This comprehensive small group tour combines sightseeing with authentic experiences like meeting locals, visiting temples and learning about rich histories for a brilliantly rounded cultural journey of South-East Asia.
• Phnom Penh: 2 nights
• Battambang: 1 night
• Siem Reap: 3 nights
• Luang Prabang: 3 nights
• Bangkok: 2 nights
• Kanchanaburi: 1 night
• Ayutthaya: 1 night
• Sukhothai: 2 nights
• Chiang Rai: 1 night
• Chiang Mai: 2 nights
Day 1: UK to Phnom Penh Depart the UK on your overnight flight to Phnom Penh, via Bangkok.
Day 2: Phnom Penh On arrival, transfer to your hotel for the rest of the day at leisure. Stay: La Rose Suites (or similar).
Day 3: Phnom Penh Start your tour at the Royal Palace before continuing to the infamous Killing Fields of Cheung Ek. Learn about Cambodia’s tragic history at the Tuol Sleng Museum, a former prison used by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Return to your hotel for a welcome lunch, then visit the Khmer-style National Museum of Arts and Wat Phnom by cyclo. End the day with an optional sunset cruise on the Mekong River. Stay: La Rose Suites (or similar). B, L.
Day 4: Phnom Penh to Battambang On a full-day road transfer to Battambang, you can chat to your tour leader en route and learn more about Cambodia’s history, visiting a pottery village and taking part in harvest season activities. On arrival, visit a traditional wooden Khmer house in the village of Wat Kor. Dinner tonight is a foodie tour of the old colonial quarter. Approx. journey time: 11 hours with stops. Stay: Maisons Wat Kor (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Battambang to Siem Reap Visit the homes of artisans and see local products being created such as rice paper. Continue to Siem Reap with a silk farm visit en route (time permitting) before an evening of free time on arrival. Approx. journey time: 9 hours with stops. Stay: Tara Angkor (or similar). B, L.
Day 6: Siem Reap Rise early for the UNESCO-listed Angkor, home to the beautifully-preserved Angkor Wat. Later, take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake to see the Mechrey Floating Village. Stay: Tara Angkor (or similar). B.
Day 7: Siem Reap Explore Angkor’s lesser-visited temples including Banteay Srei. See how locals harvest rice or collect sugar palm (October-April) at a local village. Choose between an air-conditioned vehicle or tuk-tuk to see the South Gate of Angkor Thom. There’s an optional sunset gondola ride before dinner with a dance show at a local restaurant. Stay: Tara Angkor (or similar). B, D.
Day 8: Siem Reap to Luang Prabang Take in some culture at Les Artisans d’Angkor arts and crafts school and Theam’s House, an artisan’s studio. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang in Laos (approx. 1½-2 hours). On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Stay: Le Palais Juliana (or similar). B, L.
Day 9: Luang Prabang Start with a cruise on the Mekong River for a day visiting villages where rice wine and paper are made as well as temples and caves that house hundreds of Buddha statues. Visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre before an evening at leisure. Stay: Le Palais Juliana (or similar). B, L.
Day 10: Luang Prabang Rise early to see the morning ritual of ‘Tagbat’, when monks make a daily collection of alms. Visit a market selling fruit, vegetables and local favourites like rodents, bugs and frogs. Return to your hotel for breakfast before heading to the Kuang Si Falls (approx. 1 hour) where you can take a dip in the natural pools. There’s time at leisure before a tuk-tuk tour of the city and the chance to climb Phousy Hill at sunset for views over the city and the Mekong River. Stay: Le Palais Juliana (or similar). B, L.
Day 11: Luang Prabang to Bangkok Enjoy free time this morning before visiting the Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Mai temple. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. On arrival, check in to your hotel for some free time before an evening of exploring Chinatown, followed by a dim sum dinner. Stay: The Landmark Bangkok (or similar). B, D.
Day 12: Bangkok Visit the Reclining Buddha at Wat Po, the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha. Take a tuk-tuk ride to Khao San Road for lunch and visit Jim Thompson House. This evening, enjoy a cocktail at Banyan Tree Bangkok’s 60th-floor Vertigo Too bar before a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River. Stay: The Landmark Bangkok (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 13: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi Start early with visits to two markets en route to Kanchanaburi – Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. On arrival in Kanchanaburi, learn about the Death Railway at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre and visit the prisoner-of-war Allied War Cemetery. Transfer to your hotel by long-tail boat. Stay: Home Phutoey River Kwai Resort (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 14: Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya See the Hellfire Pass Memorial and ride the Death Railway Train, ending at the River Kwai Bridge. Continue to Ayutthaya for the rest of your day at leisure. Stay: Sala Ayutthaya (or similar). B, L.
Day 15: Ayutthaya to Sukhothai Explore the former capital, Ayutthaya, and learn about the country’s religious and royal history as you visit temples and monasteries. Taste Thai candy floss at lunch and visit the Bang Pa In Summer Palace. Dinner will be at your hotel, accompanied by a show. Stay: Legendha Sukhothai (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 16: Sukhothai Start your day at a seasonal orchid greenhouse and watch ceramic making and textile weaving. Then help out on an organic rice farm in traditional indigo Thai farmer clothes (which you can purchase and take home) as you try planting, harvesting or milling rice. You could even plough the paddies with water buffalo. Enjoy an organic lunch before heading to view the ruins of Sukhothai. Stay: Legendha Sukhothai (or similar). B, L.
Day 17: Sukhothai to Chiang Rai Rise early to make merit with local monks outside your hotel. After breakfast, set off for Chiang Rai, stopping at a pineapple plantation en route. After lunch, drive up to the Golden Triangle and afterward, visit to the Hall of Opium. Stay: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 18: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai Take a songthaew to visit two hilltribe villages of the Akha and Yao tribes. Continue to a handicraft village to see lacquerware and Thai silk being made. After lunch, go on a walking tour of Chiang Mai. Tonight’s dinner is Khantoke style, featuring ancient dance performances and hilltribe songs. Stay: Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa Chiang Mai (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 19: Chiang Mai Get an early view of the mountaintop Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Spend half a day at the Elephant Care Centre, where elephants are cared for in later life. Tonight your farewell dinner is with a local family, where you’ll learn how to cook your own Thai dish and enjoy it for dinner. Stay: Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa Chiang Mai (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 20: Chiang Mai Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.
Is this for you?
This is a great way to make the most of your time and see South-East Asia’s most famous landmarks, get involved with cultural experiences and visit key historic sights.
Good to know
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests.
What to expect
• Air-conditioned transport and exploration on foot and by boat and cyclo
• Full days of sightseeing
• Some long journeys and early starts
• Visits to rural villages and temples (clothing should cover knees and shoulders for temples)
• Encounters with monks, villagers and tribespeople
• Cambodia’s infrastructure is less developed so delays may occur
• Not recommended for those with walking difficulties
• Cambodian visa fee ($30) and Laos visa fee (approx. $35) are payable on arrival.
Accommodation on tour
We’ve chosen traditional and boutique hotels that will give you a real feel of each place. In Battambang, Maisons Wat Kor has traditional wooden Khmer houses on stilts while Le Palais Juliana is surrounded by forest and the mountains in Luang Prabang. In Thailand, you’ll have a central spot just off Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road as well as a night in a simple hotel right on the River Kwai.
Single supplement from £1055
Oct 17; Nov 21.
Included in price
• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.
Upgrade your tour
Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £1355pp.
We’ve crafted an itinerary that includes both iconic experiences like seeing sunset at Angkor Wat and plenty of cultural experiences to give you an authentic taste of the local culture. From street food in Bangkok to meeting local artisans along the Mekong River, you’ll get to experience a busy itinerary that allows for free time to reflect and explore independently in each destination too.