Stride climate

Trip Type : Group Tour
Indochine: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia tour

Indochina’s Best: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Myths and Mountains Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
15 days
From: $ 4,295 $ 286 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Explore Textile Museum, Textile Stores And Markets
  • Visit Cham Museum and Drive Hoi An.
  • Enjoy Boat Ride on Tonle Sap, Artisans D’angkor.
  • Visit Lake, Mausoleum, Hoa Lu, Temple Of Literature.
  • Learn About Unexploded Ordinance, and Carol Cassidy’s Studio

Short Description

A superb trip for families and individuals, this is a marvelous blend of the Vietnamese ocean world, the Laotian Mekong world, and the magnificence of the Cambodian Khmer civilization. You begin in Saigon where you can journey out into the Mekong delta and then head to Hanoi via the charming town of hoi an. From Hanoi, you fly to Luang Prabang and spend several days exploring this quaint Laotian city. Continuing to Vientiane, you then catch a flight to Cambodia. Your journey finishes in Siem reap, exploring the temples of the Angkor civilization.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Saigon
End City Angkor Wat

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations as Listed, Including all Service Charges And Taxes
  • All Ground Transfers
  • All Excursions with Expert English-Speaking Guides
  • Entrance Fees to Museums, Temples, Etc.
  • All Meals as Indicated with B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner
  • Airfare Broken out Separately (Saigon/Danang/Hanoi/Luang Prabang/Vientiane/Siem Reap/Bangkok)

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Saigon. Brief City Tour and Market

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Saigon or La Reverie

Arriving in Saigon, you will clear customs and immigration. Exiting the airport, you will see your guide holding a sign with your name on it. He will take you to your hotel.

Depending on when you arrive, you can take a brief tour of the city. Built on the site of an ancient khmer settlement and an outpost for early pioneers in the 14th century, ho chi minh city did not begin to come into its own until early 17th century.

The derivation of the name, Saigon, is somewhat vague and centers around its water location. Some say that Saigon comes from the anamneses word thay ngon, meaning a highly populated area near a dammed river. Others claim that sai con is a transcription of the khmer word prei kor or the kapok tree forest. In any case, the city is fast regaining its reputation as one of Asia’s most vibrant cities. The tree-lined boulevards and French colonial architecture hearken to the city’s recent past, while the bustling markets, changing infrastructure and dynamism of the people look to the future.

You can do a bit of touring and get a sense of the city, stopping briefly at the re-unification palace, the former palace of president thieu and his predecessors. Today this building is a museum and venue for official receptions. Inside you can visit the private rooms of the president, the war room from where the South Vietnamese forces were controlled, and, most poignantly, the room where the north Vietnamese army finally took control in 1975. Nearby is the post office and the Notre dame cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883 and one of the city’s major landmarks. Neo-Romanesque in form, Notre dame is the major seat of the catholic religion in modern Vietnam.

The last stop of the day will be the ben thanh market. Here you can explore the different items up for sale, and then have a welcome dinner outside with the locals.

Day 2: Mekong Delta Tour

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Saigon or La Reverie

This morning, you venture out of ho chi minh city to the flood plains of the mekong delta, the mystic serpent with nine tails. To Vietnamese, the river is cu long, the river of nine dragons, referring to the number of mouths as the river empties into the sea. As well as producing over half of the nation’s rice, the delta area is abundant with fruit orchards and traditional fish farms. Culturally, the area is a diverse mix of ethnic khmer and Chinese. To some degree, your itinerary will be determined by the seasons - the best being from January to march, and the worst, around November, when the rivers flood.

Your destination is vinh long province, where you are going, was a center for the dissemination of Catholicism in the delta area, and there is an interesting catholic church in the town. From here, you can head to long xuyen, and spend some time exploring that area. From long xuyen, you will continue on to cai be. In cai be, you will board a sampan, and drift down a small branch of the mekong, the co chien river, to a delightful floating market.

If there is time when you return, you can visit cholon, with its huge Chinese market.

Day 3: Fly Danang. Drive Hoi an Via Cham Museum and Marble Mountain

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Resort and Spa or Anantara

After a leisurely breakfast, you will transfer to the airport to catch vn 324 (1000/1100). On arrival, you can have lunch near the beach and then do some sightseeing in danang, Vietnam’s fourth largest city and the capital of quang nam danang province. We Americans remember danang for china beach, the port of entry for our first group of 3,500 marines on march 8, 1965. From the 10th to the 17th centuries, however, danang was the center of the ancient kingdom of champa, stretching from hue in the north to vung tau in the south.

You can pay a short visit to the cham museum, to learn a bit about the art and history of these seafaring people who settled Vietnam’s coasts. The chams settled the central coast of Vietnam from the east – Indonesia, Polynesia, and Malaysia, bringing with them their traditions first of Hinduism and later of Buddhism and Islam. By the 15th century, the kingdom had been destroyed and few monuments remain. The museum here houses a few carvings and temple pieces that have been gathered from diverse cham sites. Sadly, the French took most of the best pieces back to European museums.

A second stop, if you wish, is marble mountain – five limestone hillocks, once islands, which are said to represent the five elements of the universe. You can take a hike up one of these hills. Caves within the mountains shelter Buddha’s, bodhisattvas, local genies, and the remnants of Vietnam war history. During the Vietnam war era, the viet cong hid in caves in the mountains and sniped at the Americans on the beach below. Behind one of the Buddhist monuments is a cave where they also operated a field hospital and command center. Today charming pagodas and statues dot the hillsides, covering many of the bullet holes in the rocks. The town below is known for its marble sculptures, and its inhabitants will do their best to sell you anything they can.

After this sightseeing, you will continue on to hoi an and the vinh hung resort.

Day 4: Visit My Son and Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Resort and Spa or Anantara

Hoi an is nestled on the banks of the thu bon river. Before the river silted up, hoi an was one of the most important trading ports in southeast Asia, and a center for east-west exchange and trade. From the 2nd until the 10th century, hoi an was one of the principal cham cities. Over the years, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese, French, Thai, Indonesian, Spanish, American, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese ships docked in hoi an. In the 19th century, as the result of warfare and environmental changes, hoi an was replaced by danang as a major port. Reflecting the diversity of the traders and missionaries that settled in the port (including alexander of rhodes), the ancient architecture is a fascinating mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. The rooftops of hoi an retain a magical old-world oriental feel and are a favourite subject for Vietnamese artists. In the early 1980s hoi an’s ancient quarters and historical monuments came under the protection and restoration efforts of UNESCO and the polish government.

You leave hoi an in the morning and drive to my son, a world heritage site that is the cham version of angkor wat, bagan, borobudur or ayutthaya. For the cham empire that flourished in Vietnam from the 4th to the 13th centuries, my son was the intellectual and religious center of the country, and perhaps served as the burial place for the cham kings. If one considers that the angkor empire or that of bagan only lasted about 3 centuries, the long reign of my son is quite spectacular.

The chams were primarily Hindu, but Hinduism came not by way of India, but from Indonesia (java), in the 12th century. Most of the temples are dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, considered by the cham as the founder and protector of their dynasties. Many of the cham elite studied in java and commerce flourished between these two seafaring empires. Actually, in the 12th century, one of the cham kings married a Javanese woman. As you look at the buildings and towers, know that you are looking at an architectural mystery. People do not truly know exactly how the masons managed to fit the bricks so securely together or what sort of paste they used.

From my son, you will head back to town. Here you can rent a bike and explore the Japanese bridge, visit the different Chinese assembly halls and pagodas and market.

In the afternoon, if time permits you will take a boat ride to some of the islands in the river. Here you can see the potters at work.

Day 5: Fly Hanoi. Old Quarter and Music Performance

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel De L’opera or Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Rising early, you will catch a flight to hanoi.

Hanoi, located at the confluence of the red and duong rivers, has come a long way from the stilt houses of the stone and bronze age dwellers of four and five thousand years ago. Myths link hanoi’s origins to the center of the earth, visions of soaring dragons, and fears of invasions or fierce winds from the north. Between Chinese power struggles, peasant rebellions, invasions from warring mongol hordes, the French occupation, and American bombing attacks, the city has undergone and continues to undergo tremendous growth and change. Today’s Hanoi, the city inside a bend of the red river, is a blend of thousand-year-old temples, tube houses, neo-Parisian buildings, and new, modern hotels and office buildings.

When you are ready, you can take a cyclo ride around the old quarter. When you are finished, you can have some lunch explore some of the art galleries and visit the local market.

You will end up in the old quarter for a special cheo musical performance in an old home in Hanoi and enjoy a welcome dinner. Cheo arose in the northern part of Vietnam in the red river delta as part of the viet kinh (peasant) tradition. In many ways, the goal of the musical performance was to spread a moral philosophy promoting good and condemning evil. Influenced somewhat by Confucian thinking, the cheo performances depict an idealized society and depict the ideal relationships and behaviours of the people. The performance will take about an hour and include a welcome ceremony and extracts of two famous cheo plays.

Day 6: Visit Hoan Kiem Lake, Mausoleum, Hoa Lo, Temple of Literature. Pm Cooking Lesson and Visit to Puppeteer

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel De L’opera or Sofitel Legend Metro pole Hanoi

A real treat is to rise early before breakfast and walk down to hoan kiem lake. Here you will join the locals in their morning tai chi exercises. Returning to the hotel, you can eat breakfast and then take a tour of the city. Your path will take you past the granite and concrete mausoleum where ho chi minh lies in state and the government buildings. Leaving the mausoleum, you will walk around hoan kiem lake in the middle of the city passing the one pillar pagoda, built in 1049 by emperor ly thanh tong to celebrate the birth of his only son, and ho chi minh’s house, given him by the people of the country in thanks for his leadership.

From the lake, you head to hoa lo prison, more well-known as the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Americans remember the prison for housing senator john mccain and other soldiers during the Vietnam war. For the Vietnamese, however, the prison was originally used by the French to house Vietnamese rebels and then, during the Vietnam war, to house local dissidents.

Next you will head up to west lake to see the temple of literature, called le pagoda des Cordeaux by the French, because of the huge flocks of crows gathering in the mango trees near the entrance. Built in 1070, the complex consists of five courtyards dedicated to Confucius and the pursuit of Confucian thought and behaviour. It is here that Vietnam’s first university was founded.

Lunch will be a cooking lesson in a local home. Then, in the afternoon, you can visit a puppet maker and enjoy a private water puppet show. In the evening, you will have a farewell dinner.

Day 7: Fly Luang Prabang and Tour City

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel 3 Nagas or Belmond Phu Vao

After an early breakfast, you transfer to the airport and fly to luang prabang on qv869 (1035/1200). Here you can get your visa on arrival. Leaving the airport, you will see your guide holding a sign with your names on it. He will take you to the hotel to wash up and perhaps have some lunch.

After lunch, you can begin to explore luang prabang, the old sovereign capital of laos, and one of the gems of Indochina. About 1000 feet above sea level at the confluence of the upper mekong and the nam khan rivers, luang prabang was described in harry Franck’s book, east of siam, as in many ways, what idealists picture the cities of utopia to be. The name refers to the holy pra bang, the most sacred Laotian Buddha image given to fa ngoum, the first monarch of lane xang, or the land of a million elephants, in the 14th century. The town is small and peaceful and has various quarters, which specialize in traditional crafts - silver carving, silk weaving, and sausage making. The pagoda spires and gold trim on the wats and temples sparkle in the morning light, as orange-robed monks wander the narrow streets with their begging bowls, seeking rice from the local inhabitants. The various names of the city reflect its history. Originally, legend has it that two resident hermits, who called it xieng thong, or “copper tree city”, selected the site. Later, its name was changed to chawa, a Laotian version of java. Luang prabang was the capital of the lane xang empire from the 14th to the 16th centuries, before king setthathirat moved his headquarters to Vientiane in 1563. Although its importance was diminished, luang prabang was an important royal center until the communist takeover of 1975 and the demise of the monarchy.

A good place to start your city tour is the royal palace museum, constructed in 1904 for king sisavang vong. He died in 1959, and his son, sisavang vatthana was exiled to northern laos with his wife, dying in a cave after the 1975 Laotian revolution. The palace was later converted into the museum it is today. Built by the French for the lao king, the palace is khmer in style, mounted on a four-tiered platform and cruciform in plan. Your visit will include hor phrabang, a very special area containing some of the palace’s most prized art.

Leaving the palace, you can follow the river to wat xieng thong – one of luang prabang’s most important temples. Heading back toward the centre of town, it is an easy walk to wat wisunalat, one of the oldest temples in the city with its nearby watermelon stupa – that makmo. Along the way, you can listen to monks chanting their prayers.

You also tour the traditional arts and ethnology centre, led by the taec director. The center exhibits unique clothing, household objects, religious artefacts and handicrafts from various ethnic groups in laos. Here you can get a sense of the different religions, lifestyles, beliefs and traditions of the people.

Late in the afternoon, depending on how you feel, you can either walk up to the top of phousi, the hill that dominates the landscape, and watch sunset on the mekong, or watch sunset down on the riverbanks.

At in the evening, you can visit the talat night market.

Day 8: Alms for Monks. Visit Pak Ou Caves, Villages and Ok Pop Tok

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel 3 Nagas or Belmond Phou Vao

If you rise early enough, you can watch the saffron-robed monks walking the streets with their begging bowls to get their daily ration of rice from the townspeople. In laos, many young men opt to become monks at some period in their lives, often to get a good education. The monks are supposed to walk straight, without looking at those who feed them, and will not eat after midday.

Leaving the hotel after breakfast, you head down to the docks and take a boat along the mekong to the famous pak ou caves. Said to have been discovered by king setthathirat in the 16th century, the upper and lower caves contain more than 4,000 wood and gold Buddha statues, some more than 300 years old. During the April festival of pi-may, the caves are a major pilgrimage site for local people; and during the dry season, locals pan for gold on the riverbank and sell their finds to Thailand. You can explore the caves and then have lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, on the way back up river, you will stop at the opposite bank from luang prabang and spend some time in the lesser-visited towns and the temples, experiencing the traditional lifestyle of ban chan and ban xiengmane. In ban chan, you can visit local pottery workshops and wat ban chan neua, currently under restoration by UNESCO. In ban xiengmane, a small town, are four simple, but elegant temples, which you can easily see on foot.

Day 9: Visit Khouang-Si Falls, Bear Sanctuary, Ock Pop Tok, Baci and Petanque

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel 3 Nagas or Belmond Phou Vao

This morning, you travel to the khouang-si waterfalls, a spectacularly beautiful area on a tributary of the mekong. Here blue-green waters tumble over cliffs into turquoise pools surrounded by lush jungle vegetation and large red poinsettias. Multi-colored butterflies fly in and out among the flowers and children bathe in the water. You can enjoy the falls and have a quiet picnic lunch in the area.

Nearby is a bear rescue center, and you can stop by and get a sense of the work of the people.

You will also have time to visit the textile gallery ock pop tock. Veomanee and joanne co-founded ock pop tok in April 2000. Veomanee’s mother isfrom laos' primary silk weaving region, sam neua, and the family was renowned for its weaving. Veo learned to weave at an early age and became proficient in weaving as well as silk dying with natural dyes. At 16, veo left high school to work in the hospitality industry and, while conversing with foreigners; she picked up her excellent English. Veo and joanne met in 1999 at an evening school in luang prabang where joanne was teaching. Veo then taught joanne to weave in her village, ban xieng leck. In April 2000 veo and joanne approached deng, goy and noy with the idea of weaving specifically for a gallery, and, after the production of around 60 pieces, the gallery opened in October of the same year.

Afterwards, drive to the outskirts of luang prabang to participate in a traditional baci ceremony in a local home. The ceremony of baci is held on any day throughout the year and is meant to commemorate specific events in an individual's life. The events could be anything - such as a marriage, a success in an endeavour, an annual festival, birth of a child, recovery from illness, or even to honour visitors and guests of importance.

Back in the city, you will end your visit to this special city at a venue in the city center, where elderly locals gather in the evenings to play their favourite game, petanque. This game originated in the south of France in the early 1900's is played widely across the country. Join in a game with a local group, and as a way of saying thanks, surprise them with some snacks and beerlao you've brought with you.

Day 10: Am Free. Pm Fly Vientiane. Visit Textile Galleries and Morning/Night Market

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Settha Palace Hotel

The morning is free to rest and wander on your own. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the airport in time to catch QV 104 (1305/1350) to Vientiane.

Your tour will focus on textiles and weaving. You begin with a stop at the Lao Textile Museum. Then you stop at the private textile gallery of Mme. Taykeo. Here the art of traditional Lao weaving is being revived, natural dyes are made, and Madame Taykeo is teaching young girls the ancient weaving techniques. To understand the complex pattern designs is a way of learning about the mythology of the Lao people.

Another important stop is Antique Lao Textiles, run by Mrs. Chanthone Thatanakham. Mme Sandra Yuck, whose shop you saw in Luang Prabang, also has another Caruso Lao Shop in Vientiane.

Last is a visit to Caruso Lao, almost a fine arts gallery that includes examples of how the wonderful collection is produced, explaining every painstaking process in the transformation of raw materials into finished products. All of the products are designed and crafted in Laos. The silks are handwoven by local weavers. The exclusive woods are indigenous to Laos and handcrafted by master carvers and turners.

You end with stops at Talat Sao, the morning market that runs all day, and the wonderful night bazaar market, located along the Mekong River. Here you can find everything from sarongs to silver to paintings by local students.

Day 11: Tour Vientiane

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Settha Palace Hotel

When you are ready, you will take a tour of this, the capital city of Laos. The name means either Sandalwood City or Moon City. A quiet town of less than half a million people, Vientiane is located on a bend of the Mekong, in the middle of a very fertile alluvial plain.

Gain an insight into both the ancient and modern sides of the capital city of Laos. Spend the morning discovering the main temples and sights of this sleepy city. Visit Pha That Luang, a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps the most important national monument in Laos.

Explore Ho Pha Keo, the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture. Photograph the thousands of tiny Buddha images and rows of seated Buddha’s at Wat Si Saket; and see Patuxai, a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs. Relax over a delicious lunch served in the beautiful surroundings of a training restaurant that helps disadvantaged Laotians to gain employment in the tourism industry.

After lunch visit COPE - a locally-run, non-profit organization founded in 1997 to provide survivors of unexploded ordnance with care and support. This includes access to orthotic and prosthetic devices, quality treatment and rehabilitation services.

Continue to Carol Cassidy's textile workshop and gallery located in a refurbished French colonial mansion. Spend time watching the Lao artisans at work at the looms creating beautiful fabrics inspired by traditional techniques and designs.

End the tour with a visit to two temples to understand more about Lao Buddhist traditions. Learn how to make mak beng' and pasaat peung', the traditional Lao Buddhist banana leaf and wax flower offerings.

Day 12: Fly Siem Reap. Preah Khan, Neak Poan and Pre Rup. Night Market

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Montra Nivesha or La Residence D’angkor

After breakfast, you head back to the airport to catch a flight to siem reap on qv 512 (0630/0925). Here you can get a visa on arrival. After clearing customs and immigration, you will leave the airport and have some lunch.

Siem reap is the cultural home of the khmer people and one of the ancient wonders of the world. This vast network of wats, dating back to the 7th century, is the center of some of the most important structures, statues, and carvings produced in the name of the Buddhist and Hindu religions. First rediscovered by western archaeologists in the late 19th century, the lost city of angkor was recently re-opened to foreigners.

The whole area is a model of the Hindu universe, where construction was designed to create harmony between mankind and the gods. Each of the temples must be visualized as a three-dimensional mandala, or representation of the Hindu (and later, the Buddhist) universe. The central shrines are Kailas, the abode of Shiva, or mt. Meru, the center of the world to the Buddhists. Cloisters and side chapels are both homes for the protector deities, as well as external envelopes of the cosmic reality. Moats are the seven sacred, concentric oceans surrounding the holy mountain in the center. As you walk across the causeways and up and down the many stairways of the temples, you need to think of yourself as a pilgrim, working your way to the center of the world and the home of the supreme deity.

This afternoon, you travel to the mighty temple of preah khan or 'sacred sword', built by king jayavarman vii in the late 12th century. Sister temple to ta prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. Look out for the curious two story structure that is almost Grecian in inspiration. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism.

The original eastern entrance was for Mahayana Buddhists, while the other cardinal points represented the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and brahma.

You then continue to the elegant curves of neak poan. This petite temple is the ultimate ornamental fountain, its series of elaborate spouts including the heads of lions and elephants. Originally neak poan was on an island at the center of vast baray (reservoir), known as jayatataka or reservoir of jaya.

The day ends with a view of sunset over the rice fields from the royal crematorium of pre rup, a classic view of the Cambodian countryside.

In the evening, if you wish, you can visit the night market.

Day 13: Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Landmine Museum, Banteay Samre, Pm Angkor Thom, Circus

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Montra Nivesha or La Residence D’angkor

Rising early in the morning, you head to ta prohm in the dawn light. Ta prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer henri mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy.

After soaking up the atmosphere of ta prohm, you continue further north to banteay srei, angkor’s ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as fortress of the women, thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man.

Originally believed to date from the latter part of the angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest a Brahman built it in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in khmer sculpture.

On the way back to siem reap, we stop at the Cambodia landmine museum, created to serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds and to teach about the scourge of landmines and the shadow they cast over rural communities in Cambodia. The land mine museum displays a large collection of weapons of war, including guns, rifles, rocket launchers, mortars, bombs and landmines. The site includes a mocked-up minefield and visitors can attempt to locate the deactivated mines. The museum is a rich resource of information about landmines and UXO with many educational displays detailing how certain mines are used and in what situations. There is also a DVD available telling the story of landmines and UXO in Cambodia and the disastrous impact they have had on the population. Not only a weapon of war, they are a weapon against peace.

Not only does the landmine museum promotes land mine accident prevention awareness and public education, but it provides educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injuries. It also provides education and support for dozens of at-risk, land mine-affected children who have suffered overwhelming hardships.

The last stop of the morning takes you through the traditional village of preah dak to the 12th century temple of banteay samre. Built by king surya varman ii, the genius behind angkor wat, this temple has been extensively restored. The temple is unique in that over-quarrying of sandstone led to the use of laterite for the roofed corridors. The pediments above the inner doors here include some of the most accomplished carving from the angkor period.

In the afternoon, you visit the immense walled city angkor thom, the masterpiece of king jayavarman vii. Following the occupation of angkor by the chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The scale is simply staggering and you will be immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of jayavarman on arrival at the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the churning of the ocean of milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.

You begin your visit at the terrace of the leper king. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium, and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be yama, the god of death. You continue along the terrace of elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at angkor, dating from the reign of uditayavarman 1 in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the french and is now once again open for viewing.

Your climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the bayon. At the exact center of angkor thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of avalokiteshvara (buddha of compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire. Before clambering upwards, we unravel the mysteries of the bas-reliefs, with their intricate scenes of ancient battles against the chams and their snapshot of daily life during the angkor period.

Tonight, you head to the circus – phare: the Cambodian circus. The performance is a blend of theatrical and Cambodian arts with acrobats, juggling, high wire and other acts.

Day 14: Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap Boat Trip and Artisans D'angkor

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Rising At The Crack Of Dawn, You Journey Out To The mother Of All Temples, Angkor Wat. Believed To Be The World's Largest Religious Building, This Temple Is The Perfect Fusion Of Symbolism And Symmetry And A Source Of Pride And Strength To All Khmers. Built In The 12th Century By King Suryavarman II, This Is The Most Famous Temple At Angkor. We Stay At Angkor Wat To Enjoy A Picnic Breakfast. As The Crowds Return To Their Hotels, You Venture Into Angkor Wat To Enjoy Its Magnificence In Peace And Quiet. You Begin By Unraveling The Mysteries Of The Bas-Reliefs That Tell Of Tales From Hindu Mythology And Of The Glories Of The Khmer Empire. Stretching for Almost Half a Mile, These Intricate Carvings Are A Candidate For The World’s Longest Unbroken Piece Of Art.

Following In The Footsteps Of The Devout And The Destructive Before You, You Then Continue To The Upper Levels Of The Inner Sanctuary. The Final Steps To The Upper Terrace Of Angkor Are The Steepest Of All, As Pilgrims Of Old Were To Stoop On Their Pilgrimage To Encounter The Gods. Finally, The Pinnacle, The Sacred Heart Of Angkor Wat, A Blend Of Spirituality And Symmetry So Perfect That Few Moments Will Measure Up. Here You Will Receive A Blessing From The Monks And Then Have A Picnic Breakfast Outside.

You Continue To The Chantiers Ecole Workshop Of Artisans d'Angkor, A Handicraft Cooperative Helping To Revive The Artisan Skills Of The Angkor Era. You Can Learn About Different Craft Techniques, Including Laquerware, Stone Carving And Silk Painting, As Well As Visit The Impressive Showroom.

Taking A Break From Temples, You Travel Out To The Mighty Tonle Sap Lake To Visit The Floating Village Of Chong Kneas. Nestled Under The Hill Of Phnom Krom, This Floating Community Moves Location With The Waters Of The Lake. During The Wet Season When The Lake Swells To Five Times Its Size, The Village Is Near Phnom Krom, But During The Dry Season, It Moves As Much As Four Kilometres From The Hill.

Everything Floats On Water In This Living Fishing Community. There Are Floating Schools, Floating Shops, Floating Petrol Stations, Even Floating Karaoke Bars. Many Of The Houses Are Floating Fish Farms With Large Pens Of Fish Underneath.

Continuing Your Boat Journey Across The Great Lake, You Head To The Village Of Kompong Pluk. Cruising Down A Narrow Waterway, You Enter This Medieval Floating Village, Where The Houses Stand Atop Stilts As Much As Seven Meters Above The Water. Everything Lives On The Water, Pigs, Dogs, Crocodiles And People, All Jockeying For Space In This Incredible Floating Town. You Stop At The Local Wat Here, Before Exploring The Flooded Forest And Returning Across The Tonle Sap Lake To Chong Kneas And The Holy Mountain Of Phnom Krom.

At Last, You Return To Siem Reap By Road And Head To The Airport For Your Onward Flight To Bangkok Via PG 908 (1930/2055).

If You Need To Overnight, You Once Again Clear Customs And Immigration. Leaving The Secured Area, You Head To The Appropriate Exit For The Shuttle To Your Hotel.

Overnight, If Necessary, At Either The Novotel Airport Suvarnabhumi. (Not Included In The Costs).

Day 15: Home

Depart Bangkok for home.

Availability

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Price From $ 4,295
Price Per Day: $ 286 per day
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Start DateEnd DateDouble StandardSingle StandardAvailability 
Nov-24-2019Dec-08-2019$ 6,150$ 7,410Limited Reserve
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 1,260

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Myths and Mountains.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Dennis Cox
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Stride Featured in

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117 Myths and Mountains Travel Reviews & Ratings

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5.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 117
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
5.0
Guide
5.0
Activities
5.0
Lodging
5.0
Transportation
5.0
Meals
5.0

Indochina’s Best: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Write a Review

Response time was immediate!!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Response time was immediate. There was an ease and smoothness of every connection during a 5 week trip through three countries in Southeast Asia.

M&M was always going above and beyond - finding us unique situations and people to meet and having a true understanding and care for the local people.

Everything was straight forward and easy. We had so many favourite trip memories, but the fact that we were in some popular and crowded places where our guides always knew the best time of day and ways to get the most enjoyment from our visit.

Our favourite hotel was the Song Saa...pure luxury within a natural setting and our favourite guide was Cuoong ...because he would go beyond expectations day in and day out.
Advice: Please do not hesitate to have someone plan a trip for you it makes such a difference
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Cambodia and Laos: Custom Trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was happy to experience your confidence in knowing the region. Your staff was extremely responsive to my many questions. I had wanted to go to Cambodia for several years and I have to say, it far exceeded my expectations. It was wonderful to have people to take care of us and not have to figure out where to go and what to do on our own. I came away with a real feel for the people and cultures. Your guides were stars who knew so much about this region and intermixed his knowledge with personal stories. Just a pleasure to be around.
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Custom Trip: Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Guides were excellent and had no issues on the trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the hotels. We particularly like the very strong qualities of your guides - creative, warm personalities. Enjoyed the treks very much, well guided and interesting.
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Company Reviews

You all do an amazing job

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
You all do an amazing job. I have recommended M & M to everyone who expresses an interest in travel. I can think of no other company, besides yours, that really shares my values about educational and responsible tourism.
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Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay, ethnic groups near Bac Ha Market day! | Favorite Guide: Cuong! Experienced, passionate, straightforward, funny. | Helpful Tip: Use Myths & Mountains. They’re the best!
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Precisely what I wanted

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I got what I wanted. I wanted to see the ethnic groups -- not the Han or the Viet. That was what I got to see. Precisely what I wanted. Thanks.

Details

Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Estimated Novotel Airport Hotel: $238/Room/Night

Supplement for the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi: $262/Rm/Nt Double Room

Supplement for La Residence D’angkor: $190/Pp/Night Double Room

Supplement for La Reverie in Saigon: $275/Rm/Nt Double Room

Supplement for the Anantara in Hoi an: $128/Rm/Nt Double Room

Supplement for the Belmond Phou Vao In Luang Prabang: $520/Rm/Nt Double Room

Trip ID#:

IndVieMyt

Trip Excludes

  • International Airfare to Saigon and Back from Bangkok
  • Novotel Suvarnabhumi In Bangkok on Departure If Needed
  • Visa Fees
  • Meals Where Not Indicated with A Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Tips/Gratuity (Porters, Drivers, Local Guides, Etc.)
  • Domestic and International Airport Taxes
  • Other Items of a Personal Nature Including Laundry, Alcoholic Beverages, Etc.
  • Additional Expenses Resulting From the Delay or Extension of the Trip Due to Causes Beyond our Reasonable Control

Meals Included:

13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 4 Dinners

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