Maximise your time in South-east Asia by taking an overnight flight from the UK.
On arrival in Chiang Mai, meet your A&K guide for transfer by private vehicle to your hotel. During the three-hour journey, you can choose to stop at the charming Mae Kajan hot springs and the famous Wat Rong Khun – also known as the White Temple – an intricate art exhibit. The last leg of your transfer is by riverboat, taking you along the Ruak past atmospheric bamboo jungle and delivering you to the Four Seasons Tented Camp. This remote retreat overlooks three countries and features just 15 tents.
Today, take advantage of the Four Seasons’ excellent activities. Join a guided excursion to the Golden Triangle, beginning with a longtail-boat ride on the iconic Mekong. Cruise to where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet, before hopping onto dry land for a journey by tuk tuk or songthaew. You’ll visit the historic Buddhist temple of Chedi Luang and stop by a bustling market. Alternatively, head to the hotel’s ethical elephant camp to learn all about the loveable pachyderm and its conservation, while meeting the local population of Asian elephant.
It’s an early start today as you cross from Thailand into Laos. Meet your A&K guide in the hotel lobby, who will transfer you to Chiang Khong on the Thailand-Laos border in a private vehicle. Then it’s over the Friendship Bridge to the slow-boat pier in Huey Xai. Here you have two options; board the Shompoo Cruise boat for a relaxed cruise down the upper Mekong River, stopping in Pakbeng overnight at a rustic but charming hotel; alternatively, the Anantara Gypsy Cruise is available for private charter at a supplement, which offers luxury facilities and privacy, with onboard cabins for your overnight stay.
After breakfast, depart by boat for your journey to Luang Prabang. Your first stop along the Mekong today is at Ban Baw village where you can see a traditional hill tribe’s way of life. Your boat ride continues to the Nam Ou river’s mouth, where you’ll stop to visit the Pak Ou caves and their numerous small Buddha statues. Then it’s onward to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. Arriving before sunset, you will be transferred to your luxury accommodation in time to enjoy a traditional baci welcoming ceremony.
Today, enjoy a farm-to-plate experience. Discover the types of crop grown here, lend a hand in a vegetable garden, then learn how to turn harvested rice into delicious kaopun (Lao noodles). Afterwards, hike through the forest to the nearby Kuang Si Falls. This three-tiered waterfall is famous for its sixty-metre cascade and inviting turquoise pool – just the place to cool off. Finally, head to Laos Buffalo Dairy. You’ll tour the farm, meet the buffalo, help feed the calves, and sample the diverse produce made from buffalo milk – everything from cheese to ice cream.
Rise early this morning to partake in the local, communal ritual of tak bat (the giving of alms to monks), before enjoying breakfast back at your hotel. Next, fly to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, for transfer by private 4x4 to the jungle resort of Shinta Mani Wild, part of the Bensley Collection. With an ethos of sustainability and conservation at its heart, this eco-luxe tented camp immerses you in nature. You can arrive in intrepid style with a zip line ride over a waterfall, followed by a glass of the resort’s signature cocktail.
Spend your next two days how you choose, taking advantage of the various exciting excursions and tailor-made activities available. You can join wildlife rangers on an anti-poaching patrol; navigate hidden backwaters by kayak; mountain bike between villages; or forage in nature’s larder accompanied by expert naturalists. Then return to relax at your 15-tent jungle retreat, taking in views of verdant trees, sparkling waters and the sky peeking through the canopy.
Bid farewell to the Cambodian wilds and catch your flight home.