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Mysterious Indochina

  • Phnom Penh
  • Siem Reap
  • Luang Prabang
  • Phonsavan
  • Vientiane
  • 10 nights from
  • £1,595 per person
  • Trip Code: MC-1172

Holiday Overview

Mysterious Indochina

 

Visiting the killing Fields of Cambodia, the ancient temples of Angkor, the enigmatic Plain of Jars, laid back Luang Prabbang and Vientiane, this holiday is perfect for anyone wanting to get under the skin of Indochina. 

11 Days / 10 Nights

Start Phnom Penh - End Vientiane (can be done in reverse)

Countries visited - Cambodia & Laos

Highlights include: Angkor Wat, The Plain of Jars, The Killing Fields and beautiful Laos scenery. 

 

Mysterious Indochina includes:

  • Transfers and sightseeing as listed
  • 1 night accommodation Phnom Penh
  • Inter Asian flights
  • 3 nights accommodation Siem Reap
  • 3 nights accommodation Luang Prabang
  • 2 nights accommodation Phonsavan
  • 1 night accommodation Vientiane
1

Day 1 - Phnom Penh

Arrive in Phnom Penh, transfer by air conditioned vehicle to the Killing Fields The country still bears the scars left by the Khmer Rouge. Just outside the city, in a peaceful rural setting, we find the Killing Fields. Thousands of people were killed here between the years of 1975 and 1978 and buried in mass graves. It is a distressing place to visit, but it's necessary to get a clearer idea of how Cambodians have suffered and ultimately survived. Today's Highlights: Killing Fields. Visit Tuol Sleng (S-21) Learn about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent, tragic, past at the Tuol Sleng Museum (Museum of Genocide). Formerly the Tuol Svay Prey High School, in 1975, this became the interrogation and torture facility for the Khmer Rouge regime at that time known as Security Prison 21, or simply S-21. Kept largely unchanged, this prison now showcases photographs and exhibits about the thousands of victims that passed through these doors only seven of whom came out alive. Continue with sightseeing in Phnom Penh Visit Wat Phnom Explore Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the capital; according to legend, Phnom Penh was founded here when a woman named Penh found four Buddha statues and built the temple to house them. Visit the National Museum The elegant National Museum, designed in the 1920s in the Khmer style by George Groslier, contains a vast collection of Khmer sculpture and art. Wander the halls to acquire an insight into an artistic heritage that stretches back centuries. Visit the Central Market (Psah Thmey) Explore Psah Thmey, a covered market which is distinguished by its central dome (constructed in 1937). It is filled with shops selling jewellery, fabrics and many kinds of souvenirs. Meals Included - None

Featured accommodation

Kravan Hotel

2

Day 2 - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Sightseeing in Phnom Penh Visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a complex of buildings, which was built to serve as the residence of the King of Cambodia, his family and foreign dignitaries, as well as a venue for the performance of court ceremony and ritual and as a symbol of the Kingdom. The compound was the citadel of King Ponhea Yat (1393-1463) and rebuilt to its present state in 1886, when King Norodom (1834-1904) relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh. The buildings with beautiful towering spires are a great example of classic Khmer architecture found in Cambodia today. The Royal Palace complex and attached 'Silver Pagoda' compound consist of several buildings, structures and gardens all located within 500x800 metre walled grounds overlooking a riverfront park. Marking the approach to the Palace, the high sculpted wall and golden spired Chanchhaya Pavilion stand distinctively against the riverfront skyline. Inside the Palace grounds, street sounds are silenced by the high walls and the various Royal buildings sit like ornate islands rising from the tranquil, manicured tropical gardens. The silver pagoda is often called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Preah Kaew Morokot after the statue housed there. The wooden temple was originally built by King Norodom in 1892 and inside its floor is comprised of more than 5000 silver blocks which together weigh nearly 6 tons. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap, on arrival transfer and check into your hotel.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Tara Angkor Hotel

3

Day 3 - Siem Reap

Full day sightseeing in Angkor Visit Angkor Wat The crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. Upon entering the main structure, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface of the temple, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted from the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones. Visit Preah Khan Preah Khan is a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 metres. Visit Pre Rup Temple Pre Rup was built by Rajendravarman II (ruled 944 to 968), it consists of a pyramid shaped temple with the upper-most of the three tiers carrying five square shrines arranged as a quincunx. The name means turning the body and refers to the traditional method of cremation. Visit Banteay Srei Temple Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, wondrous atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favourite with visitors. Visit a temple for sunset Watch the sun set over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Tara Angkor Hotel

4

Day 4 - Siem Reap

Full day sightseeing in Angkor

Visit Angkor Thom The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle. Visit Banteay Kdei Temple A massive Buddhist temple dating from the second half of the 12th century, Banteay Kdei is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 metres. Visit Srah Srang Srah Srang is a basin east of Banteay Kdei measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple. Visit Ta Prohm temple Ta Prohm is one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Visit Ta Keo Ta Keo was built by Jayavarman V who ruled from 968 to 1001, it was the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone and was dedicated to Shiva. The summit of the central tower is 50 metres high and is surrounded by four lower towers.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Tara Angkor Hotel

5

Day 5 - Siem Reap - Luang Prabang

This morning continue to sightseeing in Angkor Visit Roluos Group Temples The Roluos Group of monuments mark the beginning of Khmer classical art, and they represent some of the earliest great temples built by the Khmer. They served as the capital of Indravarman (who reigned from 877 to 889). Lolei was built on an islet by Yasovarman I (who ruled from 889 to 910), the founder of the first city of Angkor. The sandstone carvings in the niches of the temples are notable as are the Sanskrit inscriptions on the doorposts. Preah Ko was erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century in dedication to his defied ancestors in 880. There are inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorsteps of each temple. Bakong was built and dedicated to Shiva by Indravarman I, and is the largest and most interesting of the Roluos Group of temples and still has an active Buddhist monastery. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, on arrival transfer to your hotel.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

My Dream Boutique Resort

6

Day 6 - Luang Prabang

Sightseeing in Luang Prabang One of the most photographed sights is the unique pink mosaic of the tree of life at Wat Xieng Thong. We will, of course, visit this temple, along with many others that line the streets of the tiny town. Today's Highlights include combinations of the temples of  Wat Visoun, Wat Aham, Wat Xieng Thong, (Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene Excursion by boat to Tham Pak Ou Caves Get spiritual as we follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims to the Pak Ou Caves. These ancient limestone caves are crammed full of thousands of Buddha statues, many broken and crumbling, covered in dust and cobwebs. But first, relax on a cruise down the Mekong River observing life on the sleepy riverbanks.  Visit Ban Xang Khong, a village near Luang Prabang well known for its traditional handwoven cotton and silk, as well as production of the local sa (mulberry) paper.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

My Dream Boutique Resort

7

Day 7 - Luang Prabang

Sightseeing in Luang Prabang How about grilled insects for breakfast today? Only kidding, but these are just some of the exotic produce that we will see at the morning market. It's a great place to get a flavour of local culture and if you do have a craving for fried crickets, you can get them here too! We'll then go to see the rich treasures in the National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace. Check out the royal family's private quarters. They have been preserved just as they were when the royal family were forced to leave. Nearby is Hor Phra Bang, an ornate temple housing a sacred Buddha shrouded in legends. At New Year, the Buddha is carried to Wat Mai. So we'll go there too! Today's Highlights: local market, National Museum (Royal Palace), Hor Phra Bang, Wat Mai Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls Pack your swimsuit for a unique swimming experience at the spectacular Kuang Si Falls. Water tumbles over limestone rocks into numerous turquoise pools that are used as natural swimming holes. It's refreshingly chilly and impossible to resist! On the way back to Luang Prabang stop for a walk around a local village. Today's highlights: Kuang Si Waterfall, local village (Ban Ou or Ban Na Ouane) Visit Mount Phousi for sunset Climb 328 steps starting from the entrance on the opposite side of National Museum, or 410 steps on the other side of Khan River to the small temples atop Phou Si. The hill is 150m high and sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river - Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

My Dream Boutique Resort

8

Day 8 - Luang Prabang - Phonsavan

Transfer by vehicle from Luang Prabang to Phonsavanh (Xieng Khuang) with sightseeing at Muang Sui Today we take a slow journey along mountain roads with stunning views of the forested mountains, lush valleys and karst formations. We'll stop at the scenic Nong Tang Lake, rimmed with limestone cliffs; and venture into Tham Pha Cave to see an ancient five-metre-high Buddha image. 

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel

9

Day 9 - Phonsavan / Plain of Jars

Excursion to the Plain of Jars (Sites 1 and 2) and Muang Khoun Shrouded in mystery, the Plain of Jars will surely stir your imagination! Over 300 huge stone jars lie scattered around the plateau, yet no one knows what they were used for. Some say wine, others say human remains! In nearby Ban Na Pia, entrepreneurial locals take recycling to a whole new level by turning unexploded bombs found in the area into spoons. Carry on to Muang Khoun, an ancient capital that bears the scars from years of invasions and bombing. Here, we'll explore the ruins of once-impressive ancient temples and stupas. 

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel

10

Day 10 - Phonsavan - Vientiane

Sightseeing in Phonsavanh We'll spend the morning wandering around the local markets in Phonsavanh, always a great place to people watch and get a taste of local life. The town is also known for producing beautiful Lao silk. In a local workshop we can watch skilled artisans weaving silk produced from mulberry worms. Today's Highlights: Local markets, Wat Santiphap, weaving centre & mulberry farm, Na Wang Craft centre Visit Mulberry Silk Farm (weaving center) The Mulberry Silk Farm of Lao Sericulture Co, a fair trade company, is dedicated to enabling Lao villagers in the Northern provinces revive the art of high quality silk production. Villagers are trained in sericulture, the process of raising silkworms, and improved weaving techniques. They also learn how to create beautiful colours from natural dyes obtained from leaves, bark, vines, berries and seeds. Learn about the process, visit the farm, and browse the showroom to see the items for sale. Visit Ban Na Wang Craft Center Transfer to the airport for the flight to Vientiane, on arrival transfer to your hotel.

Meals Included – Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Xaysomboun Boutique Hotel

11

Day 11 - Vientiane

Today your tour concludes with a transfeer to the airport.

Meals Inlcuded - Breakfast

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