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Overview

Grab a pair of binoculars and look to the skies. See endemic bird species in Cambodia’s rugged countryside and cruise the Tonle Sap Lake to discover local residents on the water and in the sky. Mix in visits to the iconic temples of Angkor to create the perfect bird-lovers holiday.

Trip Highlights

Cambodia Bird Watching & Nature

Watch for birds at Ang Trapaeng Thmor wetlands

Spend a day bird watching at a protected wetland area where more than 200 species of birds live.

Learn about Cambodia’s incredible biodiversity

Visit conservation centres to learn about the country’s endemic wildlife and the effort to preserve their natural habitats.

Explore the temples of Angkor in depth

Go beyond the main Angkor Archaeological Park to discover lesser-known but equally impressive monuments.

Itinerary

1

Arrive Siem Reap

Siem Reap Airport - Siem Reap (8 km): 15 mins

Welcome to Siem Reap by morning flight, the charming gateway to the famed Temples of Angkor. You will be greeted by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in. Settle in and enjoy some time at leisure to refresh.

This afternoon, get your first glimpse of Angkor. Enjoy the spectacular view from above and get an idea of the sheer size of the temple area as you ride in a tethered helium balloon that takes you 120m up in the air! See Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, West Baray and other ruins amongst the surrounding jungle and rice paddies glimmering in the best evening light.

From there, depart on a sightseeing tour of the legendary Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.                        

You will have dinner at the Chanrey Tree is one of the best fine dining restaurants in town, who offer traditional Khmer cuisine in a lush contemporary setting. Located on the riverside in heart of Siem Reap, the Chanrey Tree combines the amazing taste of only seasonal traditional Khmer ingredients, with a relaxed but lavish environment to provide a unique Cambodian dining experience.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

2

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins

Start your day at the early temples of the Roluos Group. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. It was the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty on a cow cart ride, a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people.

Your destination is Roluos Pagoda, where Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a meorable experience!

Return to your hotel for a lunch break. This afternoon, visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom in a local tuk tuk. Angkor Thom is the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces.

From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.

Angkor is full of magical highlights, visit another one! Explore Ta Prohm temple, unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. Return to Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

3

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Ang Trapaeng Thmor (90 km): 2hr & 30 mins

Early morning, visit the Sam Veasna Center in Siem Reap. The center promotes wildlife conservation in Cambodia and develops bird watching sites in co-operation with the Wildlife Conservation Society and local communities. They provide a unique opportunity for visitors to observe local wildlife without disrupting their natural habitat. From there, head to the Ang Trapaeng Thmor protected wetland area (2½ hours from Siem Reap), accompanied by a specialist bird guide. This area was originally constructed for irrigation during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, but is now surrounded by rice paddies and is home to a great diversity of waterbirds. Here we expect to find over 300 Sarus Cranes in the dry season. A further 200 species of other birds live and breed here, of which 18 have been classified as globally or near globally threatened. This is also one of the handfuls of sites in Cambodia where the endangered Eld’s Deer can be seen. (Note: The best time to see the Sarus Crane is from February to May, although many bird species can be spotted year-round). Enjoy a picnic lunch in the countryside with a stunning view of the grasslands. Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Banteay Srei (37 km): 45 mins

After breakfast, travel to the countryside to see the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

Also don’t miss to visit the Banteay Samre. The structure with its typical lotus flower shaped tower has compact proportions. This temple was built during the most elaborate period of Khmer architecture and its condition is almost perfect.

Continue north to Kbal Spean, one of the earliest Hindu pilgrimage sites in Cambodia. A moderate 3 km trek up the hill through dense jungle will reward you with excellent views over the plains and the Kulen hills. At the top, be surprised about the “River of 1,000 Lingas” with its remarkable stone carvings of Hindu gods, animals and other symbols in the river bed. During the raining season, enjoy a refreshing bath in the waterfall, which is extremely popular with local families. After the descent, enjoy a packed lunch at a picnic site.

Then visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, the first nature conservation center in Cambodia. The aims of the center are the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding and reintroduction of threatened wildlife, providing environmental education, promoting wildlife conservation and training local villagers in the sustainable use of natural resources. You can see various endangered species, reptiles and a beekeeping project.

On the way back, stop at the Landmine Museum which promotes mine awareness. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is working today as a de-miner. The museum serves also as a rescue center for a number of landmine amputee children that Aki Ra has brought off Phnom Penh’s streets or from impoverished rural communities.

You will be right in time to catch the beautiful evening light from Pre Rup, a pyramidal temple surrounded by rice fields.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

5

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Prek Toal (120 km): 3hr

Today, you will embark on one of the most stunning boat trips in Cambodia, as you will be taken from Siem Reap to Prek Toal (duration 3h one way). First, you will float across the mighty Tonlé Sap Lake until it meets with the Stung Sangke River.

The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia is an exceptional water system as it is swelling to almost five times its size during the raining season. The water of its main drainage, Tonlé Sap River, is being pushed back from the Mekong, carrying an incredible amount of water from the rains, causing the river to reverse its direction and thus causing the lake to overflow, flooding nearby fields and forests and supporting an extraordinarily rich and diverse eco-system. The lake is also an important breeding ground for fish, providing more than half of the amount of fish consumed in Cambodia. The particular water system requires the people living of the lake to adapt to the living conditions. You will see many villages on the way where people live on stilted or entirely floating houses.

The Prek Toal biosphere covers 31,282 hectares and is the living area of water birds such as Greater and Lesser Adjuncts, Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork, Milky Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle and many more. Visit the Prek Toal Environmental Research Station with a specialist bird guide and take a boat trip through the sanctuary. Packed lunch will be served on board. Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

6

Siem Reap - Departure

Siem Reap - Siem Reap Airport (8 km): 15 mins

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

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • Local English speaking temple guides and local English speaking specialist bird guides for Ang Trapaeng Thmor and Prek Toal. Please note that there are only English speaking specialist bird guides available for Ang Trapaeng Thmor and Prek Toal.
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Donation to Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity.
  • Boat trips as indicated in itinerary
  • Daily drinking water and cold towels

Our services do not include:

  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival, USD30/pax, please bring 1 passport photo)
  • Any surcharge/extra fees for visit of the Angkor Historical site imposed by the Apsara Authorities in Siem Reap which are subject to change without prior notice
  • International and Domestic Flights (quoted separately)
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
  • Travel insurance including helicopter evacuation for Cambodia)
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

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