- Ceremonies, mountain temples, Zen breaks: living in tune with two great Southeast Asian cultures
- Major cultural sites and hotels that fit in perfectly with the location
- Trips by tuk-tuk, bike, Vespa, boat, with private local guides, along the way
- Access to our local Concierge, mobile app and all our usual additional services
Contact one of our Laos specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
Mythical Cities of Laos and Cambodia
Your journeyThese two stays, linked by a short flight, allow you to see things up close. Two hotels perfectly reproduce the splendour of Southeast Asia: grand materials, subtle aesthetics and the region's understated, friendly character. In each case, great care is taken to offer the traveller an authentic experience in addition to comfort. Both sites are so naturally and artistically rich that we have been able to put daily visits and activities on your agenda. These are accompanied by local private guides. This itinerary also has plenty of beaches where you can rest, and plenty of opportunities to travel alone. The pace is sustained, but not tiring. Local trips are made by the most appropriate means: car, tuk-tuk, bicycle or boat. If during the journey, you decide you want something else or if a setback occurs, you have the contact details of our on-site Concierge.
Flight to Luang Prabang, Laos
Flight to Laos via Bangkok.
Transfer and four-night stay at Satri House in central Luang Prabang. The house was built for Souphanouvong, the Red Prince (1909-1995), the first president of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. This didn't stop him from adding a wide range of colonial motifs. Everywhere is very attractive and tastefully adorned with fine crafts and antiques. The rooms are well-sized, and the large beds have mosquito nets and a lot of tropical charm; the bathrooms are impeccable. In the garden, there are little spots where you can get away from it all and swimming pools where you can enjoy a relaxing swim. The spa is well-appointed; the traditional foot massage is particularly great. The restaurant is perfect for steamed fish in banana leaves (mok pa) or tamarind sauce (pa mac kham).
Included in the itinerary - A bicycle ride following a local guide, you'll visit Luang Prabang by bicycle. The great monuments are the Royal Palace (early 20th century - a national museum), the old Wat Visoun (a temple from the 15th century), the Wat Aham (19th century) and Wat Xieng Thong (a wonder from the 16th century). In the late afternoon, 'climb' Mt. Phou Si, which stands high above the old town. From the vantage point of Wat Chom Si, the view over the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers is wonderful.
Included in the itinerary - Visit to the Pak Ou Caves, which worshippers have filled with hundreds of statues of the Buddha. You can go by boat via the Mekong, which allows you to combine the pleasure of river navigation with the splendid limestone relief and wild forest landscapes. At the point where the Ou tributary flows into the river, the first cave resembles a cavity at the base of a high cliff, accessed by stairs... Then a free afternoon, to further explore the places seem the day before. Or go shopping. In the evening, you'll attend a baci ceremony. It consists of calling on protective souls in a Laotian family. The traditional religion involves the belief in the existence of thirty-two personal souls, which are then usually scattered; it is wise, on certain occasions, to gather them together in order to fulfil your wishes. The good wishes are represented by threads of cotton which are tied to the wrists of the receiver of the good wishes. Visit and ceremony with a local guide.
Included in the itinerary - A Zen morning travelling through the countryside. Alongside a private local escort, you'll visit several temples, soak up the peacefulness of the surrounding locations and countryside during a pleasant hike along the river. At dawn, you'll attend the Tak Bat ceremony, the monks' daily alms ritual during which the inhabitants give offerings of food to the monks who travel the city in a long silent procession; then you'll return to the hotel and have breakfast before heading to the pier of Wat Xieng Thong where you'll board a traditional slow boat for a journey along the Mekong to a temple overlooking the river itself. It is the starting point for an easy two-hour hike through banana plantations, with stops in secluded temples, to the village of Ban Xieng Mene; then a visit to Wat Long Khoune and Wat Chompet as well as the village of Xieng Mene on the right bank of the Mekong River. After this beautiful Zen morning, a lunch awaits you followed by a private tour of the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, a place to have a pleasant nature break among the palm trees, bamboo, and other ginger plants.
Luang Prabang - Siem Reap / Angkor (Cambodia)
Included in the itinerary - Always accompanied by a guide, you'll travel by tuk-tuk to go to Ock Pop Tok. This social enterprise has made traditional weaving the focus of its business. The aim is to preserve local know-how and provide a commercial outlet for weavers, in a spirit of openness to contributions from abroad. On-site, visitors are introduced to the main weaving techniques. In the early afternoon, a trip to the airport and a flight to Siem Reap. You will stay at the Polanka House for four nights, in a very nice estate composed of two traditional Cambodian houses on stilts and a few attached buildings - a restaurant, a reading room... All in a tropical garden, with swimming pool offering a beautiful view of the Polanka Pagoda. The furniture and decoration are the owners' collections: Cambodian and European art and craftsmanship. The cuisine is a delicious balance between Cambodian and French cuisine, and is served at beautifully laid tables. Here you'll experience a serene Cambodia open to the influences of the world.
Included in the itinerary - Choice of tuk-tuk or private car, and in both cases with a local guide, you'll visit Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, two great monuments of the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire. Angkor Wat, the temple city built by Emperor Suryavarman II in the 12th century, is the largest and best-preserved monument in the area. The statue is admirable. Buddhist worship continues in the shrine (which was first dedicated to Vishnu). Jayavarman VII built the Royal City of Angkor Thom in the early 13th century. The immense carved faces of the southern gate are unforgettable; the natural Bayon bas-reliefs and the central temple are astonishing.
Included in the itinerary - You have an appointment at the site of ancient Isvarapura, 12 miles northeast of Angkor; there is the Banteay Srei temple, a Shrine of Shiva. This is a beautiful, well-preserved pink sandstone temple from the 10th century, adorned with a lot of art. Then you'll travel east of Angkor Thom to see the Ta Prohm temple, a 12th-century Buddhist school. Its beauty lies in the invasion of the sprawling roots of false hemp trees (Tetrameles nudiflora), and it is in the same the state that it was in when the sacred area was discovered by the first archaeologists. Visits with a local guide.
Included in the itinerary - With our helmets put on, we'll ride pillion behind our local guide and head out. Mopeds aren't just for the youth! Scooters are not just for young urbanites. They are also ideal for travelling along the dirt paths of the Cambodian countryside. You'll walk along the rice fields, cross villages, pass the East Mebon - the 10th-century temple - and stop at the house of a craftsman. It's not a wild ride, but a very nice excursion into a world with a traditional way of life. From large shrines to small roadside shops, there's plenty to think about while watching the world go by. You'll have lunch on a local farm.
Siem Reap - Return flight
Included in the itinerary - The houses built on Tonle Sap Lake are floating villages that live to the tune of changes in the water level - heading up a branch of the river when the water is high, and moving into the lake when the water drops. In among these villages is Kompong Khleang, a village on stilts. A boat ride on the lake will be the opportunity to meet its inhabitants. In the evening, a return flight via Bangkok. Night flight arriving the next morning.
A la carte
Discover sticky rice - Luang Prabang
Along with a local guide, head to the rice paddies. Living Land is an organic farm which grows the essential Asian crop - rice. To begin with, pay a visit to the rice fields and, with their feet in the mud, the children can go along behind a buffalo ploughing before the seedlings are planted. Next, they will learn about the steps that lead to the braided basket in which the rice is cooked and then, of course, a tasting. On the way back, a stop at the famous Kuang Si Falls, south of Luang Prabang: in a green oasis where shade and light dance together, multiple waterfalls plunge from a rock relief; below, water is collected in a series of natural pools where you can bathe all year round.
Liturgical Contrasts - Siem Reap
The day begins in Koh Ker, the ancient capital of Jayavarman IV (first half of the 10th century). The site, which is dominated by a large pyramid-shaped temple, has provided a great deal for the exhibitions of the Phnom Penh National Museum. It is now peaceful, and partially covered by vegetation. And it's not visited all that much. Spend a little time at this tropical gem... then it will be on to Preah Khan, built by Jayavarman VII (late 12th century). In contrast to Koh Ker, this is a flat temple. Dedicated to the memory of the founding monarch's father, in the form of the bodhisattva of compassion Avalokitesvara/Lokesvara, it was an important Buddhist sanctuary and university - it was later converted into a Hindu temple. Guided tour.
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