The One with the Laid Back Beach
It’s like every cafe, restaurant and bar in Vang Vieng was given the box set of Friends and told to play it on repeat. Don’t panic if you find yourself humming I’ll Be There For You and asking, “How you doin?” to a bunch of perfect strangers. It’s inevitable.
(Was Indochina Encounter)
Day 1-2 - Bangkok
As you zip around the city on a Skytrain, spare a thought for all the gridlocked traffic below. Then we’ll bring you back down to earth with an overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai.
- Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. There is a pre departure meeting tonight at approx. 6pm!
- Visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace, Wat Po (reclining buddha) and Emerald Buddha
- Enjoy the rest of the day to further explore the city
- Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs
Day 3 - Chiang Mai
In the centre of Chiang Mai there’s 120 temples. Don’t try and see them all. Instead, save your energy for the 300 steps up Doi Suthep.
- Spend a free day exploring the northern city of Chiang Mai, with over 120 temples in the centre alone
- Set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep, with fantastic views over the city
- Perhaps get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class
- Why not visit the Night Bazaar a great chance to practice those bargaining skills
Day 4-5 - Huay Xai - Mekong River
Take a cruisy trip along the Mekong, stopping at little villages along the way. Meet the locals over a nip of home brewed rice whiskey.
- Take a small boat across the Mekong River to Huay Xai, the first stop in Laos
- Enjoy time to wander around this small place and perhaps ascend the Naga stairs to Wat Jom Khao Manilat
- Perhaps visit a nearby minority village, where they make rice whiskey, noodles and handicrafts
- Board a slow boat for a trip down the Mekong River
- Arrive in the late afternoon at Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River
Day 6-7 - Luang Prabang
UNESCO calls it the ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’. We just love taking you to Kuang Si Falls to cool off.
- Continue on the private slow boat, stopping to stretch your legs and explore the Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues
- Arrive in Luang Prabang in the evening and wander the streets of ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’
- Trek to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls
Day 8-11 - Vang Vieng - Vientiane
If Vang Vieng was any more laidback it would slide right off the map. Even the ‘active’ stuff here is relaxing, like checking out caves and taking a leisurely kayak down the Nam Song River.
- Transfer to a local fan cooled bus and head toward the village of Vang Vieng, located on a bend in the Nam Song River
- Cross the river to explore the huge caves that line the West Bank
- Enjoy plenty of time to make your own discoveries or partake in an optional kayaking day trip along the Nam Song
- Continue to the Lao capital, located on the banks of the Mekong River
- Arrive in Vientiane and explore this small and laid-back capital on bicycle or on foot
- Set off on a walking orientation tour takes you to the oldest remaining temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Saket
- During free time, further explore Vientiane’s other historical sites, including Haw Pha Kaew
Day 12-14 - Siem Reap - Angkor
Clear out the memory card, and don’t forget to put the camera down for a while so you can take it all in. It’s like each temple is better than the next, ending with sunset over Angkor Wat.
- Drive out to the Angkor temple complex to watch the sunset from one of the structures; Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup temple, Sras Srong, Phnom Krom or Phnom Bok
- Take an informative day-long tour of the Angkor complex, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Baphoun, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm and, of course, Angkor Wat
- Free time to do some exploring of your own
- Optional visit to the rose-coloured Banteay Srei Temple
- Perhaps visit Banteay Srei, located about 30 kilometres north of Siem Reap - considered to be the best preserved of all of Cambodia’s temples
- Optional trip with into the countryside to discover facets of rural life with a local site guide
- Kick back in Siem Reap and just wander around the town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants
Day 15-16 - Phnom Penh
Get a sobering look into the bloody history of the Khmer Rouge, with a visit to Tuol Sleng Prison and the Choeung Ek killing fields. It’s sad, but you’ll appreciate just how far this country has come.
- Take a cyclo sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh to include the Royal Palace and the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison
- Join a bus to visit another reminder of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, the Choeung Ek killing fields
- Visit the Central Market, located in an old French colonial building - a good place to look for clothing or sarongs
- Enjoy the rest of the day exploring Phnom Penh city
- Perhaps stop by the Silver Pagoda, the temple of Wat Phnom, the National Museum and the French Quarter
Day 17 - Chambok Homestay
You’ll love this bit. We’re staying the night with a local family so you’ll get an incredible home-cooked meal and a bit of traditional Khmer dancing. Oh, and you’ll also get to swim at the base of a 40m waterfall.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Travel south along National Road 4 in the direction of Sihanoukville
- Be greeted by your host familiy and settle down for lunch with them
- Embark on a three-kilometre walk along a nature trail
- Visit a cave inhabited by bats, indulge in some bird watching and enjoy a swim in a natural pool at the base of a 40-metre waterfall
- Perhaps enjoy a ride on an oxcart
- We spend the night in a homestay as guests of the local people
- Watch the youths of the village put on a performance of traditional Khmer dancing
Day 18-19 - Sihanoukville
It’s like everyone who has been to Sihanoukville is part of a special club. Mention the name and they’ll look at each other with big, smug grins on their faces. Because they know. And after this trip, you’ll know too. Welcome to the club.
- Arrive at Sihanoukville, a place that has been earmarked as Cambodia’s main beach resort development
- Get a feel for this quiet location by enjoying a relaxing afternoon on Occheuteal Beach or wandering across to nearby Otres Beach, Sokha Beach or Independence Beach
- Perhaps wander down and explore the town centre
Day 20-21 - Phnom Penh
You can’t come to Phnom Penh without having a gin and tonic on the balcony at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. If you don’t like gin, have an Angkor beer instead. Take one last look at Mother Mekong before heading home.
- Enjoy a final morning on the beach at Sihanoukville
- Perhaps participate in an optional cooking class, where a local chef will teach you the finer points of preparing the local cuisine
- Travel by private bus back to Phnom Penh, and spend the last night in the capital
- The trip ends today after breakfast
What to Know
An experienced local tour guide, the services of local site guides at some sites. All transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 11 Dec 2013 - 31 Dec 2013 4 Closed US $2,435 Closed 25 Dec 2013 - 14 Jan 2014 2 Request US $2,320 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
The One with the Laid Back Beach
Dominique - Australia, 27 Jun, 2012
The tour was fantastic and i had a great time
The One with the Laid Back Beach
Amanda - Australia, 4 Apr, 2012
During our trip we joined with other tours and met lots of new people. Unfortunately one section of our tour was only myself and my husband and we felt we certainly missed the benefits of being in a larger group to share experiences and join in day to day activities, given this was a particular reason fro choosing a Gecko tour.
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