Journey to Cambodia & Laos - Mekong Adventure - January 5 - 20, 2019 - Join your Hosts, Sandra & Ray Swash as we journey through Thailand, Cambodia & Laos together.
Journey to Cambodia & Laos
January 5 - 20, 2019
From Angkor Wat to remote river towns, journey down the Mekong and into the heart and soul of Southeast Asia seeing the region’s cultural treasures and natural splendours. Explore the many temples and, if you’re lucky, spot a rare Irrawaddy dolphin. Experience the highlights with a chance to get off the beaten track and explore the remote islands of Don Khong. With local transportation and authentic accommodation – like a rural homestay – this adventure offers an intriguing blend of included activities and free time for personal discovery.
What's included with your Adventure?
- Angkor Wat complex entrance and guide (Siem Reap)
- Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) entrance and guide (Phnom Penh)
- Wat Phu Champasak entrance and guide
- Ethnology Museum entrance (Luang Prabang)
- Kuang Si waterfalls trip (half-day)
- Internal flight
- Border crossing support
- All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
- Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), basic family homestay (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt).
- 12 breakfasts, 2 dinners
- Private bus, local bus, plane, boat, train.
- Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
- Escorted with Sandra & Ray Swash
- International Flights (we'll be happy to book for you)
- Visa and visa fees
- Any meals except those mentioned above
- Travel Insurance (Highly Recommended). A quote will be given at time of registration
- Items of personal nature like gratuities, tips, laundry, telephone bills, drinks, internet charges, etc.
- Any item not mentioned above and the itinerary
- Optional Tours mentioned in the Itinerary
$2419.00 per person based on double occupancy
Prices are in Canadian dollars per person, and include all land taxes.
Final Payment due October 5, 2018
Travel Insurance Highly Recommended!! Quote will be provided upon registering
16 Day Journey to Thailand, Cambodia & Laos – Full Itinerary
Day 1 (January 5): Overnight Flight from Toronto to Bangkok (not included)
Meet at the Pearson (Toronto) airport (other Gateways available upon request) in time for your overnight flight.
Day 2 (January 6): Welcome to Bangkok
Day is at leisure until the evening welcome meeting.
Day 3 (January 7): Bangkok / Siem Reap
Travel from Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, the gateway to Angkor Wat. Enjoy a traditional meal of Khmer food.
The scenery is spectacular and the contrast between Thailand and Cambodia is immediate. Get your first taste of Khmer food in the evening with an included local meal. (B | D)
Day 4 (January 8): Siem Reap
Take a guided tour of the massive Angkor Wat temple complex. Opt to visit the Tonle Sap floating village or the Angkor Museum.
Enjoy a tour of impressive ancient ruins with a local professional guide. Wake early to watch the sun rise over the magnificent Angkor Wat temple. Visit the enigmatic faces of Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, and tour Ta Prohm (aka the "Tomb Raider" temple), which is slowly being swallowed by the jungle. (B)
Tonle Sap Floating Village
Tour the floating villages of Tonlé Sap. See what life is like living on a lake — rice planting, pig farming, even attending churches and school, are all done on top of water.
Angkor Museum Visit
Learn about the story of Angkor and the Khmer empire at the interactive Angkor Museum. Explore the museum’s inspiring galleries and interactive technology, which bring Angkor’s past to life.
Phare - The Cambodian Circus
Enjoy a stellar performance by Phare, a unique and socially conscious circus that injects Cambodian culture and history into its inspiring shows. See acrobatics, contortion, and aerial arts melded with theatre, modern dance, and more. Take in stories of war, relationships, and discrimination, inspired by the real-life experiences of Phare’s creators and performers.
Day 5 (January 9): Siem Reap / Phnom Penh
Travel to the capital city of Phnom Penh and enjoy some free time to explore. Opt for a cyclo tour through town for a street level view of this busy city. (B)
Phnom Penh Cyclo Tour
Settle in a traditional cyclo and depart from Wat Phnom. Tour busy streets to soak up the real vibe of the city. Pass the post office and Van's restaurant, both stunning colonial buildings, and make your way to the Royal Palace and National Museum. Go along the riverside road and take in the atmospheric cafes that line the street.
Day 6 (January 10): Phnom Penh
Take a guided tour of Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields). Opt to visit the Royal Palace, National Museum or Russian Market.
While in Phnom Penh, witness the darker side of Cambodian history with guided visits to Choeung Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng, the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. (B)
Royal Palace Visit
Visit the King’s current dwelling place, a magnificent riverside palace with classic Khmer architecture. Dress appropriately please; visitors must wear clothing that covers knees and shoulders, and shirts must reach the elbow.
Silver Pagoda Visit
Tour the Royal Palace complex to see the neighboring Silver Pagoda (aka the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). See the many magnificent treasures inside this beautiful vihara (Buddhist monastery), including its floor lined with more 5,000 tiles of silver.
Visit Cambodia's largest museum of culture, history, and archaeology. Tour its buildings inspired by Khmer architecture – constructed in the early 1900s, they house one of the world's largest collections of Khmer art. Visits here are well worth your time.
Russian Market Visit
Shop this must-visit market for souvenirs, handicrafts, antiquities, and Western brand-name clothing at (often) greatly discounted prices. Haggle away for the best deals!
Wat Phnom Visit
Visit Wat Phnom (Hill Temple) in late afternoon, a historic monument with lots of green space. Keep an eye on your food and belongings; cheeky monkeys like to get a hold of anything they can.
Day 7 (January 11): Phnom Penh / Kratie
Travel to Kratie and opt for a boat trip to see Irrawaddy dolphins. En route, pass through Skuon (a small town famous for its delicious spiders), where it's possible to sample an eight-legged snack. Once in Kratié, opt to head out on the water, trying to spot rare Irrawaddy river dolphins. (B)
Kratie Boat Trip
Come aboard for a one-of-a-kind wildlife encounter – the feeling you get as you spot an Irrawaddy dolphin breaking through the water’s surface is truly inspiring and will lift your heart. Enjoy the boat tour, and let the late-afternoon sun warm your face.Optional Activity:
Day 8 (January 12): Kratie / Don Khong
Cross into Laos and travel to Don Khong with options to cycle or walk through the village or choose to relax by the Mekong. (B)
Get on your bike and enjoy the ride.
Day 9 (January 13): Don Khong / Don Deng
Enjoy a guided tour of Wat Phu Champasak. Enjoy a traditional homestay and local meal in Don Deng.
Travel through the beautiful province of Champasak, once the capital of the Lao kingdom. Head to Pakse and cross the Mekong River to visit Wat Phu with a local guide.
Overnight in a rustic homestay on Don Deng Island. A typical Laotian village environment doesn't have all the creature comforts of home but it allows for insight into the local culture and connection to the people of the village. (D)
Day 10 (January 14): Don Deng / Luang Prabang
Arrive at charming Luang Prabang. With dozens of activities to choose from, spend your time exploring all this town has to offer.
Fly from Pakse to Luang Prabang and discover Laotian Buddhism and architecture. Opt to visit some of Luang Prabang’s most impressive temples and climb Mt Phousi to watch the sun set over the Mekong River and mountains beyond.
Be sure to visit one of the best night markets in all of Southeast Asia. Stroll through the nightly market, bargaining with vendors, sampling local food and picking up some souvenirs. (B)
Night Market Visit
Shop until your heart’s content at the night market in Luang Prabang – one of the best in Southeast Asia. Head to the market around dusk. Tour the vendor stalls lining the streets offering food, wooden statues, clothes, trinkets and souvenirs to dozens of people wandering up and down the market. Don't miss the opportunity to interact with the sellers and gently negotiate a good price.
Phousi Temple Visit
Climb more than 300 steps to the top of Mount Phou Si for a panoramic view of the sunset over Luang Prabang. Ornate Buddhist shrines dot the pathway up and the glistening seven-tiered golden pagoda of Wat Chom Si awaits at the summit.
Day 11 (January 15): Luang Prabang
Enjoy a free day to continue to explore. There's plenty to see and do in Luang Prabang, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like learning about Laotian cuisine with a cooking class, getting a massage, and cycling around town. (B)
Rise early and watch the daily dawn ceremony of saffron-robed monks walking through town to receive alms from local residents. Residents prepare food for the monks to subsist on. Seeing this custom is a beautiful way to gain some insight into the local culture and Buddhist religion. Please be respectful and quietly observe.
Day 12 (January 16): Luang Prabang
Enjoy a free day to continue exploring.
Refine your culinary skills with an optional cooking class. Discover the secrets of the delicious local cuisine.
Get on your bike and enjoy the ride.
Massage (Southeast Asia)
Lay back and soothe aching muscles with a famous local massage. Affordable and amazing, don't miss out.
Day 13 (January 17): Luang Prabang / Vang Vieng
Travel to Vang Vieng, a town full of adventure opportunities. Get active outdoors or relax in a café.
Take a winding drive through scenic mountains to picturesque Vang Vieng, a town resting on the Nam Song river surrounded by limestone karsts. Watch the sunset over the river and explore some of the many caves in the area. (B)
Get on your bike and enjoy the ride.
Explore some of the many caves in the area. Some have lagoons for tubing in the dark or smooth terrain perfect for walking through. Ask your CEO for recommendations on which cave to visit for the best time.
Day 14 (January 18): Vang Vieng / Vientiane
Spend the morning in Vang Vieng before travelling to Laos' capital city. Opt to visit temples, shop in the markets or check out city highlights. This is a great place to get a massage and try some local restaurants.
Depart in early afternoon and drive to one of Asia's sleepiest capital cities, Vientiane. Enjoy the highlights of Vientiane, including Wat Sisaket (one of the city's oldest and most fascinating temples), Pha That Luang (Laos' national symbol and one of its most sacred sites), and the Morning Market (an all-day affair selling virtually everything). (B)
Wat Sisaket Visit
Visit one of Vientiane’s oldest and most fascinating temples featuring a cloister wall filled with thousands of Buddha images.
Day 15 (January 19): Vientiane / Bangkok
Spend a day in Vientiane before an overnight train to Bangkok.
Spend the morning visiting the sights, getting a massage or enjoying the local food scene. In the late afternoon, cross the Friendship Bridge back into Thailand to board the overnight train to Bangkok. (B)
Wat Pha Luang Visit
See Laos’s national symbol and most important sacred monument, Pha That Luang (Great Stupa), completely covered in gold leaf. Every November, devoted Buddhists come here to celebrate Vientiane’s most important festival, Bun That Luang, with parades, music and religious ceremonies.
Morning Market Visit
Visit Vientiane's vibrant, colourful morning market (which incidentally is open all day!) to find plenty of local treasures.
Day 16 (January 20): Vientiane / Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok in the morning. Trip ends on arrival at the Bangkok train station where we will make our way to the airport for our journey home.
Extend your stay in Bangkok if you wish.
Your Hosts and Tour Guides for your Two Week Journey:
SANDRA & RAY SWASH
With over 20 years in the travel industry combined, we specialize in customizing group travel experiences around the world, enhancing the tour by escorting them.
Having traveled to over 30 countries and counting, we choose to visit the destinations up close so that our recommendations and expertise comes from living the experience. We continue to lead various groups, caring for the details and often the 'behind-the-scenes' administration to make group tours an amazing success.
Need more info? Have Questions? Ready to Book Now? Please contact us directly:
Toll free 1 (866) 238-2919
Sandra Direct - 905-541-6355
Email Sandra - firstname.lastname@example.org
You will see the following on your experience
Louangphabang, Luang Phabang or Luang Prabang, literally meaning: "Royal Buddha Image", is a city in Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It had also been known by the ancient name of Chiang Thong. It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. As a visitor, you cannot help but be amazed by the tidiness and cleanliness of perhaps the most charming city in all of Southeast Asia.
Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region. Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handycraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddies in the countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake. Siem Reap today, being a popular tourist destination, has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to the Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.
Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated in the Mekong river. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. During French rule, Vientiane was the administrative capital and due to economic growth in recent times, it has become the economic centre of Laos. The estimated population of the city is 754,000 (2009) while the number of people living in the Vientiane metropolitan area (the entire Vientiane Prefecture and parts of Vientiane Province) is believed to be over 730,000. The city hosted the 25th Southeast Asian Games in December 2009 celebrating the 50 years of SEA Games. Sri Sattanak, or Sisattanak, is a former name of Vientiane. It is often confused with Sri Sattanakanahut, the Pali name of Lan Xang, the Kingdom of the Million Elephants. Sisattanak now is the name of one of the five districts of the city Vientiane.
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, the city has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation's center of economic activities. The city has grown to become the industrial, commercial, cultural, tourist and historical center of Cambodia. Once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. Phnom Penh, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia.
Often overlooked in favour of its better-known neighbours, Laos remains one of Southeast Asia’s most beguiling destinations. It is a landlocked country, known for its mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements, and Buddhist monasteries. The country retains a slow, rather old-fashioned charm, and its people – incredibly laidback and friendly, even by Asian standards are undoubtedly one of the highlights of any visit. The official tourism slogan is "Simply Beautiful".
Bangkok, also known as the ''City of Angels'' and ''Venice of the East'', will hit you like a ton of bricks. Its high-rise buildings, heavy traffic congestion, intense heat and naughty nightlife may not immediately give you the best impression — but don't let that mislead you. It is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities with breathtaking temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone. When you do find a moment, pamper yourself with spa treatments, skyline-view bars, luxurious hotels, and excellent restaurants.