Cycle, Kayak and Zip-line: Paxse to Siem Reap

12 Days, 11 Nights

This border-crossing journey begins with cycling through the coffee plantations of southern Laos before entering the forest canopy for a three-day zip-lining adventure. Discover the 4,000 islands by land and kayak before crossing into Cambodia and reaching the Angkorian ruins of the Khmer Empire. Here, get up-close with the larger-than-life relics of Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, Bayon and Angkor Wat.

Trip Highlights

  • Zip-line, repel and climb among the 100-meter waterfalls and cliffs in Southern Laos, sleeping in a tree house 10 meters up in the canopy of a dense cloud forest
  • Kayak and camp on Don Khone, one of the 4,000 Islands and get the chance to spot the indigenous freshwater dolphins of the region.
  • Explore the eastern Cambodia by bike to experience warm local hospitality
Price
$3050 USD per person
Trip Activities
Cycling, trekking, ziplining, kayaking
Trip Length
12 Days, 11 Nights
Physical Level
Enthusiast
Start/End
Paxse, Laos / Siem Reap, Cambodia
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Treehouse (2 nights)
Camping (1 night)
Homestay (1 night)
Age
Minimum 16 years of age
Meals not included
Lunch, Breakfast Day 1
Dinner Day 5
Dinner Day 10
Lunch, Dinner Day 12
Flights Included
None

Day-by-day Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive in Pakse to the Bolivan Plateau
Activities
None
Transfers
  • Van: 1.5
Description

When you arrive, we’ll meet you at Pakse Airport and bring you by minivan to your accommodations at Sinouk Coffee Resort. You’ll have a bit of time to freshen up and relax before convening for a brief orientation to introduce you to Laos.

Afterwards, if we have time, we’ll take a leisurely stroll around the lush gardens, vast pond and coffee plantations of the resort. At dinner, you’ll get your first taste of Laos’ beloved sticky rice. In the evening, relax in your private wooden chalet and fall asleep to the sound of wind rustling through the leaves.

Meals
  • Dinner
Accommodation
  • Sinouk Coffee Resort
Day 2
Bolivan Plateau
Activities
  • Cycling: 40 km
Transfers
  • Van: 0.75
Description

Today after breakfast, we’ll start our full-day cycling adventure with a short transfer from the resort to the starting point. From here, we’ll cycle on single track and dirt roads venturing deep into the coffee plantations and passing local villages.

Along the way we’ll see local people working their fields, and if you want, you can stop for a chat with your Rove guide translating any questions you may have about their lives, customs or coffee growing. For lunch, we’ll stop at a scenic spot for a Lao picnic served on banana leaves. Our support truck will follow the group for the entire ride, so if you have the option of jumping on board if you ever feel tired. The support truck also carries a spare bicycle should we encounter any mechanical problems or flat tires. We’ll return to Sinouk Coffee Resort in the afternoon, where you can spend the early evening unwinding. Perhaps you’d like to go for a cool-down walk in the garden or sit down to a locally produced cup of coffee served al fresco.

While Lao hospitality is genuine and generous, hotel staff do not always operate by Western standards, so your Rove guide will be on hand to liaise on your behalf.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Sinouk Coffee Resort
Day 3
Bolivan Plateau to Ban Nong Luang
Activities
  • Trekking: 2 hours
  • Ziplining: 1.5 hours
Transfers
  • Van: 0.5
Description

After breakfast, we’ll take advantage of our stay at Sinouk Coffee Resort and spend an hour exploring the world of coffee production. Experts will explain all the stages of coffee processing, from the seed to the cup. After this, we’ll check out from the resort and head to Ban Nong Luang to meet our climbing, zip-lining and repelling guides. Get acquainted with the area with a stroll through Ban Nong Luang Village and receive safety instructions from the village guides who will accompany us for the next three days.

Now it’s time to start hiking! Our trail will take us through coffee plantations, vegetable farms, and finally into wild, semi-evergreen forest. While the trail may be steep at times, your efforts will be rewarded by the beautiful scenery of ravines, waterfalls and flower-dotted plateaus. Your guides will explain the plants and herbs used in local kitchens and traditional medicine along the way.

After crossing a canopy walkway over a steep river valley, we’ll pass Tiger Waterfall and reach the giant Kamet Falls named after a monkey. The water here plunges more than 100 meters into a densely forested valley basin. This is where the zip-lines start and the real thrill begins. But before we start zip-lining, we’ll stop for a picnic lunch in the wilderness and, if you wish, take a dip in a swimming hole.

Once you’re refreshed, enjoy a full day of zip-lining, zigzagging through the valley and passing within touching distance of roaring waterfalls. Upon reaching camp at around 16:00 or 17:00, we’ll relax for a moment and head to the nearby restaurant for dinner. On the menu are local Lao dishes and delicious barbecues.

Tonight you’ll sleep in a private tree house nearly 10 meters above the ground. Designed using wood, bamboo and grass, these houses offer a comfortable, natural setting that can only be reached by zip-line. Bathrooms near the restaurant offer hot and cold water. Fall asleep to the sound of crickets and rustling leaves.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Treehouse
Day 4
Ban Nong Luang
Activities
  • Trekking: 2 hours
  • Ziplining: 2 hours
Transfers
None
Description

Today we wake in the embrace of the dense canopy around us, roused by the sound of birds singing. A simple European-style breakfast will prepare us for an easy 30-minute trek through the Lao forest before we reach our first cable. Be ready for extended flights through the jungle today—the longest zip-line of 400 meters will be the main highlight. Its speed, length and proximity to the normally invisible upper stratum of the forest offer unique views.

After zip-lining, a picnic lunch will be served in the forest. On our return to camp, we’ll pass the “Red Rock” stream, where you can stop to rest or even go for an afternoon swim before heading back to camp. Dinner will be served before you zip-line back to your tree house for another night.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Treehouse
Day 5
Ban Nong Luang to the Island of Don Deng
Activities
  • Trekking: 2 hours
  • Ziplining: 1.5 hours
Transfers
  • Van: 1.5
Description

Trek uphill through jungles of gigantic trees to the final challenge of the TreeTop adventure. Feel free to set your own pace as we make our way toward a steep drop, where one final and thrilling via ferrata cable stretches across the cliff face to reach the other side. Don’t worry—all your equipment is state-of-the-art and guaranteed for safety.

The via ferrata will lead you to the summit of one of the highest peaks in the area. Here, from an open plateau, you’ll be able to gaze at the jungle valley below with stunning views of three waterfalls, the Mekong River, and the wilderness of neighboring Thailand.

Take a moment to enjoy a scenic lunch here before striking out on an easy, 1.5-hour hike back to Ban Nong Luang. A car will be waiting to bring us to the island of Don Deng, where we’ll cross the Mekong.

Tonight we leave dinner up to you. This way you can choose to indulge in the comfort of the hotel and dine in your room, or splash out on a poolside dinner accompanied by an elegant bottle of wine—a throw back from the French colonial era.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation
Day 6
Island of Don Deng to camping in 4,000 islands
Activities
  • Kayaking: 4.5 hours
Transfers
  • Van: 2.25
Description

Today after breakfast you’ll board the boat and cross back to the mainland. From here, it’s a two-hour drive via private car to Ban Phengdy on the Mekong River.

To prepare to kayak the Mekong, take a short paddling technique and safety demonstration here.

Paddle two hours to the sleepy fishing island of Don Khone, stopping at Wat Ban Don An on the way for a short break. From Don Khone, we’ll transfer 1.5 kilometers by tuk tuk to the western side of the island, where the raging rapids of the Liphi Waterfalls rush over a rocky narrows. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch and take a short walk to the sandy beach below the falls.

Afterwards, we’ll get back in our kayaks and master two small rapids before paddling into flat water that brings us through a beautiful canyon. We’ll float into a flooded forest and kayak through the trees to arrive at an area famous for dolphin sightings. Spend about half an hour here to watch the dolphins feeding before paddling on to our campsite.

Before night falls we’ll set up camp and make a bonfire. If you’d like, you’re welcome to help us cook. But if you prefer to just unwind, feel free to sit back with a cold local beer.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Camping
Day 7
4,000 islands to Stung Treng
Activities
  • Kayaking: 4.5 hours
Transfers
  • Van: 2
Description

Wake up to the smell of local Laotian coffee brewing over the campfire and open your tent to a view of the Mekong. Today, you’ll have the option of observing morning Buddhist rituals at a local village, or enjoying your last day in Laos with a slow morning spent reading a book, relaxing or taking a stroll in the area. Just let our guide know which you prefer the day before.

At around 10:15 in the morning, we leave our campsite and head to the Cambodian border by boat. We’ll arrive at the landing in half an hour, then transfer by van to the border where we expect to arrive around 11:00 a.m. The Cambodian immigration process takes roughly 20 minutes and is usually quite straightforward.

Transfer by van from the Cambodian border to a small village for a local lunch. Then we’ll board a boat and head upriver to the village of Preah Rumkel, where you can take a kayak to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins that live in the deep pools found on the Cambodian side of the border.

Continue kayaking to Ou-Svay through the flooded forests and Ramsar Wetlands, where a large variety of birds live along the river. This remote area has dramatic scenery of large trees emerging from the water, revealing their roots growing in the direction of the Mekong currents. You’ll see why this area is named 4,000 Islands as you pass many small islands dotting the river, although high waters during the wet season may submerge some of them. You’ll put up your oars at Oh-Svay and our van will transfer you to your hotel in the small riverside town of Stung Treng.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
Day 8
Stung Treng to Kratie
Activities
  • Cycling: 65 km
Transfers
  • Van: 3
Description

After breakfast, you’ll hop on a mountain bike and go for a scenic ride along gravel roads with river views to Srae Krasang, a typical riverside Khmer town. Your 28-kilometer route will follow the Mekong River—a great trail off the main roads to enjoy the scenery and remoteness of the area.

From Srae Krasang, we’ll continue cycling around 6 kilometers along the river to see a very unusual tree. Known as Ko Ky Thmor, this tree collapsed into the water many years ago and is now petrified, making for a great, almost spooky sight. After a picnic lunch here, we’ll drive 3 hours by van to Sadan, where we pick up our bikes again and cycle to picturesque Kratie, which is famed for its population of Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphins.

When we arrive in Kratie, we’ll cross the river to the island of Koh Trong. Here, you’ll meet Mrs. Cheata, the friendly host of your homestay on the island. You’ll be treated to Mrs. Cheata’s delicious cooking for dinner tonight.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Homestay
Day 9
Kratie to Kampong Cham
Activities
  • Cycling: 80 km
Transfers
  • Van: 1
Description

After breakfast at the home of Mrs. Cheata, we’ll go by van to the sleepy, riverside town of Chhlong. From here, we’ll get back in the saddle and bike along the Mekong River passing many traditional Cambodian houses and verdant plantations on the way. We’ll pass through the biggest Muslim community in Cambodia before we cross the Mekong by ferry to Kampong Cham.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation
  • Mekong Hotel
Day 10
Kampong Cham to Siem Reap
Activities
  • Cycling: 70 km
Transfers
  • Van: 5
Description

Tuck in to a good breakfast at the hotel to prepare for a day of cycling. Today, we’ll bike roughly 70 kilometers, starting from the hotel to Kompong Thom Province. We’ll start along Road 7 and cycle about 14 kilometers on level road, then turn onto Road 71 where we’ll pass vast rubber plantations and cornfields. Upon arrival at Road 6, from here we will drive roughly 5 hours to skip the busy roads between here and Siem Reap, stopping on the way in Kampong Thom for lunch.

Upon arrival at Siem Reap, the gateway to the vast ruins of Angkor Wat, the rest of the day will be free to spend at your leisure. Tonight, we have left dinner up to you. This way you have the flexibility to explore the night market, enjoy a cocktail at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) or pop into one of the colorful local restaurants. If you’re the artsy type, you might like to visit the McDermott Photo Gallery or one of the many funky local shops that sell a wide range of arts and crafts, from handmade jewelry to handbags made from recycled products.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11
Cycling through the Angkor Temples
Activities
  • Cycling: 40 km
Transfers
None
Description

Today after breakfast, we’ll start the day by cycling to the famous jungle-choked temple of Ta Phrom, which is considered one of the most atmospheric ruins in the entire Angkor complex. We’ll continue cycling to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, which houses the famed Bayon Temple directly in the city center. Explore the stone ruins here and study the enigmatic faces that adorn the massive stone walls. We’ll also stop for a private water blessing from the monks of Wat Palylie, a local Buddhist temple. Lunch will be served at the house of a local family.

In the afternoon, we’ll cycle to Angkor Wat, the most famous Angkorian temple. Angkor Wat was built by several generations of Khmer engineers and laborers in the 12th century, evolving over the years from a Hindu place of worship to a Buddhist one. The temple is so beloved by the Khmer people and so symbolic of the Khmer spirit and culture that its distinctive silhouette is on the Cambodian flag. It’s the only building in the world to be featured on a national flag.

Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12
Departure
Activities
None
Transfers
None
Description

Today we’ll say goodbye and wish you a happy onward journey. Please let our guide know if you need any ideas or assistance.

Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
None

Trip Information

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Inclusions
  • Plenty of water, snacks, and local fruit
  • Rove Certified Guide
  • Assistant guides provided based on logistical needs
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available)
  • A first aid kit per guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary, including two non alcoholic beverages per person per meal
  • Accommodation as listed above.
Exclusions
  • Visa arrangements
  • International and domestic flights.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Tips
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (laundry, telephone etc.)