Saga’s new Spirit of Cambodia and Laos 14-night escorted tour starts in the Cambodia’s beguiling capital of Phnom Penh.
Oriental temples, glimmering spires and the flutter of the monks’ saffron robes make the French Colonial city one of Asia’s exotic gems.
Here on the banks of the mighty Mekong, guests take a traditional bicycle carriage to see the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is also an important reminder of Cambodia's recent past.
In Siem Reap, there will be plenty of time to explore the UNESCO-protected temples of Angkor in archaeological parks containing remains of the 9th to 15th century Khmer Empire. Angkor Wat is the park's crowning glory, built on five levels and symbolising the connection between Heaven and Earth.
The tour is packed with contrasting sights and next stop is Tonle Sap Lake for a boat cruise to view the floating houses, school and hospital of Chong Kneas village.
Fly to Vientiane to explore the beautiful ‘city of sandalwood’. This tiny capital of Laos is set beside a curve in the Mekong River and boasts wide boulevards dotted with time-worn French mansions and elaborate temples.
The next four nights are spent in Luang Prabang, at the Villa Santi Resort (4Q), in a tranquil setting surrounded by rice fields, canals and creeks, where guests can take in the views from the outdoor restaurant balcony.
A tour of this UNESCO-protected city's oriental and French-colonial sights include the National Museum, once the former Royal Palace, and the five-tiered Wat Mai temple. A climb to the summit of Mount Phousi offers breathtaking scenery before a visit to a hill tribe market.
A long tail boat ride along the mighty Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves, where hundreds of centuries-old Buddha images are revered, promises to be a memorable journey. Enjoy lunch on board before pausing at local villages on the riverside.
Another highlight is the Kuang Si Waterfall with its wide, three-tiered falls flowing over limestone into a series of cool pools. There are several beautiful swimming holes, with enticing aquamarine water to jump in and relax before exploring the surrounding jungle to look for birds, butterflies and monkeys.
For those who want to stay on longer there is an option of three-night add-on at the Grand Luang Prabang Hotel (4Q+).
14 nights from £2399, departing London Gatwick in October and November 2014, January to May 2015.
Price includes include VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, return flights, airport taxes, accommodation, most meals, porterage, tour manager, travel insurance and cancellation cover.
In addition to the post-tour add-on, the holiday can also be extended with a four-night pre-tour stay in Hanoi at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel (4Q).
For details call 0800 414 8986 or visit saga.co.uk/holidays
Editors: Saga Holidays is winner of nine British Travel Awards including Best South-East Asia operator and Escorted Journeys.