City or Town : Laos
State : Luang Prabang
Country : Laos
Postcode : +856
Day1 Arrival in Ubon Ratchathani ( Clients own ticket ) (D)
Your guide will pick you up at Ubon Ratchathani airport and transfer you to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Ubon Ratchathani at Tohsang Khongjiam hotel or similar category .
Day2 Ubon Ratchathani - Chong Mek - Champasak – Done Daeng (B)
This morning transfer to Chong Mek border and cross to Laos where a local guide awaits. Drive south towards the Champassak province of southern Laos then take a short boat ride to Don Daeng, an island in the middle of the Mekong River, where you will check into La Folie Lodge. The remainder of today is free to relax. La Folie Lodge has a beautiful swimming pool and its riverfront location offers spectacular views. There are 8 small villages dotting the island’s coast and, should you be feeling energetic, a short walk will give you a taste of local island life and Overnight in Champasak.
Day3 Done Daeng - Champasak - Wat Phou (B)
After breakfast then cross the Mekong by boat to visit Wat Phou. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits among the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos. The temple was constructed in three levels: the bottom level is focused on the baray (water reservoir) and promenade, the second level features quadrangular pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary itself. The temple was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat. This site served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples. Pass through the small town of Champasak, where French colonial buildings offer a great contrast to Wat Phou. Return to Don Daeng island where the remainder of your day is free at the Lodge and Overnight in Champasak.
Day4 Done Daeng - Xepian Protected area - Champasak (B/L)
After breakfast, take a boat to Ban Muang village where you will continue along Road 13 to Xe Pian. On arrival in the small Lao village of Ban Kiet Ngong you will have lunch in a simple local restaurant. Ban Kiet Ngong is the starting point for your 90 minute elephant ride through the forest (2 people per elephant) and up to Mount Asa. This tour is part of a community-based tourism project developed to help the local villagers and provide conservation awareness. Along the way, you will have stunning views of the Xe Pian National Park which is settled between Champasak and Attapeu provinces. Stretching along the Mekong with many wetlands and unspoiled forest areas, this park offers a huge biodiversity with 29 recorded ecosystems. Birds species such as egrets, sarus crane and hornbill can occasionally be spotted and other inhabitants include wild elephant and gibbon. On the way back to the lodge, enjoy a short stop at Nong Bune, a village specializing in wood carving. The intricate carvings feature traditional patterns of the local people and the carved masks are particularly interesting. Another stop will be made along the way at a view point where you can see the pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Uomo and Overnight in Champasak.
Day5 Done Daeng - Champasak - Done Khone (B/L)
Depart after breakfast, heading for the area known locally as Sipandon (meaning ‘4000 Islands’). In this beautiful area the Mekong River reaches 14 kilometers wide and thousands of small islands dot the waterway. Travel first by car for around 2 hours to the village of Ban Nakasan. From here you will take a local boat to the peaceful islands of Done Det and Done Khone, where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find. We recommend bicycles as the best way to explore, or a tuk-tuk if you prefer.
Start with a short boat trip will give you the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Please note that sightings are far from guaranteed, but the mornings and late afternoon are best, when the water is cooler. Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are on the west of Don Khone, very close to the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits. The islands played an important role during the French Colonial rule as they linked Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To overpass the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, the perfect place to take your time and soak in the view. Continue your exploration and ease in to the slow pace of life, observing locals and taking your time. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure and overnight in Don Khone at Pon Arena Hotel or similar category .
Day6 Done Khone – Pakse - Stung Treng / Lao/Cambodian Border (B/L/D)
This morning , a boat will transfer you from Don Khone Island to the village of Ban Nakasan. Drive toward the southern border stopping to stroll through palm-fringed villages and explore the imposing Khone Papheng waterfalls. Upon reaching the border, complete the necessary border formalities and enter into Cambodia where your new English speaking guide will welcome you. A short transfer follows, to the small Community based Ecotourism village of O’Svay, only 25km from the Laos border. Here, you will have a first glance at a typical Cambodian village and get in touch with the wonderful and welcoming Cambodian people. Board a local boat and embark on a breathtaking journey through the islands and flooded forests of the Mekong. On the 2.5 hour boat ride, you will have plenty of time to relax and rest during a picnic lunch on a remote island that will give you the sense of being far away from everything, just surrounded by nature. Continue towards Stung Treng, where you will arrive in the afternoon. Tonight, experience a special dinner at Tonlé Tourism Training Center, where young locals are being trained in the principles of hospitality to ensure a better future in Stung Treng. Dining here means most delicious Khmer food paired with a very personalized service. The students are as excited to meet their guests as the guests themselves to meet the students. (Note: The Center is closed at weekends – if your visit coincides with a Sat/Sun then dinner will be at the hotel or a local restaurant instead) and Overnight in Stung Treng.
Day7 Stung Treng - Kratie (B)
Breakfast will be served at a local restaurant near the market in Stung Treng. This morning, visit MekongBlue, a local silk weaving centre offering work and an income to disadvantaged young women in this remote area. You can tour the workshops and, if you like, shop for beautiful silk items that carry the ‘UNESCO Seal of Excellence’ (Note: Mekong Blue closed Sundays). From here, transfer South towards Kratie. On the way, stop to visit Wat Sorsor Mouy Roy in the village Sambo. The vihara (temple sanctuary) of the so-called ‘100 Pillars Pagoda’ is an important historical and cultural building and quite famous for its legend involving a princess and a crocodile.Continue along the banks of the Mekong, a very scenic route with great views. In the village Kampi, the best spot to view the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins along the Mekong. Get on board a local boat that will take you to the preferred places of these interesting creatures. As soon as you will have spotted the first dolphin, your boat driver will turn the engine off and you will follow the dolphins silently (duration 1 to 1.5 hours). Arrive in Kratie (transfer ca. 30 minutes), where you will have some time at leisure to discover the small town by yourself. This afternoon, hop on the lodge boat (may be shared with other passengers) to Koh Trong Island, only a short 10 minutes boat ride away from Kratie. This Mekong island displays typical Cambodian village life, where people’s livelihood largely depends on rice farming and fruits cultivation (Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo!). Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and enjoy your time at leisure to enjoy the environment and overnight on Koh Trong Island .
Day8 Kratie (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Now you are ready for a visit the island that is your home during your visit to Kratie. You can decide whether you would like to take a local horse cart or pedal yourself around the island on a bicycle. Your first destination is the island’s Wat, where a special activity awaits you: A tree planting project initiated by a local farmer, in order to recultivate the once densely forested island. Contribute to the project by planting your own tree here and it will carry your name tag and leave a positive trace on the island. After toughening up, relax with a beautiful Khmer lunch under pomelo trees at a typical local house right by the river. Continue by horse cart or cycling around the island, where you will be able to taste local fruit and visit a Vietnamese floating village on the southern tip of the island. Return to Kratie by boat this afternoon, where you will have some time to relax. This evening, you might be lucky to see the spectacular sunset over the Mekong and Overnight on Koh Trong Island.
Day9 Kratie – Chhlong - Kampong Cham – Kampong Thom (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Now it is time to drive South, towards Kampong Thom. On the way, stop to visit Chhlong (transfer time ca. 45 minutes), a tiny town with many French colonial houses that are amongst the most beautiful inCambodia. Upon arrival in Kampong Cham (transfer time ca. 2.5 hours), a delicious lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After a short tour of the provincial capital and its typical market, continue to Kampong Thom (transfer time ca. 2 hours), where you will have the rest of the day at leisureto relax by your hotel’s beautiful pool or to discover the provincial capital on your own. Overnight in Kampong Thom.
Day10 Kampong Thom - Sambopreikuk - Siem Reap (B/L)
Today, you head towards the rarely visited Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country that is enlisted to potentially become Cambodia’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sambor Prei Kuk was built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th century and there are over 100 well preserved temples scattered in the forest. The three main sites are linked by small and shady tracks. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle with breath-taking views. The villages around the temple complex still practice the ancient art of craft making, using materials such as bamboo and rattan. Stop at one village to observe the local production. The community runs the Isanborei Craft Hut next to the temples and sells their products there as part of a community-based tourism project. You will have the chance to visit and contribute to the sustainability of the people’s livelihood as the local community will prepare a simple but very tasty lunch for you near the temple. Continue towards Siem Reap, about 2.5 hours away. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and enjoy a break.
Late afternoon, set out by typical ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) to see one of the major highlights of Southeast Asia awaits you: the magnificent Angkor Wat. 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 Mount Meru, the home of the gods. 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. 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. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. You will be there during sunset time, when Angkor Wat is less visited and the Apsaras will shine in the most beautiful light. Return to the hotel just after sunset and Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day11 Siem Reap (B/L)
After an early breakfast take a short transfer that will bring you to the beginning of your temple exploration experience at the East entrance of Angkor Wat. You set out like the first explorers did on foot, trekking through the dense jungle of the magnificent temples of Angkor on a 6km trek. Walking from temple to temple is a unique way to see these magnificent ruins: After a few kilometres you will reach the city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Continue on foot to 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. Finish the walk and drive to visit Ta Prohm temple built between the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.
Later this afternoon, embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about four times it size during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village where you will see houses on stilts that are submerged whenTonlé Sap Lake extends. On the way, you will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. (Note: Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged instead) and overnight in Siem Reap .
Day11 Siem Reap Departure ( Clients own ticket ) (B)
Enjoy this morning free at leisure to relax at the hotel or to do some last minute souvenir shopping at Siem Reap’s colorful markets. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for your individual flight home.
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