most breathtaking of Angkor’s monuments, this vast temple was constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and is the largest Hindu structure in the world. Angkor Wat is orientated towards the west, symbolically the direction of death. It is home to hundreds of beautiful carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology and boasts some of the most well preserved carvings in the region. As you stroll the massive hallways you discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. Return to one of the grass terraces in front of the five massive towers of Angkor Wat to watch the sun setting over the temple complex. Afterwards, return to your hotel in Siem Reap.
On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $3,288|
|Superior:||from AU $3,936|
|Deluxe:||from AU $5,211|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 3 internal flight (Vientiane - Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang - Phnom Penh and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Visas for Cambodia
It is possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh or Siam Reap international airports or any border crossing for approx. US$30 (cost subject to change) - you will need 2 passport photos.
Visas for Laos
You can get your visa in advance, but a visa can easily be obtained on arrival at most airports from around 35-50USD (dependant on nationality). You will need 2 passport photos. Please check with the consulate in your country for more details before you travel.
If you’re on a trip where it crosses the Lao the border, we ask all our travellers to obtain their Laos visas at the border, and NOT in their home country. Your tour guide will assist you in obtaining a Laos visa, generally at the border, depending on the current state of affairs, as it can vary.
Please ensure that you have at least 2 passport photos and up to US$60 cash (this may vary too) to fulfil the requirements.
Availability of accommodation and season.
|End:||Siem Reap, Cambodia|
"I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 countries visited. Cambodia and Laos especially. The hotels we great with rooftop bars and great location. All were very good. Everything went well - thank you for your help. I also recommend Vespa tour through Cambodia ruins off the beaten track " — Mrs Clark, Gold Coast, November 2017
"Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our tour. A culturally different trip that enriched our knowledge and understanding of Cambodia & Laos. We loved the light, action and colour. Thousands of photos! The people we met also proved a highlight including our guides and drivers. The vehicles were of a uniformly high standard." — Mrs Reid and MRs Winsley, QLD , October 2016
"Just wanted to thank you and your ground operators for an excellent tour - The itinerary, hotels, food and guides were all excellent and your personal touch was also appreciated. The guides throughout were most kind, helpful and knowledgeable. We were not hassled to shop but appreciated the chance to visit a Hong villages etc and COPE in Laos. In all a lovely holiday - we have no hesitation in recommending GetAboutAsia and your affiliates and have already done so to people we met on the way. " — Mr and Mrs Macphee, Tarwin Lower, VIC, January 2016
"...overall we would have to say that Halong Bay was extra special. In Cambodia, it would have to be Ta Prohm and its overgrown tree roots and of course the iconic temple of Angkor Wat. Crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh City and surviving! What an adrenalin rush!! Food was also fantastic..." — Chris & Zinovia Georgiou, Illawong, NSW, December 2013