Far East - Hays Faraway

Cambodia & Laos | 55

coffee beans in nearby shops before your overnight stay.

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN CHIANG RAI Land at Chiang Rai International Airport and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Spend the rest of today exploring this northern Thai city - founded in 1262 - and enjoy its laid-back atmosphere and tasty local dishes. Look around Hilltribe Museum to find exhibits of tribal clothing, tools and bamboo usages, or visit Wat Phra Kaew - a sacred Buddhist temple. Overnight stay. DAY 2: PAKBENG After breakfast, take your transfer through the Chiang Khong district to meet your guide. Embark on your cruise to Pakbeng and see traditional settlements along Mekong River. Stop en route at a village and enjoy lunch on board before arriving in Pakbeng in late afternoon. Wander around your new location - a mixing pot for hill tribes including the H’Mong, Lue and Khmu - before dinner and your overnight stay. DAY 3: CRUISE TO LUANG PRABANG Today, cruise through some of northern Laos’ most remarkable scenery on your way to Luang Prabang. Enjoy an on-board lunch before disembarking to visit the sacred Pak Ou Caves, which are home to hundreds of Buddha statues. Check in when you arrive at Luang Prabang - a UNESCO World Heritage site - and head out to enjoy a tasty dinner of spring rolls, satay chicken, sticky rice, and stuffed lemongrass. DAY 4: LUANG PRABANG SIGHTSEEING Early this morning, go with your guide to Vat Nong and see the temple’s Tak Bat monk ceremony. This revered tradition involves locals offering food to monks as they silently walk along the street in orange robes. After, your guide escorts you to a local market. Look around the fruit, vegetable, herb, and spice stalls before breakfast. You then climb Mount Phousi, based in the centre of town, where you find the 20 metre-high Wat That Chomsi. Visit the temples of Wat Xieng Thong and Vat Wisunarat, before returning to your hotel for free time. DAY 5: KHUANG SY WATERFALL Visit Royal Palace Museum in Luang Prabang, before travelling past rice paddies and old villages to reach Khuang Sy Waterfall. Enjoy a refreshing swim and tasty lunch at the waterfall, then return to Luang Prabang and see Wat Mai - built in the late 18th century. Afterwards, enjoy some street- side noodles as you stroll around Luang Prabang’s popular night market - which sells crafts, clothes and bamboo goods. Find silk scarves, homemade whiskey, and Laos

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DAY 6: VANG VIENG Have breakfast and leave for Vang Vieng, which is based on Nam Song River and overlooked by mountains. Check in at your hotel and look around your new destination - an ideal place for kayaking, cycling, hiking, and cave-exploring! Take a boat ride along the river at sunset and watch the sun dip below the peaks before dinner and an overnight stay. DAY 7: VANG VIENG TREK AND CRUISE Today, you’re picked up from your hotel and taken north of the city centre. Start your trek from Pha Thao - an H’Mong village - and walk through forests and rice fields while seeing locals carrying out daily activities. Explore the Tham Loup and Tham Hoi Caves before reaching a pretty spring pool - perfect for swimming! Afterwards, head to the largest man-made water reservoir in Laos, Nam Ngum Lake, where you enjoy a one-hour boat trip past ‘Monkey Island’ - home to wandering primates. Sail to the fishing village of Tha Heua and enjoy lunch on the mainland before travelling to Vientiane for your overnight stay. DAY 8: VIENTIANE Following breakfast, explore Laos’ capital and largest city. Visit the city’s biggest temple, Wat Si Saket, and then head to Wat Ho Phra Keo - which features Hindu and Khmer carvings, as well as many Buddha images. Next, see Pha That Luang, which is considered a national monument and symbol of both Buddhism and Laos sovereignty, before visiting Patuxai - a war monument decorated with gods, dragons, elephants, and lotus leaves. After sightseeing, enjoy a stroll along Mekong River - the longest in south-east Asia - before a dinner of duck, pork, sticky rice, bamboo shoots, ginger root, and soy sauce. DAY 9: DEPART FROM VIENTIANE Today, your driver picks you up and takes you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

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Highlights

• Take a scenic cruise along the Mekong River to Pakbeng • Experience a traditional religious ceremony in Luang Prabang - featuring orange-robed monks and food offerings from locals • Swim at the beautiful Khuang Sy Waterfall • Explore Vang Vieng’s caves, mountains and spring pools before sailing past primates on ‘Monkey Island’! • See temples, Buddha statues and war monuments in capital city, Vientiane

What’s included

National and regional flights

Flexible durations Fully escorted transfers

Why not add... + Airport Lounge from £16pp

Guide price Flights, escorted transfers and 8 nights with selected meals from £2,199

To tailor-make your faraway holiday, please contact your travel agent

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