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Wat Xieng Thong temple, Luang Praban

Hiking Laos and Cambodia

2024 Small Group Departure - Example 12 Day Tour
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Explore the hidden gems from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw and the wonders of Siem Reap during this 12-day small group journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Laos and Cambodia. Start your adventure at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, where you'll wander through charming streets and explore the city's rich cultural tapestry. As you leave Luang Prabang, the tour takes you to the picturesque Nong Khiaw along the Nam Ou River. Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty as you traverse local trails, encounter remote villages, and witness the authentic daily life of the region. Continuing the journey, Siem Reap awaits its ancient wonders, including the iconic Angkor Wat. Explore the vast temple complex, where centuries of history come to life through the carvings and architectural marvels. Engage with local communities, savor authentic cuisine, and gain insights into the profound cultural heritage of Cambodia.
Buddha at Bayon Temple, Angkor ThomEvening view over Luang PrabangBoats bring travelers to the Pak Ou Cave entrancePak Ou cave near Luang PhabangGolden Sleeping Buddha, Mount Phou Si, Luang PrabangKuang Si WaterfallFloating village in Southeast AsiaAerial view of Angkor WatMonk at Angkor templeLocal Selling at a Floating Market in Siem ReapHouses of Tonle SapWat Xieng Thong temple, Luang Praban
Highlights
  • Visit Luang Prabang's UNESCO World Heritage Site with an expert local guide
  • Hike to the majestic Kuang Sy Waterfall and enjoy lunch in a local home
  • Experience a relaxing cruise in the Nam Ou River and visit the Pak Ou Caves
  • See the Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover Phnom Kulen National Park on foot
  • Explore Kompong Khleang, one of the largest floating villages on Tonle Sap
Places Visited
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Luang Prabang, Laos

Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, transfer to the hotel on your own. The guide will meet you in the early evening and take you to a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia, with its perfect location at the meeting point of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers and the foot of an age-old mountain range. Discover the most iconic and culturally significant locations in Luang Prabang. With the help of your expert local guide, they will share their knowledge of the city's history, architecture, and culture.

Today, the home of the National Museum, the Royal Palace, boasts an extensive collection of priceless artifacts once owned by the royal family and a wide variety of statues found in the area's temples. Here, you can see the Phrabang Buddha, considered the most sacred artifact of Laos and given its name to the city. Note: Royal Palace opening hours: every morning 8:00 – 11:30 (stop selling tickets at 11:00), every afternoon 13:30 – 16:00 (stop selling tickets at 15:30, except on Thursdays stop at 15:00).

Take a local motorboat to the most well-known Buddhist site in Luang Prabang, the Pak Ou caves. On this Mekong River excursion, you can witness how the locals live along the river's banks as it flows past quaint villages and towering karst cliffs. Once you arrive after the boat ride and climb the stairs to the entrance, you will see thousands of Buddha statues inside the caves.

In a charming setting not far from Pak Ou Caves, savor a meal cooked by the locals and served on a Sala, a traditional Lao bamboo platform with a view of the river. This is your chance to savor regional food while taking in the tranquil surroundings. After lunch, continue by boat for 2 hours back to Luang Prabang. Once you arrive in Luang Prabang, visit the Vat Mai, built at the end of the 15th century. It is a highly sacred shrine with an incredible roof.

Optional Excursion: 
​In the afternoon, you can do an optional excursion and visit a traditional Baci ceremony with traditional music in a local house. You will be invited to attend a Baci (Sou Khouan) ceremony, one of the most popular traditions in Laos and which accompanies any important life event: weddings, funerals, births, illnesses, trips, etc. The ceremony usually takes place amongst a handful of people, with one or two ‘recipients’, the ‘officiate’, and a few ‘assistants. But for larger occasions, such as weddings, they can gather dozens of people. During the ceremony you attend, the officiating person will recall your souls (according to Lao belief, each human being has 32 souls) to attract beneficial influences toward you, and will then tie a cotton string around your wrist symbolizing the wishes he will have formulated in your favor. Note: Clients need to dress properly, knees and shoulders covered to show respect to the local family, scarves are provided. Duration: Around 40 minutes, starting time between 18:00 to 20:00 (depending on availability). Please ask your Adventure Life Trip Planner for more information!

Day 3: Luang Prabang

You will be picked up by your guide and then take a short trip, traveling through the valley and passing local villages along the way. After reaching the Hmong ethnic community of Ban Long Lao Kao, you will have the opportunity to visit and take in the sights of the village. Then, start your walk to the famous Kuang Sy waterfalls, walking through vegetable gardens, rice fields, and forests under the shade of hardwood trees, such as rosewood and ebony. After arriving at the Kuang Sy waterfalls, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. Take a rest or take the chance to go swimming before heading back to Luang Prabang.

Rest of the day at leisure, or visit the night market at your own pace.

Distance and duration of the hike: 8 kilometers or approx. 5 miles (about 3 hours and 30 minutes); can be around 4–5 hours in rainy season
 

Day 4: Luang Prabang | Nong Khiaw

After breakfast, travel from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, then visit Nong Kiew View Point. Nong Khiaw is a town in northern Laos, bordered by some of the most incredible limestone mountains on the banks of the serene Nam Ou River. Today, you will discover the beautiful natural environment with a hike to the top of the peak along a small path. Savor the sense of adventure that comes with moving at your speed up a hill covered in a thick forest. Along the trail, you’ll find places to sit and rest on bamboo benches and get your breath back before continuing your upward exploration. You can use the ropes that have been placed at various points along the route to help with your effort. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of Nong Khiaw and the Ou River winding through the surrounding mountains at the top of the mountain, leaving you perhaps a little breathless but victorious! You will return to the town after stopping at the bamboo saline at the top to take in the breathtaking view.


Duration of the hike Nong Kiew View Point: 4 kilometers, or approx 2.5 miles, 2 to 3 hours (around 1 hour, 30 minutes to the viewpoint, 45 minutes to descend)
Level: 1 (maybe a bit more if it is hot or the guests aren’t physically prepared; it is 430 meters or 98 feet of ascent)
Distance from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw: 137km, or 85 miles, 3.5 to 4 hour driving

Day 5: Muang Ngoy

Today, take a boat trip from Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoi. Your easy walk starts right in the center of Muang Ngoi. After the first 30 minutes, you will have the chance to stop at Tam Khang Cave, the former sheltering cave for local villagers during the Indochina War (1960–1972). After visiting (and, if you wish, a short bath in the rock pool to cool off), you’ll walk further through lush vegetation and cross some rice paddies to reach Ban Na village. Here, there is the possibility to explore community life by walking around the village or enjoying the views of rice fields and the surrounding hills from a small restaurant terrace. After a pleasant relaxation break, it will be time to head back to Muang Ngoi.

At a good time, take a boat transfer from Muang Ngoi back to Nong Khiaw.

Duration of the boat from Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoi: 1.5 hours driving

Day 6: Nong Khiaw | Luang Prabang

After breakfast, you will travel from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang. You are free in the afternoon after arriving at the hotel.

Distance from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang: 137km or 85 miles, 3.5 to 4 hour driving

In the afternoon, you can explore Luang Prabang, visit shops, buy souvenirs, or stay in your hotel to relax.

Optional Excursion: 
Another option for the evening is 'A Taste of Laos' foodie experience.  Eating is an important part of Lao culture and a time when families and friends come together after a hard day of work. This evening your taste buds will be awakened as you taste a selection of popular Lao dishes on a gastronomic walking tour near the city center. You will enjoy a delicious bowl of one of the Lao staples - Khao Soi or Pho. This is one of the most popular meals, not only in Laos but in all of Southeast Asia. You will also try the steamed buns with egg and pork called Salapao. If you’re craving something a bit more refreshing you could try Namvan, a sweet dessert-type drink especially popular when the weather is hot. From here you will walk a short distance, along the road, through the temple, and into the smaller streets where you will try Namejun (Spring Rolls) and Tam Makteng (Cucumber Salad), popular dishes often shared among friends as they enjoy an evening drink. Your final walk will be to the night market area where you will end your culinary adventure with some tasty Kaojee and Khao Nom Kok! The starting time can be adapted but it should ideally start between 5pm and 6pm.

Day 7: Luang Prabang | Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia

This morning, discover Luang Prabang at your own pace. Then check out at your hotel and travel to Luang Prabang Airport for the flight to Siem Reap.

Meet your driver and guide upon arrival in Siem Reap, and then proceed to your hotel to complete the check-in process.

Note: Hotel standard check-in time is 14:00, and check-out time is 12:00
Estimated Flight LPQ-REP: Departure at 14:40 (the flight is not available Tuesday and Sunday).

Day 8: Siem Reap

Start your day by visiting Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world and one of the top UNESCO World Heritage sites worldwide. After the visit, your walking tour will start, taking you around the moat of this enormous temple and entering on a tiny trail, passing by a small local village.

Continue crossing through the Angkor Thom South Gate, climb up on its ancient wall, and walk along the shadowy path covered by ancient trees. After passing a small temple, you will ultimately arrive at the magnificent Bayon Temple, located in the heart of the Khmer capital.

Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and then continue your visit to Angkor Thom, exploring the Royal Palace, the Elephant Terrace, and the other incredible temples located in the area. Finally, end your visit at the Bayon Temple and travel back to your hotel.

Distance and duration of hiking: 14 kilometers, or approx 8.5 miles to 3 hours (full day including the visits) 
Total elevation gain: + 150 meters / - 120 meters or 492 / -394 feet
Terrain: Mainly jungle trails through the forest
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support and 8 kilometers (5 miles), 15 minutes from the hotel to starting point and 10 kilometers (approx 6 miles), 20 minutes from ending point to the hotel. 
 

Day 9: Siem Reap

Today, you'll depart in the early morning from your hotel to begin a special sightseeing journey to discover some of the hidden treasures of Jayavarman VII, one of the most remarkable kings of the Khmer Empire.

You will reach your starting point by vehicle and start to walk on a tiny jungle trail to reach the first temple, Phreah Khan. Built by the king as an imposing monastery dedicated to his father, the Preah Khan temple (translates to "Sacred Sword") offers a view of the Jayatataka Baray and allows you to continue your journey through the Angkor forest.

During this tour, you will also stop at the Nursery Tree to learn more about Cambodia's flora and fauna and visit other magical temples built during Jayavarman VII's reign, such as Ta Nie, Takeo, and Ta Prom, the temple dedicated to the king's mother, famous for its role in the movie "Tomb Raider" and for its impressive design that melts into the forest. You will end the tour by visiting Banteay Kdei, exiting from the East gate and reaching the Srah Srang baray or reservoir (Royal baths during the ancient Khmer Empire)

After arriving at the banks of Srah Srang Baray, you will have a 10-minute walk through the local village to reach the house, which is located on the border of the reservoir. With its natural materials for the furniture and décor, a tropical garden around it, and pleasant views of the reservoir, the house exudes a genuine and cozy atmosphere.

Then, return to the hotel in Siem Reap.

Distance and duration of hiking: 12 kilometers, or approx. 7.5 miles to 3 hours (full day including temple visits)
Total elevation gain: + 30 meters / - 27 meters or 98 / -88 feet
Terrain: Mainly jungle trails through the forest
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support: 10 kilometers (approx. 6 miles), 20 minutes from the hotel to the starting point and 10 kilometers, 20 minutes from the ending point to hotel. 

Optional Excursion: 
Enjoy a 'Taste of Cambodian Cuisine' (every day except Monday) - no guide needed, the tuk-tuk driver takes you to the restaurants. An information letter in English is prepared. The tour starts at 18:30. It's not always easy to choose the best place to dine in a foreign city, so we have a "three in one" solution. Enjoy a multi-stage dinner with a starter, main course, and dessert in three different restaurants, carefully chosen for their flavors and atmosphere. One evening, the curious traveler will discover a selection of our favorite dishes and addresses in Siem Reap. Including: 
  1. Pou - starter and one drink per person
  2. The Sugar Palm - main course and one drink per person
  3. Malis - dessert and one drink per person

Day 10: Phnom Kulen National Park

After breakfast, depart from Siem Reap at around 7:00 and head to Phnom Kulen, the province's largest forest.

Once you arrive in the National Park, meet the local ranger and professional guide who will accompany you throughout the hike. After a short briefing, begin your hike along a diverse mix of trails through the deep jungle and the rocky Kulen Plateau, which takes you by some hidden temples dated to the 10th century, religious sites, and a charming river.

The highlight of the morning is undoubtedly the well-known Sra Damrei site, which is home to the other statues in the vicinity and a sacred elephant statue shrine carved in sandstone, symbolizing the mountain's guardian. After the visit, continue along the trail, where you will visit some other important sites, until you reach the local tractor, named Guyun in Cambodian, and travel to a scenic lunch spot along the small river. You can have a picnic lunch there with local food and, if you would like, unwind with a swim.

After lunch, start your second part of the hike and embark on a single trail, plunging into the deep forest and indulging in the natural surroundings as you try to spot some Cambodian wildlife. Along the way, you will reach the primary area of Kulen Mountain, where you will first visit the golden reclining Buddha situated at Preah Ang Thom, then stop at the Phnom Kulen Waterfall. There, if you’d like, refresh yourself with a swim.

Around late afternoon, you will travel back to Siem Reap in your private vehicle.

Physical Level: 2
Distance and duration of hiking:
  • Option 1: 15 kilometers, or approx 9 miles to 4 hours (Excluding site visits)
  • Option 2: 10 kilometers, or approx 6 miles to 3 hours (excluding site visits)
Net Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet ascent or 215 meters, 705 feet descent
Terrain: Mainly jungle trails through the forest and the rocky Kulen Plateau
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support: 60 kilometers, (37 miles), 2 hours from hotel to starting; 50 kilometers (31 miles), 1 hour, 30 minutes; emergency vehicle available
Note: On option 2, the last part of the trail to reach the waterfall will be done by vehicle

Day 11: Kompong Khleang | Tonle Sap Lake

From Siem Reap, you set out for Kompong Khleang early in the morning. You will board a local boat from Kompong Kleang, led by a village captain. The craft will criss-cross Tonlé Sap at a leisurely pace, allowing you to observe some of the small floating villages.

You can move quickly from the village and along the numerous canals leading to the Great Lake thanks to the engine in the small local boat. Once you reach the end of the canal, you will realize the immensity of this lake, where the horizon stretches as far as the eye can see. During the dry season, a walk to meet the locals is offered before you set out for the cruise.

Distance: Siem Reap/Kompong Khleang: 52 kilometers (32 miles), approx. 1 hour, 30-minute drive each way.
Note: Due to low water levels, starting on February 15th, only small boats (fitting 1-4 passengers) will be offered for the boat trip instead of larger ones that can accommodate 10 passengers or more. For groups of 10 people or more, we will take a boat trip to Chong Kneas instead.

Day 12: Siem Reap | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Enjoy your morning at your leisure, or check out some shops for souvenirs for your family until it's time to check out. Transfer to the airport on your own for your flight home or on to your next destination.
 

Accommodations

Villa Saykham

Villa Saykham
Villa Saykham
Villa Saykham

Phaxang Resort Nong Khiaw

Phaxang Resort Nong Khiaw
Phaxang Resort Nong Khiaw
Common area

Amber Angkor Villa Hotel & Spa

Amber Angkor Villa Hotel & Spa
Amber Angkor Villa Hotel & Spa
Swimming pool area

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$1,469 2-3 travelers

Notes

Select a Date
Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 1 Dinner
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • 11 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Professional local English speaking guides throughout your tour
  • All transfers as per itinerary by air-conditioned Vehicles
  • All sightseeing, guiding and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • All local boat rentals, as mentioned in the program
  • Additional Local rangers and local guides during some excursions
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Internal and International Airfare
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Optional excursions and land tours
  • Meals and drinks which are not mentioned in the program

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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