Escape to the heart of spectacular South East Asia.

Take an epic 35-day adventure that hits the best of the best in South East Asia. From the majestic Angkor ruins and the beaches of Phan Rang to the frenetic pace of Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, past the relaxed vibes of Hoi An, Chiang Mai and to the riverside of Luang Prabang, you’ll learn the history, meet friendly and welcoming people, eat delicious food and stay with local communities along the way. If you want to capture the true essence of this region, this jam-packed and all-encompassing itinerary is for you. See what all the fuss is about in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia – four shining gems in South East Asia.


Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Bangkok, Thailand
Destinations
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
TTRDC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • A slow boat down the Mekong River is one of South East Asia's most classic journeys. You’ll spend a day meandering down the river to Luang Prabang – a relaxing way to discover the region’s natural splendour.

  • Participate in workshops run by local artisans, including an indigo dyeing demonstration in Baan Thung Hong Village, and an ancient pottery class in Bo Suak Cultural Place.

  • Lan Ha Bay is a paradisiacal enclave of green waters and strange rock formations. Explore them by boat and kayak, then spend the night on Cat Ba Island.

  • Enjoy the guidance of a local expert as you temple-hop at the dazzling Angkor complex, one of South East Asia's most stunning sights.

  • Have some fun at Rehash Trash – a sustainable concept in Siem Reap run by women to empower them with skills-based training, and to help you make a treasure out of what may otherwise be considered waste.

Is this trip right for you?

  • As part of our Basix range, there’s lots of time allocated for optional activities meaning freedom and flexibility, but it does require a level of independence. Only a few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights! It's hard to give a guide on how much spending money you'll need, as everyone is different. But even if you are on a tight budget, there are plenty of free or inexpensive activities, such as temple visits, tuk-tuk transport, river and countryside walks and local markets to explore. Travellers who do some research in advance of travel as well as take the chance to chat to their leader about options available will get the most out of their time in each place.

  • The accommodation on this trip is mostly simple – a combination of simple hotels, guesthouses and a homestay. Some rooms will have air conditioning, some rooms will have a fan

  • You'll be spending a night with a local family on this trip. While the accommodation is shared and basic, this is a great opportunity to connect with the local people and enjoy delicious home-cooked meals! Read more about the experience here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodia-homestay-experience

  • The unhurried pace of Laos can be frustrating to travellers used to more urgency. It can also mean things don't always go to plan or aren't in a rush to get done! Buses can break down, journeys can take longer than expected, and guesthouse rooms are sometimes not ready on arrival. The key to enjoying Laos’ laid-back atmosphere is plenty of patience and going with the flow.

  • Depending on where you come from, the weather in South East Asia might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to. We recommend checking online for what the typical temperatures will be at the time of the year you are looking to travel to see what to expect – this website might be useful: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/vietnam/weather-in-vietnam

  • It can get colder than you might expect in northern Laos in January, with an average temperature of 16° C, so you'll need some warm clothes if travelling at that time.

  • The roads between Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang offer breathtaking views, but the catch is that there are a lot of twists and turns. Past travellers recommend those prone to motion sickness to bring some medication with them from home.

  • This trip involves a lot of public transport and some long days of driving, so some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here. Sit back, relax, watch the scenery go by, and embrace travelling like a local.

  • We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight.

  • The stories and history shared at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are confronting and many travellers will find them upsetting. This is an important part of Cambodia’s recent history that we feel is important for travellers to know. If you would prefer not to join these activities your leader can recommend some optional alternatives.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Bangkok has much to offer those with time to explore, so we recommend you arrive a day or two earlier to see its wondrous sights. You can take a riverboat to Chinatown to sample some world-class street food, visit the Grand Palace, wander down the bustling mecca of Khao San Road or indulge in a Thai massage. If you would like to spend more time in Bangkok, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). After your group meeting, why not get some of the crew together and head to one of Bangkok’s renowned street food markets for some delicious food. Sitting on a roadside plastic stool never felt so good when you’re eating a curry or khao soi (chicken noodle soup).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Bangkok Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB2175
  • Bangkok - Bangkok Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1980
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

LAOS VISA
A visa for Laos is required for this trip and must be obtained prior to arrival. Please see Visa section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.
Start the morning by jumping on a public ferry to Wat Kalayanamit and enjoy an included walking tour around the fascinating Thonburi area. See the mixture of cultures with Buddhist temples and Catholic churches as you stroll around. Often a spot away from the tourist trail you will experience untouched local villages living by the waterways and visit quaint local markets that have plenty of interesting snacks waiting for you to try. Finish the walking tour at Amulet market and be lured into a shopping frenzy. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon for optional activities; you may want to relax with a Thai massage or visit the mysterious Jim Thompsons House. This evening, board your overnight train to Chiang Mai (approximately 13 hours). You will travel by 2nd class and your carriage will be air-conditioned.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Thonburi tour
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake up on the train and glimpse the northern scenery as you arrive in Chiang Mai, then transfer to your hotel. Get out and explore this 'Rose of the North', which boasts spectacular temples, delicious food, an enormous night market, a picturesque riverfront and excellent shopping. Hiring a bike to get around town is a great activity or venturing to the Doi Suthep temple is a great choice too. There is so much to do in Chiang Mai and you’ll have two full free days to do as much or little as you like.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB990
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple complex - THB50
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep transport (minivan for group) - THB1100
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Adventure seekers, ask your leader about white-water rafting or flying like a bird with Jungle Flight ziplining. Today is a free day and there are many optional activities your leader can help you organise. You could also participate in a Thai cooking course or see those amazing Asian Elephants in a visit to the Elephant Nature Park. It’s totally up to you, and your group leader has all the best people in the right places, so ask them for their recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
  • DISCONTINUED Chiangmai Cultural and Mindfulness - THB1530
  • Chiang Mai - Whitewater rafting - THB1500
  • Chiang Mai - Zipline Course - THB3999
  • Chiang Mai - Elephant Nature Park - THB2500
  • Chiang Mai - Mae Ping River Experience Urban Adventure - THB2174
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a private minivan to Nan (approximately 5 hours, not including stops). On the way, stop by the town of Phrae, which is very well-known among Thai communities for their production of indigo fabrics – some of the best in Asia. Head straight to the Baan Thung Hong Village, where you’ll get shown the ‘hom’ (indigo) plantation and participate in a traditional workshop. You’ll get a small handkerchief and will be able to try the dying process yourself! Have lunch nearby at a local restaurant, then continue on to Nan. Once arrived, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of the town, then you’ll have the rest of the evening to do as you please.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nan Province - Organics Indigo Dyeing Center
  • Nan Province - Leader led orientation walk of Nan
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make tracks for Chiang Klang today with a couple of stops along the way. Just outside of Nan is Ban Cha Manut Ancient Kiln and Huan Ban Suak Saen Chuen Museum, where you’ll learn about the ancient art of pottery in the region. The Ban Cha Manut kiln has been used in this house for over 800 years; you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Take a visit to the nearby museum, and afterwards, head to the Bo Suak Cultural Place for a pottery workshop and get a chance to whip up a creation of your own. Enjoy lunch with your group at an open-air community restaurant with expansive views over the surrounding countryside. Relax with an included meal and be sure to have your camera handy. You may also have time to visit the Nan Art Gallery, set beside the river, showcasing work from modern Thai artists. Onwards to Chang Klang – it is approximately a 2.5-hour journey between towns, and upon arrival, freshen up and join your group leader on a visit to the local food markets, where you may like to taste some regional specialties. Enjoy a dinner with your leader and the group.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nan Province - Ban Cha Manut Ancient Kiln & Huan Ban Suak Saen Chuen Museum
  • Nan Province - Bo Suak Cultural Place (Pottery Workshop)
  • Nan Province - Nan Art Gallery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Prior to the boat's departure, ask your leader for help purchasing food and drinks for the journey if you need some. It can also be quite cold between November and February, so make sure you have some warm gear packed. Due to dam construction upstream, water levels are not as reliable as in previous years. When the river is at its lowest (February to April), groups may need to take a bus to Pak Beng instead of the boat. This is due to safety reasons and is advised by our local operators.
Leave your accommodation after breakfast and make your way to the Thailand–Laos border. Your group leader will help you complete immigration and border formalities, and then you’ll continue on to the Laos town of Pakbeng. If there is no holdup at the border, you will reach Pakbeng just in time for lunch, so tuck into some good food, and have a chilled-out afternoon. Perhaps rent a bicycle to explore the surrounding countryside and the banks of the Mekong. Your accommodation tonight is a basic guesthouse.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
LAOS VISA
A visa for Laos is required for this trip and must be obtained prior to arrival. Please see Visa section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.
Get on the water this morning and cruise downriver at a nice leisurely pace on your way to Luang Prabang (6–7 hours). This way of ‘slow travel’ is popular among travellers to the region, as you’ll wind down the Mekong River, passing riverside villages and lush forests on the banks. Arriving late afternoon, you'll have time to hit the highly recommended night market food stalls, a great place to mingle with the locals and enjoy a meal with fellow travellers. With temples and French colonial villas lining the Mekong under blazing orange skies, you can see why this city has a reputation for exotic beauty.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Prior to the boat's departure, ask your leader for help purchasing food and drinks for the journey if you need some. It can also be quite cold between November and February, so make sure you have some warm gear packed. Due to dam construction upstream, water levels are not as reliable as in previous years. When the river is at its lowest (February to April), groups may need to take a bus to Pakbeng instead of the boat. This is due to safety reasons and is advised by our local operators.
Join your guide for a walk around the local area, learning more about Lao culture at the temple of Wat Phra Mahathat. Today and tomorrow are then yours to spend as you please. Take the time to explore the local market by day, where the textiles made by local women will amaze. You can also make the steep climb up Mount Phousi, the spiritual and geographical heart of the city and a prime location to see the sunset over the Mekong.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Luang Prabang - National Museum - USD4
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre - USD20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your leader can help you organise many optional activities today. Kuang Si Falls, a spectacular spot to swim, is well worth a visit. Also, at the gate entrance to the waterfalls you will have the chance to stop by the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre where you can see the wonderful work this centre is doing to rescue bears from poachers and provide them with a home. If you want to learn more about the local cuisine you can enjoy a cooking demonstration in the heart of town. Today is all yours to choose your own adventure.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Cooking demonstration - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private minibus through dusty villages and winding mountain roads to Vang Vieng (approximately 7 hours). The mountain scenery en route is as impressive as that of your destination. Situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng is surrounded by towering limestone karsts. Please note that the standard of accommodation in Vang Vieng tonight and tomorrow is basic but comfortable.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Vang Vieng is known as an adventure town, thanks to its unique and varied surrounding countryside. Its many local caves are easily accessible and make for great day trips or half-day trips. Notably, Tham Chang, with its beautiful cavern fed by a natural spring, is an interesting swimming hole. Those looking to relax or perhaps learn more about local niche industry can visit the organic mulberry farm just outside town and enjoy a meal there (guided tours of the farm are available).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a beautiful local bus ride through small villages to Vientiane (approximately 4 hours). Enjoy the slow pace of what is possibly Asia's most laid-back capital city. On a guided walk you will visit the key Buddhist sites Wat Si Saket and Haw Phra Kaew and continue on to Patuxai (Victory Gate) for sweeping views over the city. You will also visit COPE, an organisation dedicated to assisting those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordnance across the country.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Vientiane - Tuk Tuk to Buddha Park - USD25
  • Vientiane - Vientiane temples - USD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take an unaccompanied flight from Vientiane to Hanoi (approximately 1 hour). Keep an eye out at the airport arrivals hall where a local representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. This evening, there’s another group meeting scheduled where you’ll meet your Vietnamese group leader and new group joining you for the next stage of your journey. This meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Hanoi’s many fantastic eating spots, and after a bit of travelling today, you’ll be surely ready for some local food!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure - USD40
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting tonight to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
An early start is necessary to get the most out of your day. Take a 7.30 am bus ride and ferry transfer to the steep karsts and tiny beaches of Cat Ba Island, arriving before midday – you’ll have a quick stop to stretch your legs en route. The largest of all the islands in World Heritage-listed Halong Bay, charming Cat Ba will be your base for exploring the limestone cliffs and turquoise water that define this area. Get acquainted with this stunning spot with an afternoon cruise around the bay, enjoying lunch on the boat while floating past the karsts covered in emerald-green foliage. Later, get closer to the water and explore on a kayak, perhaps stopping at one of Cat Ba’s many beaches for a swim. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy the sunset with a cold beer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Wake up in paradise and enjoy some free time lazing on the beach. Maybe go for a swim, kick back with a book or take a stroll along the sand. In the afternoon, head back to Hanoi. Hopefully you’ll have some time to grab dinner with the group before boarding an overnight train for a 12-hour journey to Hue later on. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are the best way to travel long distances and brush shoulders with the locals. Most trains have a dining carriage which serves simple food, but some travellers like to take some fresh bread, cheese, fruit and other snacks for the journey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group. Your leader will coordinate and give further information on the trip. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend that you stock up on snacks and drinks before departure.
As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Packed with historic monuments, Hue is also perfectly located to explore the surrounding countryside, which features stunning scenery, quaint villages and the peaceful Tam Giang Lagoon. The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai – a royal rice cake. You have a free day to explore, which you could easily spend exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within. Perhaps jump on board a dragon boat and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda, or cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. Otherwise, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc - VND136000
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (lunch included) - VND540000
  • Hue - Hue Royal City Street Eats Urban Adventure - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your hotel rooms will be available from the standard check-in time this afternoon. You can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Hue.
Continue on your journey and travel to the World Heritage-listed town of Hoi An, where on arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around town. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today, the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Hoi An Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. It’s also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within 24 hours, so be sure to check that out!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An. Perhaps take a cruise up the Thu Bon River or learn the secrets of cooking delicious Vietnamese dishes. Visit some of the main art galleries or simply wander around the beautifully restored Chinese shop houses. There’s also the option of cycling around the surrounding countryside – a truly relaxing way to get off the beaten track and see rural Vietnam up close. Your leader will be able to suggest activities to help you get the most out of your time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike with Sunset BBQ Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the most out of another free day in Hoi An. Perhaps do some of the activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule over the past couple of days, or go pick up your fresh threads from the tailors. There’s also Cua Dai Beach nearby – the perfect place to rest up before continuing on your way. This evening, board another overnight train bound for Phan Rang. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have some snacks and a book on hand.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham tour (entrance fee, guide and transport included) - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Phan Rang early this morning for two days of beachside bliss and relaxation. With arguably the best weather in Vietnam, Phan Rang is a low-key coastal city where swimming, snorkelling and seafood take priority. While you’re here, look out for banh can and banh xeo – egg, squid, shrimp and vegetables cooked into a pancake. Delicious!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a break with another day in Phan-tastic Phan Rang. You could squeeze the sand between your toes and grab some rays on the beach, or take a quick ride out to Dinh Cape – one of the most picturesque bays and stretches of sand in the area. Otherwise, perhaps ask your leader where you can get a massage to really get your zen on. Keep in mind that there’s your overnight train journey waiting for you this evening, so get outside and enjoy all that Phang Rang has to see, and eat! Tonight’s overnight train journey will take approximately 7 hours and drop you right into bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early this morning and transfer to your hotel. Today you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Vietnam’s largest city. Ho Chi Minh City has a busy atmosphere and many French influences. In your free time, it’s recommended to visit the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. There’s also the historic Dong Khoi Street, and the chaotic markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Ho Chi Minh City has a different style of cuisine to its northern counterpart Hanoi, so be sure get out for restaurant meals and street food with your travel crew. Your group leader has all the best people in the right places, so they’ll know of some delectable places to eat, for any budget.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please note that there are shared hotel rooms available this morning if you would like to freshen up before check-in time this afternoon.
Today you may be required to move to a different hotel in Ho Chi Minh City for the next section of your trip. Your leader will let you know if this is the case, and will help with the transfer to the next hotel. You have a free day to consider many optional activities. Why not head out of the city and take an Urban Adventure to the Cu Chi Tunnels – an underground tunnel network in the middle of the jungle that was used by the Viet Cong during the war. See urbanadventures.com/destination/ho-chi-minh-city-tours for more information. Tonight, there’s another group meeting planned, usually around 6 pm, where you will be briefed about the next stage of your South East Asian adventure. Afterwards, you could get acquainted (or reacquainted) with your group with a local dinner – your group leader will know of some delicious options nearby.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting tonight to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Travel by public bus through rural Vietnam and Cambodia to Phnom Penh (approximately 10 hours including two border crossings and lunch). Cambodia's capital city is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture. You may want to take a cyclo tour of the city's sights, including the central market, US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong river front, independence monument and Royal Palace. If you're in the mood for shopping, stop in at the art deco Psar Thmei (Central Market) or travel out to Psar Tuol Tom Pong (the Russian Market) for the best range of local souvenirs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
  • Phnom Penh - Khmer massage - USD8
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a day to explore the swirl and bustle of Phnom Penh. Included today is a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. These serve as sobering reminders of the violent rule of the Khmer Rouge. Here you can learn more about this confronting but important chapter in history – if you'd rather not visit these sites, simply let your leader know. Otherwise, the rest of the day is free for you to explore. You could visit Wat Phnom, a Buddhist temple shrouded in myth, or the National Museum and its excellent Khmer collection. Perhaps indulge in a traditional massage at Seeing Hands – a great social enterprise supporting visually impaired masseurs. A traditional Cambodian massage may be a little different than you are used to – it’s generally an oil-free, fully-clothed affair. In the evening, perhaps head up to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club bar with your group for a drink overlooking the Tonle Sap River.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Urban Adventure Mekong Sunset - USD65
  • Phnom Penh - Urban Adventure Phnom Penh Street Food by Night - USD47
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by private vehicle (approximately 3.5 hours) into rural Cambodia to the region of Kampong Speu and the village of Chambok. There's a lot of natural beauty to discover here, and the Chambok community is renowned for its ecotourism. A member of the Chambok community will take you on a village walk and be happy to chat about their community’s history, lifestyle and local ecotourism projects. Meet the families your group will spend the night with and settle into your homestay accommodation. In the afternoon, take a walk around the village and head to a nearby waterfall. If it's warm enough, you may even opt for a swim! In the evening, head to the community centre to enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner prepared by women from the community. You'll also be treated to a traditional dance performance – tonight is an experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chambok - Traditional dancing
  • Chambok - Homestay and activities
Optional Activities
  • Chambok - Waterfall hike - USD3
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
We stay in one room in multishare homestay accommodation. Depending on the group size, we may use two homes that are located close to each other. There will be a thin mattress on the floor, pillow, mosquito net and towel for each traveller. Bathroom facilities will be shared and will often consist of a squat toilet and cold water washing area.
Say goodbye to your homestay hosts and head in a private vehicle to Kampong Chhnang (approximately 3 hours). Kampong Chhnang is a central province of Cambodia and borders South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap. After you’ve arrived, head to a pottery workshop demonstration where you’ll see how the locals use this craft, plus try it out, if you want! Otherwise, you could book on a boat trip on Tonle Sap lake, passing by the floating villages and fishing boats. This evening, there is also an optional (but highly recommended) experience to have dinner in a local home – you’ll never get over traditional Cambodian hospitality.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kampong Chhnang - Pottery Demonstration
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Onwards to Battambang. Take a private vehicle for about 4 hours towards the Thai border, and you’ll hit this town on the Sangkae River. This afternoon is free for you to do as you please. Perhaps head to Wat Banan – an Angkor-era temple perched high about the river overlooking the surrounding region. With around 300 stairs to climb to the temples, it’s worth the exercise, as the largely untouched temples are a sight to behold, and the 360-degree panoramic views over the province are stunning, especially on a sunny day. Otherwise, Battambang’s Killing Fields of Phnom Sampeau are also a sobering reminder of how the Khmer Rouge affected this area. At sunset, an extraordinary sight occurs with thousands of bats emerging and streaming out from the nearby caves, sometimes for over half an hour. If you do decide to go to Phnom Sampeau, be sure to time your visit for this.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Battambang - Phnom Sampov bat caves - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With another free day in Battambang, consider one of the optional activities to undertake. If you’re feeling active, there’s a cycling tour which takes you around to visit local producers of traditional foods, plus you get a different look at the countryside, with the fresh air cooling you as you ride. Instead, there may be a chance to book into a cooking class in a local home, or head out in the evening for a street food tour – best to ask your group leader, as they know all the best people in the right places.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Battambang - Countryside tour of local producers - USD25
  • Battambang - Cooking class in a local home - AUD18
  • Battambang - Phare Ponleu Selpak Centre - USD12
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a private vehicle to Siem Reap (approximately 3.5 hours). The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to the Angkor archaeological site. This is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. The markets are a great place to shop or to try some cheap, delicious street food. Included today is a sustainable concept activity called Rehash Trash. Cambodia, as well as many South East Asian nations, finds themselves with a mounting problem – waste. This initiative is run by women to empower them with skills-based training, and by using some of this waste for good, you’ll make a treasure out of what may otherwise be considered waste. If your creation doesn’t turn out that great, don’t worry – they have an onsite shop with recycled products made by local women to buy as souvenirs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Rehash Trash Recycling Workshop
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you will visit the world-famous Angkor complex with your guide. These temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photographic opportunities at any time of day – seeing them at sunrise or sunset is highly recommended. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap. You'll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm, among others.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - One day Angkor Pass
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Three day Angkor Pass - USD62
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
A single-day Angkor Pass is included on this tour. If you'd like to return to Angkor outside of your included visit, you can buy a longer pass. Ask your group leader for further information.
Today there may be a chance (depending on the season) to visit Tonle Sap Lake for a look at local life. If you feel like some adventure, another option is to do the Angkor zip-line course, which gives you a birds-eye view of the beautiful rainforest and an adrenaline rush, of course. Otherwise you could visit the sobering Landmine Museum. It's located a little further field but is well worth the journey. You may also take the opportunity to spend a second day at the Angkor complex to explore parts of the site you may have missed yesterday. Please note that if you choose to return to Angkor, an extra day pass will be at your expense.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Full day remork transport to Angkor complex - USD20
  • Siem Reap - Khmer Cooking Class - USD25
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline Silver Tour - USD129
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Street Food by Night - USD48
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventures Tonle Sap Secrets - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
It's a long drive from Siem Reap to Bangkok (approximately 10 hours in a private minibus including two border crossings and lunch), so strap in and have some car games at the ready. Once arrived, embrace Thailand's bustling capital by getting out amongst it – a world of tuk tuks, khlong (canal) boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Head out with your new crew for an optional group dinner and find out why this city never sleeps.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for the final day, you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! Bangkok is a bustling hub of food, culture and chaos, so we recommend you spend at least another day here to explore. Better yet, book into one of the many Urban Adventure tours on offer – they take you around the best places with a knowledgeable local guide. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/bangkok-tours. If you would like to spend more time in Bangkok, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1980
  • Bangkok - Bangkok Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB2175
  • Bangkok - Bangkok Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Cycle rickshaw, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Train, local bus, tuk tuk

Accommodation

Guesthouse (11 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (18 nights), Overnight sleeper train (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Bangkok - Thonburi tour
  • Nan Province - Organics Indigo Dyeing Center
  • Nan Province - Leader led orientation walk of Nan
  • Nan Province - Ban Cha Manut Ancient Kiln & Huan Ban Suak Saen Chuen Museum
  • Nan Province - Bo Suak Cultural Place (Pottery Workshop)
  • Nan Province - Nan Art Gallery
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves
  • Luang Prabang - Walking tour
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Walking tour
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
  • Chambok - Traditional dancing
  • Chambok - Homestay and activities
  • Kampong Chhnang - Pottery Demonstration
  • Siem Reap - Rehash Trash Recycling Workshop
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - One day Angkor Pass

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Important notes

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2, 16, 20 and 22 (overnight trains), Day 7 (guesthouse) and Day 27 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. A visa for Laos is required for this trip and must be obtained prior to arrival. Please see Visa section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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