If you are arriving on Day 1 you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Please look for the WORLD EXPEDITIONS welcome sign in the arrivals hall. This afternoon, a local tuk tuk will take you on an excursion for a first glimpse of legendary Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology. 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 approximately thirty years of intensive labour. Today, Angkor Wat appears on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolising the soul of the Khmer people. This evening enjoy Angkor Wat at sunset when it is less visited and the Apsaras shine in a wonderful light.
Note: Appropriate attire when visiting temples in Angkor Wat is long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed within temple grounds. Visitors can and are frequently turned away from temples when wearing revealing clothing.
After breakfast, visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. The city is surrounded by an eight metre high wall and we enter the through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with elephants and four giant faces. From here we continue to Bayon Temple in the very centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is magnificent and famous for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also a must-see as they are known for their intricate bas-reliefs.
Angkor is full of magical highlights, and one that children enjoy the most is Ta Prohm temple where the 'Lara Croft' movie was set and filmed. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most memorable of the Angkor temples. But this temple visit will not be a usual one think Tomb Raider! Return to the hotel to enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Siem Reap
After breakfast, you head out to Kompong Kleang floating village is, in fact, a settlement of over 20,000 people where houses tower up to ten meters above the water, Greeted by waves of the friendly locals, here you can glimpse Cambodia's countryside culture and traditional family lifestyle.
The remainder of the afternoon is at your own leisure to relax or take in the sights.
This evening enjoy a special treat with a performance from PHARE. The Cambodian Circus has long been famous for their performances, and this NGO teaching street kids to become circus artists is a regular at international circus conventions worldwide. Enjoy their interpretations of modern life and issues in Cambodian society.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Note: From February to August/September the water level of the Tonle Sap Lake is very low. It's muddy and the boat can get stuck. If clients are still keen on having a boat trip on the lake we'll change to Chong Kneas floating village where the condition is a little bit better for the boat trip.
Free at leisure until Transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang. On arrival in Luang Prabang, the spiritual capital of Laos, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast we transfer to the pier where we embark on a boat along the Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, with their thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues left by pilgrims. Continuing upriver we reach Kamu Lodge in time for lunch. The Lodge features 20 private canvas tents, which were purposely built to provide a unique accommodation experience. Decorated with bamboo and wooden furniture the lodge harmoniously blends with the surrounding environment and each tent features private bathrooms with solar powered hot water and electricity.
This afternoon you may choose to participate in a variety of different activities for a rewarding and very original Lao experience:
- Rice planting
- Gold panning (January to June) in the Mekong. Anything you find is yours!
- Traditional fishing in the Mekong. You can sample your catch for dinner!
- Local village visit and encounters
The morning is at your leisure to enjoy breakfast in the relaxing surroundings of Kamu Lodge and enjoy activities at site. You will then enjoy lunch at the lodge before returning by boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.
After leaving the boat, we leisurely walk to visit to the most photographed temple, Wat Xieng Thong. Situated at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat while the library was added in 1828. Late this afternoon we have the opportunity to climb the 328 steps to the summit of Mount Phousi for panoramic views over the city and the surrounding countryside. Visit the Night Market where you can find plenty of local souvenirs, handicrafts and textiles from local hill tribes surrounding Luang Prabang.
This morning enjoy a city tour discovering Luang Prabang, perhaps the best preserved traditional city in South East Asia.Your tour starts at the former Royal Palace (closed on Tuesday), now the National Museum. Continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief. You will be transferred to the airport, where trip concludes.
NOTE: Due to the flight arrival and Departure time, the activities of Visiting National Museum and Vat Mai could be arranged on the first day of arrival or last day before departure.