Rich history, tranquil islands, beautiful landscapes- explore a stretch of the Mekong River unlike any other. Travel through Southern Laos’ 4000 Islands and into Cambodia’s remote north, soaking up the scenery and sites. Discover why the Mekong is more than just a river but rather a way of life.
Be charmed by the Mekong River
Get to know the people who live on the Mekong with cycling trips and walking visits of riverside villages.
Discover lesser-known UNESCO sites
See Wat Phou and Sambor Prei Kuk, impressive temple ruins that pre-date Angkor and are rarely visited by tourists.
See three distinctive Asian countries
Travel through Bangkok, Laos and Cambodia and discover their similarities and vast differences.
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL BANGKOK
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Trinity Silom (39.1 km): approx. 44 min – 1 hr
Depart from the hotel to Suvarnabhumi Airport and be transferred to the hotel in Bangkok.
Overnight in Bangkok.
DAY 2 - BANGKOK
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day at leisure.
Overnight in Bangkok.
DAY 3 - BANGKOK – UBON RATCHATHANI
Trinity Silom - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (39.1 km): approx. 44 min – 1 hr
Depart from the hotel to Suvarnabhumi Airport and take a domestic flight to Ubon Ratchathani. Be picked up by the guide at Ubon Ratchathani airport and be transferred to the hotel.
Recommended Flight: TBA
(Flight departure and arrival time subjects to change)
Dinner and overnight in Ubon Ratchathani
DAY 4 - UBON RATCHATHANI - CHONG MEK - DON DAENG
Ubon Ratchathani – Chong Mek (90 km): 1.50 hr Chong Mek – Champasak: (75 km): 1.40 hr
This morning transfer to Chong Mek border and cross to Laos where a local guide awaits.
Drive south towards the Champasak province of Southern Laos then take a short boat ride to Don Daeng, an island in the middle of the Mekong River and 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 take a short walk for a taste of local island life.
Overnight in Don Daeng.
DAY 5 - DON DAENG – WAT PHOU – DON DAENG
Don Daeng – Wat Phou by boat: 20 min
After a leisurely breakfast, take a short guided bicycle tour around the island. The road is flat and the easy ride is a good chance to witness the daily life of the villagers.
Then cross the Mekong by boat to visit Wat Phou. Recognised 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 this afternoon is free at the Lodge.
Overnight in Don Daeng.
DAY 6 - BOLAVEN PLATEAU LOOP
Guests will be picked up at their hotel at 09:00.
Then depart for the Bolaven Plateau, a mountainous region home to dozens of hill tribes, waterfalls and coffee and tea plantations.
The first stops are at Tad Fane and Tad Yuang waterfalls. Tad Fane is a set of twin 120-metre-high waterfalls formed by the merging waters of the Champy and Pak Koot rivers. These impressive falls are situated on the edge of Dong Hua Sao protected area, 38km from Paksé (Note: water levels may vary accordingly to the previous rainy season).
Make a short stop in Paksong, the small capital of coffee. Then, continue east to reach the Sinouk Coffee Resort. Be guided by a coffee expert through the coffee plantation and learn more about how the coffee trees are grown and the different processing stages.
After the visit, enjoy a delicious lunch. Most of the vegetables supplied to the cuisine comes from the home-grown organic garden. Following lunch, get a chance to taste different types of coffee.
On the drive back to Pakse, two stops will be made. The first stop is the visit of Tad Lo Waterfalls, a beautiful formation of three separate falls. From the bridge guests will first see Tad Hang and then Tad Lo in the distance. The most impressive of the three, Tad Suong, is located a further 10km upriver.
The second stop is the small village of Ban Houay Houn, famous for his Katu textiles. Here, get the chance to observe the women weaving by using their legs to stretch the fabric.
Return to Don Daeng in the late afternoon and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Don Daeng.
DAY 7 - DON DAENG - DON KHONE
Dong Daeng – Ban Nakasan (60km): 2 hours
Depart after breakfast, heading to the area known locally as Sipandon (meaning ‘4000 Islands’). In this beautiful area the Mekong River reaches 14 kilometres 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 that will be found
It is recommended to explore by bicycles for the best experience but a tuktuk is available if preferred. Start with a short boat trip and get 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 ‘trapped spirit’ and the locals revere these falls as it is believed 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 pass over the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, the perfect place to take some time and soak in the view.
Continue the exploration and ease in to the slow pace of life, observing locals at a leisurely pace Lunch will be included at a local restaurant.
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Don Khone.
DAY 8 - DON KHONE - LAO / CAMBODIAN BORDER - STUNG TRENG
Dong Khone – Khone Papheng (30km): 30 mins Laos border – Stung Treng (60 km): 1 h 30 mins
This morning, be transferred by boat 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, enter into Cambodia and be welcomed by the new English-speaking guide.Take a short transfer to the small Community based Ecotourism village of O’Svay, only 25km from the Laos border.
Here, take a first glance of 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, have plenty of time to relax and rest during a picnic lunch on a remote island that will give the sense of being far away from everything, just surrounded by nature. Continue towards Stung Treng and arrive in the afternoon.
Overnight in Stung Treng.
DAY 9 - STUNG TRENG - KRATIE
Stung Treng – Kratie (79 km): 2h30mins
Breakfast will be served at a local restaurant near the market in Stung Treng.
This morning, visit Mekong Blue, a local silk weaving centre offering work and an income to disadvantaged young women in this remote area. Tour the workshops and if preferred,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 and be taken preferred places of these interesting creatures. As soon as the first dolphins are spotted, the boat driver will turn the engine off to follow the dolphins silently (duration 1 to 1.5 hours).
Arrive in Kratie (transfer ca. 30 minutes), have some time at leisure to discover the small town. For lunch, enjoy Le 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 delicious Khmer food paired with a very personalised service. The students are as excited to meet their guests as the guests themselves to meet the students. (Note: The Center is closed on weekends – if the visit coincides with a Sat/Sun then dinner will be at the hotel or a local restaurant instead).
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 livelihoods largely depends on rice farming and fruits cultivation (Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo!). Upon arrival, check-in to the hotel and enjoy some time at leisure to enjoy the environment.
Overnight on Koh Trong Island.
DAY 10 - KRATIE
Breakfast at the hotel. Now get ready for a visit of the island which is home during the stay in Kratie. to take a local horse cart or pedal around the island on a bicycle.
The 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 a tree here that will carry your name 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 and get a taste of local fruit and visit a Vietnamese floating village on the southern tip of the island. Return to Kratie by boat this afternoon and take some time to relax.
This evening, if the weather permits, see the spectacular sunset over the Mekong that Kratie is famous for.
Overnight on Koh Trong Island.
DAY 11 - KRATIE – KAMPONG CHAM – KAMPONG THOM
Kratie - Chhlong (20km): 45 mins Chhlong – Kampong Cham (100km): 2.30 hrs Kampong Cham - Kampong Thom (114 km): 2 hrs
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 in Cambodia.
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), and have the rest of the day at leisure to relax by the hotel’s beautiful pool or to discover the provincial capital independently.
Overnight in Kampong Thom.
DAY 12 - KAMPONG THOM - SAMBOR PREI KUK - SIEM REAP
Kampong Thom – Sambor Prei Kuk (30 km): 1 hour Sambor Prei Kuk – Siem Reap (169 km): 2 hour & 30 Minutes
Breakfast at the hotel.
Today, head towards the rarely visited Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country that has become Cambodia’s most recent UNESCO World Heritage site. Sambor Prei Kuk was built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th centuries 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 breathtaking 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. 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 near the temple.
Continue towards Siem Reap, about 2.5 hours away. Upon arrival, check-in to the 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 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 symbolising 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 more than thirty years of intensive labour. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolises the soul of the Khmer people. Explore the compound 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.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 13 - SIEM REAP
Siem Reap – Tonle Sap (20 km): 30 mins
After an early breakfast take a short transfer and be brought to the beginning of the temple exploration experience from the East entrance of Angkor Wat. 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:
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 dozens of towers with enigmatic faces representing the Buddha.
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 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. Alternatively, depending on the season and the crowds, visit Preah Khan temple. Built by the same king in a similar style, this larger temple complex is also largely left in ruins and its labyrinthian layout and fewer visitors makes a more intimate experience even in the high season months.
Break up the day with lunch at Marum, a newly opened dining experience which is a sister to the Romdeng and Friends training restaurants in Phnom Penh. 33 students and 15 trainers are currently employed by an NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalized young people since 2005 in Siem Reap. The food is mostly tapas style though main courses are also available. (closed Sundays).
Later this afternoon, embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake and have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about four times its size during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village with houses on stilts that are submerged when the Tonlé Sap Lake extends. On the way, 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 July to February. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged during dry season).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 14 - SIEM REAP - DEPARTURE
Enjoy this morning free at leisure and relax at the hotel or to do some last minute souvenir shopping at Siem Reap’s colourful markets. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for the individual flight home.
Address: 102 H50 Alley 41/27 Vong Str, Ha Ba Trung Dist, Hanoi
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