Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles flights

Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles flights

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 08:00

Qatar Airw...

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 14:00

HF Holidays is promoting a selection of winter getaway including a Christmas Craft Weekend at Dovedale in the Derbyshire Dales, Festive Walking At Dovedale, A Seasonal Stay at Malhamdale in...

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sale

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sa…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 11:00

Flybe has put more early release routes on sale as part of its preliminary summer 2017 schedule.

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Super Hostel’

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Su…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:00

A planning application has been submitted by YHA (England and Wales) to open its first Super Hostel in London.

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade pla…

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:00

Following a major overhaul of the security search area for departing passengers, Bristol Airport has unveiled plans to address congestion in arrivals.

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen Z with new Geckos age-range

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen …

Monday, 24 October 2016 11:00

30 year olds will be ‘too old’ for Geckos Adventures next year, as the Intrepid Group has announced that it will cut the age range to meet a growing demand...

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits manage to wangle an upgrade

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits …

Monday, 24 October 2016 08:40

New research from has revealed that only 8% of British travellers have actually managed to secure a free upgrade for their holiday, with flight upgrades and hotel room upgrades...

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo expe…

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You has announced its largest investment to support the travel trade with the launch of 200 joint marketing events to promote solo travel.

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS competition

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS co…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:00

Ferry operator, DFDS, is putting out a call to professional and amateur artists to create a poster that will be used in their 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Savings on worldwide adventures with Explore

Savings on worldwide adventures with Exp…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:00

Explore has launched a new collection of worldwide adventures with a launch offer of up to 10% discount on all new trips booked by November 7.

New route to Seattle makes it one to watch for 2017

New route to Seattle makes it one to wat…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12

Seattle is expected to be one of the fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers next year with a Virgin Atlantic direct non-stop daily flight launching March 2017, new hotel...

My requirements for a visit to Laos and Cambodia last month were very specific. I wanted an in-depth tour of temples and to learn about the arts, crafts and culture of these two Peoples Republics.

Cox and Kings had the best choice - a 13-day tour based on flights in and out of Bangkok with internal flights for four nights in Luang Prabang, two in Laos' capital Vientiane and four in Siem Reap for six excursions to Angkor Temples.The group was 15 in total.

It certainly was temple-intensive with extended visits to all the key places in each location. In between the temple visits with Denise Heywood, an authority on Khymer history, we saw silk weaving centres, museums and a rice farm. Denise was the most knowledgeable and tireless group leader you could wish for and the Royal Academy of Arts Tour delivered what the brochure promised. It was tiring with 05:00 wake-up calls to reach The Angkor Complex at sunrise to beat the crowds. But with Denise's skill and the local guides we did avoid the vast throngs and often had the sites to ourselves. While most guests had done a lot of research, the detailed itinerary and notes given out by our guide at her six illustrated lectures put local history, geography and culture into perspective.

I had anticipated 'working hard' to get the most from the tour and needing time to relax at the end of it. So with only the return flight from Bangkok booked I had deliberately left an extra eight days unplanned after the group had departed. The operator offered to tailor-make my personal itinerary in advance but I wanted to arrange everything locally based on the previous 13 days' experience and hints picked up from other people.

Hanuman Tourism in Siem Reap arranged an eight-hour boat trip across Tonle Sap Lake, past floating villages to Cambodia's second city Battambang. A former French Colonial town, it has great charm and visitors can get to know a lot about the local people with the help of an English speaking Tuk-Tuk driver. The fish market, rice wine production, paper making, a wood carving school for under privileged young people and the curious and somewhat terrifying Bamboo Railway were all tried out during three days at the French run Au Cabaret Vert Hotel.

Local markets are wonderful but it's sometimes hard to differentiate between a food stall and a pet shop. Anything that swims, walks or flies is fair game. Not feeling particularly hungry in one market, I declined the roasted water rats, scorpions and crunchy crickets.

A hint on shopping: neither country has coins, just bank notes, and with the 100 Riel note in Cambodia worth about 2p it's not surprising. The Riel and Laos' Kip are soft currencies so the $ and Thai Baht are very welcome. Take lots of $1 bills. Bargain hard and don't pay more than $3 for a T-shirt.

For more relaxation I returned to Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site, on a two-hour flight from Siem Reap with Vietnam Airlines. Travel across borders is easy as visas are issued on arrival. This keeps unemployment low as no less than ten officials at one arrival point passed my documents along a counter shuffling, sticking and stamping forms.

On my earlier visit to the Villa Maly in Luang Prabang I had asked the five-star hotel to arrange three days at their jungle lodge three hours up The Mekong. It was idyllic and so peaceful. Local tribes people worked at the camp and you visit their village, trek into the jungle, learn about rice planting, fish and pan for gold.

Communication with the 'hunter-gatherers' who live off the land was difficult as the ethnic groups have distinct languages. However, with the guide's help I was able to answer a village headman's question concerning the number of water buffalo I owned!

Everything was so easy in Cambodia and Laos during a perfect climate varying from 31oC to 36oC.

Highlights of the trip
- Seeing the Angkor Temples in all their splendour, especially the iconic 12th Century Angkor Wat at sunrise and sunset
- Cruising The Mighty Mekong
- Meeting victims of The Khymer Rouge atrocities at The Landmine Museum
- And just being with beautiful, gentle people

Cox & Kings' 13-day Royal Academy of Arts Temples and Treasures of Laos and Cambodia Tour costs from £3,495 with the next departure in November. For details see or call 020-7873 5000.

Hanuman Travel in Siem Reap, Vientiane and Vietnam can make independent arrangements. See or email

Villa Maly in Luang Prabang ( was arranged as part of the Cox and Kings Tour. Their Kamu Lodge Jungle Camp ( cost $175 per person for three days full board, including the three hour boat trip and all activities.


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