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Overview

Experience Phnom Penh’s kaleidoscope of culture and history. Travel by boat, cyclo and on foot for an up-close look at life in the capital. Be blessed by monks and cook with local chefs to connect with Khmer culture. And grasp the depth of Cambodia’s past with visits to insightful museums.

Trip Highlights

Fascinating Phnom Penh

Discover Cambodian traditional culture

Witness the graceful moves of a Khmer dancer, develop an understanding of Buddhism and learn to prepare local cuisine. 

Embrace Phnom Penh’s diversity

Look beyond the capital’s modern buildings to discover relics of bygone eras and a way of life steeped in tradition.  

Explore the former capital city

Drive through the countryside to the former capital of Oudong and learn about Cambodia’s past. 

Itinerary

1

Phnom Penh Arrival

Phnom Penh Airport Phnom Penh (11 km): 20 mins

Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.

Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.

After a relaxing break, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city.

First, head to Wat Phnom temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop. Then continue along the riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.

Your next stop is the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!

Late afternoon, enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront comes to life in the early evening, with a coconut juice degustation on board.

Phnom Penh has an excellent selection of restaurants for all tastes. Tonight enjoy dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located on the Riverside. The building is a colonial gem with great views of the confluence of the Upper Mekong, Lower Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. Dinner is à la carte with a good selection of both Western and Asian dishes.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

2

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh – Choeung Ek (13 km): 30 mins

This morning, gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. A moving, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.

After learning about some of Cambodia’s tragic past it is time to put a smile back on your face and experience modern Khmer life. Return to central Phnom Penh for lunch at Le Lotus Blanc, a training restaurant for the humanitarian organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (for the smile of a child) that provides education and job training to street children that used to be scavenging the municipal dump, and give them skills and hope for a brighter future. Your visit helps support the training of these kids by being their guest. (Note: Lotus Blanc closes on Sundays)

Spend the rest of the afternoon browsing through the colorful markets of Phnom Penh. Visit the Central Market, an art deco landmark and one of the largest markets in the city, if not all of Cambodia. You can find clothes, souvenirs, jewellery, and food. Also visit the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs.

This evening get inspired by Cambodian arts as you watch a traditional dance performance by Cambodian Living Arts (CLA). A rotating program is offering consisting of 3 unique performances: Children of Bassac (Classical and Folk Dance), Mak Therng and Passage of Life (Music and Theatre). Oct-Mar shows daily except Sun, Apr-Sep on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat only.

All the shows last one hour and are held in the atmospheric gardens of the National Museum. After many years of gaining recognition for preserving many Cambodian art forms the CLA are today striving towards providing the artists the tools required to make their skills sustainable and also so they can make a competitive income from their work.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

3

Phnom Penh - Oudong - Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh – Oudong Hill (37 km): 01 hour

Start early today and head to Wat Botum. Originally founded in 1422, Wat Botum is one of Phnom Penh's five original wats. It is known as the ‘Temple of the Lotus Blossoms’ and the compound displays many beautifully decorated stupas, some of which contain the ashes of royalty. Wat Botum is the seat of the Thammayut (royalist) Buddhist sect, the smaller of the two main Buddhist sects in Cambodia. Here, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!

After the special blessing ceremony, you will gain insight into the art of Khmer cuisine with a hands-on cooking course. Start the day with a guided tour through the local food market where your chef will explain the Cambodian fruits, vegetables and spices. Be amazed at the vast array of colors, smells, and tastes for sale - from the ubiquitous, smelly fish sauce to the sweet, fragrant mangoes. Back at the cooking school; explore the secrets of traditional food preparation. With the guidance of your chef, you will observe and then practice Khmer cuisine techniques creating your own dishes for lunch!

Travel by private vehicle over scenic back roads to Cambodia’s former capital, Oudong, about 39km from Phnom Penh. You will pass rural villages, local pagodas, and scenic rice paddies before reaching the main hill of Oudong. Visit a family that is producing palm sugar at their house. Later on, climb to the top of the stupa-filled hill of Oudong for great views over the rural plains.

Before your return to Phnom Penh stop to take a look at the spectacular Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Meditation Center, also located in Oudong. Your guide can explain more about the school of Vipassana (Insight Meditation) as you tour the center. Don’t forget to see the impressive jade Buddha, the mummified monk and the brightly painted walls telling the story of the Ramayana, the epic Sanskrit poem that decorates many pagodas seen around the country.

Return to Phnom Penh.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

4

Phnom Penh - Departure

Enjoy the day at leisure. Transfer to the airport for your individual departure flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin/double room in selected hotels
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages a supplement applies)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Daily drinking water during the tour

Our services do not include:

  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD 30/pax, please bring 1 passport photo).
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately)
  • Camera/video entrance fees if applicable
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
  • Travel insurance including recommended helicopter evacuation for Cambodia
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

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