Luang Prabang – Ban Khiet Ngong – Don Khong – Don Khone – Siem Reap – Koh Ker – Siem Reap

10 days

Luang Prabang – Ban Khiet Ngong – Don Khong – Don Khone – Siem Reap – Koh Ker – Siem Reap

10 days

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Journey through the off-the-beaten track overland Laos-Cambodia border crossing
  • Stay at rustic Kingfisher Ecolodge, set beside bio-diverse protected wetlands
  • Explore key UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including cycling through Angkor Archaeological Park
  • Participate in insightful local cultural activities including a private monk’s blessing ceremony
  • Enjoy a full-day Adventure Safari on elephants through the Laos jungle
  • Explore 'The 4,000 islands' or Si Phan Don archipelago by boat
  • Days 1-2: Luang Prabang | Private Blessing Ceremony, '20th UNESCO Anniversary’ Walking Tour and Ethnology Centre Visit

    Nestled in northern Laos, at the confluence of two rivers, the ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang retains a unique, ethereal-like ambiance. Amongst many of Luang Prabang’s gilded temples (wats), visit one of the most beautiful, 18th century Wat Sene (‘Temple of a 100,000 Treasures’). After making offerings here, take part in a private blessing ceremony, administered by Buddhist monks. To commemorate Luang Prabang’s 20th Anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘A Walk through the Heritage of Luang Prabang’ guidebook was published, highlighting the town’s magnificent historical and heritage aspects. With this inspiring book in hand, embark on a bespoke guided walking tour along narrow streets, discovering distinct Indochina-era and Lao-style architecture. Later, visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre, where exhibits present a rare and fascinating look into Laos’ diverse ethnic minority cultures. Learn more with an informative chat with one of the Centre’s founders. 

  • Day 3: Luang Prabang – Pakse – Ban Khiet Ngong | Life Immersed in Protected Wetlands

    In southern Laos, drive from Pakse, passing through Dong Hua Sao National Park and Bolaven Plateau, arriving at Ban Khiet Ngong Village and Kingfisher Ecolodge. Our rustic-style Ecolodge edges the Beung Kiat Ngong Wetlands, an idyllic conservation area of lowland forests and watery lands inhabited by birds and water buffalo. The wetlands are part of the Xe Pian National Protected Area, one of the country’s most bio-diverse rich areas and unparalleled beautiful landscapes. Post-dusk, dine at your own candlelit Sala, enjoying local delicacies and lulled by nocturnal nature sounds in the shadows of imposing Bolaven Plateau.

  • Day 4: Ban Khiet Ngong | Forest and Hill Hiking

    Set-off early for a full-day’s guided hike on and around Phou Asa Mountain, a lofty hill named after a revered monk and a marvelous spot for hiking. Trails cutting through tropical rain forests reveal archaeological ruins and endangered wildlife. Along the way, an experienced local guide teaches us about the forest’s countless medicinal plants and flora growing wild here. The guide will also point out any signs of resident wildlife, such as animal tracks, scat and habitats. On our return, hike up Phou Asa itself, which reveals early 19th century temple ruins and stunning vistas over large swathes of southern Laos. 

  • Day 5: Ban Khiet Ngong – Don Khong | Elephant Jungle Safari

    For centuries, Laos was known as ‘The Kingdom of a Million Elephants’, where elephants once roamed freely and a tradition of domesticating elephants endured. Today, the wild elephant population in Laos is severely depleted, but elephants are still a strong part of everyday Lao heritage, culture and agrarian life. Elephants are also highly respected creatures here. Enjoy a full-day Adventure Safari on elephants in the jungle. Starting early from Kiat Ngong village, journey through emerald-hued paddy fields, wetlands and jungle, taking-in the sights and sounds of birds and wildlife from up-high on elephants. Enjoy a picnic lunch by a river while the elephants are free to wander and feed in the forest. Our elephant safari continues on, before returning later to the village.

  • Day 6: Don Khong – Don Khone | Explore Mekong River Islands and Waterfalls

    Depart early, cruising by long-tail boat amid the wondrous Si Phan Don, or ‘The 4,000 Islands’, a mass of multi-sized islands within a broad, meandering section of the Mekong River. Amidst this magical riverine archipelago, explore Don Khone, a peaceful rural island where locals live out a simple, rustic life. Once a minor 19th century French Indochina settlement, Don Khone boasts several colonial-era buildings, including a railway station, bridge and former hospital building. Stop at nearby Li Phi Waterfalls, nicknamed ‘Corridor of the Devil’, an impressive collection of powerful waterfalls and a natural border between Laos and Cambodia. We also stop-off at 10km (6mi)-long Khone Phapheng Falls, Southeast Asia’s largest waterfalls, one of the world’s widest and one of Laos’ most magnificent natural attractions.

  • Days 7-8: Don Khong – Veun Kham/Dom Kralor Border – Siem Reap | Grand Angkor Temple Tour by Bike

    Cross the Laos border into northwest Cambodia for Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the stupendous remains of an ancient  Khmer civilisation. Explore several of the astounding ancient temples within the Park on bicycle. We cycle first to Angkor Thom, an entire inner walled city that served as the Khmer Empire’s royal capital from 1181. The centrepiece, Bayon Temple, is distinctive for its giant serene and enigmatic faces of King Jayavarman VII, carved into stone towers. Continue to one of Angkor’s largest temples, Ta Prohm. This 12th century Buddhist temple is iconic for its overgrown fig tree roots bursting through massive stone blocks. Forgo the bikes, travelling by car to Banteay Srei. This little-visited temple compound is one of Angkor’s most significant, containing a rare, ancient Buddha statue and walls decorated with well-preserved carvings.

  • Day 9: Siem Reap – Koh Ker | Explore an Ancient Jungle Temple Complex

    A two-hour drive northeast of Siem Reap brings us to Koh Ker. This vast temple complex functioned from 928 to 944 as the former capital of the Khmer Empire, when King Jayavarman IV relocated the capital from Angkor. Long abandoned in a remote spot in northern Cambodia’s thick jungle, Koh Ker was Cambodia’s most inaccessible temple complex until around 2007. After a new road was built and mines cleared, this important archaeological site is slowly coming back to life again. Spend a fascinating day exploring this vast protected area, filled with dozens of structures engulfed by jungle. The principal monument, the Mayan-like Prasat Thom, a 40m (131ft)-high, seven-tiered pyramid, presents spectacular views of the jungle surrounds.

  • Day 10: Departure

    Transfer to Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport for your onward flight.

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