Historic Heritage Laos and Cambodia Itinerary

10 Days 9 Nights

Itinerary Overview

This exciting nine – night itinerary of Laos and Cambodia includes the most emblematic pagodas of the royal capital, cruising on the mighty Mekong to the sacred Thousand Buddha Caves (Pack Ou), swimming at the Kuang Si Waterfalls, exploring the capital of Laos, Vientiane, visiting ancient pre – Angkokrian temples, exploring 4,000 islands, visiting Khone Phapeng Waterfalls and seeing the stunning Tad Fane and Tad Yeaung Waterfalls.

Day 1 Arrive Luang Prabang

Arrive Luang Prabang, a charming UNESCO world heritage city. This beautiful city was the royal capital and seat of the government for the Kingdom of Laos until the revolution of 1975. The main part of the city consists of four main roads crisscrossing a peninsula between the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers.

Your guide will welcome you at the exit of the airport and will be transferred to your hotel. Upon arrival, a welcome drink will be served at the hotel reception. If time permits, enjoy an orientation tour of Luang Prabang by tuk-tuk.

This evening, enjoy a Baci ceremony with traditional music and a dance show at a local house. You will be invited to take part in one of the most important ceremonies for Laotian people, the Baci ceremony.

Baci is a ceremony which has been practiced for hundreds of years in Laos. The term commonly used is “sou khuan” which means “spirit enhancing or spirit calling”. The ceremony involves the tying of white cotton strings around a person’s wrists and the prayer saying or well-wishing for the person that the ceremony is intended for. The Baci ceremony is held on many different occasions or events throughout the year. It can be held any day of the week though it has to be on a good day in the lunar calendar. These good days are known to elders, senior monks or ex-monks. The ceremony can be held for both sad times and happy times.

Hotel: Belmond Residence Phou Vao Hotel
Day 2 Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Luang Prabang

Breakfast is at your hotel

You will be picked up from your hotel and embark on a traditional boat to cruise upstream on the Mekong River for 2 hours to visit the sacred Buddha caves, Pak Ou. Visit Tham Ting and Tham Phoum Caves, both of which are filled with thousands of Buddha images and statues which Have been deposited over the centuries by pilgrims. En route, stop at a local village to witness daily life.

Lunch is at a local restaurant

Before reaching Luang Prabang, disembark at Ban Xang Khong. This village specializes in products made out of silk and saa paper, a colorful paper often embedded with flowers and leaves. The paper is made from the mulberry tree bark which is boiled into a pulp and laid out on a screen to dry under the sun. Gift bags, lanterns, fans, boxes and scrapbooks are made from the paper which can be bought at the village shop alongside silk items.

Enjoy Garavek story telling. Be enchanted by a Garavek. This traditional storytelling experience performed in an intimate theater in Luang Prabang’s old town entails local folktales, legends and myths told by an English-speaking storyteller who adds drama to the story with a khene (bamboo mouth organ). Guests are taken on a voyage of discovery learning about local landmarks such as the Mekong River and Mount Phousi as well as exploits of legendary local characters.

Hotel: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao Hotel
Day 3 Luang Prabang - Vientiane

Rise early to observe the solemn morning ritual of monks walking through the streets to collect alms. Tak Bat, or almsgiving, is a must-see experience for travelers to Luang Prabang.

After pickup from your hotel in Luang Prabang, transfer to a street where a single file line of silent, saffron clad Buddhist monks walk with their alm bowls each morning. Luang Prabang’s many monastic communities are sustained by the local Buddhists who place sticky rice in the monks’ bowls during the daily ritual.

Take the opportunity to make a rice offering with the help of your guide or simply watch in awe as dozens of monks emerge to stroll past lay people offering flowers and incense in reverence for this sacred observance. After the monks have passed through, visit a market that pops up each morning near Luang Prabang’s main thoroughfare. Brush elbows with the locals buying fruits, vegetables, meat and spices from vendors who display an enticing array of products. If you’d like, try regional snacks like dried buffalo skin and rice flour chips. Return to your hotel after an interesting and cultural tour of Luang Prabang for breakfast.


Depart early for a magical dawn journey along the Mekong. Enjoy the breath – taking landscape while witnessing the daily activities along the river’s edge as the local people prepare for the day.

Arrive at Ban Don Kao and be greeted by your host in her Mekong riverside property. A short walk will take you to witness the very special daily ritual of locals in Laos: morning alms giving or ‘Tak Bat’. This is an integral part of the Buddhist tradition in Laos. The giving earns merit, or ‘bun’, towards their next life to improve their existence the next time on earth. Enjoy, breakfast with your host overlooking the Mekong while watching the sun rise to grace a new day before returning by boat to Luang Prabang.

You will be picked by your local guide to visit the Royal Palace Museum housing the most important treasures of Laos. Built in 1904, this palace museum offers a glimpse into the world of Laotian kings and their families. Continue on foot to Wat Mai with its interior and exterior that are extensively adorned with black and red lacquer decoration and gold leaf. The temple, also known as Wat Mai, meaning “new temple” was founded around 1780 by King Anurat of the Luang Prabang Kingdom. Proceed to Wat Xieng Thong, known as the Golden City Temple. This 16th century complex was built near the meeting of Luang Prabang’s two rivers at the end of the peninsula. Adorned in ornate colored glass, this temple Is considered to be the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang. It is important as a religious and national symbol. It was here that Laotian kings were crowned.

Depart Luang Prabang and drive about 45 minutes to Kuang Si Waterfall.

Lunch is at Carpe Diem restaurant

After your lunch, take a short walk through the forest and pass by the bear sanctuary that focuses on the Sun bears and Asiatic black bears of South-East Asia and the Sloth bears of India. Continue on to the waterfall. This is the biggest waterfall in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50 – meter drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great natural swimming pools and are very popular for both tourists and locals.

After enjoying your time at the waterfalls, return to the town and transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Vientiane (6:35pm-7:20pm, time subject to change).

Upon arrival in Vientiane, your guide will welcome you at the exit of the airport and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel
Day 4 Vientiane

Breakfast is at your hotel

You’ll be picked up from your hotel’s lobby to start your day by visiting Wat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane that was built in 1818. Continue to nearby Ho Phrakeo, the former Royal Temple, which is now turned into a museum of Buddhist art and sculpture. Proceed to the Lao Textile Museum, the first private museum in Laos, that displays antique pieces of silk made by different ethnic groups of the country.

Lunch is at Amphone restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit That Luang with its golden stupa in the form of a banana flower. It is the most revered shrine in Laos. Stop at Patuxay, a massive concrete monument in Laos with a wide avenue similar in style to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel
Day 5 Vientiane – Pakse – Champasak – Don Khon

Early morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Pakse.

Upon arrival in Pakse, transfer to Sinouk Cafe for a coffee before proceeding to a local pier to embark on a traditional boat and cruise 2 hours to Champassak. Continue by car to Wat Phou Champassak, a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple, that is in the midst of paddy fields and canals in southern Laos.

The temple was built on three levels: the lower level focuses on the Baray (water tank) and the promenade, the second level has pavilion runs and sculpture galleries and the upper level is the sanctuary itself.

The temple was built by leaders of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat and served as the economic and political center of the region. It is one of the most revered temples by the people of Laos.

Lunch is at a local restaurant

After your lunch, drive for 2 hours to Nakasang Village and board a traditional boat for 30 minutes to Don Khon for an overnight stay.

Hotel: Sala Don Khon Hotel
Day 6 Don Khon – 4000 Islands - Pakse

Breakfast is at your hotel. Afterwards, check out.

Explore Don Khone and Don Det. Cross the French railway bridge linking both islands to reach the old locomotive. Take a local tuk – tuk to the beautiful Liphi Waterfalls. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits. The name Li Phi was given to the area because it acts like a giant fish trap (Li) and will kill any of those who dare to navigate it (Phi means ghost or dead person).

Afterwards, continue to cruise on the Mekong River by traditional boat to Nakasang Village and proceed by car to the mighty Khon Phapeng Waterfalls known as the “Niagara of Asia”.

Lunch is at a local restaurant

Following lunch, drive to Pakse to check into your hotel. As the day comes to an end, drive to Wat Phousalao for the sunset and enjoy the beautiful view over the city and the Mekong River with its surroundings.

Hotel: Athena Hotel
Day 7 Pakse – Bolaven Plateau– Siem Reap

Breakfast is at your hotel.

Drive to the Bolaven Plateau, a unique elevated region in Laos, where tea and the famous Lao coffee are grown. Stop at a plantation run by a Lao couple (Mr. Tui and Mrs. Ba) and learn the process of coffee production from the tree to the cup before savoring a freshly brewed cup of Arabica or Robusta.

Continue to visit Tad Fane Waterfall which falls an impressive 120 meters and Tad Yeung Waterfall with its twin torrents falling about 40 meters and flowing into the lush jungle.

Lunch is on your own account.

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Rest of the day is free at leisure (no guide, no car at disposal).

Hotel: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor Hotel
Day 8 Siem Reap

Breakfast is at your hotel.

Full day visit to the temples by tuk – tuk.

Visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.

Note: To visit the Baphuon Temple in Angkor Thom compound, visitors are required to wear proper attire, covering shoulders and knees to show their respect as this temple is still considered a sacrificial site for the Khmer people (no short skirts or short trousers).

Lunch is at a local restaurant.

Visit Ta Prohm Temple and Angkor Wat Temple.

Note: To visit the Bakan Tower of Angkor Wat Temple, visitors are required to wear proper attire, covering shoulders and knees to show their respect. This temple is still considered a sacrificial site for the Khmer people. Children under twelve years old are not allowed to climb up the tower. The tower will be closed on the Buddhist Sabbath days, the Buddhist religious days and four days a month in accordance with the lunar calendar.

Hotel: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor Hotel
Day 9 Siem Reap

Breakfast is at your hotel.

Enjoy a boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake and explore the floating village.

High level of water is from mid-July to mid-February.

Low level of water is from mid-February to mid-July.

Lunch is on your own account.

Visit “Les Artisans d’Angkor” which provides training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting.

Dinner with a show is at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor Hotel
Day 10 Siem Reap - Departure

Breakfast is at your hotel.

Day is free at leisure (no guide, no car at disposal) until it is time to transfer to Siem Reap International airport for your departure flight.