Laos to Cambodia Overland

The neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia make the perfect holiday combination, offering you a definitive flavour of Indochina in terms of history and culture, food and scenic attractions.

This 12-day itinerary journeys overland at a leisurely pace between Luang Prabang in Laos and Siem Reap in Cambodia – arguably the two most popular towns amongst the SA team. In just under two weeks you’ll get an insight into ancient Khmer civilisation, visit dramatic and enchanting temple sites, go in search of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin and learn all about rice. Whilst the trip includes some classic tourist highlights such as the temples of Angkor and Luang Prabang, it also takes in the less-visited destinations of Kratie and the 4000 Islands, exploring by boat and bike.

At a glance
  • Delve into Laos’ rich history
  • Immerse yourself in laid back Si Phan Don
  • Criss-cross the 4000 Islands by bike and boat.
  • Catch a glimpse of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin
  • Explore Angkorian temples with an expert guide
  • Meet and eat with a local family in their own home
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Luang Prabang - 3 nights

Luang Prabang - the ‘Jewel of Indochina’ - is regularly voted one of Asia's top destinations. This ancient, UNESCO-listed royal city at a junction of two rivers is surrounded by mountains, with Mount Phousi at its core rewarding climbers with panoramic views. It offers a definitive example of the fusion between traditional Laotian architecture and more recent colonial structures; its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrating a key stage in the blending of these two eras. Immerse yourself in the city’s vivid riverside culture, taste some of the country’s best food, and listen to atmospheric echoes in ancient temples.

Day 1 - Arrive Luang Prabang

On arrival in Laos, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Tak Bat, Walking Tour

Includes:

Rise before dawn to witness tak bat (the giving of alms to the monks who leave their pagodas to receive offerings of food from local residents) in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner. Get an overview of the country’s history at the Royal Palace National Museum, take in the city’s iconic temples, and get a deeper insight into Laos culture at the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre. See colourful woven textiles being made in the surrounding villages, then either opt to embark upon an energetic climb up Mount Phousi, visit Wat Prabath Tai for a more accessible sunset experience or head to Wat Aham’s colourful prayer hall in time for the daily chanting.

Day 3 - Living Lands Organic Farm

Includes:

After breakfast drive out of Luang Prabang to the Living Lands Organic Farm, a community enterprise, where you will meet the local farming guide for an informative, but fun morning. Rice is an important part of life in Laos: it’s eaten at every meal and there are over 500 types of rice grown in the country.

During your time at the farm, you’ll learn about each step of the rice harvest and cultivation process, and try your hand at the traditional techniques (and basic tools) that have been used for centuries. The morning concludes with a rice tasting session, by which time you will have a much greater appreciation of the work and effort that goes into a simple bowl of rice!

Return to Luang Prabang where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

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4,000 Islands Region - 3 nights

The evocatively-named 4,000 Islands, or Si Phan Don, is a network of islands woven through the lush Mekong Delta on the Laos-Cambodian border. Most are far too small to be inhabited, forming micro-habitats for birds and wildlife in the greenery that overflows to the water’s edge. The larger islands and riverbank are home to remote rural hamlets with a few restaurants, sandy beaches, ancient ruins and tight-knit river communities. Along the bank is UNESCO Heritage-listed Wat Phou. Predating Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, it’s believed that the original temple was built by the Khmer Hindus who eventually made Angkor Wat their capital.

Day 4 - Fly to Pakse, Champasak walking tour

Includes:

Take a morning flight to Pakse. On arrival, having met your guide, continue on to Champasak and explore on foot. As you walk, your guide will tell you about the history of this World Heritage Listed town, where traditional Laotian architecture nestles beside intriguing colonial-style buildings. At the temple of Vat Kuang Kang transfer to your hotel where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 5 - Wat Phou Sunrise, Take a boat to Done Khong

Includes:

Make an early morning visit to the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phou that are located on the opposite side of the river and are one of South-East Asia's most dramatically situated temple sites offering superb views across the Mekong River. This impressive temple offers a stunning sunrise view, and at this time in the morning it will be deserted.

After a leisurely breakfast, depart Champasak, heading south and deeper into the 4000 Islands region. Your destination is Done Khong, the largest of the 4000 Islands. Having checked in the remainder of your day is at leisure to soak up the Si Phan Don pace of life!

Day 6 - Island hopping by bike & boat

Includes:

Embark on a day criss-crossing the 4000 Islands by bike and boat. Cycle across the compact Done Khong island to catch a ferry to the quiet island of Don Phi Man. Explore this quintessentially Lao fishing village by bike, soaking up the feeling of time appearing to have stood still. Hop over the Mekong to Don Sang Pai, to visit an ancient Buddhist temple and learn about the beliefs specific to the local culture. Visit the neighbouring island of Don Loppadi, where the residents specialise in weaving bamboo baskets and the region’s essential fishing nets, and have lunch with a local family, before cruising upstream to pass Dom Som and several uninhabited islands, arriving back at Done Khong in the late afternoon.

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Kratie - 2 nights

Kratie is a charming, Colonial-style town situated on the banks of the Mekong River, with a lively morning market and a vibrant waterfront. Most visitors come to the region in the hope of catching a glimpse of the town’s famous Irrawaddy dolphins, occasionally to be seen frolicking in the waters just a few km's to the north of the town centre. There are also a number of interesting temples in close vicinity.

Day 7 - Cross into Cambodia, Spot dolphins & visit temples

Includes:

Morning departure for the Cambodia border. Having said goodbye to your Laos guide (and met your new Cambodian guide) continue by road towards the town of Kratie.

Shortly before arriving into Kratie, stop at the village of Kampi where you board a boat and head out onto the Mekong River in search of the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin. These endangered mammals are rare and shy, so viewings are not guaranteed, but your boat driver will know the best local spots. Back on dry land, visit the 100 Pillars Pagoda, which is a popular place of pilgrimage for Kratie residents, and the 18th century temple of Phnom Sambok with its unusual tapestries depicting the less appealing side of the afterlife in an unusually graphic manner. Continue onto Kratie arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 8 - Koh Trong Cycling

Includes:

Spend the morning on the small island of Koh Trong - which is essentially an oversized sandbar that sits in the middle of the Mekong opposite Kratie. With no cars on the island – most residents get about by horse & cart - the easiest way to explore is by bicycle. Koh Trong is the epitome of rural Cambodian life. You’ll pedal through a picture-postcard landscape of rice paddies and farmland, dotted with a handful of traditional villages, passing by grazing cows and smiling children. On the south-west of the island there’s a floating Vietnamese village, a temple at the southern tip, and Mekong mud turtles inhabit the western shore. Enjoy lunch in a local homestay before taking the ferry back to the (comparatively) bright lights of Kratie.

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Siem Reap - 3 nights

Siem Reap is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, the ruined capital of a historic Cambodian empire, and one of the ancient wonders of the world. The town is booming thanks to these fabled ruins, but remains low-rise by royal decree, and retains much of its original charm. 100s of them lie scattered around Siem Reap, largely hidden by jungle. You’ll have plenty of time to discover them with a knowledgeable guide.

Day 9 - Drive to Siem Reap, via Phnom Suntok

Includes:

After visiting Kratie's morning market, depart for Siem Reap. En route there will be time to stretch your legs with a climb up the holy mountain of Phnom Suntok. To get to the top you have to climb the 809 stairs that wind their way up through a forest, emerging at a colourful pagoda with many small shrines. The views of the surrounding countryside are superb. Continue your journey to Siem Reap, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 10 - Angkor Temples exploration

Includes:

Begin your exploration of Angkor Wat, and the complex of ruined temples and palaces around it. You’ll be driven between them, so you can fit quite a few in (if you want to), and our guides know when to see the ruins at uncrowded times. If you wish, start the day with the magical (but popular!) sunrise over Angkor Wat, and let your guide know what kind of pace you prefer, whether you want to fill your day with archaeology, or would appreciate some time at your hotel pool.

Day 11 - Village Explorer

Includes:

Explore rural villages, and learn about the daily lives of the local people. You'll be a world away from Siem Reap - it's a perfect opportunity to get ‘off the beaten track’ and gain a better understanding of Cambodian rural life, along with insight into traditional Khmer culture; something few visitors are lucky enough to experience. You'll explore a local market and purchase supplies for your lunch, and travel by an (almost!) pollution-free ox and cart. Still widely used throughout Cambodia, the cart allows you to travel gently along the narrow sandy village roads. Spend time at the home of a local family, where there will be plenty of time to relax and chat (with your guide acting as interpreter) as they prepare lunch using your market produce. You can help if you wish; this is a fantastic opportunity to further your understanding of typical Khmer cuisine. You meal is likely to be very different from those offered in Siem Reap's more westerner-oriented restaurants! Explore the village before returning to Siem Reap via the workshops of Angkor Artwork - all products sold are produced using traditional methods, and the quality of craftsmanship is outstanding.

Day 12 - Depart Siem Reap

Includes:

Transfer to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
Standard £1,841US$2,412 £1,490US$1,952 £1,279US$1,675

Villa Chitdara

Brilliantly located on Khounsua Road - the quiet central street that slips between Luang Prabang's main night market and Mekong River Street - leafy Villa Chitdara is a small but charming guesthouse... See more

The Riviera

This newly-opened, contemporary style hotel overlooks the Mekong River from an enviable vantage point, just 2km from Champasak Town...

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Pon Arena Hotel

With rooms overlooking either the nearby Mekong River or the mountains behind the hotel, the Pon Arena is a pleasant place to relax and is particularly convenient for exploring the Si Phon Don region. See more

Mekong Dolphin Hotel

The Mekong Dolphin Hotel is arguably the best hotel in Kratie, boasting a riverside location and good-sized rooms. We highly recommend booking a river view room. A clean and comfortable base from which to explore the nearby temples and head out onto the river dolphin spotting.

The Moon Residence

Situated in the heart of Siem Reap, with the Old Market, shops and the river on its doorstep, The Moon Residence is a good value, locally owned and run hotel, in a brilliantly convenient location...

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First Class £2,016US$2,641 £1,666US$2,182 £1,453US$1,903

Villa Maydou

Set in a pleasant garden in the very heart of the old town, the Villa Maydou consists of two wonderfully restored traditional Lao houses, both under the protection of the UNESCO world heritage programme... See more

The Riviera

This newly-opened, contemporary style hotel overlooks the Mekong River from an enviable vantage point, just 2km from Champasak Town...

See more

Pon Arena Hotel

With rooms overlooking either the nearby Mekong River or the mountains behind the hotel, the Pon Arena is a pleasant place to relax and is particularly convenient for exploring the Si Phon Don region. See more

Mekong Dolphin Hotel

The Mekong Dolphin Hotel is arguably the best hotel in Kratie, boasting a riverside location and good-sized rooms. We highly recommend booking a river view room. A clean and comfortable base from which to explore the nearby temples and head out onto the river dolphin spotting.

Viroth's Hotel

Not to be confused with the original, smaller Viroth’s hotel, this fresher 1950’s inspired Viroth’s Hotel opened at the beginning of 2015... See more
Superior £2,111US$2,765 £1,760US$2,306 £1,548US$2,027

Maison Dalabua

This charming boutique hotel is located a short walk from Luang Prabang's historical centre and surrounded by UNESCO classified lotus ponds... See more

River Resort

Laos is all about lush serenity and The River Resort gets this spot on - just 28 villas set along the Mekong River’s bank, surrounded by tropical grassland & rice paddies. Balconies wrap-around every villa...

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Pon Arena Hotel

With rooms overlooking either the nearby Mekong River or the mountains behind the hotel, the Pon Arena is a pleasant place to relax and is particularly convenient for exploring the Si Phon Don region. See more

Mekong Dolphin Hotel

The Mekong Dolphin Hotel is arguably the best hotel in Kratie, boasting a riverside location and good-sized rooms. We highly recommend booking a river view room. A clean and comfortable base from which to explore the nearby temples and head out onto the river dolphin spotting.

Shinta Mani Shack

Funky and stylish, the Shinta Mani Shack enjoys a location in the heart of Siem Reap’s French Quarter... See more
Deluxe £2,248US$2,944 £1,896US$2,484 £1,684US$2,206

Satri House

Previously a residence of Prince Soupha- Nouvong, Satri House underwent extensive renovation in 2008. The result is magnificent and for our money the hotel instantly became a serious contender for Luang Prabang’s boutique hotel crown... See more

River Resort

Laos is all about lush serenity and The River Resort gets this spot on - just 28 villas set along the Mekong River’s bank, surrounded by tropical grassland & rice paddies. Balconies wrap-around every villa...

See more

Pon Arena Hotel

With rooms overlooking either the nearby Mekong River or the mountains behind the hotel, the Pon Arena is a pleasant place to relax and is particularly convenient for exploring the Si Phon Don region. See more

Mekong Dolphin Hotel

The Mekong Dolphin Hotel is arguably the best hotel in Kratie, boasting a riverside location and good-sized rooms. We highly recommend booking a river view room. A clean and comfortable base from which to explore the nearby temples and head out onto the river dolphin spotting.

Shinta Mani Angkor

So much more than 'just another' deluxe hotel in Siem Reap, the Shinta Mani Angkor is very much part of the city's early heritage. Rebuilt from scratch in 2011, opening again in 2012... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • Just because Laos is landlocked doesn’t mean that you can’t spend a few days on the beach. In most instances you will fly to Laos via Bangkok, ensuring easy access to many of Thailand’s world famous beach resorts without the need to pay for extra flights. Alternatively tag a few extra days onto Cambodia and visit the south coast, just three hours drive from Phnom Penh.
  • As alternative to the southern Laos itinerary listed in this holiday, you may wish to consider two nights aboard the Vat Phou Cruise. Described as a ‘boutique river-borne hotel’ the luxurious rice barge plies its trade amongst the 4000 Islands, stopping at key sites including Champasak, the spectacular Wat Phou, Khong Island, Khong Pha Pheng, and the hidden forest temple of Oum Moung.
    Each of the 12 comfortable and elegant air-conditioned cabins offers two single berths with an en suite bathroom; there is a large fore deck and an air-conditioned dining room, both ensuring easy socialising with other guests.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter cambodia and Laos. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Stephen – Indochina tailor-made specialist

'Cambodia and Laos make a lovely couple! If you need a little beach time thrown in then simply add a few days in Kep as your final stop.'

StephenIndochina tailor-made specialist

Speak to Stephen on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.