Get well and truly ‘off the beaten track’ in these two incredible countries. Instead of flying between the major destinations, why not travel overland and cross the border near the 4000 islands area of the Mekong Delta? After discovering ancient Khmer temples in southern Laos venture to remote Ratanakiri province in northeastern Cambodia. Enter a world of mountains, elephants and ethnic minorities before ending your adventure in Phnom Penh, the capital of the Kingdom.
Day 1: Pakse
You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive activities can be arranged for the rest of the day.
Day 2: Pakse – Ted Fane
Spend the day venturing up onto the beautiful Bolaven Plateau for a look at another side of Laos. Coffee and Tea plantations abound, so enjoy a tasting whilst you are here. Then it is onward to visit the towering ribbon-like Tad Fane waterfall and the chance to trek through the area.
Day 3: Tad Fane – 4000 Islands
Drive south to the famous UNESCO-protected Khmer Temple complex of Wat Phou. Afterwards, continue your adventure with an elephant ride to some mysterious ruins. Later in the day, travel to the 4000 Islands area where you will spend the night.
Day 4: 4000 Islands
The section of the Mekong River that runs through southern Laos boasts thousands of tiny islands. This morning, you will cruise through this tropical paradise to the largest waterfalls in Asia; Khone Phapeng and Li Phi Falls. If you are lucky, you might see some of the 50-100 Irrawaddy (freshwater) dolphins that make the 4000 Islands their home.
Day 5: 4000 Islands – Ratanakiri
Upon arrival at the border, you will be greeted and transferred to Ratanakiri Province. The journey to the town of Ban Lung will take most of the day. Here you will stay for the night.
Day 6: Ban Lung – Virachey National Park – Voen Sai – Yeak Loam Lake
This morning travel to Virachey National Park where, if you are lucky, you will see some of Cambodia’s wildlife. Later on make the trip to Voen Sai, one of the largest villages in the area. In the settlement you can see three different ethnic groups living together; Khmer, Chinese and Lao. Continue with a walk to the huge natural volcanic lake in the protected area of Yeak Loam and enjoy the rest of the day swimming in the pleasant waters.
Day 7: Ban Lung – Borkeo – Andong Meas
Travel to Borkeo and explore the ethnic minority villages Cha Rai and Tampoun. Continue with a visit to one of the region’s active Gem mines. Next, head to Andong Meas where you will visit some fascinating ethnic minority communities. Afterwards, go on a forty minute boat ride to visit a cemetery of one of the region’s ethnic groups. There, you will learn about the fascinating funeral culture of the area’s inhabitants which has continued through the generations.
Day 8: Katieng – Elephant Ride
This morning make the journey to Katieng Waterfall, before continuing on to Lumphat where you will begin a fun elephant ride through the surrounding villages. The rest of the afternoon is dedicated to exploring the nearby villages. You will arrive back in Ban Lung in the early afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9: Ratanakiri – Kratie
Depart Banlung for the journey to Kratie, which is located on the banks of the Mekong River. On arrival make the short trip by sampan to Koh Trong Island. Here you will stay overnight in this friendly riverside community.
Day 10: Kratie – Cycling Around the Island – Dolphins at Kampi
This morning you are able to cycle around the village, where you will meet the locals and learn about a community development project. After lunch, you may be lucky enough to spot the rare Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins that make this stretch of river their home.
Day 11: Kratie – Phnom Penh
Depart from Kratie and travel through the beautiful countryside before reaching the settlement of Kompong Cham. Just outside the town is the kitsch temple of Wat Nokor. Enjoy a guided tour of the structure before continuing on to Phnom Penh, where you will spend the night.
Day 12: Depart Phnom Penh
The day is at leisure until you are transferred to the airport for your onward flight.