Southeast Asia is one of our favorite places to visit. The rich culture, food, history, and affordable travel are the top reasons to visit the area. If you have only two weeks, plan a trip to Cambodia and Laos!
Why a 2 week trip to Cambodia and Laos?! Cambodia and Laos are next to each other, so it’s easy to travel between the two countries. Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to learn about Cambodia’s history, see beautiful temples at Siem Reap, experience Laos’s laid-back culture, and visit Luang Prabang, the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Our 2-week itinerary to Cambodia and Laos has the following stops: Phnom Penh – Battambang – Siem Reap – Luang Prabang – Vientiane. What is great about this plan is that you can visit either country first depending on your initial departure location. We suggest going to Cambodia first as the environment is more chaotic and hectic versus Laos. This plan starts in Cambodia and includes 2 travel days. Feel free to change around your travel locations and add more days based on your interests.
The itinerary also includes things to see, places to eat, and accommodations for Cambodia and Laos. If you don’t want to travel to two countries, consider staying in Laos or Cambodia for two weeks. Don’t forget to check out these helpful tips for planning a trip to Cambodia.
Although we didn’t get the chance during this trip, we have several places that we want to visit in the future – Tonle Sap and Koh Rang in Cambodia. Check out this guide to Koh Rang for more information. For Laos, we still want to stop by Vang Vieng for river tubing and adventures and the southern part of Laos.
We hope you get some inspiration to travel to Cambodia and Laos. You’ll have a fabulous time between the two countries no matter what.
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General Information For Cambodia and Laos in 2 Weeks
Visas for Cambodia and Laos
Cambodia and Laos require a tourist or business visa which can be obtained on arrival at the airport or international checkpoints. Visas are valid for 30 days.
- Cambodia: Learn about Cambodia’s visa here and how to receive a visa on arrival. Consider applying for an e-visa prior to arrival.
- Laos: Laos implemented a new e-visa process for over 120 locations, including those from the U.S. Use this site to apply for an e-visa.
*Update: We’ll continue to monitor this area as an entry for tourists may change due to the current travel situation.
Currency in Cambodia and Laos
Cambodia and Laos use different currencies, so you’ll need to use the ATM or exchange money at a currency exchange store or at the airport. Both countries are cash-centric. Credit cards aren’t as widely accepted except at the larger hotel chains, such as Marriott.
- Cambodia: Accepts U.S. dollars and Cambodian riels. If you buy something in U.S. dollars, you may receive Cambodian riels for change. Make sure that you have small bills such as $1 and $5 USD for tipping, shopping, and restaurants. The exchange is 4 riels to $1 USD.
- Laos: Accepts Laotian kip. Some vendors may accept U.S dollars or Thai baht.
Best Time to Visit Cambodia and Laos
Cambodia is hot all year round. The dry season is from November – April (or to February if closer to the Southern part of Cambodia), while the rainy season is May – October. The rainy season in Battambang is September and October.
Laos has a similar dry and wet season as Cambodia. If you’re thinking about visiting Laos during the rainy season, definitely go for it!
We went during the December time frame and it was a lovely time to visit.
Accommodations in Cambodia and Laos
Each country has various accommodations from hostels, guesthouses, to large hotel chains. We prefer to stay at local Airbnbs or guesthouses when possible. Many of the guesthouses that we stayed at were clean and served a hearty breakfast, which reduced our food expenses. We’ll share where we stayed in the various sections below and also share a splurge option if you’re interested.
Transportation in Cambodia and Laos
- Plane: You can easily travel within the country by airplane. However, it can get pricey. We used planes to travel into Cambodia, between Cambodia and Laos, and out of Laos.
- Bus: Taking the bus is one of the more affordable ways to travel. We used buses in Cambodia and Laos to travel between cities. The buses were great with reserved seatings, air conditioning, and comfy seats. There were several stops along the way for a bathroom/eating break. We went to the local bus station 1-2 hours before to purchase tickets in person. Bus rides were very cheap. Our bus from Phnom Penh to Battambang was $5.50 USD per person for a 6+ hour ride. You can also take mini-vans but it’ll cost a bit more starting at $8 USD for a ride (between Phnom Penh to Kampot).
- Tuk Tuks: Taking tuk-tuks is a fun way to see the city. Although it may be hot and dusty on the road, it is quite an adventure. Don’t forget to negotiate the price ahead of time if you plan to go for a longer distance (ie: Killing Fields and S21 tour). You may want to bring a face mask so you don’t ingest dust.
- Rideshare: We love using rideshare apps whenever it is available. It’s less hassle to negotiate with the driver and can be a cashless transaction.
- Cambodia: Grab is available for cars and tuk-tuk. It is our go-to app during our Southeast Asia travels. Download the app for iOS or Android. Another option is the Pass App for tuk-tuk rides which we heard is slightly cheaper than Grab. Download the app for iOS or Android.
- Laos: LOCA is a new rideshare app. Download the app for iOS or Android.
- Slow Boat: If you’re headed to Luang Prabang directly, a unique way is to travel is via a slow boat over 3 days.
- Pre-booked transportation: If you’re not comfortable with any of these options, pre-book your transportation ahead of time.
Travel Day & Arrival (1 Day)
Depending on your departure location, it may have taken you a whole day to arrive in Cambodia. We’re starting out in Phnom Penh, Cambodia so you’ve landed at the Phnom Penh International Airport.
Head to your accommodations by tuk-tuk, taxi, or pre-booked transportation to freshen up and/or rest. If you’re not jet-lagged, explore the area in the evening.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2 days)
Now that you’ve rested for the day. It’s time to explore Phnom Penh. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the large city with crowds and traffic, then Phnom Penh is your city. As the capital of Cambodia, the environment is gritty with pollution, unmaintained sidewalks (or no sidewalks) and streets, and an occasional sighting of garbage burning. It took some time to warm up to the city, however, we gained more compassion and understanding after learning about the Khmer Rouge regime and what the people went through just a few decades ago.
Things to Do in Phnom Penh in 2 Days
- Visit the Silver Pagoda (also known as Wat Preah Keo Morakot) and Royal Palace. It’s one of the highlights of Phnom Penh. You’ll love the beautiful architecture and temples. The king may be staying over at the Royal Palace when you visit. Remember to dress conservatively as you’re entering the spiritual area and respect the local customs.
- Walk to the main park area to see the Cambodia/Vietnam Friendship Museum, Statue of King Norodom Sihanouk, and the Independence Monument. Join the fun with the locals walking or running laps around the park in the late afternoon/early evening as the weather is cooler.
- Hire a tuk-tuk or pre-book a tour for the day and learn about Cambodian history. Visit the Killing Fields ( or the “Choeung Fields”) and Toul Sleng Museum (or “Security 21 or S21”), and to listen to the audio tour (included in your admission ticket) in your native language. It’s tragic to hear about the Khmer Rouge’s genocide and victims’ stories. Seeing the Choeung Ek at the Killing Fields with the glass encasing full of skulls is chilling. Although heartbreaking to listen to, it’s an important part of history. These two places are on the outskirts of Phnom Penh center. The Killing Fields is 15km away from the Phnom Penh city center. The roads are a bit dusty. You may want to bring a face mask for the tuk-tuk ride.
- Take a shopping break at the various markets around the area – Russian Market, Central Market (Phsar Thmei), Old Market (Psar Chas), or the Night Market. Or, head to Street 240, which is nearby the Royal Palace for stylish clothes at boutique stores along the street. You’ll find some unique Cambodian souvenirs that will be perfect as gifts for family members and friends.
Where to Stay in Phnom Penh
- Alibi Guesthouse – We stayed here and enjoyed our visit. Room was affordable and came with a complimentary breakfast with toast, eggs, and juice. Plus, it’s close to the Royal Palace. Find availability and make a reservation for Alibi Guesthouse here.
- Rosewood Phnom Penh– If you want to splurge, consider staying at Rosewood. You’ll love the views of the Tonle Sap River. Find availability and reserve a room at Rosewood.
Where to Eat in Phnom Penh
- Night Market – What is not to love about eating street food? The area can be a bit touristy but you can get affordable Cambodian cuisine here.
- Khmer Surin – If you’re looking for traditional Cambodian food, visit Khmer Surin. Consider sitting on the second level and you can even sit on the ground with pillows. We enjoyed the moist and flavorful fish amok at the restaurant.
Read More: Learn How to Cook Cambodian Food
Battambang, Cambodia (1 day)
Battambang is less visited by tourists even though it is the city with the second largest population in Cambodia. The sleepy, small-town is a 6+ hour bus ride from Phnom Penh. From the bus stop, you’ll take a tuk-tuk to the main area for a $2 USD ride.
With only one day in Battambang, we were limited to what we could do. Definitely check out the main area with shops and restaurants with colonial architecture and cool street art. We hope to come back to spend more time at Battambang.
Things to Do in Battambang in 1 Day
- Ride the Bamboo Train (also called “Norry” by the locals) in Battambang. We know, it’s touristy, yet so much fun to sit on a makeshift train out of bamboo and watch the countryside pass by.
- Explore the street art along Pub Street. During the afternoon, it’s a quiet street, yet has hidden gems with finding street art along the way. Otherwise, admire the architecture in the area.
- Browse through Phsar Nhat Market, one of the local markets that sell produce and has food stalls. You may be encouraged by the sellers to enjoy a meal at their kiosk.
- Walk along the Mekong River. During the evening, there are several vendors who set up shop on the sidewalk. Enjoy a meal and a drink.
Where to Stay in Battambang
- The Place – With hip decorations and one of the cheaper options, consider staying at “The Place.” Read reviews and book a room at The Place here.
- Sanctuary Villa Battambang – If you want to the full-on pampering, come to this place. It has a swimming pool, restaurant, and massages on-site. Find availability and reserve a room at Sanctuary Villa here.
Where to Eat in Battambang
- Khmer Delight – If you want delicious Cambodian food, come to this place! The Khmer tom yum soup had a good kick to it.
- Battambang Town Restaurant – It’s where the locals eat for a cheap meal. We went here for breakfast and the place was packed with people. You can’t beat an affordable meal for $2-$3 USD.
Siem Reap, Cambodia (4 days)
It’s time for a few days of temple hopping. Siem Reap is a 3-hour bus ride from Battambang. The first thing that you’ll notice is the scorching hot weather at over 86+℉ / 30+℃. Prepare yourself for an afternoon break or to leave the temples early due to the heat. Don’t forget to hydrate often!
Things to Do in Siem Reap in 4 Days
- It’s time to go temple hopping at Siem Reap. Hire a tuk-tuk driver and spend 3 days at Siem Reap seeing the various temples. Purchase a 3-day pass for $62 USD). Three days is sufficient to prevent temple fatigue. One helpful trick is to purchase your ticket at sunset (after 5pm) on the day before you start the full day of temples. You’ll have access to go to the temples, specifically Angkor Wat, to view the sunset. The visit won’t count towards one of your ticket days. If you’re interested in a tour, book this day one:
- Take a hot air balloon ride at Angkor Wat. It’s an incredible way to see the view of Siem Reap during the sunrise or sunset.
- Visit the Old Market (Psah Chas). Similar to the other local markets that you’ve been to in Cambodia, it provides an insight into what locals buy from produce to clothing and more. A few streets over is Pub Street where you can visit at least once. If you want to see the nightlife of Siem Reap, visit Pub Street. Although it’s not the authentic Cambodian lifestyle, you can get cheaper foods, drinks, and meet other foreigners.
- Find a location with a swimming pool. You’ll need to have an afternoon siesta break to cool down from the heat.
Where to Stay in Siem Reap
Siem Reap has incredible places to stay depending on your budget. Some recommendations are below:
- Onederz Siem Reap – Want to be near Pub Street and also have access to a swimming pool for the sweltering heat? Check out this hostel which has bunk bed accommodations and also private rooms. Learn more about this place and reserve at Onederz.
- Le Méridien Angkor – If you want to splurge for accommodations, stay here in Siem Reap. It’s the closest hotel to the entrance of Angkor Wat. We stayed here for four nights and had a lovely time at this beautiful hotel. The downside is that there aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area. Find availability and book a room at Le Méridien Angkor.
Where to Eat in Siem Reap
- Head to the main area and Pub Street for affordable, local cuisine, and also Western foods. If you’re adventurous, try various insects!
- Maom Restaurant – If you want some local Cambodian food and are staying nearby Le Méridien Angkor, come to this place. It’s cozy and the waiters are very friendly.
Luang Prabang, Laos (4 days)
You’ll take a plane ride from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Luang Prabang, Laos. The town of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the numerous reasons to visit Luang Prabang and things to do, you’ll never be bored in Luang Prabang. The easy-going and extremely walkable town has plenty of activities to keep you occupied for a few days.
Things to Do in Luang Prabang in 4 Days
- Take a half-day cooking class. We’re fans of taking cooking classes around the world. Take a tour of the local market, learn how to make Laotian food, and eat your own creations. Come hungry as there will be a lot of food for you to eat.
- Spend a few days at the elephant conservation, such as at Elephant Conservation Center. You can stay overnight, see the elephants, watch them bathe, or even stay longer and volunteer there.
- Visiting the Kuang Si waterfall (one of our favorite waterfalls in Asia!) to observe this beautiful waterfall. You can swim in the waters if it’s not too cold. During your visit, you’ll also pass through the Bear Rescue Center.
- Visit Pau Ou caves since it’s one of the magnificent caves in Asia.
- Learn about the Luang Prabang and see the ornate decor at the Royal Palace Museum. During our last visit, photography isn’t allowed inside the museum.
- Hike up Mount Phousi for sunrise or sunset.
- Visit the daily Night Market to shop and eat your way throughout the evening.
- Witness the morning alms by the Buddhist monks.
- Take a sunset cruise along the Mekong River. Book a tour here.
Where to Stay in Luang Prabang
- Sita Norasingh Inn – Super basic room that was enough for our stay. Shoes aren’t allowed in the hotel rooms. Find your dates and reserve a room at Sita Norasingh Inn here.
- Sofitel Luang Prabang – Want to stay at a luxury hotel in Luang Prabang? Consider staying at the Sofitel. With the French architecture, fine dining, and stunning views, you won’t be disappointed with this stay. Read more about the highlights of Sofitel Luang Prabang.
Where to Eat in Luang Prabang
- Night Market – It’s a daily market that has amazing street foods to try. Go for skewered foods, grilled fish, and top the meal off with coconut cake.
- Xieng Thong Noodle Shop – Crave homemade noodles and noodle soup? Check out this place to get your fix. We went here a few times during our trip. Remember to go early. Once the soup runs out, the shop is closed.
Don’t want the stress of planning a trip to Laos? Book a 5-day tour of Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
Vientiane, Laos (1 day)
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has a large city/capital environment. The city is clean and had a robust local city bus system in place.
With our limited time in Vientiane, we didn’t get to explore much. It takes over 10 hours to get here by bus from Luang Prabang. There aren’t as many tourist attractions in Vientiane compared to Luang Prabang.
Things to Do in Vientiane in 1 Day
- Visit Buddha Park, an unusual sculpture that depicts Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s located near the border of Laos and Thailand. Learn about Buddha Park and how to take public transportation.
- Admire the architecture of the Patuxay Monument or take an elevator up to see the views of the city from above.
- Visit the Night Market along the Mekong for souvenirs and lots of stylish clothing. You can also find desserts and food around the area.
- Shop at Talaat Sao (also called the “Morning Market”). This mall is nearby the bus stop and is a good place to take a break from the outside heat. You can find various items such as household goods and souvenirs at this place.
Where to Stay in Vientiane
- Lucky Backpacker Hostel is a no-frills type of place. The hostel is nearby the Mekong River and the Night Market. Private bedrooms with bathrooms are available, although space is tight. This place comes with breakfast. Reserve a room at Lucky Backpacker Hostel here.
- Muong Thanh Luxury is a fancier hotel that has tennis courts, massages, swimming pools, and restaurants for guests. The rooms are gorgeous and will satisfy any traveler. Find availability and book a room at Muong Thanh Luxury here.
Find accommodations in Vientiane here.
Where to Eat in Vientiane
- Night Market – You can easily find some dessert and noodle stalls to check out.
- Jamil Zahid Punjabi – This is a change from Laotian food, yet this place has amazing Indian and Pakistani food. Authentic flavors and reasonable prices for their food. The curries and naan are delicious. Just note that the owner loves to take photos and videos of his guests and publish them on Facebook.
Travel Day & Departure (1 Day)
We have to say goodbye to Cambodia and Laos and head back to your next destination or hometown. It’s been an epic journey through Cambodia and Laos for two weeks! We hope you have good memories, learned more about the countries’ history, and come back home with more knowledge and positive experiences from these places.
What are some of your top places to visit in Cambodia and Laos? Where should we visit next time?
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