Our new Laos and Cambodia adventure for those short on time
The historic cities, dense jungles, steep limestone hills, lush river valleys, mysterious caves, and spectacular coastlines of Southeast Asia bring you straight to paradise. Ruins, temples, citadels, pagodas, and lost cities half-submerged in the jungles reveal a past of ancient kingdoms—yours to discover on this quick adventure to many of our favorite places in Southeast Asia. Here you’ll have opportunities for genuine, personal encounters with the local people as well as visits to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the mystical ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and the ancient Lao capital of Luang Prabang. We bring you the best, even if you don't have much time. Only with MTS!
Cultural touring, walking
- A quick adventure to two of Southeast Asia's gems
- Visit two of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the mystical ruins at Angkor Wat and the ancient Lao capital of Luang Prabang
- Take an elephant ride and hike to a Khmu village in Laos
Duration: 7 days Start Location: Luang Prabang End Location: Siem ReapDownload Detailed Itinerary
Days 1 - 2 : Luang Prabang / Luang Prabang – Pak Ou
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, LuangPrabang, is perhaps the best preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa and That Makmo, stylistically more Sri Lankan than Laotian. Continue to the nearby Vat Aham, one of the city’s major tutelary shrines dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors). Continue to Vat Mai, built in 1796, famous for the five – tiered roof of its wooden sim built in the standard of Luang Prabang style. Climb Vat Phousi hill for on outstanding overview of the city. Sunset at Vat Prabaht Tai located along the Mekong River. Dinner is on your own.
Day 3 : Luang Prabang - Lao Spirit Resort
After breakfast we’ll drive to an elephant camp where you will be introduced to Asian elephants, and go out for a scenic ride! Enjoy the new perspective from the height of an elephant back, and the wonderful natural surroundings, on this approximately 1-hour elephant ride. A stunning landscape, quiet, and the lush nature gives you a relaxed ride on the back of the protected elephant. Make your way through forests and along the Nam Khan River up to the amazing waterfalls of Tad Sae. Here you can hang out for lunch and some swimming and bathing in the refreshing cool cascades. After you lunch, we’ll explore the tropical surrounding on one of the nature trails.
Our half-day hike will take you to a Khmu Village where you’ll get insight into everyday life of this hill tribe. Most are farmers and fishermen and live from their slash and burn tradition. The countryside offers you great views and a relaxing atmosphere. They even speak a different language here and your guide will help to ask questions. A short hike along a steep mountain range will bring you to the newly opened Jungle Camp, where another swim in a crystal clear river is a wonderful option. Have a drink and finish your day of activity after another 45 minutes of walking to your lodge.
Day 4 : Lao Spirit Resort - Luang Prabang
We’ll take a late morning return drive to Luang Prabang, to visit the National Museum (formerly the King’s Palace), displaying a collection of personal artifacts of the Royal Family: photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or explore the town on your own.
Day 5 : Luang Prabang - Siem Reap
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, the former capital of the Khmer empire, which ruled vast areas of Indochina between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. After exiting through immigration and customs at Siem Reap Airport, you will transfer to your hotel, where you can leave your luggage before embarking on the morning tour.
Morning visit of the temple of Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures. We’ll also visit Ta Prohm, one of the area’s most beautiful temples. Tra Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its original mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the way most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. Return to the hotel for lunch on your own at the hotel’s restaurant.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit overgrown Preah Khan, currently under renovation by the World Monuments Fund. This, the site of the filming of Lord Jim, possesses an overgrown ambiance of tropical trees wrapping their roots in a protective stranglehold around the temples and across corridors. One can get a feeling for how Angkor must have looked when it was rediscovered by French entomologist Henri Mouhot in 1837. We will also visit the royal baths at Preah Neak Pean in the Eastern Baray (a man-made rectangular lake). The Khmer kings would bathe in religious rituals under spouts where water flows through the mouths of various animal figures. There are four bathing ponds, each in the cardinal directions, with a central pool of which the temple of the intertwining nagas (cobras) is placed.
Day 6 : Siem Reap
We begin our morning with a visit to Banteay Srei temple, noted for its detailed 1,000-year-old carvings. Built in the late 10th century, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and regarded as the jewel in the crown of Classical Khmer Art. We’ll then visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. The 12th-century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Lunch on your own at the hotel.
Afternoon visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, once home to nearly one million residents. Passing through the South Gate of the city, we'll cross the moat-bridge with its larger-than-life depictions of the Hindu story of the Churning Sea of Milk, the classic struggle of good and evil typified by a tug of war between giants and demons. We pass under the serene face of Avolokiteshvara, the Boddhisattva of compassion, into the city. We’ll visit Bayon, situated in the center of the ancient town. This Buddhist shrine boasts 54 towers and huge portraits of the Buddha facing each of the cardinal directions. We’ll also visit Baphuon, The Royal Enclosure, Terrace of the Leper King, and the Terrace of Elephants until sunset.
Day 7 : Siem Reap - Departure
Get up early for one of the highlights of your trip through Cambodia: Visit Angkor Wat by sunrise. Watching the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world will not leave you untouched.
Enjoy a breakfast box from the hotel, before visiting the temple in depth. 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, 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.
Transfer to Siem Reap Airport for your departure flight.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, October - December Departures: Oct 2 - 8, 2014 Nov 10 - 16, 2014 Nov 24 - 30, 2014 Dec 8 - 14, 2014 Jan 11 - 17, 2015 Jan 25 - 31, 2015 Feb 1 - 7, 2015 Mar 15 - 21, 2015 Oct 25 - 31, 2015 Nov 1 - 7, 2015 Nov 22 - 28, 2015 Dec 6 - 12, 2015
$2,595 (6-14 members)
$265 internal airfare – Luang Prabang/Siem Reap
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.