ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Pakse
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Pakse is the sleepy provincial capital of Champasak and a former French colonial outpost. Take a walk around the town and look out for traces of French architecture that still remain.
Day 2: Pakse
Spend your day in the great outdoors. Begin with an easy trek through coffee plantations, villages and forest to reach the plains of the Bolaven Plateau. See waterfalls and ancient temples ruins, and enjoy the refreshingly cool climate – a rarity in Southeast Asia!
Day 3: 4000 Islands
Travel to the ancient ruins of Wat Phou temple complex that pre-dates Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat by a couple of hundred years. Take an elephant trek to the archaeological site of Phou Asa to peek at more ancient ruins and go by ferry to Khong Island, a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River and the gateway to the 4000 Islands.
Day 4: 4000 Islands
Cruise past the tiny islands dotted throughout this tropical paradise to Khone Phapeng and Li Phi Falls, the largest waterfalls in Asia. If you’re lucky, you might see some of the rare and elusive pink Irrawaddy dolphins that call the 4000 Islands home!
Day 5: Ratanakiri
Cross the border into Cambodia at Rattanakiri and travel to the remote provincial capital of Ban Lung. This little visited province boasts some of the more striking landscapes of the area and is home to several ethnic minority groups and natural attractions. Over the next few days you will venture out to discover this remote area.
Day 6: Ban Lung – Virachey National Park – Voen Sai – Yeak Loam Lake
Explore the Virachey National Park a wilderness of jungle and grasslands that are home to a large variety of rare and endangered wildlife. Keep an eye out and you might spot a clouded leopard, elephants or a tiger. Visit Voen Sai village where the inhabitants are considered the true indigenous Khmer and later this afternoon swim in the crystal clear waters of Yeak Laom, a volcanic lake.
Day 7: Ban Lung - Borkeo – Andong Meas
Travel to the small town of Bokheo known for its gem mines and watch the precarious way the locals mine for amethyst and zircon. You can buy these precious gems but be prepared to bargain! Continue to Andong Meas and meet the fascinating Jarai people. Gain insight to this ethnic minority and witness the elaborate cemeteries for their dead, which include carved effigies of the deceased.
Day 8: Katieng
Located a short distance from Ban Lung is the Katieng Waterfall that cascades 10m into a pool below. This impressive waterfall is a popular swimming hole for the locals in the hotter months. Then climb atop an elephant for a ride through the surrounding villages that are known for their handicrafts.
Day 9: Ratanakiri - Kratie
Depart from Ban Lung and travel to the sleepy riverside town of Kratie with its faded French architecture to see the rare and elusive pink river dolphins. Just across the water from Kratie is the sandy peninsula of Koh Trong, hop on a boat and make the short journey across and watch the sunset over the river.
Day 10: Kratie
This morning grab a bike and cycle around Koh Trong for a peek into village life. You might get the chance to see the rare Mekong mud turtles that inhabit the western shore, or the shy pink river dolphins.
Day 11: Kratie - Phnom Penh
Journey to Phnom Penh via Kampong Cham, a town that’s steeped in myths and legends. Take a quick look at the 12th century Wat Nokor before arriving in the capital of Phnom Penh, late afternoon. Take a walk along the riverside promenade, filled with food stalls, people exercising and courting couples.
Day 12: Depart Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a city with an interesting history. Explore the city at your leisure before your transfer to the airport and onward flight.