Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are therefore free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frenetic pace and humid heat of Bangkok. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.
Continue by road to Siem Reap, our base for exploring Angkor and working at our volunteer project. Siem Reap is a small, relaxed town of cafes and markets. Page 2 Explore Indochina's most incredible historic sight - the vast temple-palace complex of Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire before spending 3 days participating in volunteer work at New Hope. New Hope Cambodia is a grass roots, hands on, non government organization whose mission is to restore hope, dignity and promise to the local community of Mondul 3. Volunteer work could vary from helping to build a new school or library, participating with teaching in class rooms or visiting local families who require assistance. Your contribution will be productive, rewarding and beneficial to the local community.
A very early departure takes us by road to Kratie. En route, we pass through Skuon (a small town famous for its delicious spiders), where it's possible to sample an eight-legged snack. It's recommended that you eat these furry arachnids as you would a crab, by cracking the body open and pulling the legs off one by one - delicious! Once in Kratie, depending on time, there may be the option of trying to spot rare Irrawaddy river dolphins.
Today we travel by bus,approx 5 hours,to the land of a million Elephants,Laos, and our stay on the beautiful island of Don Deng. After completing necessary border formalities*, we continue our journey to Don Deng Island by road (approx 2 hours) for our overnight homestay. Don Deng, with its rice fields, small village and ancient wats, is wonderfully scenic and perfect for cycling. It is also famous for brewing some of the country's finest national drink, lao-lao. Very fiery, a jigger of lao-lao is usually followed with a plain water chaser. Note that the homestay and bathroom facilities are very basic. You will be staying in groups of 4 or 5 in different homes with local families but in close proximity. The food is also basic but gives you the chance to experience some real Lao cuisine. Evenings can get chilly so please bring a long sleeved top. *It is common when exiting Cambodia at Dong Kolor and entering Laos at Voen Kham, that a nominal border fee is imposed by border officials. Please allow 5USD for this.
We fly from Pakse to Luang Prabang, where we discover Laos’ Buddhist and architectural heritage visiting some of the most impressive of Luang Prabang’s 32 temples including Vat Visoun, Vat Sene, and Vat Xiengthong. Climb Phousi Hill and watch the sun set over the horizon or rise at dawn to watch the monks walk through the city collecting offerings of food from the locals. Make sure to find the time to browse the colorful textile galleries and relax in the town’s many small cafés. You also have the option of taking a Songtaew to the wonderful Kuang Sii Waterfalls situated 25kms from town. Time is set aside to visit a local NGO, learning about the hard work they do to help those in need. Our visit will help support their cause and bring awareness of the many concerns and issues of local communities.
A scenic drive through winding mountains will take us to the picturesque town of Vang Vieng (approx 7 hrs). Nestled along the Nam Song river and surrounded by limestone karsts. Watch the sunset over the river or explore some of the many caves in the region.
We travel from Vang Vieng to the Laos/Thai friendship bridge today with a brief stop in Vientiane, one of Asia's sleepiest capitals en route to catch the overnight train back to Bangkok.
Return to the glorious chaos of the capital and enjoy a farewell dinner with your new friends.
You are free to depart anytime on Day 15.