Fly to Bangkok.
We arrive into Bangkok in the early evening and will be met at by a local representative who will escort you to your comfortable hotel. The evening is free to relax.
This morning you will be picked up early and taken to Bangkok airport and your morning flight to Luang Prabang. You will be met by Andy at Luang Prabang Airport and take a short transfer to your guesthouse. There will be free time to explore the city in the afternoon and this evening is your first chance to indulge in Laotian food at a local restaurant for an optional group meal.
Day 4 - 5
Due to the nature of the project work and the wishes of the group, it is necessary to keep the itinerary flexible for these two days in Luang Prabang. Project work will primarily focus on educational support in schools. Our evenings are free to explore the night market or enjoy a treat with a relaxing Laos massage (approx. GBP4 per hour). There may also be time to enjoy a boat journey along the Mekong River.
For those up at dawn there is the chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms. Then after an early breakfast, we drive south to the town of Vang Vieng. Set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), we arrive into a truly beautiful location. Our stunning journey takes approximately 7-8 hours on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above flat river valleys. Our reward for this journey is relaxing at our well situated hotel on the banks of the River Song, as the sun goes down over Vang Vieng.
Day 7 - 8
Over the next two days we will spend some time undertaking more project work at Vang Vieng primary school a short walk away from our hotel. Though a state school, there is little funding to maintain and improve the facility and we join hands with a local organisation to help continue the on-going improvements. We will also help by conducting games, sports and English lessons. There will also be plenty of time to explore this tourist-friendly town, set between limestone karst towers that pierce the countryside and rolling hills. Optional excursions and activities are easily arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery or even kayaking down the Song River. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached in a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view.
We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane, which translates as Sandalwood City. Our hotel is located near the banks of the Mekong River and the afternoon is free to explore this interesting colonial city before we meet up in the evening for a group meal (optional).
Today we fly direct to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor and our base for our remaining four nights. There is time this evening to get our bearings and wander around the market or enjoy some excellent shopping and its vibrant nightlife.
Rediscovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. We spend today temple-hopping with our local guide through the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which comprises of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, when the Khmer Empire was the pre-eminent influence in South East Asia, the temples were believed to represent a cosmic world set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, which is dramatically still covered in jungle. One evening we will make our way to the incredible temple complex of Angkor and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene.
Today we will visit a nearby project where we hope to make a real difference. The exact nature of our work will be determined nearer the time.
Today is a free day where you can re-visit Angkor at your own pace, relax and wander around Siem Reap.
We board our morning flight to Kuala Lumpur where the 8 hour stop-over allows time to enter the city for some dinner or simply to visit the city's night markets (the fast train from the airport to the city takes approximately 30 minutes).