Our top recommendations for spending 2 weeks in Laos and Cambodia
A two-week tour in Laos and Cambodia will showcase the best each country has to offer, from sparkling waterfalls and World Heritage listed towns in Laos to the incredible temples of Angkor and tranquil countryside in Cambodia.
The best time to visit Laos and Cambodia is the dry season from November to March. Many travelers prefer the wet season, as the afternoon rains are brief and rarely affect touring. The advantages of lower prices and fewer tourists make a Laos and Cambodia tour even more rewarding. See our latest traveler reviews of Thailand and Laos here.
2-week Laos and Cambodia Itinerary
Day 1: Chiang Rai
Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary
Chiang Rai is the gateway to the Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand meets Laos and Burma, and home to some of Thailand’s most picturesque scenery and colorful hilltribes.
Day 2: Pakbeng
A short drive from Chiang Rai, Thailand meets Laos at Chiang Kong on the mighty Mekong River. Cruise down the river for six to seven hours past rural villages and seen the daily life of the laid-back people of Laos. The simple market town of Pakbeng is sure to charm with its frontier spirit and friendly locals.
DayS 3-5 Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls, just outside Luang Prabang
A full-Day journey past sleepy riverside villages will bring you to sparkling Luang Prabang. Stop at Pak Ou caves to see thousands of Buddha images within. Rise early one morning to witness countless saffron-robed monks collecting alms, an age old tradition. Outside of town, don’t miss a swim in the turquoise pools of Kuang Si Falls, stopping at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center on the way. In the evening wander the mostly car-free streets and try some of the French or local cuisine, or learn to cook it yourself at Tamarind.
Day 6-7 Vientiane
Fly to Vientiane, Laos’ tranquil capital. Vientiane’s old-world atmosphere belies the cities recent development. A visit to Vientiane is not complete without seeing Wat Sisaket, the city’s most beautiful and oldest temple, and Wat Haw Phra Kaew across the road, now a religious museum showing fine works of art. Don’t miss Pha That Luang, a national monument representing Buddhism and the Laotian monarchy and the National Museum.
Day 8-9 Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh's art deco central market.
Fly to Phnom Penh and explore the markets and boutiques of this reinvented capital. Visit the Art Deco Central Market, built in by the French in 1937. Discover Khmer history and art at the National Museum and visit the Royal Palace, known for its Silver Pagoda with a floor lined with thousands of silver tablets. Phnom Penh was ravaged by war in the 70s. For an insight into the horrors of the Pol Pot era visit the chilling Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
Day 10 Kampong Thom and Sambor Pre Kuk
Drive through the enchanting Cambodian countryside to Kampong Thom. On the way you could stop at Kampong Leung known for its silver and metal-ware or Santuk known for traditional silk production. The busy market at Skuon is the perfect place to try the local specialty – fried spiders. The temples ruins of Sambor Pre Kuk are some of the oldest in Southeast Asia, and are off the tourist trail.
Day 11 Tonle Sap
Local schoolchildren on Tonle Sap Lake
On the way to Siem Reap stop for a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, the world’s 2nd largest freshwater lake. During wet season the volume of water flowing in from the Mighty Mekong actually reverses the flow of the lake. See houses and whole villages that float on the water as levels rise and recede.
Day 12-13 The temples of Angkor and outer-lying temples
The little-visited Boeng Mealea temples
At its peak the city of Angkor was the world’s largest city with over a million people. The most impressive and famous of all the temples is Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. It is worth the early start to see it at sunrise for a vision you will never forget. Within the temples complex there are hundreds of temples to explore and you should plan your time according to your interests, but we recommend the eerie stone heads and evocative bas-reliefs of the Bayon temple, the Terrace of Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King, while overgrown Ta Phrom is one of the most atmospheric temples. Travel outside the ancient city to Boeng Mealea Temple in the jungle and the well-preserved Banteay Srei Temple.
Day 14 Siem Reap
Finish your Laos and Cambodia itinerary in delightful Siem Reap. With increased tourism to the region a thriving restaurant scene has flourished with many charming boutique hotels and an emerging art scene.