Traveller Tales: Laos and Cambodia Unveiled

No one can bring our tours to life better than those who have seen, done and experienced it all first-hand, so we’re opening up the blog to our wonderful customers who want to share their amazing Wendy Wu adventures!

Maureen & Alan

Laos & Cambodia Unveiled
February 2020

Our compact group of eleven travellers recently enjoyed the Laos and Cambodia Unveiled itinerary with Wendy Wu Tours. It was a fascinating trip packed with many insights into the day to day lives of these very friendly, mainly Buddhist, people.  We always received a very warm welcome despite the fact that many of them were evidently very poor.  It was a very humbling experience.

A Real Insight into Local Life

We visited schools, were welcomed into local villagers’ homes, enjoyed temples, stupas, pagodas, caves, waterfalls and museums.  We learnt about rice paper making, weaving, making fishing nets by hand, paper making, pottery work, jewellery making, wood and stone carving.  In addition, we visited many markets including food, flowers, handicrafts, etc., as well as a bear rescue centre and elephant sanctuary.

The architecture is absolutely stunning with an overwhelming amount of gold leaf symbolising the light of the sun, ornate stencils and tiles, vivid mirror mosaics, wood and stone carvings and many, many buddhas, of course.

Giving something back

We were particularly impressed that a number of the restaurants we dined in were either vocational training restaurants, a training restaurant for marginalised youth, or helping sick children. The restaurants are part of the Tree Alliance whose profits are used to give students a helping hand into the hospitality industry.

We were honoured to participate in an early morning alms giving ceremony known as a Tak Bat ritual in Lao.  It is a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang where we helped serve hot sticky rice to the local saffron-robed monks.  There were over a hundred monks and we made sure they all received a fair share!

The tragic history of Laos and Cambodia is well documented.  We visited COPE (Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise) an organisation helping survivors of land mines in Vientiane, Laos.  We learnt about the thousands and thousands of unexploded ordnance (UXO) mainly cluster bombs many of which are still being discovered today.

At the end of our trip we visited the Killing Fields in Cambodia and learnt about the terrible atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime.  Whilst we were in Battambang we heard some loud bangs and were told they were controlled explosions as they had found some UXOs in the riverbed.  Our guide said this was still a common occurrence.

Exhilarating Experiences

We enjoyed some fascinating boat trips on the Angkor moat and Tonle Sap Lake. On our last night in Phnom Penh we even experienced a beautiful sunset cruise on the Mekong, but the best fun was on the crazy Bamboo Train in Battambang and the exhilarating cyclo tour in Phnom Penh.

Of course, Angkor Wat was the highlight – it is the largest religious monument in the world.  The view from the Central Sanctuary at the top was well worth the steep climb.

A Treat for the Taste Buds

On several occasions we watched traditional dancers and musicians whilst dining.  In fact, we enjoyed plenty of excellent fresh food in some stunning locations.  It was a very well thought out and varied itinerary.

In the markets, and even some restaurants, we saw some extraordinary food which was not for the faint hearted – such as fried crickets, barbecued rats and deep-fried tarantulas!

As always, this Wendy Wu tour offered the unexpected plus lots of wonderful experiences whilst still caring about the local people and helping to contribute to their wellbeing.

Thank you to Maureen for writing this great review and sending her fantastic photos.

Laos & Cambodia Unveiled

This epic adventure takes you from the UNESCO-listed city of Luang Prabang in untouched Laos to venture through Cambodia to explore the magnificent temples of Angkor, the rural beauty of Battambang and lovely Phnom Penh.

Discover more about Laos and Cambodia Unveiled.

Laos and Cambodia Unveiled map

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